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Triumvirat - Mediterranean Tales CD (album) cover

MEDITERRANEAN TALES

Triumvirat

 

Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 156 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Triumvirat has long been pegged (not altogether unfairly) as ELP copycats, so it makes sense that the band's earliest incarnation was heavily in debt to THE NICE, by coincidence even matching the rough singing voice of bassist Lee Jackson. But frontman Jürgen Fritz enjoyed a few advantages over his idol Keith Emerson, never indulging in the same ready-made classical music covers, and often handling his keyboards with a more natural gift for simple yet memorable hooks.

His own band, even at this embryonic stage, also functioned better as a cohesive group than either ELP or The Nice, although the chemistry wasn't entirely settled (that would happen the following year, with the hiring of Fritz's cousin Helmut Köllen to fill the Greg Lake role). Until then the singing would be a dangerous weak spot, undermining the energy of their debut even more than its now primitive mix of classical, jazz, pop and rock gestures.

Listening to the album over forty years later is like throwing open a dilapidated window to a brighter, more innocent age of musical idealism. The episodic, side-long suite "Across the Waters" almost resembles a parody of Prog Rock clichés when heard today, but there was a time when this was fresh and exciting stuff. And it can still be invigorating, when heard in the proper rose-colored spirit: that baroque downbeat at the top of the opening movement has real bite, and the obvious enthusiasm of the players helps to maintain a headlong pace, despite the almost total lack of thematic focus.

In retrospect it needs a forgiving ear to receive the album as it might have originally sounded, especially when listening to the trio of shorter songs on Side Two, which saw Fritz and company struggling to locate a stable identity and not fully succeeding. Consider the effort a test run for later Prog Rock Formula races: the newly-tooled engine was firing on all cylinders, but still needed a little fine-tuning.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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