Res9 is somewhat of a journey through Rik Emmett’s life as a musician, showcasing many styles of the rock genre, from straight up rock songs, to blues rock, southern rock, country, folk rock, and even a splash of jazz. It is all covered in this collection of songs and it is done with precision. Emmett brings an entirely new band lineup with him for this venture, featuring his longtime acoustic partner in crime Dave Dunlop on guitar, along with new recruits Paul DeLong on drums and Steve Skingley on bass. Let us take a track by track look at this record and see what we come up with.
Note: As being a huge fan of the band Triumph I will try to give my most honest review of the record.
Track 1: Stand Still is a straight up driving boogie woogie, southern rock style song that is perfect to crank up when in your ride cruising down the highway on a lazy summer day.
Track 2: Human Race (featuring Alex Lifeson) from Rush on guitar is the essence of Triumph in the mid 80’s, with its pop rock sound and a hook for a chorus that you could catch a great white shark with. This track features an Official music video released by Mascot Label Group Germany.
Track 3: I Sing (featuring James LaBrie) from Dream Theater on vocals is the quintessential rock ballad with both Emmett and LaBrie sharing lead vocal duties and harmonizing ever so eloquently with each other on the huge chorus’.
Track 4: My Cathedral: Another ballad, yet this one has much more of a country sound mixed with just the right amount of southern gospel to give you a beautiful look into Emmett’s spiritual side.
Track 5: The Ghost Of Shadow Town: A slow, eerie, bluesy jam perfect to crank up on a stormy night while sitting by candlelight. The harmony guitar parts really lend to the overall eerie feel of the song. Emmett’s lead in this song feels like it was conceived by Robert Johnson himself when he sold his soul to the devil to play the blues.
Track 6: When You Were My Baby: Very 70-ish, jazzy, Santana, Doobie Bros, sounding, one of those grooves that would not put you on the dance floor, but will have you bobbing your head and tapping your toe as you melt into the mesmerizing guitar leads scattered throughout. The Hammond B3 is the icing on the cake in this masterpiece.
Track 7: Sweet Tooth: A mid-tempo fun song about a love for all things sweet, embracing a bit of today’s country vibe lends to the overall flavor of this sweet track. I can’t really say much more about this one except that it pulls you in from the first note played.
Track 8: Heads Up: Quite possibly my favorite track on the record. This song takes me back to Triumph’s Sport of Kings record in which this song would have been a perfect fit. Just a great all around rock song with great words, great vocal harmonies, and simply put, a well written song.
Track 9: Rest Of My Life: This track has a Gin Blossoms meets Darius Rucker feel with the acoustic guitar and how the harmony vocals answer the lead vocal in the verses. Definitely would top the modern country rock charts if released as a single.
Track 10: End Of The Line: (featuring both Alex Lifeson and James LaBrie) and is by far the heaviest song on the record. This song highlights the skills of every member of the band in very tasteful ways. There was also a very cool lyric video released for this track as well, once again by Mascot Label Group Germany.
Track 11: Grand Parade: (featuring Gil Moore and Mike Levine) (Bonus Track) Moore and Levine were 2/3 of the band Triumph and although I would’ve loved nothing more than to hear Emmett’s track with his Triumph brothers be a scorching rocker, nonetheless I am just happy to hear them back together on at least one more song. This is a slow, acoustic driven, jazzy blues song that really tells the story of Emmett’s career as a musician and even more so his time as lead vocalist and lead guitarist for Triumph. This is a cool song overall and a very calming way to close out the record.
Overall on a scale of 1 to 10, I will give this record a solid 9 based on these two critiques: 1) the overall production of the record, especially the vocals, seems very red-lined and has a distorted sound instead of a nice clean sound, unless that was the sound that Emmett was looking for. 2) the fact that Triumph didn’t get to rock out and do what they do best. I love the album overall, and highly suggest any Triumph / Rik Emmett fan to add this to your record collection. I will hold out hope that Triumph will once again record a new record and tour but until then I anxiously await August 26, 2017 when I will get to see Emmett live in Nashville, TN.
Grab the record, check out the website(s) and continue to support live music. Now “Rock Out, Roll On”.