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Triumvirat - Mediterranean Tales CD (album) cover

MEDITERRANEAN TALES

Triumvirat

Symphonic Prog


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars TRIUMVIRAT have always been referred to as an ELP clone band a view which I have failed personally to adopt... sure there are some strong similarities but also a number of differences... "Mediterranean Tales" is certainly one of those differences ! The opening side long title track is simply killer with heavy 70's keyboard and German underground sensitivities. Cleverly energized epic track with some breathtaking instrumental-passages and instrumentation. "Mediterranean Tales" is a strong mix of classical and rock genres including overtures, fugues, thematic restatements and many different styled movements. Make no mistake this album is full of Jürgen Fritz's killer keyboard work (a classically trained musician). The rest of the band include Hans Bathelt (drums, percussion) and Hans Pape (bass, vocals). Re-mastered CD edition also includes four bonus tracks previously appeared on singles. A Classic Recording from a great progressive rock band !

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#11801)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars FAIR ALBUM. It sounds sometimes like early EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, but more simple and more pop. Jurgen Fritz's keyboards are not at its best like on "Spartacus". Compositions are decent, but its amongst the worst TRIUMVIRAT albums. "À la carte" is obviously worse, but I do not listen very often to "Mediterranean Tales" anyway.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#11802)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars In 1972 this German trio had the courage to start their careers releasing a semi conceptual album in a foreign language, and they did a great job. Often dismissed by critics as a "B" class ELP clones, Triumvirat is far from being that simple, specially because Mediterranean Tales is a Symphonic album and ELP is a Classic Prog' band something absolutely different, we know of course "The Rat" and specially Fritz have some Emerson influence (they are declared fans of "The Nice") but their arrangements and lyrics are absolutely unique that deserve much more recognition than they got.

Must add that I believe Triumvirat at their peak is not less than ELP and most of the "big 5" prog' bands.

The founding members were Jürgen Fritz , Hans Bathelt and Werner Frangenberg but the third one decided to continue his career in a pop band, so he was replaced by Hans Pape, a talented bassist and very decent vocalist, this is the lineup that recorded Mediterranean Tales.

Incredibly the album starts with a 16 minutes multi part epic "Across the Waters" in which the band combines various classical influences that go from Baroque to Romantic, Jurgen Fritz is impeccable with his keyboards even when his German accent is hard to swallow by purists. A very good song and impressive starting point for a career.

"Eleven Kids" is a simpler song, which starts with a classical keyboard instrumental strongly supported by powerful bass and drums, but soon changes into a simpler tune where the band shows their pop side even when you can find some psychedelic fugues and classical chords, weaker than the previous but still pretty good track.

"E Minor 5/9" is a more eclectic song with strange timing where bass and drums carry the weight of the music except in the middle srction where a psychedelic keys semi solo breaks the repetitive rhythm and gives extra brightness, probably the track that reminds me more of The Nice or early ELP.

The original album ends with "Broken Mirror" which IMO is the best track because the band shows what their classical sound will be, incredible piano and complex structure that prepares the listener for Triumvirat's next two releases adding a jazz fusion section.

The Digital Remaster edition contains four more tracks "Be Home by Tea" (edition of part of the opening Track), an also edited version of "Broken Mirror" and two more songs ("Ride in the Night" and "Sing Me a Song") that probably didn't reached the original album due to the limitations of the vinyl format, but much weaker than the all the previous.

A very good album even when the band is not in the peak of their creativity that will be reached with Illusions on a Double Dimple and Spartacus. An excellent addition for any prog' collection and a must have for Triumvirat fans.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#11803)
Posted Saturday, May 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
heavym9@yahoo
5 stars the first one i heard of triumvirat. It´s fantastic, something really interesting to listen. It´s very original. I heard wakeman, emerson, moraz, lot´s of great keybordists, but Jurgen Fritz is not an exception, his performing is out of this word, and the music is just fantastic, pure progressive rock with classical influences. Don´t miss this one.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11805)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars After hearing Triumvirat on an online prog radio station 'x' years back, I was quite intrigued. They sounded very interesting due to my appreciation for ELP. I decided to purchase their debut album and boy was I impressed. The vocals are probably my least favorite part of the album, but the musicianship sure makes up for it. Across The Waters is one of the greatest 10+ minute songs in my opinion and there's nothing wrong with the other tracks (sans my vocals comment). Overall I am looking forward to continuing Triumvirat since I was so pleased with their debut.

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Send comments to blakedubois (BETA) | Report this review (#36669)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
hpouyanne@hot
3 stars A typical trio ( drums, bass and keyboards ) of the early seventies; clearly influenced by ELP, Triumvirat with this debut album still don't find his own way.Jurgen Fritz is a great musician and composer, but after listening this one you can't really remember any melodic idea. Very enjoyable CD but not essential. A bad point is the singing by Hans Pape too agressive for this kind of music... but the album is mostly instrumental so....

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#45634)
Posted Monday, September 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Triumvirat was from Cologne, Germany and recorded their debut album Mediterranean Tales (Across The Water) in january, 1972, in just 3 days. It is heavely influenced by The Nice, no doubt about it, but since the very beginning they had a proper personality. Those guys who try to pin them up as a mere ELP clone really don´t know what they´re talking about. The group in general, and Jürgen Fritz in parituclar, had their own sound and quite distintictive. Ok, in Miditerranean Tales that sound was still a bit green, relying a lot in their early influences, and yet, their music is different if you pay a little attention.

The general sound is pleasant and interesting, showing some promises that were more than fulfilled by the time they released their second LP, the magnificent Illusions On A Double Dimple. Here the album is a little more dated, sounding a lot like many other keyboards driven bands of the time. Also it made clear that Fritz was no singer. Thank god the vocals duties are shared with bassist Hans Papen (who as not a great vocalist himself, but a lot better than Fritz!). The remaster version includes four extra tracks: two edit versions of Be Home For Tea and Broken Mirror, and two tracks recorded later that year and were only released as singles, Ride In The Night and Sing Me a Song. All four were realsed as A and B sides of singles at the time, the latter two a clearly attempt to reach a more pop market.

Conclusion: a good debut for an unknown act at the time. The music still stands, but sounds a little dated, something that would not happen in the next four albums Triumvirat recorded after this one. Good, but definitly non essential.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#115423)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
5 stars ONE OF THOSE HIDDEN PROG GEMS!!!

I sometimes wonder how would sound the music of classical masters such as BACH or BEETHOVEN would they be living nowadays with our modern technology! I think TRIUMVIRAT would be the closest thing BACH for example would come up with. I am not saying that because JURGEN FRITZ, the keyboards wizard from TRIUMVIRAT and BACH are both German, but the affinities are here. I cannot think of another band as baroque as TRIUMVIRAT. I can tell you JURGEN FRITZ has listened a lot of BACH in his youth.

Another reference associated with TRIUMVIRAT is EMERSON, LAKE and PALMER. Not that it is wrong, but it is not fair to consider TRIUMVIRAT as an ELP clone. They're not. KEITH EMERSON can play everything , not only classical but ballroom jazz as well as honky tonk music (remember!) . He is as good sampling BEETHOVEN as contemporary americana composers. JURGEN FRITZ is German and play German, at least with a more classic european feel.

Of course, the fact that TRIUMiVRAT is also a keyboards/bass-vocalist/drums trio always fueled comparisons between the 2 bands.However, all the vocalists used by TRIUMVIRAT (3 in the first 4 albums!!!!) never sounded quite like GREG LAKE,especially the first 2 HANS PAPE, then the late HELMUT KOLLEN. First of all, they sing with a not that discreet German accent and with a rather harsh tone that can be surprising at first listen.

But this not a vocal band in the first place; this is the band of magnificent keyboard virtuoso JURGEN FRITZ, as good as K.EMERSON or R. WAKEMAN, believe me! And he showcases his huge talent throughout the album with hammond organ, piano, electric piano, harpsichord and all different kind of synthetisers.But what makes him great, is that he is not only a great player, (yes, he can play fast and shows it), but he is more interested in the beauty of the music than in any technical show off . He is really looking for this beautiful moment where only 3 or 4 piano notes nicely put after each other, do the trick and bring you to a higher ground. Virtuosity is nice to hear, but that's emotion which brings to musical ecstasy! And JURGEN FRITZ plays with emotion. This is beauty, a beautiful symphonic prog odyssey only a few albums can do for me so well.

I reviewed recently the NOVALIS self titled album , one CD that can make me take off mentally by the power of their beautiful music, i tell you ,this album MEDITERRANEAN TALES is not far behind.

The album starts with a side 1 suite ''ACROSS THE WATERS'' with overture, underture and all that, a lot of MOZART references (yes, it's acknowledged in the writing credits) but don't think one moment it is slow paced and peaceful music. On the contrary, it's very energetic, full of time changes, the rythm section is no slouch either and know how to pull fast. Real symphonic prog at it's best; you just have to get used to the voice of HANS PAPE which is not in the romantic canon and the backing voices sometimes don't sound angelic either. But after a while you will see, they go very well with tha fast paced rythm and give TRIUMVIRAT their own personality. Definitely, not GREGLAKISH!!!!

The ex-second side is just a wonderful trip ; just listen to E MINOR 5/9 MINOR and its beautiful haunting synth part with accompanying dreamy piano; Heaven on earth!!! The fast, then slow, very fast again BROKEN MIRROR with so many rythm changes going from crazy to beautiful then back is as good as anything ELP produced in their heydays!

On my CD, i have also 4 bonus tracks; 2 excerpts from the album made for a single and 2 nice --pop--- songs which are very good anyway and are a nice addition , albeit quite different than the rest , to the album.

One of my treasure albums that i will enjoy until my last day; this is not an excellent addition, it is ESSENTIAL!!

5 STARS! I

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#132537)
Posted Friday, August 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When you listen to this album, you can't avoid to associate this band with ELP. Bombastic keys, great drumming, good bass...With such a name, the band is of course a trio.

This album holds whatever aspect of their model you can think of. The opening track and the epic from this album is extremely dynamic, even violent at times. Jürgen Fritz is really a gifted keyboard player. Frenesy is getting out of his keys; but at the same time some nice melodies as well. Of course, the vocals in this first album are not really great and it is probably the main reproach I could do about it.

Besides this, this album really should need your attention. Very good compositions and an incredibly powerful band. What an energy ! The whole sixteen minutes of "Across the waters" (except the short vocal parts) is a magnificent symphonic moment. Pompous and grand ! Do have a listen to it; you shouldn' be disappointed.

"Eleven Kids" starts and finishes pretty badly. Vocals are truely awful. It is a pity because the central instrumental part is full harmony and beauty. The instrumental "E Minor..." is rather chaotic but at least those vocals are (obviously) skipped. My least favourite number.

The closing number "Broken Mirror" is of another caliber. Wonderful and classical piano introduction, full of tenderness and so light...But when the whole band gets together, the feeling one got during the opening track is back again. Excessively strong, almost heavy. This song is varied (completely jazzy during the vocal section). There will even a bearable vocal section full of harmony; almost beatles-esque !

If you do not appreciate bands sounding like other ones (I did not say clone), you should better avoid this record (and probably the other Triumvirat ones). But I usually am not harsh about such bands and I really have to say that as far as "Triumvirat" is concerned I am quite pleased to listen to the majority of their production. "Mediterranean Tales" might not be their best album but it features so many good moments that it might well be interesting to discover their work clockwise to get acquainted and discover the following albums in the sequence they were released.

Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#132969)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
4 stars Most of the devoted prog rock fans are familiar with the name TRIUMVIRAT,a German band formed in 1969 in Cologne by keyboardist Hans-Jurgen Fritz,bassist Werner Frangenberg (soon to be replaced by long-time member Hans Pape) and drummer Hans Bathelt.From their early life the band focused on playing keyboard-driven rock with classical tendencies in the vein of THE NICE,BEGGAR'S OPERA and ,of course, E.L.P.,who had been their major influence.After playing several lives in local clubs in Cologne,they won a contract with EMI,to release their debut ''Mediterrenean tales'' in 1972.

Undoubtfully TRIUMVIRAT were not only great musicians and performers,but they had strong compositional skills as well.The band's hero is definitely Hans Fritz and his virtuosic Hammond organ work with tons of classical-inspired parts,tremendous solos and atmospheric slow-tempo passages.Surrounded by the strong drumming of Bathelt and the deep bass lines of Pape,Fritz created four original compositions with baroque influences and ,besides the dominant organ,there is plenty of delicate grand piano and haunting synths in here for all lovers of keyboard-driven rock symphonies.However,where vocals are added,the album seems to lose its orientation, being sometimes out of the whole atmosphere,as Pape's singing,though not really accented,its kind of mediocre to my ears.These parts are fortunately very limited and instrumentally speaking TRIUMVIRAT certainly belong to the top league of classical-inspired progressive rock bands.A great debut and, of course,a strongly recommended one!4 STARS...

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#146932)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
CCVP
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Triumvirat is described by many as a Emerson, Lake and Palmer clone, including by me, since their sound is very alike and the main song writer, the genius Jürgen Fritz, said that Emerson, Lake and Palmer were a big inspiration for him. That may be true in all Triumvirat albums (except the two last ones, were something were terribly wrong with the band) but this one right here.

Mediterranean Tales still have that resemblance with Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but in that album specifically there are clearly other stronger influences, like Mozart, and Wagner, and another classical music composer whose name i cannot recall now.

That becomes very clear in almost every music of the album: on across the waters, the first band epic, most of the music you can clearly identify Mozart, Bach, and other baroque composers, because the music sounds, from the overture to the underture, a rocky version of a chamber music. Eleven Kids is more of a straightforward rock music about a woman that loves to have sex (whoa, i really need one of those) and haves eleven kids (but not with all of these kids D=). E minor 5/9 minor /5 is another incredible music that is basically a experimentation music with synths and organs, although it haves a Emerson, Lake and Palmer flavor at the end. Broken mirror is another music heavily influenced by classical music, of course if a rock touch.

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Send comments to CCVP (BETA) | Report this review (#158679)
Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
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

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#162276)
Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "I'll bet if I tried, it wouldn't fit."

If you're just getting in to Triumvirat, one of the things you will hear repeated often is that they are ELP clones or rip off ELP. As Mediterranean Tales shows, they actually got their start imitating the Nice. I think it's more than a little harsh to call them rip offers. One thing is for certain, keyboardist Hans-Jürgen Fritz was a big admirer of Keith Emerson and it shows in this band.

This album, as I have said, is done pretty much in the style of the Nice (some stylistic elements of ELP inevitably creep in as it came out in 1972), but they do have their own take on it. If you're not familiar with the work of the Nice, I can best describe the music as classical/rock fusion. The liner notes quote the original pres release "Classical sounds, drum breaks, a remarkable number of rhythm breaks, mixed with the drive and vitality of rock music".

The album opens with a six part mini-epic Across the Waters, which is very heavily classical influenced in the instrumental sections. Eleven Kids is very reminiscent of the more risqué songs by the Nice (like Daddy, Where Did I Come From?). A little ditty about a woman who apparently sleeps around a lot without using contraception. Great progressive instrumental middle section (lots of time changes). Doesn't really fit the rest of the song, but you're glad to have it there. E Minor 5/9 is a nice dark instrumental. Think King Crimson's The Devil's Triangle, only not directly based on an actual classical piece. Broken Mirror wrapped up the original LP. Starts off with a very classical piano solo, then the electronic instruments and drums kick in and you have a straightforward energetic prog song. The vocal bit at the end is a little schizophrenic, but the album eventually ends on a high climactic note. There's two good bonus tracks and two throwaways. The first two are singles versions of music taken from the original album. The two other bonus tracks were released the following year as a single. Ride In The Night is a vocal song, interesting, commercial potential, but you can see that it didn't really fit with the original album (Mediterranean Tales) nor the one to come(Illusions On A Double Dimple). Same goes for Sing Me A Song.

There is no better time than the present to get into this band as the entire back catalog has been remastered. Their website is also promising a new album, but that project seems to have stalled out.

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#165475)
Posted Tuesday, April 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars ELP should take notice.

When it comes to bass/keyboard/drums dynamics, you have choice in this vast progressive world. You could set out for the best, but why not go and have a look at the rest?

The rest is Triumvirat, but it's also in my humble opinion, the best. ELP is ultimately famous and still packs auditoriums after 30 years just with their name. It's also true, Triumvirat never brought 65, 000 shouting fans at one venue (Olympic Stadium, Montreal PQ 1976). Despite all the fame and fortunem, this is why I love Triumvirat: the constency or the quality and the lack of by-product filling in their albums. Take their first album here: solid classical/progressive debut that could hoedown with any ELP album, even for a young band.

The maturity is tangible: Fritz on keyboards is more melodic than being an Emerson show-off (i'd say 60- 40 ratio) but his classical background is as impressive. He shreds when the time is right but he switches often in a song so it's not always a cavalcade of notes. Triumvirat is also well backed with Hans Bathelt on drums, perhaps one of the most underrated drummers of the 70's. He's playing with a modest kit (although compared to Peart's, every kit is modest), but he's killing it with off-time beats, great bass drum/ snare combos and toms fills.

I have nothing bad to say against the 3 first Triumvirat albums, and especially not about this one. It's a good (if not very good) purchase although a bit short.

Long live the Gross-Wurst-und-Kartoffeln German accent! Mach Shäu!

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#178300)
Posted Sunday, July 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

For some reasons, Triumvirat escaped my radar during the mid-70's and when on the closing of the decade I finally stopped laughing at this group's Roman fixation and their dumb artworks, I jumped on Pompeii, and the least I can say is that it gave me everything I feared. Nearly grotesque Art rock emulating ELP, and trying the one just before (OLDH), I was confirmed that these guys were bound for the laughing stock of the genre.

Three decades later, I started investigating their earlier records, probably still with this preconception, but curious anyway. So the original line-up was a KB-lead trio and obviously like all of them, they sound like Egg or ELP, but this time, unlike those mentioned, the lack of adventurous spirit (ala ELP or Egg) and their taste for facile melodies pumped onto the old Composers (ala Trace or Ekseption) make these guys plain bore. Don't get me wrong, these guys poured their kearts out for this music and whatever success they had back then (one of the rare German bands to ge big in the States), they probably deserved it, but this old warrior remains unimpressed although he knows he'd think different if he had v-been aware of this back in 74. So the side-long opening Across The Water sounds like a cross of Nice and Ekseption due to the numerous "borrowings" to the masters of yestercenturies. Furthermore the singing is approximate (to remain polite). The 16 minutes of this "epic" are divided in 6 subsections, and while there are some moments that are worthy (they usually include a healthy dose of drums and bass), they still few and far in between. Booring, and to be quite bold, I'd rather listen to Ars Nova and dream of their organist's arse.

The flipside is filled by three songs, but only one holds enough interest; the Caravan-sounding E-Minor 5/9 with its fuzzed-out organ in a great Canterbury-like moment (and it's an instrumental!!!), that even Egg had not done before. Great track lost in a medium-terrible sea tales. Unfortunately it comes after the horrendous Eleven Kids, combining all of the KB trio clichés plus the atrocious vocals. The closing Broken Mirrors sounds luike a The nice piece complete with crappy Lee Jackson vocals (yes, THAT bad!!!) and merits another good dose of laughs.

Vocals apart, this is the kind of albums that had been done dozens of time before, and probably ten of them had been more adventurous, so aside this being a first oeuvre, this is exactly the kind of album that should remain dormant and never peak its ugly heads out of the swamps it took refuge in. I can't seem to find much redeeming qualities and if my ears hear some fine tonalities and apart the one Caravan-sounding beauty, Medium-Terrible Tales is best avoided.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#212046)
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The debut album from this band who has given me a lot of pleasure. But not with this album.

OK, this is not a bad album. Not at all. But there are pieces of music here I have problems with. The vocals parts on Across The Waters is as cheesy as the collective output of the cheese producers in Switzerland this year. The classical stuff is good though. But I cringe and want to hide behind the sofa when the vocals comes along.

The really good stuff on this album is the classical music stuff and the cover art. The bad stuff is the vocals and the bombastic hard rocking stuff. That is my opinion and my reasons to give out three stars.

3 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#282212)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is about time i reviewed this album. As Triumvirat records go, this is one of the best, but tends to be overlooked. Mediterranean Tales is the epitome of what rock fans used to call "classical rock", and is obviously inspired by the groups ELP and The Nice, what with direct quotations from classical music used. (for example, the beginning and end of side one's suite is an adaptation of the overture used in the Mozart opera "Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail")

This debut album's music is complex and sophisticated as classical music is, but in the same breath is dramatic, exciting and beautiful in the way rock music can be. The main strengths of this record are it's thrilling instrumental passages, and there are quite a few of those. At times even a bit of a jazz feel to sections that mesh with the classical parts. The vocal content and delivery is pretty average, but things are so exciting and refreshing, instrumentally, that that makes up for things.

After side one's exciting and dramatic suite comes three tracks on side two which are just as invigorating and interesting. The most wonderful part of the album for me is the last track of side two of the original lp, called Broken Mirror-beginning with a stirring part for solo piano by Jurgen Fritz that is deeply moving, and then the rest of the band kicks in.

All in all, this record hangs together well, and has stood the test of time for me. And even greater things were to come with Triumvirat's next two releases, and the addition of keyboardist Jurgen Fritz's cousin Helmut Koellen on guitar and lead vocals. Mediterranean Tales is very worth your while to listen to, though, in itself-i rate it 5 stars. (On the 2002 remastered edition, there are two tracks that were singles that are called Ride In The Night and Sing Me A Song-they are a delight, and really worthwhile additions.)

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Send comments to presdoug (BETA) | Report this review (#294032)
Posted Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars The first acquaintance with Triumvirat is very different from the band depicted on more familiar albums like Illusions On A Double Dimple and Spartacus but that's just how it can be with debut albums.

The keyboard mastermind Jürgen Fritz and his loyal sidekick Hans Bathelt at the drums have not yet found the balance between their instruments and tend to rely on jams from section to section of these compositions. Following along for the ride is the vocalist and bass player du jour is Hans Pape who distinguishes himself by being a trustworthy companion even if his very thick German accent does give him away at times. The album is comprised of four long tracks raging from 6 and all the way to 16 minutes in length. The music is completely dominated by Jürgen Fritz's virtuoso playing which does remind me at times of the other keyboard masters like Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman, although Fritz makes it his duty not to make his playing overshadow his songwriting. This doesn't necessarily mean that these compositions are all that notable, but things would definitely improve with the release of Illusions On A Double Dimple.

The highlight of the album is the opening 16 minute opus titled Across The Waters featuring many different sections split up by lengthy jam transitions which do get a bit weary at times. The second highlight that comes to mind whenever I think of Mediterranean Tales is the instrumental piece E Minor 5/9 Minor 5 where Jürgen Fritz decides to have a bit fun on his own with only a few moments where my attention moves over to the drums or the bass arrangements.

Mediterranean Tales is nice debut release but there was still a great deal of work left for Triumvirat since most of the material feels unbalanced and Hans Pape vocals can be regarded as acquired taste. Luckily it didn't take the band long to improve their style and the next album was a huge improvement on the whole concept of a power trio!

**** star songs: Across The Waters (16:37) E Minor 5/9 Minor 5 (8:04)

*** star songs: Eleven Kids (6:09) Broken Mirror (7:21)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#294737)
Posted Monday, August 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Triumvirat stamp their authority on the prog scene of the 70s.

Triumvirat's debut "Mediterranean Tales" launches with an epic multimovement suite Across The Waters that took up one side of vinyl in it's day. This track has its moments but not as good as some of the other works to come on subsequent albums. I like the Hammond solos by Jürgen Fritz as usual, but the missing factor is the vocalist Hans Pape is not as good as Helmut who joins later. Parts sound very dated though I love the psychedelic nuances on the opening track, with wind effects and trippy wah wah guitars. There is a rather exuberant melody throughout and it twists and turns enough to satisfy the average prog addict. It repeats motifs at the end previously heard but familiarity can breed contempt and I would rather it just spiralled into another direction rather than revisit old ground.

Eleven Kids is a pop track with quite weak vocals and one that you may want to skip. Next track of note on side 2 is a sombre piece with a strange beginning, and hyper pulsating keyboards making the atmosphere quite dark, E Minor 5/9 Minor/5. The instrumental works exceptionally well as all Triumvirat instrumentals do, and this music is rather bleak in comparison to the uplifting music of other albums. I like that motif on keyboard that comes in at about 2:30, very innovative and sounds so distinct, not at all like that other threesome everyone seems prone to mention in these reviews. The Hammond solo is absolutely terrific, so well executed and precise, making this one of the best tracks on the album. The end is sublime with minimalist piano. This is a very atmospheric piece, and it bursts out again towards the end when you think it is over returning back to the disturbing pulse metrical pattern again.

Another track worthy of mention is Broken Mirror, beginning with a piano, and then more layered keyboards. Hans Bathelt's drums are great especially the cymbal work. The song is as usual a work of virtuosity. The emphasis is on Fritz's keyboards. The time sig change after 2 minutes is delightful, the melody really takes off with a hypnotic riff, and amazing finger work on shimmering Hammond organ. Eventually lyrics are sung, with a fair amount of passion by Hans Pape. He is better here but still a bit raspy and off the note.

Overall the debut is a solid opening statement from one of the most innovative virtuoso German prog bands of the 70s.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#415056)
Posted Sunday, March 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Triumvirat might not quite clone the sound of ELP on this album - they're less prone to classical covers, emotional ballads and novelty songs, for one thing, and on top of that the band's pockets weren't deep enough to afford the array of cutting-edge, you-can't-really-tour- with-this-thing synthesisers that Keith Emerson was so fond of. Still, the line-up does undeniably bear a strong similarity to their musical heroes - you've got a percussionist, a bassist-vocalist (who appears to be trying to sound a bit like Greg Lake, except his vocal style is just a bit less powerful and a bit more pedestrian), and a showboating keyboard player who plays a mean Hammond.

Whilst I wouldn't say any of the tracks on Mediterranean Tales really matches the better ELP output, at the same time the album is certainly more consistent than many ELP discs - in particular, there's no comedy songs, Greg Lake love songs, or breezy light jazz numbers - and as a result it might appeal to those who want proggy workouts influenced by the title track from Tarkus and nothing but.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#491060)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#943567)
Posted Sunday, April 14, 2013 | Review Permalink

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