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Triumph - 'Live at Sweden Rock Festival' (frontiers) 4.5/5

From the mid 1970's right through to the early 1990's Canadas Triumph were right up there with very biggest names in rock, albums like Sport of Kings and Allied Forces sold by the truck load, and they toured the world playing in the biggest venues. However in the early 1990's guitarist and band main man Rik Emmett departed for a solo career, and Triumph fell from view into the were are they now file to spend the next 15 years almost forgotten. Then in 2008 the band reunited for a one off appearance at the legendary Sweden Rocks Festival and as often happens the one off lead to a small tour, which lead to a bigger tour and before you could say I Live For The Weekend the band were back together full time. Now since then there has been no new Triumph material - in fact the band have said there will not be any new studio albums in the foreseeable, but the band have been doing a fair bit of archive raiding and they have just issued this, the full set from that Sweden Rock reunion gig.

Now I will confess I was a bit of a Triumph fan back in the day, but over the past 20 years their albums have been laying at the back of the record rack - in fact I can't remember when I last played a Triumph album for my own enjoyment, and a flick through my playlist archive shows I've only span one Triumph track on air since the BCFM show started, and that was 3 years ago (something I intend to redress over the next few months). So I am finding listening to this one a bit of a journey of rediscovery.

And what a pleasant journey it is. The album kicks off with When The Lights Go Down, a glorious slice of stoner rock, that shows just where the likes of Stone Axe and Mos Generator are getting some of their influences. Other highlights include Allied Forces - a cut that comes on as a real surprise when you realise exactly how heavy Triumph could be from time to time; the aforementioned I Live For The Weekend, always my fave Triumph number, and a rock and roller that still sounds as fresh as it it did back in the 80's; and then there's the epic and progressive Blinding Light Show with Mr Emmett showing he still knows his way around a fret board. All good and classic stuff and when you reach the final notes of the wondrously uplifting Fight the Good Fight you end up with a wonderfully satisfied feeling of having rediscovered something very very good indeed.

This album is a great live document, the production is spot on, showing the pure talent of the band and capturing the excitement of the live situation perfectly. This one will certainly remind the world of Triumph and exactly how good they still are. There's only problem, this has left me wanting more Triumph, new Triumph, I'm sure musicians of this class and standard are still capable of writing and recording anther killer album to add to their back catalogue. Come on guys whatdya say?


For fans of... Rush, Van Halen, Stone Axe, The Rods.....

Various Artists - 'The End is Near' (Shire Records) 4.5/5

The End Is Near is the title of a series of highly successful punk weekenders held in the sleepy Wiltshire town of Trowbridge, that are rapidly becoming some of the most important events on the UK punk scene, having attracted the likes of The Sub-Humans and Rita Lynch in recent times. Now the organisers have put together this rather tasty 15 track compilation celebrating and showcasing some of the best acts that have appeared at the events.

Now this is a rather good un over all, kicking off with Disco, a rather neat slam and boogie cut from The Blunders, this CD is a great portal into the best punk from the English West Country and beyond. I'm not going to give you a track by track breakdown - far better you dig yourself a copy up and explore it for yourself. But I will point out a few of the highlights on offer...

There's Petrol with the driven and frenzied Feed Yourself, Hater UK give a glorious low fi rendition of the Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson classic Hey Santa!. Instrumental noise grind merchants We Are Romans serve up a groovy little cut entitled Heligoland and the irrepressible Rita Lynch gives the spin tingling Longing. Chuck in The Dynamite Pussy Club with Vampire Blues and nine other pretty damn god and infectious cuts from the likes of The Set Backs, Bite The Buffalo and A-Heads and you have a real treat for all those who like it a bit on the punk side.

There is an old joke that says 'punk aint dead, it just smells that way', well this gem not only shows that punk is alive and kicking, but it till has something to say and is laying waste to small Wiltshire towns in the process

Get a copy and pogo til you puke

For fans of... PUNK