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Triumvirat - Spartacus CD (album) cover

SPARTACUS

Triumvirat

 

Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 358 ratings

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The Genre Spanner
4 stars The tale of Spartacus is an epic and bloody one. In ancient Rome, an escaped gladiator slave leads an uprising of slave rebels to fight in the war against the oppressive higher powers.

Meanwhile in 1975, a German trio of Emerson, Lake and Palmer impersonators were looking for a concept to hang their latest imitation on. They looked to our pal Spartacus and thought, 'well that will do I guess', despite their collection of cheesy musical numbers, despite the album cover being a mouse in a light-bulb, despite the lead vocalist sounding like a German George Costanza...

And yet this album is a lot of fun.

The vibe of Triumvirat's Spartacus is like a rock opera or musical in the style of ELP. There's a strong keyboard focus, with percussive organ solos, fanfare synths, as well as wacky time signatures - it's clear their nod to their heroes is not at all subtle. Songs that come to mind upon grooving to this album are 'Tarkus', 'Trilogy' and 'Karn Evil 9'. But the more restrained tracks sound reminiscent of The Who.

The tunes are very melodic, filled with memorable themes, and are short and sweet for the most part, so it's easily digestible. Compared to ELP there's more compositional focus and accessibility, and it all goes by quickly, perhaps with exception to 'The March to the Eternal City' which plods on a bit. The album is performed with high level of competence and energy, as if Triumvirat were coming from a genuine and inspired place, even if it's clear exactly where that place is. There is perhaps an over-abundance of synth strings, which cheapens the album somewhat, but it's all part of the fun really.

The experience of this album is quite cute; the accented vocal, the adjective-heavy song titles, the lyrics: "In the Gladiator's school, things were perfect, things were coooooooool." It's one big cheese-fest and hard to take seriously. There's even a song called 'The Walls of Doom' that's goofy and cheerful and completely void of any darkness. What on earth were they thinking? Again - all part of the fun.

This is a super entertaining album. There aren't as many dramatic ups and downs as one should expect from a Spartacus themed album, but it's still better than Jeff Wayne's attempt 17 years later.

The Genre Spanner | 4/5 |

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