Rock & Roll Machine
Rock & Roll Machine was Triumph’s first classic album, offering an essence of hard rock circa 1977. While English punks were turning glam tunes into a political assault and prog bands were making bloated concept albums, Triumph revived the art of the clench-fisted riff, as perfected by prototypical hard rock bands like Free, Foghat, and ZZ Top. Their allegiance to a previous generation of riffmongers is revealed in a cover of Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way,” delivered here in a wonderfully groaning interpretation. In the end, though, Rock & Roll Machine isn't simply a rehash of old motifs, nor is it part of the burgeoning metal culture led by Judas Priest. Songs like “Takes Time,” “Little Texas Shaker,” and “Rock & Roll Machine” are proudly neutral when it comes to subgenere classification. This hard rock trio delivered without stylization. Theirs is the sound of motorcycles, leather jackets, and broken bottles thrown on the floor of some roadside tavern. Even when they let their prog leanings show on the multipart epic “The City,” Triumph were all about rock 'n' roll fundamentals.