Rock & Roll Machine was Triumph's second official release in their native Canada, but is known to most fans worldwide as the first, since it was repackaged and resequenced with half of their eponymous debut shortly after the band inked a new global contract with MCA Records. All this became the source of much confusion over the ensuing years, but was finally rectified somewhat in 1999, when the definitive CD reissue of the band's entire catalog restored both albums to their original Canadian track listings. The only downside to this, of course, is that, for a large number of fans, a once formidable album was suddenly transformed into two significantly less spectacular offerings, but such is life. Like many Triumph albums that followed, Rock & Roll Machine opens with a rousing Gil Moore hard rock stomper, "Takes Time," before giving way to one of Rik Emmett's more melodically inclined numbers, "Bringing It on Home," which gave many listeners their first taste of his vocal resemblance to Rush singer Geddy Lee (a similarity that would haunt Triumph throughout their career). Of note, Rock & Roll Machine also boasts some of the band's most daring forays into progressive rock pomposity, via the two-part "New York City Streets" (the first mixing MOR and jazzy bits; the second returning to hard rock) and the three-part "City" suite, which includes a brief snatch of Holst's The Planets and some stupendous Spanish guitar work from Emmett on the hilariously named segment "El Duende Agonizante" (which roughly translates to "The Agonizing Gnome"). But the album closes with power, thanks to the title track's muscular return to Triumph's natural heavy rock element, including a full-fledged guitar solo section midway through -- making it a natural concert staple for years to come.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia