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Triumvirat - Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.61 | 213 ratings

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4 stars Mediterranean Tales is the 1972 opening salvo from a German band whose subsequent 4 albums would make the prog world proud with such jewels as Illusion on a Double Dimple, the fabulous Spartacus, Old Loves die Hard and Pompeii before stumbling into the media fueled forced commercialization in 1977 that killed many a progressive giant (if not all!). I only recently latched on to this recording, even though I had heard nothing but good things. I guess I was too busy salivating over Jürgen Fritz' mastery of the various keys he would lay his hands on with the above classics. I am one of the few who actually believe that Triumvirat was on par with ELP, as opposes to just a mere clone. If you look (and hear) closely, the differences are rather staggering! Hans Pape is sadly no match for Lake in the vocal department, even on the bass, while Hans Bathelt has a way more teutonic approach to percussing, a different beast from Palmer altogether. As for Fritz, he can easily blitz in unison with Emerson but has a more Wakemanesque (read romantic) style on piano, also preferring the Hammond or even e-piano over the big Zoukra Moog follies associated with Mr. Keith. The opening 16 and a half minute epic "Across the Waters" pretty much lays down the law from the outset with a vast array of moods and shifts, from pomp, fanfare, barroom piano jazz, swirling organ arpeggios, slippery synth adornments, a little harpsichord effect here, a smidgen of clavinet there, certainly showing off his rather considerable chops. In fact, I'd say his organ work is closer to Rick Van der Linden of Ekseption fame. As described by other PA illuminati, this is a truly amazing piece. Yes, it's true, "Eleven Kids" has rather lousy vocals (in fact, even the music wrapped around the vocal arrangement is poor) but Fritz keeps things boisterous with some spirited playing when the mikes are turned off. "E Minor 5/9 Minor/5" is a seductive 8 minute instrumental with some exploratory wah-wah organ work that is glee inducing, shifting from a gentler mood to a whipping solo that breeds respect, flipping some ripping piano riffs into the mix, very nice (no pun intended)! Great stormy track. "Broken Mirror" showcases the highly lyrical Fritz touch on piano, very reminiscent of the caped Yesman, contrasting technical maitrise with a overpowering sense of mood (something I find Emerson forgets on occasion). That done, Jürgen slides over to the organ and unleashes a masterful series of runs, very jazzy until Hans Pape seriously mutilates the track with some gobbly gook vocals. Well, at least Helmut Köllen and Barry Palmer will definitely improve this rather sad aspect of their music, for evermore. Beautiful cover art makes this even more appealing. Certainly deserving of inclusion in the Triumvirat discography. 4 Hammond C3s
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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