REVIEW: Triumph – Edge of Excess (1992)

Bought in Taranna at Kops for $2.50!


Scan_20160102TRIUMPH – Edge of Excess (1992 Virgin)

When Triumph split in ’87, Rik Emmett went off in a pop direction leaving his two bandmates with no singer/guitar player, and without their most recognizable member.  As bassist Mike Levine said in M.E.A.T Magazine, “We couldn’t just be Duo-umph”.  Since Triumph always had two lead singers in Rik Emmett and drummer Gil Moore, this time Gil simply stepped up and sang everything.  Then they needed a guitar player.  Gil and Mike Levine wrote and recorded most of Edge of Excess with Mladen Zarron in Toronto, before hiring ex-Frozen Ghost (current Bon Jovi) shredder Phil X.  Five years after the split, the new Triumph emerged with a heavier and darker album, Edge of Excess.

Triumph boldly opened the album with a whole minute of nothing but bluesy guitar noise.  If there was a stronger way to say “We don’t need Rik,” I don’t know what that would be.  This guitar noise serves as an intro to the first Triumph song without Emmett, “Child of the City”, a harder edged Triumph song with the same kind of hooks.  It’s hard to determine who is playing lead guitar, Mladen or Phil X, but rest assured that whoever it is has laid waste to the land.  Rik Emmett wasn’t just a shredder, but a talented player who composed his solos with class and ability.  Mladen and Phil have done the same, but without emulating Rik.  (Phil’s going to have his work cut out for him in Bon Jovi, though.)

The rip-roaring “Troublemaker”, easily the fastest and heaviest Triumph track to date, was featured on the soundtrack to Hellraiser III, and it’s easy to see why.  It’s as close to speed metal as Triumph have been, and I shouldn’t need to tell you that again the solos shred.  Who’s playing?  Fucked if I know, there are three guys credited on the song.  The song is actually very close to high-octane Whitesnake and it would be easy to imagine Coverdale’s crew doing it.

Lest you think that ballads were a thing of Triumph’s past, “It’s Over” has a country & western feel. Unfortunately of the two singers, Moore had the less commercial voice.  This is where Gil’s voice reveals its limitations.  On backing vocals, some big names are on hand such as Fred Coury of Cinderella and Steve DeMarchi of Sheriff, to help beef up the big chorus.  It’s not enough to make a memorable song.  They cook up some groove on the title track, tapping the vein of Van Hagar.  But without Rik Emmett, Triumph lost part of what made their unique sound.  On Edge of Excess it’s too easy to compare them to contemporaries.  “Turn My Back on Love” is better, occupying a dirty mid-tempo groove, and with Phil X handling all the guitars himself.  The big chorus is the closest thing to old Triumph on the album.

That’s the side; the second one opens with “Ridin’ High Again”, a sleezy rocker that sounds like Don Dokken emigrating to Canada.  Phil X really can shred though, and anyone who’s curious what he can do should check it out.  I don’t think Phil will be able to play to his strengths in his new band, so give this a listen and hear the guy blaze like Vai meets Van Halen.  “Black Sheep” starts as a total surprise; a blues right in the middle of the album.  No drums, just claps.  Sadly instead of sticking with this, it transforms into a stock hard rocker.  “Boy’s Nite Out” has a grammatically incorrect title:  The lyrics are clear that it is not a boy’s night out, but “the boys”, plural.  It should therefore be called “Boys’ Nite Out”.  Here I am bitching about the grammar and not the word “Nite”…anyway, back to the song.  Standard rocker.  Plenty of great shreds, but this album is far too burdened by generic rockers.  Rik Emmett used to bring a variety of influences to the table, and their albums with him may have had their weaknesses, but they were more diverse than Edge of Excess.  Without enough identity, Triumph forged a batch of largely forgettable bluesy hard rock songs.  Lots of crunch, not enough stick-to-your-brain hooks.

Fortunately the classy power ballad “Somewhere Tonight” helps wind things up properly.  Identity is still a problem, but at least this is a break in the rut the album had been in.  Right back into the rut for “Love in a Minute”, the last in a batch of heavily generic rock songs that sound like about a dozen bands…none of them Triumph.

Like any fan, I was pleased that Triumph kept going despite such a huge setback as losing your main guy.  Unfortunately the album they produced in ’92 was not up to par, and I guess that’s why it took me 23 years to finally buy it!  A couple good songs early in the album, but not much more.

2.5/5 stars


  1. Fair enough review. Gil’s voice was never made for crooning ala that ick of Just One Night…still though at the time (92) I was glad Triumph kicked off the cobwebs and ramped it up…..
    This album is not bad,not good kinda in the middle …Turn Your Back On Love is my fav tune…great song as that’s the kind of tune Gil’s voice is tailor made for…
    Nice Wednesday surprise…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deke! Yeah this was a nice find for $2.50 but I’m glad I didn’t pay full 1992 prices! I think they could have done a good followup album with Phil, but it wasn’t meant to be.


      1. I have this CD autographed by Gil Moore Mike Levine and Phil X. This album was off to a nice start until the record company imploded. I happen to like Gil’s vocals which I feel are stronger than Rik Emmett’s. Just One Night with Gil Moore’s vocals was phenomenal this was from Sport of Kings. Should’ve been a major hit. Many stations across the country were playing Just One Night. Don’t knock Gil’s vocals, he damn good for a drummer. Give him some credit.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You know who wrote Just One Night? Neal Schon from Journey, Eric Martin from Mr. Big, and a guy named Tony Fanuchi. Can you imagine what it sounds like with Eric Martin singing? Way better than Gil, we must assume, knowing the talents of Eric Martin.


        2. Hey Friend…read a little closer to what I wrote..

          ” Gil’s voice was never made for crooning ala that ick of Just One Night…still though at the time (92), I was glad Triumph kicked off the cobwebs and ramped it up…..
          This album is not bad, not good kinda in the middle …Turn Your Back On Love is my fav tune…great song as that’s the kind of tune Gil’s voice is tailor-made for…

          I thought Gil doing Just One Night was not his style. Gils does brilliant on the rock songs of Triumph. Not knocking his vocal just the song man. Read a little more closely to the fine print.


        3. Jesus…I just played the re-recorded version of Just One Night from Grestest Hits Remixed. Gil’s voice sure sucked on that one! Did not age well.


    1. It’s too many analogies and the more I thought of it, not always good ones. To compare them to Dokken, who were basically just sub-Halen, sub-Crue…these are not first tier bands.


      1. In my opinion, Dokken mop the floor with Crue. All of Dokken’s albums in the ’80s were great, and Dysfunctional was cool in a different way too. Crue put out two good albums and then a bunch of garbage for the rest of their career (’94 is the exception). Give me Tooth and Nail, Under Lock and Key, Back for the Attack, and Beast from the East over any note Crue has ever committed to tape.

        As for the sub-Halen thing, I don’t think Dokken are much like VH at all. They’re way heavier, and grandiose. I’ve got respect for the Halen, but I don’t think calling Dokken a lesser version of them is accurate. There’s probably an influence there, but not a predominant one. Two different bands.

        I have to disagree about Dokken. Unless you were referring only to popularity in which case I’d feel like a total dunce for this paragraph. Haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I gave this album a shot when it came out but after a few listens I realized I would never need to hear it again and traded it in (back in the days when you could actually get decent credit for such a trade-in). Much as I like Gil’s voice, it’s impossible to replace Rik’s incredible guitar playing & vocals. This was an excellent, well-balanced review…but it didn’t make me want to give Edge Of Excess another shot.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. My interest in Whitesnake includes the following in my collection: Live…In The Heart Of The City and Slide It In on vinyl and the self-titled ’87 album and Gold 2-CD set. If you guys highly recommend S&S I’ll keep an eye out for it, but there’s no need for Mike to pay for shipping from Canada to the US for something I could probably buy for less than that here.

          I love paying it forward when it comes to music, which is always my preferred option for unloading CDs now.


Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s