RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Rik Emmett & RESolution9 – RES 9  
Provogue/Mascot Label Group

Rating: B

Rik Emmett is best known for being the lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the band Triumph. Rik gained fame penning and performing the smash hits “Hold On,” “Magic Power,” “Lay It on the Line” and more for the Canadian rocker group.

Now he’s back in the mix with a new band called Rik Emmett & RESolution9 as well as a new album called  RES 9.  Emmett is a virtuoso guitarist who loves to compose in many genres.  This time around he sticks mostly to blues rock, but takes a few forays into mainstream rock and even jazzy-blusey stuff at times.

The biggest news here is that Rik teams up with former Triumph band mates Gil Moore and Mike Levine for the bones track “The Grand Parade.”  This emotional tune is not the rocking rebellion of the band reforming that Triumph fans were hoping for, but the sway and swagger -mixed with the poignant lyrics- tell a tale of a band of brothers.  Will they reunite?  Hey… Gil Moore… word is this is up to you… what do ya say?

OK... Back to the album at hand…

The album contains two other notable guests in Dream Theater’s James LaBrie and Rush’s Alex Lifeson.  Each man appears with Rik on a tune and then all three team up for one rocker, titled “End of the Line.” This is a strong track that demonstrates these three may belong in the same band! “I Sing” sees LaBrie join Rik for a strong ballad.  It is the Lifeson/Emmett song, “Human Race” that is the talk of the town, though.  If these two guys would put out an album of similar tracks, fans of both bands would be smiling ear-to-ear!  These two famous virtuosos tear it up on this rockin’, happy, poppy, Rik Emmett classic sound.  The song is balanced out with a bouncy guitar melody by Rik’s right hand man and bandmate Dave Dunlop.  There are many good songs on this album but this one is the cream of the crop.

The rest of the band consists of Rik’s touring band and features the previously mentioned Dunlop on guitar, Steve Skingley on bass, and Paul DeLong on drums, with Dave and Steve co-producing the project.  Much of the album was recorded at a place close to Rik and his Triumph band mates heart, MetalWorks Studios in Ontario.  A song like “Human Race” coming out of a place like MetalWorks seems so natural… oh heck, I will say it… Come on guys!  One more Triumph album is still in ya!!  Come on!

Back to the album at hand…

“Stand Still” is a ZZ Top-ish rocker while “The Ghost of Shadow Town” is a nostalgic number that truly has a ghostly feeling—and a great opening double guitar line!   “Heads Up” is another rocker that is sure to be loved.  “Sweet Tooth” shows one of Rik’s other sides… it’s a bit goofy but fun at the same time.  All in all it is a solid Rik Emmett solo album—with a bit more rock and classic Triumph sound than on other Emmett solo efforts... at least at times.  If one is a guitar lover there is a lot to get excited about as Rik is the real deal with a lifetime of experience.  This cat knows what he is doing on the six-string.

At the end of the day, this is not Allied Forces, but it not supposed to be.  It is, however, a very welcome return to rock for Rik!   And then there is that damn Triumph track… that makes us think, ‘Maybe….just maybe!’

1. Stand Still
2. Human Race (feat. Alex Lifeson)
3. I Sing (feat. James LaBrie)
4. My Cathedral
5. The Ghost of Shadow Town
6. When You Were My Baby
7. Sweet Tooth
8. Heads Up
9. Rest of My Life
10. End of the Line (feat. Alex Lifeson & James LaBrie)
11. Grand Parade (feat. Gil Moore & Mike Levine) [bonus track]

By Jeb “Fighting the Good Fight” Wright