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TRIUMVIRAT

Symphonic Prog • Germany


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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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SpartacusSpartacus
Remastered
Emi Europe Generic 2002
$6.86
$5.86 (used)
Illusions on a Double DimpleIllusions on a Double Dimple
Remastered
Emi Europe Generic 2002
$6.05
$5.54 (used)
Old Loves Die HardOld Loves Die Hard
Remastered
Emi Europe Generic 2002
$6.82
$7.19 (used)
PompeiiPompeii
Remastered
Emi Europe Generic 2002
$6.88
$5.88 (used)
Mediterranean TalesMediterranean Tales
Remastered
Emi Europe Generic 2002
$7.15
$6.29 (used)
EssentialEssential
Imports 2012
$39.82
Old Loves Die HardOld Loves Die Hard
Eastworld Records 2012
$15.09
$19.99 (used)
Illusions on a Double DimpleIllusions on a Double Dimple
Eastworld Records 2012
$51.99
$52.81 (used)
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TRIUMVIRAT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.61 | 216 ratings
Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters)
1972
3.95 | 362 ratings
Illusions On A Double Dimple
1974
3.81 | 328 ratings
Spartacus
1975
3.44 | 172 ratings
Old Loves Die Hard
1976
3.08 | 148 ratings
Pompeii
1977
1.74 | 93 ratings
À La Carte
1978
1.49 | 81 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)

3.88 | 7 ratings
Essential
2012

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Be Home for Tea / Broken Mirror
1972
2.85 | 11 ratings
Take A Break Today / The Capitol Of Power
2000

TRIUMVIRAT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Illusions On A Double Dimple by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.95 | 362 ratings

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Illusions On A Double Dimple
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by whit-the-taker

5 stars What is there to say? This album, Illusions on a Double Dimple, has literally come to define an era of my life, a band which has the accessibility and the groove for anyone, has produced a masterpiece. In my eyes, this is an unsung champion of Progressive Rock, an incumbent to the throne of unrecognized talent. Triumvirat's second album, in personal terms, is the exact sound that is inside my head.

Jürgen Fritz, Helmut Köllen, and Hans Bathelt managed to encapsulate a dynamic and adventurous diversity of seamless sound. It incorporates such a unique array of instrumentation throughout the entire work, generating a sound that paints an image so magnificent and sophisticated that it can take this reviewer's breath away. It, while being a challenge to listen to perhaps at first, is a true ear worm, and soon you'll find yourself listening to it again as to catch a part you particularly enjoyed only to appreciate the music more this time around.

From the captivating piano and bombastic beats of the beginning of the first song "Illusions on a double Dimple", to the extraordinary final ten minutes of the album in "Mister Ten Percent", the virtuosity of its composers shine through in the complexity of their orchestration as well as the wonderful, storied lyrics. Lyrics that go on to tell a story that lends it self well to most in the messages of personal struggle through life, relationships, personal vices and the passage of one's wisdom.

An album this worthy deserves a thorough analysis of all its components to really codify its majesty and ingenuity. Here I am going to try to just that:

Song 1: "Illusions on a Double Dimple"

-Flashback - an enchanting overture that both invites and deceives the listener, a genius foray into the tried and true classical piano of the old times accompanied by haunting, solemn lyrics. In under a minute the listener is beguiled into something even more satisfying and this is where the deception comes in. The lyrics herald the a tale both sad and bitter, but their deliverance will leave you fooled that the message could be so somber.

-Schooldays - A remarkable shift into the bombast and rocking beauty that progressive offers. A sound that can be danced to or to lift the spirit. With vocals and lyrics both timeless and storied, to not at least give a toe tap or two to this part is plain unfortunate. This is where the story really begins lyrically, telling the tales of the struggles of childhood and early teenage years and family relationships and becoming a working adult.

-Triangle - A transition into the true realm of prog, the challenge and the attention that prog both poses and requires is brought about in an extended, highly percussive instrumental section that incorporates space-tacular synth and headbanging beats. This is the alien noise I think the band "Magma" hoped to achieve in some parts of the eponymous album. This coming from such a sound as "Schooldays" seems to present the aural metaphors that describe the angst, struggle, wonderment, hatred and overall tumultuous experience of growing older, and facing hard times in ones teenage and early adult years. A song of rebellion, of dysfunction of pure chaos but harmoniously so. All coming to an end in a cosmic grandeur that transitions into "Illusions" that leaves the listener captivated.

-"Illusions" - A Short segment with incredible power, in a sense the shortest power ballad you'll ever hear that acts as both an intermission from the first quarter of the album and an overture for the second. Illusions is a championed return to vocals from the extended instrumentals of "Triangle" before it, which quickly casts you into the magnificent "Dimplicity".

-Dimplicity - The masterful climax of the first half which is both endearing and dynamic in its own right. With messages so deep, vocals so powerful, and beats this grooving and bombastic, one will find that this song is a real hallmark to any progressive collection. Everything about this section is bar none fantastic, from the twang of the guitar, the angelic sound of the background singers, the johnty backbeat of the piano, or the simply joyous sounding lyrics that convey a message of dejection and booze soaked hopelessness. This marvelous 5 odd minutes is one of the best 5 minutes of record Triumvirat has produced.

-Last Dance - The final number of the first half which reminds me of "Underture" from Triumvirat's previous work "Mediterranean Tales". It's the summary of the album thusfar before it, that retells the themes of the song as well as leaves the listener with another space-tacular, electric moog groove that mellows any tron. It does it's job wrapping up the first half quite nicely and leaves the listener mystified that listening to a song "Twenty minutes long?!" could be so enjoyable.

-- Mister Ten Percent

-Maze - A crescendo into what I Imagine what it would sound like to be an international spy in the 1960s, perhaps not as enticing as the opener to the number before it, Mister Ten Percent leaves little time to rest on the other side of the record, especially when listening to a digital copy. It begins with a powerful funky jazz instrumental and collapses into the next section

-Dawning - A shrill almost toy sounding piano interlude that really consecrates the keyboarding skills of Mr. Fritz and like the piano opening of the album, tricks the first time listener with its brevity and the set up into something a lot stronger to immediately follow.

-Bad Deal- The highlight of the third quarter, which in my view is the weakest quarter of the album. A frantic almost ska feel that really can get people dancing to the dramatic lyrics and rapid rhythm. Little can be said about such a short segment, but its power and its ability to elevate some of the more challenging instrumentals surrounding it help keep the untrained listener cruising along to the masterful final quarter, and the seasoned progressive enthusiasts curious for more.

-Roundabout - For those expecting something analogous or even referential to the hallmark song by "Yes" of the same name, forget it. This piece bears little resemblance to the other, but Triumvirat's "Roundabout" will really please lovers of progressive, especially those loving percussive experimentation. This extended section is perhaps the most challenging for those most unfamiliar to progressive, as it tends to combine many unusual instruments with each other, producing an equally frenetic, feverish and frantic sound. From the strong slapping bass, the hammond organ, or the cowbell (it doesn't need more, its just enough) creates an eclectic noise that enchants the lovers of heavier beats, and forms a transcendental mental picture that is dystopian, space-tastic, and again, highly metaphorical to the theme of the album itself. This reviewer imagines a aural tale of drug addiction, or the collapse of ones life altogether. Whatever one imagines, it is sure a grim, fantastic and heady picture.

-Lucky girl - Here it is, the final ten minutes of the album, the all out best sound Triumvirat orchestrated and an unfairly obscure masterwork of the progressive genre. "Lucky Girl" is a credit to the musicians' virtuosity. If there was ever a song that heralded the arrival of utopia, the wonder of the rising sun, the warmth of the day, and of greater things to come it's this right here. The guitar, the vocals...the everything! Everything is so perfect and splendid and breathtaking surely it could not be topped, but however it is matched, by none other than:

-Million Dollars - A farewell piece that is neither brief nor dragging, neither generic nor too experimental which grabs the torch from Lucky Girl at a perfected climactic moment to cruise the album to its magnificent conclusion. This piece really emblifies all the composers talent from Fritz's keyboard work, to Bathelt's powerful percussion and Kollen's wonderful vocals culminate here along with "Lucky Girl" to really usher in the golden age of Triumvirat's creative contribution to this world, and solidifies Triumvirat's status in the Progressive Scene as a misunderstood band of three truly powerful men, and forever establishes them among the best in what the genre has to offer.

There can be no doubt, no accusation of Clone-hood, Triumvirat truly entered a phase of musical genius the likes of which only those of us who actively seek Progressive music can know when they produced this prodigious work. A beautiful and unprecedented degree of excellence that has the capacity to bring together progressive lovers and those unknown or reluctant to the art. A true hallmark of any collection and truly in the same tier as Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd or any other Progressive band of such status.

"Do what your mama told you, you will never think,

about yourself..."

 Russian Roulette by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1980
1.49 | 81 ratings

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Russian Roulette
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by Kingsnake

1 stars This could easily be the worst album ever made. Some great progartists have released really nice pop/new wave albums (Mike Oldfield, Yes, Genesis, Rush). Even Camel, Renaissance and Caravan were enjoyable in their more pop-oriented phase. Because the stayed somehow true to their own sound.

But this? There's nothing that reminds the listener to the Triumvirat-sound. This is a whole new band. And a bad band. I like pop, I like new wave and synthpop. But this is not even a good pop-album. I wonder if new-wave-fans in the 80's were even aware of this album. Prog-enthousiasts rate this album really low. I only wonder what punkers and newwavers think of this disaster.

 Spartacus by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.81 | 328 ratings

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Spartacus
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgressiveHypocrite

3 stars This album could easily be confused as an ELP record. You can't deny that it's got all the trademark elements; booming bass, ferocious drumming, Hammond organ and moog swells; it's ELP in all but name. Maybe I'm being too harsh; this is my first listen. I don't hate it; The ballads are a nice inclusion, like School of Instant Pain, The Sweetest Sound of Liberty, and March to the Eternal City. If I had the option to add half a star, I would. I don't feel I can give this album four stars; it's too derivative. I'm better off for giving it a chance though, and maybe I'll give it another listen someday.
 Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters) by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.61 | 216 ratings

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Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters)
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Triumvirat was formed in Cologne in 1969 by a young, talented keyboardist Jurgen Fritz, bassist Werner Frangenberg, and a drummer Hans Bathelt. The band strated out playing covers in local concert venues, but quickly developed their own material, which was to a high degree inspired by The Nice, Focus, and Emerson Lake & Palmer. In 1971, the trio sent demo tapes to EMI Records in Cologne and was soon offered to record their debut album, which they named Mediterranean Tales.

Mediterranean Tales is strongly shaped by classical music with influence of classic composers such as Mozart, Bach, Offenbach, and Beethoven being evident. Triumvirat is clearly inspired by the music of Emerson Lake & Palmer and leaves no doubt why the band was often referred to as "an ELP clone" or "Germany's Emerson Lake & Palmer". Despite the undeniable affinity, their sound goes beyond that. The band does have their own integrity, which is reflected mainly on melodic and sung parts.

Jurgen Fritz is an outstanding, versatile keyboardist with a fantastic feel. He is equally proficient in blues-inspired organ play, classical piano as well as more rocky passages on synthesizers. One of the more interesting sounds that he uses is a synthesized clavinet sound, which gives a distinct, bright, percussive timbre, well suited for his playing. Hans Bathelt's drum playing is rather jazz-inspired. He is capable of very skillful swing-style playing. Werner Frangenberg's bass guitar does not stand out in any way and is dominated by the bombastic keyboards. It does play an important role in the band's overall sound nonetheless. The band's lead vocals are nothing really special. The backing vocals are very high-pitched and sound a bit like someone was fooling around.

Mediterranean Tales comprises four pieces (plus another four on the 2002 EMI remaster). The most important track of the album is Triumvirat's side-long suite "Across The Waters". It highlights the band's most characteristic elements including classical influences, bombastic keyboard virtuosity with decent sung parts. The other three pieces also feature all of the basic ingredients. "E Minor 5/9 Minor" is also a very interesting track with ELP-like synthesizers.

All in all, Triumvirat's debut effort Mediterranean Tales is quite solid and consistent for their first work. However, the album is rather unremarkable, repetitive, and rather predictable. It lacks a bit diversity and variety. It does feature some nice moments, though. Considering this is the group's first album, I am able to tolerate some of the flaws. This work is recommended for fans of classically-influenced symphonic rock as well as those of Emerson Lake & Palmer. 3.5 stars!

 Russian Roulette by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1980
1.49 | 81 ratings

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Russian Roulette
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by OldSchoolProg

1 stars I will always give releases multiple listening before passing judgment on whether I like a disc or not. I tried with this one...it's not the Triumvirat that we have come to love. Gone are all progressive elements of anything they have done previously. It sounds like Randy Newman meets the Bay City Rollers meets Dean Friedman. I keep wishing the next track will be better than the first...it just doesn't ever happen. Even the vocals are grating an not pleasant at all (just listen to Party Life). I will never listen to this again, it is not the great Triumvirat of Illusions or Spartacus, something went terribly wrong. I need to go back and listen to anything else they have done, I cannot leave this as the last Triumvirat I listened to today.
 Pompeii by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.08 | 148 ratings

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Pompeii
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The band was now called New Triumvirat, given Hans Bathelt and Dick Frangenberg left and there were legal matters over the Triumvirat name. So Jurgen Fritz and Barry Palmer brought in Dieter Petereit for bass, and none other than Curt Cress on drums who played with Passport, Atlantis (basically Frumpy with a new name and a more mainstream sound), and tons of others. For most, this was the beginning of the downfall of Triumvirat, but for me the decline was already showing on their previous, Old Loves Die Hard. Honestly, I don't find Pompeii any worse. In fact, some of the ballads I actually find easier to take in than say, "I Believe" or "A Cold, Old Worried Lady", like "Journey of a Fallen Angel" or "Rich Man and the Carpenter". They still hadn't abandoned prog, as demonstrated on "Vesuvius 62 A.D.", "Viva Pompeii", "Dance on the Volcano", and "Vesuvius 79 A.D.", although Barry Palmer's voice does not seem most fitting of this kind of music, but he doesn't sing that much on these songs, and "Dance on the Volcano" is all instrumental. I noticed Jurgen Fritz looked up so much to his hero Keith Emerson that he himself got a monster Yamaha GX-1 polyphonic synthesizer (how he managed to pull that on off I can't say given I'm certain he didn't quite have anywhere as big a budget as Emerson, or John Paul Jones or Stevie Wonder, other GX-1 users, but then Rick van der Linden of Ekseption and Trace also owned one). Fritz still uses plenty of that Hammond organ, as well as Moog, and other keyboards. Like Old Loves Die Hard, even progheads will find the proggy stuff the most to enjoy, but the Barry Palmer-sung ballads might be avoided, but as I stated, I found them easier to take in, aside from "The Hymn", which bad as the worst moments of Old Loves Die Hard. That choir really doesn't help matters any. Certainly not in the same league as Mediterranean Tales, Illusions on a Double Dimple or Spartacus, but it's still not bad. Of course, they completely abandoned prog for the next two albums, and to this day, I still don't own A La Carte and Russian Roulette, given there's likely little I'll find much to enjoy.
 Old Loves Die Hard by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.44 | 172 ratings

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Old Loves Die Hard
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

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.
 Spartacus by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.81 | 328 ratings

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Spartacus
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The export department of Harvest decided to send the second Triumvirat album over to the offices of Capital in the USA, which issued the album in the States, and this opened the door for the Germans to visit the other side of the Atlantic, performing in about 40 gigs as the supporting act to Fleetwood Mac.Third work of the band was a concept one around Spartacus, the Thracian gladiator, who led the slaves' revolution against the Roman Republic in ancient years.Recorded at EMI's Electrola Studio in Cologne, the album's issue did not met any delays.It was released both on Harvest and Capitol in Germany and the US/Canada market at the same time in 1975.

This time Triumvirat have chosen a more conservative style in terms of pieces' length, as most of the tracks are short and dense.Just in terms of length of course, because the music remains highly virtuosic, symphonic and atmospheric with Triumvirat's ability to change climates in evidence.From romantic Classical-based interludes to powerful organ pyrotechnics to extreme synth acrobatics, the Germans display again their comfort on creating complex music with plenty of dramatic as well as pleasant tunes.The album is mainly led by Fritz'es impressive executions on piano, Moog synthesizer and Hammond organ in a very rich enviroment, which blends the romantic mood of NOVALIS with the massive workouts of E.L.P. and LE ORME, while the trio appears to deliver smooth and emotional moments, based on Koelle's very nice voice.Beautiful symphonic textures with some great melodious soundscapes are the driving force of this release, which sounds less flexible than ''Illusions on a double Dimple'' with the short tracks' length being the main reason for the fact.Even so the level of musicianship is up there, facing the best moments of E.L.P., full of bombastic, dual keyboard waves and more laid-back and harmonic lines.

Yet another consistent and tight album by Triumvirat with a great concept supporting the music.Strongly recommended to all fans of keyboard-driven Progressive Rock...3.5 stars.

 Illusions On A Double Dimple by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.95 | 362 ratings

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Illusions On A Double Dimple
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by Alrixa

5 stars You are almost forcing me to comment. But I think I am a pretty layman compared with you in musical knowledge and skills. But I can say I listened to Triumvirat for the very first time in a very unlikely circumstance, it was in a small mexican city named Jalapa (Xallapan, in nahuatl native language) in 1976, same region where Jalapeno chilis are from (they are jalapenos as me). It was very weird but it happened. From all my friends from those times, I am the only one who kept going with progressive rock, jazz-rock, etc.

I don't know much about music and I am not an englishman, so I don't have to pay tribute to ELP. I definitely like Triumvirat a lot more than them, and I am deeply sorry at the fact they just had some few records recorded.

 Russian Roulette by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1980
1.49 | 81 ratings

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Russian Roulette
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by Vibrationbaby

5 stars Triumvirat were playing Russian Roulette with their fans. Like an idiot I went out and paid my hard earned money for this thing that crawled out of a sewer. Even ABBA fans would run away from this disaster with their tails curled. I'm just wondering if there's anybody else on the planet who bought this atrocity who didn't use it for skeet shooting. Maybe Jurgen had too many chicks that he could handle and he said " down girls, down girls I'm trying to make an intelligent romantic album, merci".

Why are there hamburgers on the cover and no guns. I would expect a graphic photo of a guy lying with his brains blown out by a .38 Special. Looking not unlike a spaghetti buffet after being attacked by 100 famished Italians. And then Jurgen has this dumb song with steel drums. He thinks he's Jamacian. Maybe he had some Jamacian chicks who did him some weird sexual favours.

If I were to make an album called Russian Roulette I would have hired some assasins from the Russian mob. I would accompany them on some hits and made a heavy metal album out of it that would make Norwegian Black metal sound like Perry Como on Qualudes.

OK have I reached 75 words yet? I'm actually going to give this dishrag 5 stars for badness. It just can't get any worse than this. I can't believe I just listened to the whole thing.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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