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Triumvirat Old Loves Die Hard album cover
3.51 | 220 ratings | 23 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Believe (7:51)
2. A Day in a Life (8:14) :
- a) Uranus' Dawn
- b) Pisces at Noon
- c) Panorama Dusk
3. The History of Mystery (Part One) (7:50)
4. The History of Mystery (Part Two) (3:59)
5. A Cold Old Worried Lady (5:50)
6. Panic on 5th Avenue (10:30)
7. Old Loves Die Hard (4:26)

Total Time 48:40

Bonus track on 2002 remaster:
8. Take a Break Today (single) (3:44)

Line-up / Musicians

- Barry Palmer / vocals
- Jürgen Fritz / Hammond organ, Wurlitzer, Fender & Hohner electric pianos, grand piano, Moog synthesizer, String Ensemble, 12-string guitar, arranger & producer
- Werner "Dick" Frangenberg / bass
- Hans Bathelt / drums & percussion

- The Cologne Kinder Choir / chorus children vocals (1)
- Hans-Günter Lenders / choir leader (1)
- Sondra Fritz (uncredited) / spoken word (1)
- Jane Palmer / backing vocals (7)
- Charly Schlimbach / saxophone (2)

Releases information

Artwork: Kochlowski

LP EMI Electrola ‎- 1C 062-29 622 (1976, Germany)
LP Capitol Records ‎- ST-11551 (1976, US) New cover art

CD Electrola ‎- 7243 8 28036 2 1 (1993, Europe)
CD EMI ‎- 7243 5 35164 2 0 (2002, Europe) Remastered by Jens Müller-Koslowski and John Cremer with a bonus track from 1975

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TRIUMVIRAT Old Loves Die Hard ratings distribution

(220 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

TRIUMVIRAT Old Loves Die Hard reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars WOW! This record is just a bit less good than Spartacus: mostly, it sounds very similar to Spartacus. The weak point on this album is Barry Palmer's lead vocals, although bearable. "I believe", sounding a bit pop, has good rhythmic piano, Fender Rodes, choir parts and some floating keyboards. The first part of the marvelous "Day in a life" has Fender Rhodes and background floating keyboards sounding like the Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" track; the second part has a very progressive & melodic piano a la Rick Wakeman: absolutely GRAND; finally, the third part sounds like on the Spartacus album: rhythmic piano, VERY spacy moog, fast drums and bass. The epic "History of mystery part 1" starts with another excellent piano part, followed by heroic & catchy keyboards like on the Spartacus album: Hammond organ and moog; so, this tracks sounds like the best ELP of the early 70's! The excellent "History of mystery part 2", containing a killer moog solo in the beginning, is a variation on the theme present on the "History of mystery part 1" track. The simple and not very progressive "A cold old worried lady" is a good but not catchy piano oriented song, with some background orchestral arrangements: no synthesizers, no drums and no bass. The next track "Panic on 5th Avenue", sounding again like on the Spartacus album, is a pompous keyboards exploration a la ELP: TONS of Hammond organ, ultra floating moogs a bit like the Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" track again, police sirens emulation, hammering drums, elastic bass, the track is maybe a bit repetitive, but it is very well made; the killer long & melodic moog solo at the end is absolutely OUTSTANDING! The more ordinary last track, "Old loves die hard", has a bit the same style as "A cold old worried lady", except there are drums and bass plus some discrete organ notes.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a memorable album. Well, I may write a novel about this excellent album. Musically, this album is not as excellent as ELP or KC or Genesis around the time of this release. However, the musical nuances created by this album remind me clearly on my teenage times when I kept on waiting everyday about "what's next" rock album available in local record store. Hey, at that time we did not know what is prog or not prog; we just loved rock music but were not aware about the prog categorization. Secondly, there was no internet and I had a (very) limited access to international music magazine like Muzik Express. So, no news about upcoming rock albums. No "pre-order: kind of thing like we have nowadays under digital era. I just wait at the record shop. Everyday! Yeah, music was my passion since childhood - no music, no life!

When this album came out, it blew me with the "The History of Mystery". I like the catchy introduction part with nice piano melody and great voice of Barry Palmer. "Give me a chance to see through my reason. Wasting my time because I was so young ." uuughh . man . this melody has been killing me everytime I play the CD. Overall track (part 1 and 2) is heavily influenced by ELP. If you like ELP, there might be two outcomes I guess would happen after first listen: you like it because it's similar in composition (even though much simpler, I would say), or you completely hate it and say "ELP ripp-offs!". Whatever your comment, my appreciation about this album stays intact. It's still an excellent album for me.

"A Cold Old Worried Lady" is not a prog (at all!) song but . it's really a great tune! Again, the harmony of Barry's vocal and Jurgen's piano touch is really top notch! It's accessible to many people.

"I Believe" is a track that my colleagues and I - who at that time claimed our-self die hard fans of rock music - use to voice outloud our passion on rock: "I sold my soul to rock'n'roll and never got it back ..". It's the opening lyric of this track. The track combines the pop, classical, jazz and sort of "prog" (that I knew later) elements. It's a simpler form of ELP music, I would say. It's an enjoyable track.

"A day in a life" is a simple instrumental piece using keyboard and piano as lead melody. Classical music influence appears strongly. "Panic on 5th Avenue" is an excellent track exploring Jurgen Fritz' similarities with Keith Emerson. It's definitely very close to ELP music. I love the solo keyboard / synthesizer during the interlude part. "Old loves die hard" concludes the album with a slow style and classical influence. Great composition, excellent melody. I think this final track is also accessible to most music buffs.

I think this album is an excellent addition to any prog collection. Highly recommended. Keep on progging! Progressively yours, GW - Indonesia.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars After the break up of the classic line up, original members Fritz and Bathelt called back their earliest bassist Dick Frangenberg, who had played with them live but not recorded. And, for the first time, they recruited a non german for the vocals, english vocalist Barry Palmer (of the ex teen group Kenny). So, the now foursome produced the 1976´s Old Loves Die hard.

A totally guitarless album, it was, anyway, one of their great achievements. Jürgen Fritz is in great form here, both as a musician and as a songwriter. In fact, he was maybe too proeminent on the album, which may be the reason his partnership with long time buddy Hans Bathelt would soon colapse. But whatever the pressures and tensions that may exist within the band at the time, it did not affect the musical elements of this magnificent opus.I Believe may sound a little too pop for some, but it is a great song and a good introduction of the new line up. All tunes are very good and varied, with a great piano-vocals-strings ballad on A cold Old Worried Lady (great vocals and lyrics by Palmer). And ELP fans must have loved songs like The Story Of Mystery and Panic On the 5th Avenue.

Old Loves Die Hard survived the test of time greatly. It was maybe their very last record to be a group efford and a must have for any prog fan. I was a bit sorry for the loss of Helmut Köellen, and not very sure if it deserved a 4 star rating, but every time I listen to this album I really can´t come up with nothing less than that. Highly recommended.

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

This is the beginning of the downfall for TRIUMVIRAT; i was not enamored wit SPARTACUS already, but this album OLD LOVES DIE HARD won't make me happier!There is excellent music on this album, for sure, even some outstanding tracks like THE HISTORY OF MYSTERY,but there are signs that the magic will reach its end soon.

First of all, we have a new line-up. HELMUT KOLLEN the bassist/singer left the band and was replaced DICK FRANGENBERG on bass who already played with the band well before the release of their first album MEDITERRANEAN TALES. But TRIUMVIRAT decided to bring on board a lead singer, a british man BARRY PALMER. Nothing wrong with that if you think that it will help you to reach a broader audience as the first 2 german singers of the band, i must admit, were of an aquired taste.

The problem is PALMER sounds so cheesy!! Just try the syrupous I BELIEVE and the no less syrupous title track OLD LOVES DIE HARD; After listening to these 2 songs, JUSTIN HAYWARD will sound to you as tortured as PETER HAMMILL! And the words follow the same path!!! ''Sold my soul to Rock n Roll''??? by TRIUMVIRAT???? come on!! This is OK if DIO or GILLAN sing that, but a lounge singer accompanied by a nice moog synth in the background selling his soul to R.R!!! doesn't sound right at all!

However the goods are still there, mostly in the instrumental parts, you guess right! JURGEN FRITZ is still a great writer of furious instrumental keyboards-led tunes that will bring every lover of bombastic prog to heaven!' Also the good thing is the instrumental tracks are the longest ones of the album like the 8'13'' A DAY IN A LIFE and the one of the best piece TRIUMVIRAT ever recorded the great 10'31'' PANIC ON 5TH AVENUE which are well worth the price of admission and help make the album a relatively pleasant experience overall.

So forget the BARRY PALMER 3 songs which are the shortest anyway and concentrate on the 3 long tracks (THE HISTORY OF MUSIC has PALMER on it, but he is OK on this one and doesn't sing too long anyway) and enjoy the melodic virtuosity of JURGEN FRITZ when he acts as a devil on his keyboards and forget to write pop songs.

Sadly, TRIUMVIRAT will turn pop, indeed, with their next releases! but, hey! 1977 was around the corner!


Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The least that I can say is that when you have heard "I Believe" you just can hope that you won't be confronted to any more tracks like these on this record. It is absolutely AWFUL. The new singer sounds really pityful. Press next as soon as you have heard the first notes of this masquerade.

We'll get rid of him for the second song which is an instrumental and spacey keyboard oriented-song. Spacey but also classical (like you know who) : virtuosity of course but emotionless. Somewhat dull. Did you say piano bar ? The finale is very much welcome. At least it rocks alright and saves this track. But it only lasts for about a minute (the great finale, I mean) ...

We'll finally get the traditional "Triumvirat" in "The History Of Mystery". This means a song a la ELP with all its splendour : bombastic, full of moog and synthesizers. Palmer (Barry, the new "singer" from "Triumvirat" not to confounded with the other one. You know the one from...) trying to emulateGregg Lake would do. The best song so far (but it is not really difficult). The good news being that it lasts for about twelve minutes.

We'll be reverted to the same poor vocals during "A Cold Old Worried Lady". Almost intolerable. What the heck is that you need to hire a new singer if it is to get such a one ? Mystery to me. But since he will still be in the band for their next release, I guess that they felt OK with him. But I don't.

The next track "Tarkus" is ... oups ! It's not "Tarkus", just "Panic On Fifth Avenue". Anyway, this is the sort of track I like very much from "Triumvirat". Derivative, right ? But at least it is a very good number. In those times, the masters (ELP of course) didn't release anything since "Brain..." in '73 and were preparing the awful "Works" so; I pretty much prefer to listen to a piece like "Panic" which sounds really great. Drumming and keys are just splendid. My fave from this album.

To summarize, what we'll have here is two great long songs (total of over twenty-two minutes), while the other ones are rubbish (except the average "A Day In Life"). I'm going to be generous and upgrade this from a five out of ten to a three stars album. But this is only thanks to those two outstanding numbers.

Review by CCVP
4 stars I don't know why so many people say that this is such a masterpiece of progressive rock. Really. This album is the beginning of Triumvirat's downfall towards pop music, and it is still worse than Pompeii, to me, sounding a lot like radio pop than progressive rock. Ok, ok, i must admit it, this album still got some incredible musics, like a day in a life, the history of mystery and panic on 5th avenue, but the rest it kind of boring popish music. Anyway, let me squeeze this album and try to get some goos things out of it:

I believe: here we got a nice balance between pop and prog, like in crime of the century album, from supertramp.

A Day in a Life: amazing prog like Triumvirat used to do.

The History of Mystery: just like a day in a life, amazing prog like triumvirat used to do. This music here is probably the best one of the whole album with great composing like illusions on a double dimple.

A cold old worried lady: pop ballad. Avoid it at all costs.

Panic on 5th Avenue: good music. It could be better written tho, because it looks like it is kind of raw.

Old loves die hard: not so good balance between pop and prog, looking more popish than prog, but it also worth something.

Overall evaluation: this album is surely a step towards pop (or maybe two) but it still have some good musics and is sure worth some consideration because of it.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars For several notable moments in their decade spanning existence, Triumvirat managed to at least partially shed their ELP-clone image while still producing quality prog. Most of those moments occurred on "Old Lives Die Hard", a transitional album between the complex machinations of the early 1970s and the missteps which followed. Like many such bridge works, it actually turned out to be the best of the band's career.

The major change that is immediately apparent is in the vocals, with the inimitable Barry Palmer taking the spotlight, and he is introduced on the most rousing "song" in the Triumvirat lexicon, "I Believe". This one has a catchy tune, thoughtful lyrics, and, yes, great vocals. It masterfully stretches out through several phases and does not feel artificially elongated, even though it clearly is. The lack of guitars is a non issue here and throughout the album, and it is relatively rare that I can say this without reservation.

"A Day in The Life" is quite another affair, a pleasant instrumental suite showcasing the band without excess. This leads to another highlight, "The History of Mystery". While at times the ELP references are blatant, Triumvirat seems to offer a simpler approach than their heroes, and it suits the material well. For one thing, not too many ELP full-on melodies were this concise. The segue between Palmer's measured rants and the synths is marvelous as well.

"Cold Old Worried lady" takes the prog song approach of the opener and stays in ballad territory for the duration. Palmer shows he can wax mellow, and the piano flourishes by Fritz offer understated pleasures. Even his orchestral sounding keys add dignity rather than pretension.

Only "Panic on 5th Avenue" really suffers inexcusably from the clone aspect, as Triumvirat abandons the simplicity of most of the album to launch into a full sonic attack. This was no doubt included to appease the long time fans. But the closing and title cut delivers yet another convincing ballad. The imaginative melody is a winner, and the arrangements, particular the organ accompaniment, again provide the perfect foil for Palmer.

I had originally intended to score this 3 stars but old loves really do die hard. This was a very strong album in its day and has aged pretty well. Recommended.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A day in the life of ELP

Triumvirat's fourth studio album is apparently the start of a long fall. While the band has enjoyed some mixed success up to the release of this album, including the incredibly well received Illusions On A Double Dimple here we find an album with mixed reactions to it. While this may come from many factors (including an extreme stripping down of line-up) it's clear that while this album is wholesomely enjoyable, it may be the last of that kind from this band. What we have here is an album reflecting of the times and the kind of prog that people wanted to hear. With prog Leviathan Emerson, Lake and Palmer still slumbering after their landmark album, Brain Salad Surgery, there had to be something to fill the gap of hammonds and moogs being played in an overly pomp and grandiose manner. Enter Old Loves Die Hard, an album whose songs could easily be pulled from the outtake sessions of the previously mentioned ELP masterwork.

The album contains just about everything that ELP was well known for. While the vocals on this album are certainly a lot more grating than that of Greg Lake's, the organ and keyboard work is certainly reminiscent to that of Keith Emerson's. Fast solos and futuristic sound effects mix in at times over top of grand arrangements and sometimes vocals. There's long tunes and suites to be heard as well as a nice assortment of bombastic instrumentals. The lyrics are a lot more down to Earth than that of ELP's, and they're missing the obligatory hoe-down song and the obligatory rework of a classical arrangement, but the keyboards are more than enough to make you feel like you're listening to another ELP album.

Although with this line-up of musicians they really could have stuck to instrumental music. There's only a handful of tracks that actually contain vocals on this album, but they really stick out, and not always in a great way. I Believe opens the album in a decidedly non-ELP fashion in that it's a very subtle track which does become annoying when the schoolchildren start singing in chorus behind a voice which doesn't really help to support it. The title track which also closes the album is a little bit more active, but ultimately forgettable in context of the album. A Cold Old Worried Lady is likely the best track to contain vocals on the album with its rather haunting lyrics and slow and subtle instrumentation. The vocals here actually work and come off as rather emotive.

Where the band excels, though, is with the instrumentals and the epic tracks. The History Of Mystery (part I and II) is likely the definitive standout of the album, even if it feels like it was cut strait out of Karn Evil 9, but this is where the musicianship of the band is at it's top and, ELP sounding or not, the melodies and mood of this song really work. Panic On 5th Avenue is the lengthiest single track on the album and leave a good impression as a heavy and impressive instrumental, as does A Day In The Life

This album really is good for people who like the style of ELP and don't mind if another band sounds a lot like them. Those who don't care for ELP or who think that they can't be impersonated should stay far, far away from this band, though. In the end it may not be the most original material on Earth, but it certainly has some great and memorable moments that makes it worth a good deal of spins in the end. 3 cold, old worried ladies 5 for a good album.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Old Loves Die Hard is perhaps very aptly titled as it generally gets way less appreciation than previous Triumvirat recordings Spartacus or Illusions on a Double Dimple. Yet, listening to this without prejudice, there is much to like here, maybe even more than some would admit, firstly with the vocals of Barry Palmer it becomes immediately apparent that the man has some serious lungs, unjustly lambasted later by some unforgiving critics for his REO Speedwagon-ish timbre! Dick Frangenberg on bass is also a slight upgrade but the solid drums of Hans Bathelt and Jürgen Fritz' deft wizardry are both more then up front and center, they shine. The 7 pieces here are cohesive, well-crafted songs that can stand on their own. "I Believe" is a fine example of Triumvirat's obvious qualities, a simple melody taken to symphonic heights with spirited and inspired arrangements, fabulous vocal dexterity combined by charismatic piano, organ and synth playing from the master himself. The 3 part "A Day in the Life" suite begins by sedately weaving a quirky little melody along unsuspectingly morphing into a melancholic romp that puts the spotlight on Fritz's unshakable "maitrise" on piano, his heroic fingers dazzling the ivories with resilient panache, romanticism at its musical best, the third part exploding into a symphonic Moog-fest, a stunning piece of classic prog-rock. Does it get better? The answer is a definite Yes! "The History of Mystery" Parts 1 and 2 are probably some of the finest music ever put down on tape by these German titans. The main melody is one immense hook, full of blustering pomp mixed with a flurry of expression, some magic melancholia, a dash of brazen bravado, a little playfulness and lots of lustful zeal. The theme is revisited repeatedly introducing intricate synths blaring, bossy organs aglow, zipping along at furious a pace, Palmer singing with passion and exaltation. Part 2 is a bold excuse for Fritz to show off his grandiloquent Moog skills, of which he has enough in spades. "A Cold Old Worried Lady" is essentially a vocal/piano duet of infinite splendor, vivid orchestrations adding to the overall fragility of the arrangement, almost like a proggy version of Elton John. "Panic on 5th Avenue" is the longest track here, a 10 minute plus prog meisterwerk, sirens blaring uncontrolled while the Hammond destroys everything in its bellicose way, the bass and drums hammering away pitilessly. This is where the Mannschaft gets to show its instrumental mettle, Fritz in particularly Kaiserly form, ruling over his multiple keyboard arsenal like a deranged madman, evoking images of Emersonian fury, Bathelt banging away with appropriate aplomb, the bald-faced bass rolling along like a steamroller . Even the organ goes "wow" on a few occasions, simply amazing music. Imagine a five minute synthesizer solo that is never overindulgent, boring or overtly technical, in fact it remains creative, even melodic throughout. The title track closes off the proceedings, a stirring soulful lament, expertly sung and brilliantly played, a true mix of classical symphonic prog with a massive dose of feeling. This unjustly underrated album is as seductive as the 2 better known icons but it has a mature cachet that is undeniable. 4.5 pretzels (Old Loves Die Hard!)
Review by Sean Trane
2 stars rounded up to the upper star

Fifth album I believe from the German answer to ELP, and one I can't figure out whether it was a spoof or they actually meant it. Nevermind for a second that this band did hazve the good moment of success (especially in the States), I can't think of a band that so clumsily collections all of the pompous prog clichés better (not even remaining a threesome) than they did. The catastrophic addition of vocalist Barry Palmer (I did NOT invent this, THEY did! ;o)p))) make them sound like some kind of Steve Perry- era Journey, although we'd probably have loved the latter to play this kind of stuff during their heydays. This one came with a different Mouse artwork in the States than this Gothic

Past the ultra laughable and overlong I Believe, where the lyrics are bad enough, but the interpretation is just so overdone that it gets surreal, the mini-suite A Day In The Life (I think they tried to pull a diversion here ;o)) is commanding a minimum of respect as keyboardist Jurgen Fritz is quite capable of flawless execution, despite lack if taste. One of the reason why I'm having trouble taking this very seriously is the two-part History Of Mystery (spread on both sides of the vinyl at that) with all the clichés and some either obtuse or intentionally confused lyrics (was there a need to mention the furher?), some tacky and cheesy synths sounds, furthermore dragging out almost 12 minutes, making the second part totalled unwelcome. Minus a full start for this blunder.

Another laughing point is the Palmer written Cold Old Worried Lady, where you'd have expected Palmer to write better English lyrics than his German colleagues, but the old lady probably died laughing than frozen. The 10-mins+Panic On 5th Avenue is actually a credible piece of instrumental bravado that would stand on its own if it wasn't soooooo Emerson-sounding... (I'm NOT doing this!!! THEY are!! :-(. Anyway nice piece of bravado outside its derivative nature. I'll skip over the title track, as I don't think I can remain polite about this kind of track, even if I managed to in my Journey reviews - well they seemed to have passed over my buddy Bob's approval.

The Cd reissue comes with a non-album single of the times, Take A Break Today, which was backed a another non-album track The Control Of Power, not included here (no idea why). Well the bonus track not only sticks out sonically like a sore thumb, but it's bound to give you another good frozen laugh, wondering inside it they did this for real or not, you'd wished they stopped, now!! Maybe that's why the other track is not included. Best avoided past two good but derivative instrumental tracks.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Even an experienced hunter may miss the prey

Since 1976 when I received a 90 minutes cassette with "Illusions on a Double Dimple" on side A and "Spartacus" on side B, I've been a fanatic of TRIUMVIRAT, not only because of the incredible talent and skills of Jürgen Fritz, but for the sound of the whole band and the hallucinating arrangements. But after the Helmut Köllen left the band, the average "Pompeii" and the disastrous "A La Carte", lost he interest and never had the will to listen "Old Love Dies Hard", mainly because of Barry Palmer's voice, doesn't matter the strong accent, the late Köllen was a stronger singer.

So the years passed and a few weeks ago during one of my usual CD safaris, found a very cheap copy of "Old Love Dies Hard" that the guy in the store was never ale to sell, after a short deal, I agreed to pay 3 bucks, took it to my house and placed it on the TRIUMVIRAT section of my collection, until past Monday when I took it to the car and placed it on the CD player....God, what a surprise!

Won't say it's in the level of "Illusions" or "Spartacus", but it's an excellent album that I missed for some decades due to a prejudice against the post trio formation of the band. The first surprise is the fact the album is absolutely guitarless (Well Köllen wasn't mainly a guitar player neither), but this lack of guitar enhances the listening experience of Fritz as a virtuoso keyboardist, specially with the piano where his technique is impeccable.

It's also important to notice that the original bassist Dick Frangenberg (Was replaced By Hans Pape before recording "Mediterranean Tales") is back, and the guy gave the size, because his performance is solid, as if he had never left the band. About Hans Bathelt is not necessary to talk, being that his style is part of the band since the start and is the only one capable to complement the style of Fritz.

The album starts with "I Believe", a well elaborate ballad in which Jürgen Fritz shows his skills with the Moog but mainly with the piano, changing the usually pompous atmosphere of the band for a more pristine sound that reminds of the softer tracks of "Spartacus" .

As I said before, Palmer's voice is not my cup of tea, but neither is annoying, and when Fritz does the backing vocals the sound is very pleasant, and if we add the perfect arrangements and the nice choirs, all the band sounds well, not brilliant by way above the average.

"A Day in Live" is another soft correct track in which again the arrangements make it sound much better, Bathelt (usually compared with Carl Palmer), achieves something that the great ELP drummer never could, to keep perfect timing, maybe needs more strength to play in band that keeps working as a Power Trio (Barry Palmer only sings so they are essentially a trio), but his technique makes any minor problem vanish. But the fascinating characteristic of this track is the clear and perfect piano, Fritz avoids using complex synthesizers to give an image of clarity and clean sound.

"The History of Mystery" (Talking about the whole track, because the division between parts 1 and 2 is only product of the limits of vinyl format) starts soft and melodic as the precious tracks, but after a short piano and vocals passage, TRIUMVIRAT takes us back in time to 1973, performing a pompous and brilliant track in the vein of "Illusions on a Double Dimple", as 4 years before Jürgen Fritz picks the heavy artillery and gives a lesson of versatility with each and every keyboard instrument he has on hand, demonstrating he hasn't lost the touch with the mighty Moog, while Frangenberg and Bathelt manage to follow his lead with the usual dexterity.

The track is anything but predictable, the changes are so radical that the casual listener doesn't know what to expect, the vocals enter when nobody could imagine and vanish as soon as he appeared to leave the keyboards reign, yes, they still remind of ELP, but in my opinion they are better most of the time, a fantastic song and a highlight of the album.

After a powerful epic as "The History of Mystery" a relief is required, and "A Cold Old Worried Lady" provides it, strangely in this beautiful melodic song Barry Palmer sounds great, his vocal ability sounds beyond his usual range and the band doesn't leave him along complementing him in every moment, not as vibrant ads the previous ones but still a solid song.

But anybody who knows TRIUMVIRAT must be sure that thee calm doesn't last forever, "Panic in the Fifth Avenue" is frenetic from start to end, as in their best era, the band doesn't rest for an instant, providing a breathtaking instrumental with memorable Hammond and Moog performances with a rhythm section that keeps the feet of the band solid in the ground and allowing maestro Fritz to wander wherever he wants, 10 minutes of pure Progressive Rock.

"Old Love Dies Hard" ends with the title song, which provides a softer closure to the album with excellent vocal performances by all the members and pristine clear arrangements.

As I said when starting this review, don't believe this album is in the level of "Illusions" and "Spartacus", but lets be honest, hardly any album is in that level, if I had only listened "Old Love Dies Hard", I'm sure would still consider THE RAT an icon of Prog and one of the best German bands ever.

Can't rate the album with less that 4 stars because it's an excellent addition to any Prog collection, a gem that I left behind for three decades due to an absurd prejudice.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With the departure of Helmut Köllen and the coming of two different people on the singing and bass playing roles, Triumvirat was ready to move on through its second musical chapter. It is evident from the writing credits printed in the album that Jürgen Fritz was becoming the absolute master of the band's direction, which specifically translated into a trend of sophisticated melodic rock that was, naturally, keyboard-centered. In some ways, the sonic strategy delivered in this album is a continuation of the musical results displayed in the successful "Spartacus" concept album, but there are also clear signs of transformation from core symphonic prog to melodic rock with progressive tendencies. Well, to speak in PA language, the band was becoming more crossover and less essentially symphonic. I guess that there was much of the "sign of the times" factor influencing Fritz's artistic mind, but you can also tell that drummer Bathelt was letting go of the sort of energy and muscle that he had delivered in all previous albums as a source of architecture for Fritz's compositions. While the tapestry of keyboards and the powerful tenor timber of Barry Palmer were, indeed, vehicles for the manifestation of exquisite progressive environments, the rhythm section falls a bit short at it because of Bathelt (no way to blame Dick Frangenberg, whose precision is always made evident). All in all, the ballads 'A cold old worried lady' and 'Old loves die hard' are symptoms of the band's transformation. While they present pretty ideas and progressively stylish ornaments, they also sound like forgotten pieces from Elton John's "Captain Fantastic" or Jesus Christ Superstar's OST: not bad albums at all, but definitely far from that special greatness that Fritz & co. used to instill to the softer tracks from any of the previous albums. More accomplished is the inspired opener, 'I believe', a manifestation of the symphonic grandeur that the band still had in store for the listener. The string synth orchestrations and electric piano flourishes really state the foundation of this track's greatness. The instrumental 'A day in a life' is even bigger regarding the progressive merits: part 1 is eerie, part 2 is reflective and part 3 is enthusiastic (maybe it should have been a bit longer, just a bit?). The album's suite 'The history of mystery' is abundantly akin to the spirit of "Spartacus", and that includes the subtle references to ELP's "Trilogy" and "Brain" albums: now it is not the Hammond organ, but the piano which incarnates the medium for Fritz's Emersonian exorcisms. 'Panic on 5th Avenue' completes the progressive factor in the shape of a psychedelic jam alternated with passages of architectonical orchestrations: once more, the irresistible (not so ever-present anymore) ELP factor emerges as a big source of inspiration. So, as a conclusion, I grant 3.3 stars to this album, the last consistent release by Triumvirat.
Review by lor68
3 stars Well, you know that usually I don't like the so called "derivative prog bands" (think of Pendragon as Marillion's or Camel's clones since the early eighties, Pentwater as a reply to Yes in late sixties/early seventies, then also these "Triumvirat" in the seventies, a derivative band a-la ELP, whose music fortunately was more focused on their songwriting, despite They reached their peek with "Spartacus" only)...but apart from my introduction above, I think of this "Old Loves..." as a good and more "commercial" album, characterized by a vocalist- Barry Palmer-in a kind of trouble in his role, even though He's well coordinated by Jürgen Fritz here, true master mind of the band, which brings about a mood a-la Rick Wakeman regarding the melody and a-la K. Emerson (in a more simple way) regarding the harmony, like within "Panic on 5th Avenue"; while for instance "History of Mystery" is a weak episode, reminding me of the atmosphere inside "Love Beach" by ELP, that I don't like very much...and on the same wave there's "I Believe" (the opener), the most commercial track of the present album, which seems to be quite "journeysque" (unfortunately without Steve Perry on vocals); but the lyrics are quite good after all!! Instead the arrangement regarding the ballad ""A Day In the Life" is reminiscent of a mood which was quite typical in late seventies, even though the piano is evolving towards a more original melody at the piano...Then I have some doubts about the lyrics of "A Cold Old Worried Lady", in my opinion not so inspiring (like Palmer's vocals), as well as about the final title track, which is neither powerful nor so epic, but here the vocalist performs a better job- in a soft style- and such feature could be enough to make their work more suitable for the lovers of other different and more simple music genres (actually this German Band never rechead a commercial success, but nevermind...)

Interesting product, not their best one in my opinion!

Review by Warthur
2 stars Undergoing a lineup change and expanding to a four-piece with the addition of lead singer Barry Palmer, Triumvirat's Old Loves Die Hard tones down the Emerson, Lake and Palmer influence - and indeed scales back the full-on symphonic prog on all but a few tracks, yielding an album which is a curious blend of symphonic and symphonic-light art rock. Barry Palmer's vocals don't really add very much to the equation, by my reckoning, and I think it would be hard to argue that the instrumental backing here is as interesting as on any of the preceding three Triumvirat albums. As others have said, this album marks the start of the decline.
Review by Neu!mann
3 stars German synth wizard and Keith Emerson wannabe Jürgen Fritz had one foot on a bar of soap while recording this follow-up to his popular "Spartacus" album. The recruitment of British pop singer Barry Palmer, hired through a Melody Maker advertisement after the departure of Helmut Köllen, quickly undermined the original dynamic of the classic keyboard trio. Palmer's radio-friendly voice never meshed well with the band's higher (i.e. proggier) aspirations, and his AOR smoothness only greased the floor beneath a composer already looking for commercial salvation.

But don't blame the new guy for such an inconsistent change of pace. The revamped line-up was only one part of a deliberate bid by Fritz to simplify the Triumvirat sound and balance the band's deeper European heritage with a more shallow mainstream style. The richness of the former is evident in the albums stately opening notes; the compromise of the latter can be heard as soon as Palmer opens his mouth, unconsciously summing up the future of his adopted band in one ominous cliché: "I sold my soul to rock 'n' roll / I never got it back..."

More than enough traces of genuine Prog Rock vitality remained to make the album certainly worthwhile, with at least two highlights equaling anything the band did before: "Panic on 5th Avenue", and the mini-trilogy "A Day in a Life" (both entirely instrumental, please note). "The History of Mystery", originally split over two sides of vinyl, has some attractive grand piano as well, plus a few too many stylistic nods to ELP's "Karn Evil 9". But the bulk of the album ("A Cold Old Worried Lady"; the chorus of "I Believe"; and even the title track) was closer to Elton John than Keith Emerson, hardly recommending it to discriminating listeners.

Curiously, the European LP presented the music "in deepest sympathy", the words written on the back cover in mock-gothic script (but not a reference to the accidental death of old comrade Helmut Köllen, still a year away). The alternate artwork on the U.S. edition depicted the mascot rat, trapped in a corner, and both versions pretty much summed up the band's position in 1976. As any ardent Proghead will tell you, old loves do indeed die hard. This particular flame may not have expired yet, but (paraphrasing Frank Zappa) she was starting to smell a bit funny.

Review by Progfan97402
3 stars I don't think I was too shocked Old Loves Die Hard never really reached the heights of Spartacus. Late '70s pop tendencies that would totally take over Triumvirat within two albums was already starting to rear its head here. Helmut Kollen left to pursue a solo career, unfortunately he never lived to see his sole solo album. You Won't See Me (1977). In his shoes come Dick Frangenberg on bass, who was the original bassist for the group, before Mediterranean Tales was released, and Barry Palmer, a singer where the grasp of the English language was never in question given his British origins. I have to say the ballads on this album really throw me over the edge, especially "I Believe" and "A Cold Old Worried Lady". Although from 1976, these are two very insipid late '70s type of soft-rock balladry. I can hardly handle listening to these without my stomach turning. Barry Palmer's voice not helping. Although I was never a fan of punk, hearing these ballads make me understand more clearly why that movement was well under way roughly around this time period. At least Triumvirat did not abandoned prog, and "A Day in the Life", "The History of Mystery" and "Panic on 5th Avenue" show they can still do it, Jurgen Fritz often doing his best ELP imitations, although none of these reach the heights of Spartacus. I guarantee you had I heard this album twenty years earlier (like when I was 21 years old) I probably would have absolutely hated this album, but not now. But at least there are good moments, I just need to skip those ballads. At least I found a used LP copy on the cheap. Although the proggy stuff I like best here, I prefer Spartacus overall.
Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The fourth album for Triumverat marks a big change for the band. Their last two albums were successful in about every way possible and they had proven themselves to be capable progressive rockers that play music very similar to Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Up to this point, the band had been a trio and the original keyboardist, Jurgen Fritz (whom the band was centered around) and drummer/lyricist Hans Bathelt were still the loyal members of the band. For the last two albums, which the band is most known for, Helmut Kollen was the vocalist and bassist, but, finding that he was having problems singing the new songs, left the band and died not too long after that. A new singer was hired named Barry Palmer after he submitted a cover of Paul McCartney's 'Maybe I'm Amazed' in answer to an ad for a new vocalist to Fritz. But, the band was still without a bassist, so a fourth member had to be brought in. Instead of hiring someone new, Werner Frangerberg, who was the band's original bassist who actually left before the recording of their debut album, was brought back in, meaning that this would be the first album he would be featured on.

Getting used to this new line-up, and the fact that they were now a quartet, was something they would have to quickly adjust to. Would the band be able to retain their sound and their popularity with this new line up? From the surface, the album called 'Old Loves Die Hard' looks like it could be a contender with a mix of long and shorter tracks, one on the long ones being a 3-part suite and two others that exceed the 10 minute mark. The first side is made up of 3 good sized tracks starting with 'I Believe'. The song has a moderate beat with some complex rhythms and the topic is quite contemporary, not quite as epic as some of their previous tracks even at almost 8 minutes. It's an interesting enough track, but is definitely more 'straightforward' sounding than pervious, but still pretty good. Even though the keys are still prevalent, it sounds less like ELP than before, and more like Styx and also what sounds like a children's chorus towards the last part of the song.

Next is 'A Day in a Life' which is the 3-part suite mentioned earlier. This one is completely instrumental and it begins with 'Uranus' Dawn' which starts off with electric piano and synth playing a more mellow and laid-back feel than on their previous efforts. This meanders melodically along until it comes to 'Pisces at Noon' when the piano takes over. This is a nice and rhapsodic piano solo (mostly), but still not as complex as their previous albums. Fritz still gets to show off his mega-talent though, so it's not bad. It all ends with a sudden upbeat section called 'Panorama Dusk' where layers of synths and keyboards are all joined by bass and drums, now sounding more like before, but this section of the suite is quite short and is over quickly.

'The History of Mystery' follows the suite and is the longest track on the albums at almost 12 minutes. As the track begins, it continues with the more straightforward sound while it goes through a vocal section, but when the tempo picks up a bit more, it starts to sound more like ELP again, so at least there is a return to a bit of complexity as the keys take the band through various tempos, meter shifts and styles. Even though it took a while, at least all hope is not lost yet. Also Barry's vocals are definitely stronger than Helmut's were. On the LP version of the album, this track is divided into two parts with part 1 ending the first side and picking up with part 2 on the 2nd side. The break between parts is quite natural sounding though with no fade outs/ins needed.

'A Cold Old Worried Lady' is a piano-led ballad with nice vocals by Barry. The synths come in bringing in some nicely done string effects with other orchestral sounds. It sounds very much like Kayak's 'Ruthless Queen', or at least seems styled after it. It's quite straightforward, but still very nice. A long instrumental 'Panic of Fifth Avenue' follows this one, and the band returns to it's ELP style with heavy keys and synths backed up by great bass and drum work, tempo and meter shifts and so on. Excellent track, styled somewhat after 'Toccata'. It all ends with the title track 'Old Loves Die Hard', a moderate track with vocals, which acts more like a closer for the album than anything else.

Overall, the album is decent, but is a bit more straightforward than the previous albums by the band. It has some great tracks that recall the sound of the band that gave them the respected status from fans and critics alike. It is not yet a turn away from their signature sound, at least not yet completely, but it also isn't as solid as their best albums. However, classic prog lovers and ELP fans will still find plenty to love here anyway. But it does mark the beginning of a steep descent into failed commercialism that the band would embark in later. The band would even become more unstable as the original two members would soon separate with Bathelt leaving the band because of pressure from the record label to commercialize their music even more and Fritz going along with that plan. Also, the original bassist Frangerberg would leave the band once again. Still, this album was able to still give enough quality material to be considered an excellent album. 3.5 rounds up to 4 stars.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 598

"Old Loves Die Hard" is the fourth studio album of Triumvirat and that was released in 1976. The inspiration did unfortunately and slowly begin to slip away from Triumvirat after their two excellent masterpieces, "Illusions On A Double Dimple", released in 1974 and "Spartacus" released in 1975. It's true that "Old Loves Die Hard" has its fair share of great moments, but the earlier mentioned lack of inspiration was already beginning to show, slight, but consistently.

The line up on the album is Barry Palmer (lead vocals), Jürgen Fritz (Hammond C3 organ, Moog synthesizers, ARP string ensemble, Steinway grand piano, Fender, Wurlitzer and Hohner pianos), Dick Frangenberg (fender bass) and Hans Bathelt (Slingerland percussion). Beyond the band's members, other artists participated on the album, Jane Palmer (backing vocals), Charly Schlimbach (saxophones), Sondra (spoken words) and The Cologne Children Choir.

This line up of the band is substantially different from their previous albums. In the first place and above all, for the first time the group have a lead vocalist, the British singer Barry Palmer, and the trio became now as a quartet. In the second place, and once more, the band changed the bassist. Their previous bassist Helmut Köllen left the band to start a solo career. This situation had happened before when Helmut Köllen replaced Hans Pape, the original Triumvirat's bassist.

"Old Loves Die Hard" has seven tracks. The first track "I Believe" written by Jürgen Fritz and Hans Bathelt is a good song to open the album. This is a very simple but very well elaborated ballad, very powerful and with a very pompous atmosphere. It's a song with inspired symphonic musical arrangements, powerful vocals and it has also great chorus on the background. This is a typical Triumvirat's song. The second track "A Day In A Life" is divided into three parts: "Uranus' Dawn", "Pisces At Noon" and "Panorama Dusk". All three parts were written by Jürgen Fritz. This is a multi-part song with some diversification. It's a very progressive song with great musical and complex arrangements. This is a simple suite instrumental piece of music using piano as lead melody and where Jürgen Fritz shows how great he is in the classical music. This is an amazing track that shows Triumvirat at their best. The song "The History Of Mystery" is divided into two tracks, the part one on track three and the part two on track four. The song was written by Jürgen Fritz, Hans Bathelt and Barry Palmer and was only divided due to the limits of the vinyl format of the records in the 70's. It's a song strongly and heavily influenced by Emerson, Lake & Palmer's sound. This is a song with a great splendour, very bombastic and full of keyboards. It's a very complex and progressive song with an excellent composition and some great arrangements. This is really a brilliant track and it's probably the best musical composition on the whole album. It represents one of the finest musics ever composed by them, too. The fifth track "A Cold Old Worried Lady" written by Jürgen Fritz and Barry Palmer is a beautiful and melodic ballad and where the voice of Barry Palmer sounds very well in a soft range. It isn't as vibrant and catchy as the others previous songs but however it's a very good, pleasant and a solid song. The sixth track "Panic On Fifth Avenue" written by Jürgen Fritz always was one of my favourite songs on the album. It's a very frenetic song from the start to the end and we can see more clearly the performance of Jürgen Fritz in a very close style to Keith Emerson. This is really a memorable musical moment with great individual musical performances by the trio providing 10 minutes of pure symphonic progressive rock. This is the Kaiser Jürgen Fritz at his best on Triumvirat. However and unfortunately, in my opinion, this was the last great epic song of the band. The seventh track is the title track "Old Loves Die Hard". It was written by Jürgen Fritz and ends the album. It's a soft ballad well arranged with a nice melody, excellently sung, and where all the band's members performed very professionally.

My CD remastered edition has also another song, a bonus track, "Take A Break Today". This song was released only as a single and was backed with another song "The Control Of Power", not included here as a bonus track. I will not review it, because usually I don't review bonus tracks. However, I must say one thing about this song. It has nothing to do with the rest of the album. It's an average commercial pop song that unfortunately pronounced what the bad would do in the future music of Triumvirat. Unfortunately, it was a premonition of another fall of a great prog band of the 70's.

Conclusion: "Old Loves Die Hard" is a very good album, indeed. It's true that it isn't as good as "Illusions On A Double Dimple" and "Spartacus", and is more commercial. But, anyway, it still is a great piece of music. The tracks "A Day In A Life", "The History Of Mystery" and "Panic On Fifth Avenue" are absolutely brilliant and represents some of the best compositions made by them. "I Believe", "A Cold Old Worried Lady" and especially "Old Loves Die Hard" are also good songs but they haven't the same quality of the others. Without that reason I would have rated this album with 5 stars, probably. However and unfortunately, this was, in my humble opinion, the last great musical work released by the band.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars I remember with Triumvirat's Old Loves Die Hard album, their fourth studio effort, released in 1976, I first heard and bought the album in 1988, and I was overwhelmingly impressed. Juergen Fritz's keyboard work, especially, moved mountains for me,with it's dazzling technique and real ... (read more)

Report this review (#627071) | Posted by presdoug | Sunday, February 5, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Cheese fondue sets was the must have item some years ago. It still is a must-have item for all true prog rock fans and the large majority of the PA fraternity got their highest wishes fulfilled when they found their cheese fondue sets under this year's glitteratzy Christmas tree. A prog rock p ... (read more)

Report this review (#599754) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, December 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In my opinion Triumvirat made two real prog masterpieces during the 70's: Spartacus and Illusion on a Double Dimple, both previous to Old Loves. And even when their career declines after these album Triumvirat is one of the most interesting prog bands of the 70's. Many people compares Triumvrat ... (read more)

Report this review (#143222) | Posted by progadicto | Tuesday, October 9, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Any true keyboard freak will assign 5 stars to all the first 5 'T-Rat' albums. This is a bittersweet collection of songs that successfully mirrors life. Also, I find those who profess love for 'ELP' and hatred of 'T-Rat' to be an "Endless Enigma". ... (read more)

Report this review (#11849) | Posted by | Saturday, May 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm not a huge T-rat fan, but to me this is where Fritz's personnality shows the best. Both Spartacus and Illusions on a double dimple are good, but I can never tell which is my favorite. Old Loves Die Hard has the beautiful piano work of Fritz, and he lets himself go at it. A Day in a Life ... (read more)

Report this review (#11846) | Posted by | Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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