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Triumvirat - Illusions On A Double Dimple CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.94 | 358 ratings

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5 stars Let me start by saying that it is wrong to label and dismiss this fantastic group as an "ELP clone"-a close examination of Triumvirat's music, and one will soon realise that they are a group in their own right (and a greatly under-rated one, in the grand scheme of things) The album Illusions On A Double Dimple is their best, and also the best progressive rock album of the whole seventies decade.

This is real classical rock, and I love classical music. Any way you look at the sound they create, every aspect of it is done so right, and it hangs together and stands the test of time, not only because it is technically well done music, but full of emotion in the same breath. Juergen Fritz's keyboard work throughout is amazing, Hans Bathelt's drumming is a thrill to follow, and in the middle of that is the awesome Rickenbacker bass, and six-string guitar playing of the late Helmut Koellen, along with his wonderful vocals, one of the most naturally musical voices in all of rock. For me, it is Helmut's presence in this recording that makes everything fit together so well, as it does with the following album Spartacus. (Though some of the bass playing on Side One is done by previous Triumvirat member Hans Pape, who left in the middle of recording Illusions)

Illusions On A Double Dimple (a Double Dimple referring to a drink of Scotch) consists of two long suites of music, both over 20 minutes in length. Instrumentally, the album gets right to the point, with dazzling, classically inspired playing that leaves one breathless in it's intensity and beauty. Juergen Fritz's keys dominate the sound, but drummer Hans Bathelt and Koellen on guitar, bass and vocals make their importance felt throughout things, as well. There are female background vocals at times, and both a string, and brass, section inserted a bit. The album also has an ever so slight jazz feel to it at times, though the band don't develop that aspect much.

Lyrically, the record is the story of a bloke that loses his job, and is downtrodden, wanting to "drink till i can't stand on my feet". Side two's lyrics start off by bemoaning a money grabbing manager dubbed "Mister Ten Percent". Later, we hear of the "Lucky Girl", who sounds no doubt like someone one of the band members met on the road, touring.

Illusions would not be the end of Helmut Koellen and Triumvirat, and his involvement in Triumvirat not the end of Koellen's music recording. It is a mistake to overlook his subsequent work in the group Jail from 1976, or his solo album You Won't See Me, released after his death in 1977, both also evidence of his overall great and spirited musicality.

I never discovered Triumvirat's music until the eighties, so unfortunately never saw them live, but this album is so gutsy and exciting, as well as brilliant, it truly is the next best thing. No other group from this period stands a chance against this wonderful recording, and there are two single tracks included in the 2002 remastered edition-Timothy and Dancer's Delight- that are just as appealing as the album itself, with the result that everything jives even better than previously imagined. Progressive rock at its best! Five deserving stars.

presdoug | 5/5 |


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