Triumph: ‘Surveillance’

Released on July 27, 1987 (MCA)

Surveillance took six months to record and was the last Triumph album to feature guitarist Rik Emmett — replaced by Phil X on 1992’s Edge of Excess — until his return to the band in 2008. The Canadians’ ninth studio album was also their work with the most outside help from Fox News anchor John David Roberts (responsible for the spoken words on “Carry On The Flame”) to the future Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse (acoustic guitar on “All The King’s Horses”, of which he is also co-author, and electric guitar on “Headed For Nowhere”), among many others.  

Over the course of the twelve songs — including three that are nothing more than instrumental interludes — Emmett, Mike Levine and Gil Moore opt for a more commercial approach, virtually reneging on their progressive roots, and embracing the technologies that their contemporaries Rush and Saga — and even British rockers Judas Priest in their Turbo (1986) phase — adopted, which consisted of samplings and synthesized guitars. Hence the pasteurized sound that works so well with the lacquered mullets look featured in the “Never Say Never” video.  

Three singles were released — “Long Time Gone”, “Let The Light (Shine On Me)” and the aforementioned “Never Say Never”.  The common link between those songs, in addition to the quality of the composition and the mastery in the execution, is the fact that they were bypassed by an audience whose imagination already belonged to the hair bands. Finally, any similarity between “Running In The Night” and “Go”, released by Signal in Loud & Clear (1989), is not mere coincidence since it is virtually the same song with two different titles. Great (Erik) Scott!

Track List:
01. Prologue: Into The Forever
02. Never Say Never
03. Headed For Nowhere
04. All The King’s Horses
05. Carry On The Flame
06. Let The Light (Shine On Me)
07. Long Time Gone
08. Rock You Down
09. Prelude: The Waking Dream
10. On And On
11. All Over Again
12. Running In The Night

Band Members:
Rik Emmett – guitars, synthesizers, lead vocals, Synclavier II, Fairlight CMI Series III programming
Gil Moore – drums, percussion, vocals
Michael Levine – bass guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, Emulator II

Additional Musicians:
John Roberts – newscast (5)
Steve Morse – lead electric guitars (3), acoustic guitars (4)
Dave Tkaczuk – synthesizer, keyboards, programming
Greg Loates – percussion, programming, effects, producer
Hugh Cooper – sound effects, research, engineer
Joel Feeney – backing vocals
Joel Wade – backing vocals, chant, choir, chorus
Paul Henderson – backing vocals, chant, choir, chorus
Ross Munro – choir, chorus, chant
John Alexander – choir, chorus, chant
Noel Golden – choir, chorus, chant

Produced by Thom Trumbo
Mixed by Ed Stone
Engineered by Bill Kennedy
Assistant engineer: Christopher Pritchard
Mastered by Bob Ludwig
Digitally remastered by Brett Zilahi

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Marcelo Vieira for Sleaze Roxx, July 2022

Triumph‘s “Never Say Never” video: