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TRIUMVIRAT

Symphonic Prog • Germany


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Triumvirat picture
Triumvirat biography
Formed in 1969 in Cologne, Germany - Disbanded in 1980
(In 1999 Fritz tried to revive Triumvirat; They recorded a new album, "Website Story", which remains unreleased)

TRIUMVIRAT is one of the most maligned but at the same beloved bands, they were accused of being ELP clones, but at the same time most people love the pristine music they created and the unique arrangements by that virtuoso keyboardist named Jürgen Fritz.

In 1969 TRIUMVIRAT was formed in Cologne, Germany by Hans-Jürgen Fritz (keyboards), Hans Bathelt (drums) and Werner Frangenberg on bass. The musicians admit that their main influence was THE NICE, but their pristine arrangements and respect for the melody marked the difference. Being that Frangenberg had a compromise with a dance band, he had to leave TRIUMVIRAT and was replaced by Hans Pape in 1970, who had the advantage of being a very decent vocalist.

The band sent a demo to EMI Cologne, and the guys from the label loved it, so soon they were signing the first contract. With this lineup, the band released in 1972 their debut album a semi conceptual LP called "Mediterranean Tales", and were brave enough to open the album with the 16 minutes epic "Across the Waters". Due to the great success in Germany, the band started to work in their second release that was called "Illusions on a Double Dimple", but during the recording Hans Pape left and Helmut Köllen (guitar, bass and vocals) took his place, and their most famous lineup was born.

With this conceptual album about depression and personal relations, enhanced by the Cologne House Symphony Orchestra, the band became international, and the album was a hit in many countries, even in my native Perú (Where Prog records never reached the public), every major store had some copies recorded by a Peruvian label.

But still the USA market was elusive, until the band had the idea to launch an historical conceptual LP about the gladiator who challenged Rome in 73 B.C. and called it simply "Spartacus". Capitol Records USA heard it, and decided that was what they were looking for due to the blend of elaborate tracks and beautiful ballads.

When things were going really well, Helmut announced his departure to search for a solo career, and with the support of his teammate and cousin Jürgen as well as other well-known musicians, his debut started to take form.

In the meanwhile, the band was having a hard ...
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TRIUMVIRAT discography


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TRIUMVIRAT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.62 | 269 ratings
Mediterranean Tales (Across the Waters)
1972
3.97 | 453 ratings
Illusions on a Double Dimple
1974
3.87 | 397 ratings
Spartacus
1975
3.50 | 210 ratings
Old Loves Die Hard
1976
3.10 | 182 ratings
Pompeii
1977
1.73 | 114 ratings
À La Carte
1978
1.44 | 103 ratings
Russian Roulette
1980

TRIUMVIRAT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TRIUMVIRAT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TRIUMVIRAT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 4 ratings
The Gold Collection - The Best of Triumvirat
1995
3.81 | 12 ratings
Essential
2012

TRIUMVIRAT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 4 ratings
Be Home for Tea / Broken Mirror
1972
4.00 | 5 ratings
Dancer's Delight / Timothy
1973
2.98 | 15 ratings
Take A Break Today / The Capitol Of Power
1976
3.00 | 3 ratings
Waterfall
1978
2.33 | 3 ratings
Party Life
1980

TRIUMVIRAT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Illusions on a Double Dimple by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.97 | 453 ratings

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Illusions on a Double Dimple
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

5 stars Review #78!

What is widely considered German progressive rock trio Triumvirat's magnum opus, 'Illusions On A Double Dimple' is no easily overlooked album. It even was ranked #45 on Rolling Stone's '50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time' article. Triumvirat was often unfairly given the label 'German ELP Clone'. While not all that far off (no offense), Triumvirat was not just a clone of ELP. They built on that sound and made it their own. I personally enjoyed this album more than ELP's 'Brain Salad Surgery' of the same year. But there were some times while listening to this record when I felt they were way too reminiscent of other prog artists and bands, and not even just ELP. Here are some.

Rush Yes Genesis Van Der Graaf Generator Jethro Tull

I hear Rush in some of the keyboard in the title track, Yes in the occasional pretty harmonies, Genesis in the lead vocals, Van Der Graaf in the dramatic aspect in some of the movements on both suites, and Jethro Tull at the beginning of 'Lucky Girl'. But let me just explain why I personally hear ELP in this album. The extremely technical keyboard and percussion, the occasional times when Helmut K'llen sounds like Greg Lake, and the 'Tarkus'-esque rock organ really are why haters call Triumvirat ELP clones. Whether that statement is true or not, Triumvirat's 'Illusions On A Double Dimple' is a great one.

 Russian Roulette by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1980
1.44 | 103 ratings

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Russian Roulette
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Review Nº 629

Triumvirat was a progressive symphonic rock band formed in Cologne, Germany in 1969, around the keyboardist Jürgen Fritz. Triumvirat is the Latin word for a triumvirate, a grouping of three powerful men usually connoted with the famous triumvirates of the Ancient Roman Empire. However, in this case, the word is referred to a simple musical trio.

The founding members of the group were the keyboardist and musical composer Hans-Jürgen Fritz, later simply known as Jürgen Fritz, the bassist Werner "Dick" Frangenberg and the drummer and lyricist Hans Bathelt. During their earlier days, Triumvirat initially performed Top 40 songs at local venues in Cologne. The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer heavily influenced Triumvirat's musical direction, unlike almost all of their Teutonic compatriots that founded the krautrock musical style. The group envisioned a more progressive rock music style as it came mainly from England, instead pieces of music with detuned guitars and ghastly singing. In fact, at the height of their musical career during the 70's progressive classic rock era, Triumvirat was often referred to as the "German Emerson, Lake & Palmer clone", with some injustice because they were more and better than that, due to Fritz classical virtuosity on keyboards and synthesizers, in the same vein of Keith Emerson and his musical style. They made some really amazing things, really.

Triumvirat subsequently produced modestly some very successful albums during the early to the middle of 70's. The band had numerous changes in their line up but always was headed by Fritz. Their debut studio album "Mediterranean Tales: Across The Waters" released in 1972, was however dismissed by the media as a second rate infusion of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and also their follow second studio album "Illusions On A Double Dimple" released in 1974, met in Germany only a moderate response. In the following years, the band released their third studio album "Spartacus" in 1975 and their fourth studio album "Old Loves Die hard" in 1976, their most commercial successful album. In 1977 and 1978 they released their fifth and sixth studio albums "Pompeii" and "A La Carte" respectively, and in 1980 they released their seventh and last studio album "Russian Roulette". Like other progressive rock bands of the 70's, the end came for Triumvirat with the turn of the decade, with the advent of punk and disco music. "A La Carte" and "Russian Roulette" changed drastically their usual musical progressive style, bringing new musical compositions geared to funk, reggae, disco and pop rock, as if Triumvirat was trying to adapt to the new musical tastes of that era.

The line up on "Russian Roulette" is Jürgen Fritz (piano, moog, organ, synthesizers and percussion), Arno Steffen (lead vocals), Jeff Porcaro (drums), Steve Lukather (bass and electric guitars), Tim May (electric and acoustic guitars), Robert Greenidge (steel drums), Neal Stubenhaus (bass), Pete Christlieb (saxophone and clarinet), Mike gong (electric guitar), David Hungate (bass) and Alan Estis (congas and maracas).

"Russian Roulette" followed in the footsteps of their previous studio album "A La Carte". It achieved the unthinkable by collecting an even more annoying and stylistically uninteresting collection of tunes than on the poor "A La Carte". As with its predecessor, there's absolutely no indication on it that Triumvirat was once a very accomplished symphonic progressive rock band, or that Jürgen Fritz was one of the finest keyboard masters of the 70's. Tediously, generic pop rock is what they made, this time with new wave overtones and even with a reggae track. The album opens with melodic, weak Rock'n'Roll and Pop numbers in the style of Status Quo and Toto. I will admit to linking a couple of tracks such as "You Can't Catch Me", "We're Rich On What We Go" and "Twice" are all decent rock songs. Yet, for every bearable song there's a complete abominations, most notable are the funky effects of "Cooler" or the unthinkable and inadmissible reggae "The Ballad Of Rudy Turner". The rest of the tracks are completely forgettable. So, "Russian Roulette" has nothing to do with prog rock, and, what is much worse, it also comes without no noteworthy ideas, really.

Conclusion: When I reviewed "A La Carte" I wrote that it was one of my biggest disillusions in the progressive rock. However, "Russian Roulette" is even worse than "A La Carte" is. The keyboard wizard Jürgen Fritz managed to make an even worse album. He could have buried the sensational progressive rock band in the 70's. This is by far the worst thing Triumvirat ever did. "A La Carte" is a real weak album but was a pop rock effort with some few honest songs. But, this album has nothing positive to offer to a Triumvirat's fan. At least it managed to do a good thing. It became to be the band's final album, so no more pain for band's fans like me. After reviewing so many albums on this site, I only gave 1 star to two albums, till now, "Giant For a Day" of Gentle Giant and "Earthbound" of King Crimson. With "Earthbound" there was a very special reason. It deals more with the sound quality of the album than with its musical quality. But, "Giant For A Day" is really a bad work. However, "Russian Roulette" is the worst of all. So, do yourself a favour stay away of it. If you never listened to it, you'll never have a bad image of the band, especially if you are a newbie with them.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 À La Carte by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1978
1.73 | 114 ratings

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À La Carte
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Review Nº 621

Triumvirat was a progressive rock band that was formed in 1969 in Cologne, Germany by keyboardist Jürgen Fritz, bassist Werner "Dick" Frangenberg and drummer and lyricist Hans Bathelt. Frangenberg left the group in 1970 and was replaced by Hans Pape. They released their debut album "Mediterranean Tales (Across The Water)" in 1972. During the making of their second album "Illusions On a Double Dimple" released in 1973, Pape also left the group and was replaced by Helmut Köllen. Their third album "Spartacus" released in 1975, gave to Triumvirat their greatest commercial success. At the end of the live tour of "Spartacus" Köllen left the group too. Frangenberg rejoined the band and Barry Palmer was their new lead vocalist. This quartet released their fourth album "Old Loves Die Hard" in 1976. Their fifth album "Pompeii" was released in 1977. The band was firefly renamed New Triumvirat due to legal dispute between Fritz and Bathelt. As all we know, by 1978 progressive rock was no more a popular musical genre. So, it was in this difficult musical context that Triumvirat recorded their new album, the sixth Triumvirat's album "A La Carte" released in 1978.

If we take a look to Triunvirat's career, it becomes clear how much the band changed all over the years. Starting out as a bombastic, keyboard-led prog machine, or an Emerson, Lake & Palmer clone as many have labelled them, with such classic albums as "Illusions On A Double Dimple" and "Spartacus", the band slowly went the commercial avenue, and the culmination of that style became with this album "A La Carte". While certainly no "Spartacus", this CD does contain some good moments. However it sounds like a completely different band. With its mix of Toto or Ambrosia sounding California pop/prog and Eectric Light Orchestra harmonies, combined with the Keith Emerson inspired keyboards of Jurgen Fritz, "A La Carte" is commercial pop at times, average prog rarely, but bland or mediocre for most of the time.

The line up on the album is David Hanselmann (vocals), Jürgen Fritz (keyboards), Werner Kopal (bass) and Mathias Holtmann (drums). The album has also an endless number of many other participating musicians.

"A La Carte" has nine tracks and is a very complete different album than their other previous five studio albums. As I wrote before, it even sounds more like a completely different band. The band's established The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer symphonic progressive rock style is suddenly discarded on this album, as well are the virtuoso keyboard excursions of the band's leader Jürgen Fritz. In their place we have a collection of pop rock tunes that had exchanged the bombast and opulence of former offerings for slimmer arrangements, successfully based on international musical productions along the lines of Supertramp. And the worst of all is that the pop song writing is very inconsistent and unbalanced, a true mix salad, making of "A La Carte" a very difficult album to listen to even if you are a great pop rock fan. Undoubtedly, the album reflects the band's most commercial significance in those days, and turns the album a true lavish pop rock feast. The album seems to be really a menu, describing the nine tracks as if they were truly dishes.

In relation to the tracks, I must say the following. "Waterfall", "(Oh, I'm) Late Again" and "Jo Ann Walker" are decent musical numbers, with the strong vocals of Hanselmann leading the way and with Fritz in a support role of multiple keyboards. In fact, these tracks are all very nice as pop songs in 1978. "For You" is a soft sappy pop ballad that makes even cry the paving stones. "I Don't Even Know Your Name" is a mediocre light rocker musical number with lots of horns featuring all sorts of guest musicians. "A Bavarian In New York" is the first really good track on the album. It's a hard driving song with a good bass line, interesting symphonic synthesizers and organ and nice piano works by Fritz. "Original Soundtrack From The Movie O.C.S.I.D." is a very good piece of music and can be considered the best track on the album. The two last tracks "Darlin'" and "Good Bye" are two both generic and bland songs, a pale of Supertramp's songs with the obvious intention to achieve the Billboard charts, which sadly for them, they never been able to achieve.

Conclusion: "A La Carte" is, for me, one of my biggest disillusions in the progressive rock. How was it possible that the same virtuoso musician that released "Illusions On A Double Dimple" and "Spartacus" do something like this? Like antonio I also think that "A La Carte" is better than "Russian Roulette" is, but like him, I also think this is another story. However, I can't agree with progbaby when he says that "A La Carte" is a good album and the only problem with it is that he isn't a progressive album. I must say that, in my humble opinion, all Genesis' studio albums since "?And Then There Were Three?" are slightly progressive or even non progressive, and that has not made of them too weak albums. By the other hand, "Giant For A Day" is even worse than "A La Carte" is, and is almost as bad as "Russian Roulette" is. And this isn't only for being non-progressive albums, but mainly because their musical quality. Concluding, "A La Carte" is a very weak album and it has nothing to do with all previous Triumvirat albums. This is a commercial pop rock album, without great quality, and almost with nothing of what we can call progressive music. So, I'm very disappointed.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Pompeii by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.10 | 182 ratings

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Pompeii
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 599

"Pompeii" is the fifth studio album of Triumvirat and that was released in 1977. The band released the album under the name of The New Triumvirat, due to temporary legal squabbles over the original name of the band by former members.

"Pompeii" is a conceptual album of Triumvirat about the devastating earthquake from 62 A.D. It represents the end of an era for this great German progressive rock band. Their subsequent two studio albums, "À La Carte", released in 1978 and "Russian Roulette", released in 1980, took a complete commercial pop flavor, and left most of the bombastic symphonic rock that they were famous for in the dust. So, this is the last Triumvirat's album with progressive lines.

The line up on "Pompeii" is Barry Palmer (lead and background vocals), Jürgen Fritz (Hammond C3 organ, Moog synthesizers, ARP string ensemble, Steinway grand piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Yamaha polyphonic synthesizer CS-80 and GX-1, Hohner clavinet, bells and tympani), Dieter Petereit (Fender, Rickenbacker and Yamaha basses) and Curt Cress (Gretch and Fiber drums, roto toms, timbales, Paiste cymbals and gongs, handclaps and moog- synthesized percussion).

So, again the line up on a Triumvirat's album changed one more time. However, this time the changes were much deeper. Of the line up of their previous album, "Old Loves Die Hard", only remained Barry Palmer and Jürgen Fritz. Still, the main change of all was the departure of their drummer, Hans Bathelt. We can't forget that Hans Bathelt was with Jürgen Fritz one of the founding members of the band. But above all, Hans Bathelt was the "right arm" of Jürgen Fritz.

"Pompeii" has eight tracks. The first track "The Earthquake 62 A.D." written by Jürgen Fritz is a very good song, very progressive, and in the same line of the usual Triumvirat's music. This is a very good song to open the album, very promising for what would appear on the album. It's a song with great musical changes, very strong and with plenty of keyboard solos. This is a great track. The second track "Journey Of A Fallen Angel" written by Jürgen Fritz, proves unfortunately that what was promised will not be fulfilled. This is a very pop and commercial song that hasn't anything to do with the concept and the previous music. It reminds me, in some moments, Procol Harum's music and the only thing I can say is that I'm very disappointed because this isn't the music of our beloved prog band. The third track "Viva Pompeii" written by Jürgen Fritz and Curt Cress is, fortunately, another very good song where they return to their style of music with some jazzy influences. It's an excellent instrumental piece of music with rich textures, very well arranged and with fantastic keyboard works by Jürgen Fritz. The fourth track "The Time Of Your Life" written by Sondra and Jürgen Fritz isn't a bad song. It's very well arranged and orchestrated and has a good vocal performance. However, I'm a bit disappointed with it because, like the second song, it has nothing to do with the musical concept of the album. The fifth track "The Rich Man And The Carpenter" written by Jürgen Fritz is a song that leaves me confused and divides my personal feelings. It has some great musical parts, the instrumental parts and the parts with calm and soft vocals, but I don't like particularly of some other vocal parts of Barry Palmer. Imagine that I even get to miss the presence of their previous vocalists with their German accent. The sixth track "Dance On The Volcano" written by Jürgen Fritz is a song which fortunately remains with the good things and the great sound of this great German band. This is really a very good instrumental song, very melodic and with great quality, in the Emerson, Lake & Palmer's style. This is one of my favourite songs on this album. The seventh track "Vesuvius 79 A.D." written by Jürgen Fritz is another song with great progressiveness and with some of the best and most complex musical sections on this album. It has great keyboard sounds that are very well combined with the rhythm section. However and unfortunately, it has the same vocal problems on some parts that I disliked on the previous song "The Rich Man And The Carpenter". The eighth and last track "The Hymn" written by Jürgen Fritz is a song which was also released as a single. This is a nice, soft and mellow ballad, clearly the most commercial song on the album. I recognise this is a good song but it has nothing to do with the traditional sound of the group. In relation to Triumvirat's music, I think this is a song too much mellow for my taste.

Conclusion: In the first place, I must say that I was a bit disappointed when I heard this album for the first time. Then, I said to myself that the progressive rock music lost again through the lure of the commercial success. I also thought that, unfortunately and once more, the world was losing another great progressive rock band. "Pompeii" is, in my opinion, a transitional album in the musical career of a band that oscillates between the progressive rock music and the pop music. And like any transition album it can't be a great album because it doesn't defines clearly its type of music. So, despite some very good tracks, this is, without any doubt, the weakest musical effort of the band, till that moment. However, it seems that it was only the beginning. Unfortunately, many other things, much worse, were on their way.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Old Loves Die Hard by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.50 | 210 ratings

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Old Loves Die Hard
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

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*)

 Illusions on a Double Dimple by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.97 | 453 ratings

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Illusions on a Double Dimple
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by Argentinfonico

3 stars The album begins with "Illusions On A Double Dimple", a rather Genesian suite that opens as sad as possible. Fritz starts the album by being almost entirely the protagonist of what happens: a succession of failures viewed ridiculously. The instrumental method is heavily symphonic and prioritizes the keyboards. The bass and drums simply accompany the rhythmic changes and the madness of the electronic piano with neatness.

The instrumental section called "Triangle" is probably the first step of the album, where the frenzy delivers the quality we expect after such a pessimistic introduction. The percussion comes into its own a little more in these moments and the backing vocals serve as passages. The song gradually raises its level, and by part IV ("Illusions") has captured us on an island of carefree defeat, but with that hidden optimism so characteristic of human beings that is almost always due to the frustrated dream of happiness that can never be fully embraced with our hands or our soul.

Apart from its verses and its lyrical concept, the entire song gives a sense of rebelliousness when its instrumental parts arrive, due to the fact that everything is constantly changing places. The hammond in the final minutes seems to say that nothing has a solution any more, by means of wild and spectacular sounds, as if a madman was giving a circus performance as funny as it is embarrassing. The bass lines at times remind me of Richard Sinclair's technique and his muffled notes.

I think this is a song that cannot be modified in any way. It has an attractive structure and brings strength and emotion to this fine work.

We move on to "Mister Ten Percent", the second and last suite of the album (this one more inclined to ELP's entire discography) starts electronically presenting an instrumental mess not easy to digest. Both the first and the second epic consist of 6 parts and last about the same length. In certain aspects I see this side very different from the other, but what doesn't vary (and what gives the album its essence) is the prominence of the keyboards and their crazy chaos.

The hammond, in the way it's played here, inevitably reminds me a lot of Keith Emerson in ELP's middle period, especially Brain Salad Surgery. This song has more instrumental length than the previous one, and that allows for a different kind of artistry and creativity to shine through. Unexpectedly an electro-acoustic guitar emerges in the middle of the suite (beginning of the V-part "Lucky Girl" composed by Helmut K'llen) to change its course and sing about a little girl dealing with her dramatically exaggerated little problems. The transition to part VI "Million Dollars" is fantastic, but the whole thing becomes less and less original. Not only in the keyboards but now also in the vocals there is a grey imitation of Greg Lake that leaves a lot to be desired towards the end of the song. After two long epics, the long-awaited ending fades in your mind as sadly as almost the entire album.

Almost three quarters of an hour of professional performances and a more than satisfactory production, but without a defined style, no album can thrive. It sounds as symphonic as I've rarely heard, and that's why it's such a shame that they didn't get off the ground enough for this album, because I think it could have been a truly memorable piece of work.

 Spartacus by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.87 | 397 ratings

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Spartacus
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 481

"Spartacus" is the third studio album of Triumvirat and was released in 1975. This is a conceptual album based on the story of the Roman gladiator Spartacus who led the third slave uprising in the Roman Empire in 73?71 BC. This is an album in the same vein of Emerson, Lake & Palmer but it isn't a clone. It was certainly inspired by their music and style but the music of Triumvirat has a personal touch of their own. "Spartacus" is considered by many their best album, deserving many reissues in different countries all over the world. It was also the band's greatest commercial success.

The line up on the album is Jürgen Fritz (Hammond organ, moog synthesizer, Steinway grand piano, ARP string ensemble and electric piano), Helmut Köllen (vocals, bass, acoustic and electric guitars) and Hans Bathelt (drums and percussion). After this album Helmut Köllen left the band to start a solo career. However and unfortunately, fate decreed that two years later he died dramatically of carbon monoxide poisoning when he was in his car, when he was listening to his own studio musical compositions on his car's cassette player while running the engine of the car in his garage.

"Spartacus" has nine tracks. The first track "The Capital Of Power" written by Jürgen Fritz is a magnificent and very powerful overture for the album. It's an instrumental epic piece of music which leads us into the ambient of the concept and also of the atmosphere and music on the entire album. This is an excellent instrumental musical section. The second track "The School Of Instant Pain" is divided into four parts: "Proclamation", "The Gladiator's Song", "Roman Entertainment" and "The Battle". All were written by Jürgen Fritz and Hans Bathelt. This is an incredible and brilliant multi-part epic piece of music. Musically it's a song very diversified with great individual works performed by the trio of the band. It has also a fantastic and powerful ballad, an interesting jazz section, and in the end, Hans Bathelt performed a massive drum solo so typical on the albums of the 70's. The third track "The Walls Of Doom" written by Jürgen Fritz is another instrumental song. We can divide this song into two distinct parts. In the first part the music is dominated by drumming work and has also a very nice bass line. In the second part the music explodes and has an excellent keyboard work in the style of Keith Emerson, but with a very own approach and style. The fourth track "The Deadly Dream Of Freedom" written by Helmut Köllen and Hans Bathelt is a very sweet and beautiful ballad, essentially made of vocals and piano, very well accompanied on the back by a very beautiful guitar work. Despite be a song with a different style of music, it keeps totally the musical cohesion of the entire album. The fifth track "The Hazy Shades Of Dawn" written by Jürgen Fritz is another instrumental song with the music style of a march. It's a progressive and complex track, very majestic and grandiose in the style of Emerson, Lake & Palmer but once more with the very own Triumvitat's approach and style. The sixth track "The Burning Sword Of Capua" written by Jürgen Fritz is another great instrumental track. Despite be a very small song, it's very complex with several musical changes, what makes of it a brilliant piece of music. The seventh track "The Sweetest Sound Of Liberty" written by Helmut Köllen and Hans Bathelt is a very short ballad in the same vein of "The Deadly Dream Of Freedom". Once again, this song is a break in the kind of the music of the album, but it also keeps in totally the musical cohesion on the album. The eighth track "The March Of The Eternal City" is divided into three parts: "Dusty Road", "Italian Improvisation" and "First Success". All were written by Jürgen Fritz and Hans Bathelt. It's another multi-part epic song very diversified. This is a song with some extremely complex parts with crossed rhythms and complex keyboards, has also lengthy instrumental sections and has also some improvisation musical parts. It's a very progressive track. The ninth track is the title track "Spartacus". It's also divided into three parts: "The Superior Force Of Rome" written by Jürgen Fritz and Hans Bathelt, "A Broken Dream" written by Jürgen Fritz and "The Final" also written by Jürgen Fritz. Like the previous track this is another mini epic track. This is another very progressive and complex song, very powerful and full of contrasts and musical changes. It has some musical sections very frenetic where others are more soft, nostalgic and sad. This is a nice way to end this great album.

Conclusion: "Spartacus" and "Illusions On A Double Dimple" are, without any kind of doubt, the two best releases of Triumvirat. These are two masterpieces with a very unique and own sound, despite the clear influences of the music of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Both albums placed Triumvirat as one of the best German progressive rock bands in the 70's. Both albums also made of Triumvirat a classic and necessary progressive rock band to check, even in our days. The genius of Jürgen Fritz and his virtuoso musical performances, and the technical superior drumming of Hans Bathelt are absolutely unique, fantastic and completely unforgettable. So, the only thing I can do, in this moment, is to recommend strongly both albums and the band to all prog heads. Both albums must be in your collection if you are a real prog fan.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Illusions on a Double Dimple by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.97 | 453 ratings

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Illusions on a Double Dimple
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 445

"Illusions On A Double Dimple" is the second studio album of the German symphonic progressive rock band Triumvirat and was released in 1974. It was a breakthrough for the band after their debut studio album "Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters)" which was released in 1972. It increased the popularity of the band in a number of countries.

The line up on the album is Jügen Fritz (vocals, Steinway grand piano, electric piano, Hammond organ and moog synthesizer), Helmut Köllen (lead vocals and bass, acoustic and electric guitars) and Hans Bathelt (drums and percussion). The bassist of their previous debut studio album "Mediterranean Tales", Hans Pape, left the band and was replaced by Helmut Köllen midway through the recording of this album. Beyond the band's members some guest artists also appear on "Illusions On A Double Dimple". So, we have, Peter Cedera (spoken the words on "Illusions On A Double Dimple"), Karl Devo (saxophone solo on "Mister Ten Per Cent"), The Cologne Opera House Orchestra, The Kurt Edelhagen Brass Section and also Hanna Dolitzsch, Vanetta Fields, Brigitte Thomas and Ulla Wierner (backing vocals).

This is an album divided into two distinct musical parts, "Illusions On A Double Dimple" and "Mister Ten Percent", which correspond to the side A and side B of the LP, respectively. Each part is also also divided into six small parts. Relatively to "Illusions On A Double Dimple": The first track "Flashback" written by Jügen Fritz and Hans Bathelt is a kind of an introduction to the theme of the first part. It's a short melancholic piece of music with piano and where the vocals resume the spirit of the theme. The second track "Schooldays" written by Jügen Fritz and Hans Bathelt is a song that represents the opposite of the previous song. This isn't a sad and melancholic song but a shining and happy song. Here, we have the performance of all band's members with special emphasis to the fantastic guitar work. The third track "Triangle" written by Jügen Fritz is an amazing piece of music. This is a very progressive song, very complex and with some hard and aggressive musical sections. All band's members have an absolutely fantastic performance with special highlight to the bassist and the drummer. It has also nice chorus on the back of the song. The fourth track "Illusions" written by Jügen Fritz and Hans Bathelt is also a very short song, but despite this, it's also one of the most beautiful songs on the album. It's another sad and melancholic song that reminds us the first track. The fifth track "Dimplicity" written by Jügen Fritz and Hans Bathelt is another fantastic song very progressive and also very complex. It's a song with constant rhythmic and dramatic musical changes with complex musical passages very well supported by beautiful and fantastic chorus, providing us a wonderful musical moment. The sixth track "Last Dance" written by Jügen Fritz is another great song on the album, more in the rock style, and also very progressive and complex with constantly rhythm changes. It's, in my opinion, the song with more influences of Emerson, Lake & Palmer on this first part of the album. Relatively to "Mister Ten Percent": The first track "Maze" written by Jügen Fritz is a little bit aggressive song clearly influenced by the jazz style. It's a song with great rhythm section especially with solid drumming and a strong bass line. The second track "Dawning" written by Jügen Fritz is the shortest song on the album. It's a song with beautiful piano, performed only by Jügen Fritz and is a kind of introduction to the next song. The third track "Bad Ideal" written by Jügen Fritz and Hans Bathelt is another short song. It's a very energetic song with great keyboard work that ends with a touch of jazz style. The fourth track "Roundabout" written by Jügen Fritz is another great song with a nice line rhythm section. This is another song strongly influenced by jazz and with very dramatic changes. It's also the second song that more reminds us the influence of Emerson, Lake & Palmer on this album. The fifth track "Lucky Girl" written by Helmut Köllen and Hans Bathelt is a song completely different from the others. It's a beautiful and soft song, in a ballad style, which is probably a reference to "Lucky Man" of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I particularly like this song because is very enjoyable and brings to us a kind of a new musical atmosphere to the album. The sixth track "Million Dollars" written by Jügen Fritz and Hans Bathelt is a very good song to close the second part and the album itself. It's a calm, nostalgic, beautiful and sad song, all at the same time, and so we can consider that summarizes the ambient on the whole album.

Conclusion: "Illusions On A Double Dimple" is, without any doubt, a great album. The first part of the album "Illusions On A Double Dimple" is better than the second part "Mister Ten Per Cent". Despite the division of each theme into six parts, we can say that the music in each theme flows naturally as if they were only two songs. "Illusions On A Double Dimple" is one of the greatest albums released in the 70's, very progressive, and it's also an album where its music is extremely creative and original. Despite, the influences of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Triumvirat proved they were able to create a very own sound with high level. This album proved why Triumvirat is one of the best German prog rock bands.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Mediterranean Tales (Across the Waters) by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.62 | 269 ratings

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Mediterranean Tales (Across the Waters)
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars The first attempt by these talented German boys to blatantly copy ELP's overall sound and songwriting formula turned out halfway decent. It excels when keyboard player Jürgen Fritz is let loose to quote Mozart on his goofy organ or travel at the speed of sound through ever-changing baroqueish soundscapes, but falls down again whenever anyone is allowed to sing: even if you can get past the thick German accents and stupid lyrics, Hans Pape's voice sounds unsure and uncharismatic while Fritz's voice is just an ugly hoarse grumble. The first two tracks are rather frustrating in this respect, being composed of more or less equal amounts of beautiful intricate symph-prog and weak vocal parts you'll probably want to get over with as quickly as possible (the silly falsetto choir in the "Be Home For Tea" movement from "Across The Waters" is of no help either).

Things pretty much wind down afterwards too, with tracks three and four being little more than aimless, forgettable jams. Fritz is a good keyboard player but he's certainly no Emerson and his improvisation style isn't nearly as interesting to listen to for extended periods of time, especially not on top of the shrill and rather annoying main theme of "E Minor 5/9 Minor/5".

The whole album is perfectly listenable, but better things were most certainly to come for this group.

 Mediterranean Tales (Across the Waters) by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.62 | 269 ratings

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Mediterranean Tales (Across the Waters)
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 413

Triumvirat was a German progressive rock band that was formed in 1969 in Cologne, Germany. Triumvirat was initially a classical based trio were the founding members were Hans-Jürgen (later simply Jürgen) Fritz, Hans Bathelt and Werner "Dick" Frangenberg. Bathelt was the drummer/lyricist, Frangenberg the bassist, and Fritz the keyboardist. Triumvirat was strongly influenced by The Nice. In fact, they played some of their songs, like "Rondo". Being fans of The Nice, they loved when Emerson, Lake & Palmer got together. Frangenberg left the group and was replaced by Hans Pape in 1970. With Pape injecting some more life on vocals and bass, Triumvirat soon began to experiment with studio recordings. The result of that was a smart classically adapted debut album, "Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters)".

So, "Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters)" is the debut studio album of the German symphonic progressive rock band Triumvirat and was released in 1972. The line up on the album is Jürgen Fritz (vocals, organ, electric and acoustic piano, synthesizer and percussion), Hans Pape (lead vocals and bass) and Hans Bathelt (drums and percussion).

The album has four tracks. The first track "Across The Waters" is divided into six parts. The first part "Overture" was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and was arranged by Jürgen Fritz, the second part "Taxident" was composed by Jürgen Fritz and Hans Bathelt, the third part "Mind Tripper" was composed by Jürgen Fritz, the fourth part "5 O'Clock Tea" was composed by Jürgen Fritz and Hans Bathelt, the fifth part "Satan's Breakfast" was composed by Jürgen Fritz and the sixth part "Underture" was also composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and once more was arranged by Jürgen Fritz. This is an incredible start for the album, with sixteen minutes of a multi part epic musical piece clearly influenced by several classical musical influences that go from the Baroque style to the Romantic style, inclusive with two small pieces of music signed by one of the masters of classical music Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. With this strong debut suite, Jürgen Fritz convinces as a keyboard virtuoso and brings in his energetic game in addition to rocking-driving ideas also classical elements to advantage, with complex rhythms, sweeping keyboard runs and constantly changing chord progressions. This is an impressive and amazing starting point for the career of this band. The second track "Eleven Kids" is also a very good song with the instrumental part with plenty of diversity, harmony and beauty with classical good keyboard work supported by powerful bass and drums. The main problem is the vocals because we have to get used to the voice with the German accent of Hans Pape, which isn't a great singer. The third track "E Minor 5/9 Minor/5" is also a very good, incredible and seductive instrumental track with some exploratory keyboard work, which curiously some keyboard parts remind me Peter Bardens of Camel. This is probably the track that also reminds me more The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The fourth track "Broken Mirror" is another great song that is separated in several distinct parts. The first part shows clearly what their classical sound is and showing a very complex musical structure and the second part is a jazz fusion section, indicating the possible way that Triumvirat could follow in the near future. It also showcases the style of Fritz's touch on the piano, highlighting some great work.

My CD version is the remastered edition of 2002 and has four bonus tracks. The fifth track "Be Home For Tea" is an edition of the fourth part "5 O'Clock Tea" of the opening track, the sixth track "Broken Mirror" is also an edited version of the fourth track with the same name, and the seventh track "Ride In The Night" and the eighth track "Sing Me A Song" are two new songs that didn't appear on the original vinyl version. As usually, I will not review bonus tracks but I must say they're much weaker than the songs of the original release and didn't bring anything interesting to the album.

Conclusion: Triumvirat is a great band and despite the clear influences they suffer from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, including into their line up, a keyboardist, a bassist/vocalist and a drummer, I refuse the idea that they're an Emerson, Lake & Palmer's clone. It's true that there are some strong influences and similarities between both bands, but there are also a big number of differences too. So, Triumvirat is far from being a clone and "Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters)" is certainly a perfect example of that. Despite the band have declared that they were huge fans of The Nice, I sincerely think that their musical arrangements, the lyrics and the way they sing with a strong German accent, are absolutely unique and, in my humble opinion, I really think that they deserve much more recognition than they've got until now. "Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters)" is a great debut album from this fantastic and very interesting German symphonic progressive rock band. It's true this album isn't a masterpiece but certainly is a great album and we may ask how many bands were able to release their debut album as a masterpiece. Anyway, "Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters)" represents only the beginning of their music proposal and soon, other better things would come.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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