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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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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)

3.62 | 239 ratings
Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters)
1972
3.94 | 405 ratings
Illusions On A Double Dimple
1974
3.84 | 362 ratings
Spartacus
1975
3.47 | 186 ratings
Old Loves Die Hard
1976
3.10 | 161 ratings
Pompeii
1977
1.68 | 98 ratings
À La Carte
1978
1.50 | 87 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)

3.83 | 9 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
1976
2.00 | 1 ratings
Waterfall
1978
1.00 | 1 ratings
Party Life
1980

TRIUMVIRAT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Spartacus by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.84 | 362 ratings

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Spartacus
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

4 stars Triumvirat's heyday was limited to just two or three albums from the early to mid 1970's (before Helmet Kollen's departure), and "Spartacus" was their magnum opus. Despite other reviewers' unjustified complaints that they were simply an ELP ripoff band, Triumvirat proved with "Spartacus" that they could compose and play an intricate and interesting concept album on an original subject, and deliver a work that has stood the test of time as well as anything that their progenitors ever produced.

The original album contains about 42 minutes of great music, and the remastered version rewards the listener with three previously unreleased live versions of songs from the "Spartacus" album, plus two so-so bonus tracks recorded after this album (more in the prog-pop vein, and sung by the less likable [to me, at least] Barry Palmer). The highlight of the bonus tracks has to be the middle section instrumental of "March to the Eternal City" - they go from the dark and foreboding march theme to an almost funky(!) groove with a extended keyboard solo that sort of sounds like what the Alan Parsons Project would do if they had Triumvirat's chops and audacity. Pretty cool.

But back to the original album - what a fantastic treat this was for anyone into keyboard-driven prog. Jurgen Fritz was just a phenomenal keyboard player; he was fast and inventive and knew just the right time to use the piano or organ or synth or some combination of all. Helmet Kollen played a very busy and melodic bass, supplied some appropriate guitar riffs, and sang the English lyrics in a nice tenor that bore little German accent. The drumming by Hans Bathelt was crisp and clever. While some of the songs bordered on prog-pop and ballads, there were some simply stunning prog workouts throughout the album, not the least of which was the album closer "Spartacus" - layered keyboards, inspirational melodies, and a driving rhythm section make the perfect ending to a very exciting album. Even though some of the lyrics could be a little cheesy or clumsy, they nevertheless to told a good story that you could not ignore despite the virtuosity of the playing.

The sound quality here is fantastic, and even more pronounced for me since the only other copy of this album that I owned was the original vinyl from 1976, the second side of which never quite recovered from the spilled beer incident... (Note to self on one foggy-headed morning in 1977: Hide your albums after the third keg is tapped!) Surely reminiscent of ELP without overt plagiarism, this was a standout keyboard-prog jewel of the mid 1970's. Look for the mouse inside the light bulb, and ENJOY.

4-1/2 stars

 Spartacus by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.84 | 362 ratings

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Spartacus
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by The Genre Spanner

4 stars The tale of Spartacus is an epic and bloody one. In ancient Rome, an escaped gladiator slave leads an uprising of slave rebels to fight in the war against the oppressive higher powers.

Meanwhile in 1975, a German trio of Emerson, Lake and Palmer impersonators were looking for a concept to hang their latest imitation on. They looked to our pal Spartacus and thought, 'well that will do I guess', despite their collection of cheesy musical numbers, despite the album cover being a mouse in a light-bulb, despite the lead vocalist sounding like a German George Costanza...

And yet this album is a lot of fun.

The vibe of Triumvirat's Spartacus is like a rock opera or musical in the style of ELP. There's a strong keyboard focus, with percussive organ solos, fanfare synths, as well as wacky time signatures - it's clear their nod to their heroes is not at all subtle. Songs that come to mind upon grooving to this album are 'Tarkus', 'Trilogy' and 'Karn Evil 9'. But the more restrained tracks sound reminiscent of The Who.

The tunes are very melodic, filled with memorable themes, and are short and sweet for the most part, so it's easily digestible. Compared to ELP there's more compositional focus and accessibility, and it all goes by quickly, perhaps with exception to 'The March to the Eternal City' which plods on a bit. The album is performed with high level of competence and energy, as if Triumvirat were coming from a genuine and inspired place, even if it's clear exactly where that place is. There is perhaps an over-abundance of synth strings, which cheapens the album somewhat, but it's all part of the fun really.

The experience of this album is quite cute; the accented vocal, the adjective-heavy song titles, the lyrics: "In the Gladiator's school, things were perfect, things were coooooooool." It's one big cheese-fest and hard to take seriously. There's even a song called 'The Walls of Doom' that's goofy and cheerful and completely void of any darkness. What on earth were they thinking? Again - all part of the fun.

This is a super entertaining album. There aren't as many dramatic ups and downs as one should expect from a Spartacus themed album, but it's still better than Jeff Wayne's attempt 17 years later.

 À La Carte by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1978
1.68 | 98 ratings

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À La Carte
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

1 stars Triumverat was unfortunately losing their progressive edge and the record label was pressuring Hans-Jurgen Fritz (keyboards) to take the band to even a more radio-friendly sound. The band had gone through an almost complete change of personnel after both Frangerberg (bass) and Hans Bathelt (drums, lyrics) left the band leaving Fritz as the only original member left. Just like Keith Emerson and ELP, Triumverat just couldn't exist without Fritz, and he caved into the pressure from the record label. The album "Pompeii" was released in 1977 and would be the last album to have any semblance of progressive style.

By the time "A la Carte" was released in 1978, there was hardly anything left related to the original band. Except for Fritz, the record company had pretty much taken over and ended up contracting all of the other musicians leaving Fritz with no power forcing him to accept their choices. Barry Palmer, the vocalist on "Pompeii" was replaced by David Hanselmann, Werner Kopal was contracted as the bassist taking over for Dieter Petereit and Matthias Holtmann was hired to take over for drummer Curt Cress. Once again, the band experiences a complete makeover. At least an orchestra and chorus was hired to try to give some backbone to the album, and the result is a top heavy array of musicians standing on top of a very weak and unstable foundation that was destined to fail. What a waste of talent, time and people.

There are no suites or concepts making up this album. It's made up of individual songs that are not tied together at all. Right from the beginning, the sweet saccharine sound of pop blasts your senses with offensively simple music. The Emerson-like keyboards are gone exchanged by cookie cutter electric piano passages and typical rock/pop clichés. And the songs aren't even catchy or interesting at all. The music has hardly any passion even with the forced screaming on "Late Again". The first side of the album is just filled with poppy, yet flat songs that end up all sounding the same, even with the addition of extra background singers and trumpet on "Jo Ann Walker", which tries to get the listener's attention with a story that, frankly, no one cares about. The only thing that breaks up the monotony of the first side is a schmaltzy, over-produced ballad called "For You". Oh my God, it is soooooo bad that it's almost hilarious.

Side 2 starts off with a bad disco rip-off "I Don't Even Know Your Name" complete with brass that sounds like it came off of a conveyor belt that gets even worse when it tries to become a rumba in the instrumental break. The closest thing to any semblance of their past is on "A Bavarian in New York" with some great organ and synth sections, but the vocals (more forced screaming) and brass is so bad that you probably won't even notice. The only instrumental follows with "Original Soundtrack from the Movie 'O.C.S.I.D.'" which will remind you of a disco tornado, that's not a good thing if you were wondering. "Darlin'" is an over-produced cover of The Beach Boys song. The miserable collection of songs ends with "Goodbye", another awful ballad.

This record is a perfect example of what happens when corporate takes over for a band and ruins it completely. No one was interested in this sound and the album sold poorly. Yet, no one learned their lesson from this failure as there was one more attempt at pop stardom with an even worse album to follow. It seems this band was following the same formula as what their main influence followed. "A la Carte" is Triumverat's "Love Beach", but even worse. At least ELP tried to add something that resembled prog with their "Officer and A Gentleman" suite, but for "A la Carte" there is absolutely nothing to hold on to unless you have a desire to hear some really bad pop/disco/commercial music. It's a sad ending for what was once a proud and excellent band. I can't even see how this album would appeal to even die-hard fans and it isn't worth anything to collectors, so I will proclaim this one for completionists only, unless you are interested in seeing just how bad it can get. If you see this one walking down the street, walk on by.

 Old Loves Die Hard by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.47 | 186 ratings

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Old Loves Die Hard
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

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.

 Spartacus by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.84 | 362 ratings

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Spartacus
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars After success both financially and critically with their previous album 'Illusions on a Double Dimple', Triumverat began to work on the follow up album called 'Spartacus', an ambitious concept project that would be a retelling of the tale of the slave turned gladiator. The same trio that made up most of the previous album would be responsible for this album, though it would be the last time that they would be a cohesive band. After that, the band would be in constant flux.

However, 1975, things were looking very bright. Many people were becoming familiar with the Emerson, Lake & Palmer style of their music, which borrowed from ELP's basic sound with heavy reliance on the keyboards of Jurgen Fritz, the vocals (and bass) of Helmut Kollen (the newest member of the group since he was the only non-original member at the time), and lyricist and drummer Hans Bathelt. This is the line-up that would be the one to remember out of all of the band's line-ups. This album immediately landed high up on the Billboard chart, so the band was living the dream.

For a single disc album, it is definitely loaded with music. It has 9 tracks altogether, 3 of which have multiple parts. Beginning with 'The Capital of Power', we get an introductory, instrumental track that sounds more like ELP than anything. In fact, most anybody would easily mistake the sound with that of ELP's most ambitious tracks. It definitely has the pompous style of an introduction to a larger work. Coming up next is the first of the multi-movement tracks 'The School of Instant Pain' which begins with 'Proclamation', which begins with a nice, rhapsodic piano and then brings in the vocals. Kollen sounds nothing like Greg Lake in that his voice isn't quite so flourishing, but it is good enough for the music. 'The Gladiator's Song' moves into a full band sound as the vocals continue amid synths, bass and complex drumming. Things soon change as the tempo picks up with a new meter and some complex passages before returning to the main theme, but with a very dynamic accompaniment, never relying on the same background just like you would expect from ELP. The suite slips into 'Roman Entertainment' which features some fancy organ playing and Palmer-like percussion. The drums are definitely more like Palmer's percussion than the previous album thus making it even harder to distinguish between the two bands especially on the instrumental sections. Bathelt really gets to show off with a great drum solo known as the fourth section called 'The Battle'.

'The Walls of Doom' is another instrumental, this time with a more solid beat and melodic hook that will capture your attention. This eventually becomes more progressive and complex as the music builds up to a more promenade style. Things slow down a bit for 'The Deadly Dream of Freedom', a more ballad-like track with a lot of piano, acoustic guitar and vocals, later with symphonic elements brought in by synths. This has a nice melody, not very progressive, but it still fits in nicely for what could have been a single. 'The Hazy Shades of Dawn' ends the first side with another synth-led instrumental that is presented as a march-style track, another processional style that pulls in a recognizable theme several times throughout the track.

'The Burning Sword of Capua' opens up the 2nd half with a dramatic and cinematic beginning heralded by organ chords later joined by synth effects, rolling drums and thumping bass. 'The Sweetest Sound of Liberty' brings back Kollen's vocals and reminds the listener of a Lake-style ballad complete with a reliance more on the acoustic guitar. 'The March to the Eternal City' is a 3-part suite that continues to rely on vocals to further the story along. It begins with 'Dusty Road' fading in on a solid moderate beat with a darker atmosphere as danger seems to lurk. The music soon becomes reliant on piano and vocals, a lovely melody again with a lot of drama attached. The blues-based motif returns between verses and builds to the 2nd part 'Italian Improvisation'. The bass builds tension with a catchy riff that eventually brings in a synth solo based around the heavy riff, a great and exciting highlight for the album. The tension is released as the original blues-style returns bringing back the heaviness at the first of the track and making up the 3rd sub-section called 'First Success' with vocals coming back in towards the end.

Finally, the album closes with the last of the multi-movement suites, the title tracks 'Spartacus'. Starting with 'The Superior Force of Rome', you can feel the entire concept wrapping up with a variation of the themes that have appeared throughout. Starting with a vocal section, it soon gathers a lot of energy as the synths and a honky-tonk styled piano comes in. All of the themes come together creating the epilogue to the story and things get tied together. Synths and piano trade places as the vocal sections are tied together with some fast-paced interludes, soon the instrumental sections take over for 'A Broken Dream' and 'The Finale', these tracks showing off Fritz's keyboard talents as the keys get to show off.

The overall feeling of the album isn't quite as heavy as that of 'Tarkus' by ELP, but it still gives you all of the excitement of that album. It might not be quite as complex either, but you may not even notice that. But you will notice how the sound is very much like ELP, and those that love the more progressive and complex music of that band will definitely be impressed by this album (and the previous one for that matter) by Triumverat. Yes, they might be considered a clone band, but they were definitely capable of producing music that at times can be mistaken for ELP quite easily, the main difference being the vocalist.

Speaking of Kollen (the vocalist), this would be his last album with the band. He decided to go solo at this point. However, both Fritz and Bathelt would participate in his solo album in part to show that there were no hard feelings. Kollen returned to Triumverat at that time, but soon figured out that his voice couldn't handle the range in the new songs, so he decided to concentrate on his solo career. Barry Palmer was brought in to sing on the next album and original bassist Werner Frangerberg also came back. Sadly, Kollen would later be found in his car dead from carbon monoxide poisoning that he suffered while listening to his own demos. The band after this just couldn't get settled as the lineup continued to change and they also started to sound more commercial. But, at least, they carved their own niche in progressive music history and have been remembered quite fondly for this album and their previous one, albums that can easily stand up next to ELP's best works, thus also creating an alternative for those that can't get enough of that sound.

 Illusions On A Double Dimple by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 405 ratings

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Illusions On A Double Dimple
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Triumvirat is to Emerson, Lake and Palmer as Starcastle is to Yes. Triumverat is made up of 3 excellent musicians that have been compared to ELP as a clone band, but no one can deny how talented they are, and they would have to be to be accurately compared to them. Just like ELP, they are made up of 3 individuals, however the line-up did change several times through their history. However, the one constant is keyboardist Jurgen Fritz, who can definitely make some complex and bright keyboard driven music.

Their 2nd album 'Illusions on a Double Dimple' sees the band shining with some complex and excellent symphonic rock, of course, in the same style as ELP. In fact, this band started out playing covers of ELP tracks, but they were good enough to make music of their own. In this album, the music is divided up into two suites, each taking up a full side of the album. However, right away with this album, you can see the main difference of changing line-ups as the first side ('Illusions on a Double Dimple') features the original bassist Hans-Georg Pape, where the 2nd side ('Mister Ten Percent') features the bassist/vocalist that replaced him; Helmut Kollen. The drummer (and often co-writer) on this album is Hans Batheilt.

The first suite, the title track, begins with a quick introductory vocal track 'Flashback' which soon moves into a good, upbeat track 'Schooldays'. But it's on the track 'Triangle' that the band's instrumental talent begins to show through, especially Fritz's talent as he pretty much takes the spotlight in the same way that Emerson would. Kollen's vocals are a bit more rock oriented than Lake's, but he still has a good range and a powerful voice. As the first suite continues, you will also notice that the music is also more structured than ELP's in that there is less improvisation, though there is some. It also seems that each musician has an important part to play, its not as centered as much on Fritz's talent as it is in Emerson's case. The music is still quite entertaining and interesting in its own right, complex, but not always as complex. It is also a bit less reliant on classical music. As the music continues through the movements 'Illusions' 'Dimplicity' and 'Last Dance' you notice some returning themes that bring everything together nicely, and you will also notice sections that are similar to Emerson-penned tracks. All of the music on this first suite is quite upbeat, no ballads or slower sections exist. Bathelt isn't quite as dynamic of a drummer as Palmer, but he holds his own with the complex passages.

'Mister Ten Percent' is the name of the 2nd suite, also made up of 6 movements. Starting off with 'Maze', now you can hear some similarities to another prog band, that is 'Yes'. The first movement is mostly instrumental except for a couple of sudden breaks where they sing 'Ahhh' and other little passages will remind you of bits and pieces off of various Yes albums. The piano is more straightforward, similar to Rick Wakeman's piano. But then when the vocals in 'Dawning' begin, you hear a certain over-the-top delivery more akin to Greg Lake. There is the inclusion of The Cologne Opera House Orchestra and Kurt Edelhagen Brass Section on this part of the album that fleshes out the music even more, and now you can hear a new dimension to the music besides the ELP/Yes similarities. A nice bass solo even separates Triumverat apart even more as 'Bad Deal' continues and then the section know as 'Roundabout'. Yep, they did that. But it's not the same song, just the same title as the Yes track. As it all goes on, the ELP likeness comes back to the fore when Fritz opens up on the keys again. The band then takes another clue for naming the subsections as the next is called 'Lucky Girl' (similar to the title of ELP's 'Lucky Man'). You even get the acoustic guitar suddenly taking over as it drives this part of the suite along, but at least it's not a direct rip off as there is plenty of help from the other members, but it is the most laid-back part of the album. It is different enough from the ELP track that if it hadn't been similarly named, you probably wouldn't even notice any similarities. It all ends with 'Million Dollars' which brings everything together for this side of the album.

This album helped bring the band out into the spotlight as they toured many countries opening for 'Fleetwood Mac' and other bands. It would be the follow up album 'Sparticus' that would get the band notoriety in the states. However, as a lead up to that album, this one has also become one of the band's most revered albums among lovers of progressive music. It is hard not to compare the band to ELP however, as the there are so many similarities. But, even if they are a clone band, they can handle themselves quite well, and, if you couldn't get enough of the best years of ELP, then you will defintately want to check out Triumverat's better albums. Its excellent keyboard-driven symphonic prog and they have also been able to get the respect they deserved among prog circles.

 Illusions On A Double Dimple by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 405 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
1.50 | 87 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
3.84 | 362 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
3.62 | 239 ratings

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Mediterranean Tales (Across The Waters)
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

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!

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

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