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Triumvirat - Illusions On A Double Dimple CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 385 ratings

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5 stars When I ask my friends about "Illusions on a Double Dimple", most of them seem to like the music, but almost everyone believes TRIUMVIRAT is some kind of "B" class band that cloned ELP music, IMHO they are all wrong, the band's music and specially their wonderful arrangements are so unique and well designed that "Illusions a Double Dimple" is at least as strong as the best ELP album, but totally different. They may sound similar because both bands work as a power trio The Rat uses some ELP influences but for nothing more, and it's totally unfair to call them clones or copyists. Lets try to kill the myth man by man:

Jürgen Fritz is an excellent keyboardist and multi instrumentalist plus a talented composer, his style has an obvious influence of Keith Emerson, but his style is absolutely different, while Keith is worried about creating a bombastic or epic sounds, Jürgen tries to be less spectacular but much more solid, probably less classical oriented (by choice not for lack of skills or training), Fritz music flows in a gentler way even when the song's structure forces him to do dramatic changes.

Helmut Köllen was a very talented guitars and bass player (As Greg Lake), but in this case I believe Hans has a much smaller ego, he never tries to shine over the band, he played for TRIUMVIRAT and not for his glory, something Greg forgets some times. He also had a great voice but a terrible German accent. When he left the bad tried to make a solo career but in 1977 sadly died while listening his unreleased tracks in the car poisoned by carbon monoxide.

Hans Bathelt style at drums is the opposite of Carl Palmer; even though he's very strong his roots are obviously in Jazz more than in classical (which is Carl's main influence), he's less solid in the bass drums but his work with metals is amazing.

"Illusions on a Double Dimple" is a perfect band work where personal ambitions are left aside for the wealth of the band, they even called Hans Pape (an ex-member) to help them with the bass in almost all side A, the arrangements for the Cologne House Symphony Orchestra and the Kurt Edelhagen brass section are simply delightful and imaginative, similar to nothing ELP had ever done before 1973.

As not many people know it's a conceptual album about the personal views of life that the band had in the early 70's. The album is divided in two multi-song epics.

"ILLUSIONS ON A DOUBLE DIMPLE" is IMHO the stronger of both epics, the radical changes are amazing and the entire band is perfect, being of course Jürgen Fritz absolutely spectacular. This first side of the album is divided in six songs and begins with "Flashback", a melancholic piano and vocals introduction that resumes the spirit of the side, expressing their fears about life and death. The change between this song and the second one "Schooldays" is amazing, they turn from sadness to a bright and happy sound but keeping the melancholic atmosphere, the guitar work is amazing.

Song three "Triangle" starts with a soft piano and rhythmic triangle sound that's soon followed by the rest of the band, taking gently the music towards a short but beautiful chorus (by Ulla Wiesner, Brigitte Thomas & Hanna Dolitzsch), but then the song changes to a more aggressive synth based sound, that at the end changes to a very complex section where the members of the band really rock, specially Hans Pape in the bass. This hard section is constantly interrupted by choral fragments,. pure prog' rock!!! After a couple more changes more, the song ends with a beautiful keyboards and vocal section that leads to the fourth song.

"Illusions" is probably the one of the most beautiful songs of the whole album despite it's short duration, starts with a spoken section by Peter Cadera, a bit mysterious and would be sad if it wasn't for his strong accent which is a bit shocking, this short intro is followed by a vocal and piano passage very dramatic and again melancholic, with the chorus that adds a bit of drama, if anyone still believed TRIUMVIRAT sounded like ELP, should have changed his mind by this point, the Manticore band never did something remotely similar to this song.

The next song "Dimplicity" starts with a fast and light drumming, followed by the voice of Köllen, and supported by the same chorus that smoothes at least a bit his hard accent. The changes are also dramatic with complex polyphonic sound and crossed rhythms, another wonderful track, the epic has reached the climax with the chorus acting as an additional instrument that replaces the absence of mellotron, great apotheosis!!!

The last song of the first epic "Last Dance" starts with a jazzy drum that leads to a change where the keyboards take the lead, at this point I find more reminiscences of ELP, a short complex passage constantly interrupted by keyboard sections lead to the end with a strong rock & roll passage, 23:11 minutes of great progressive Rock.

Side B (original LP format) presents the second epic "MISTER TEN PERCENT" also divided in 6 songs, the introduction "Maze" starts stronger than side A, with a jazzy piano supported by horns, shocking chorals but when the whole band enters they reach a more aggressive sound, almost violent specially for the solid drumming. Ends with a section that reminds me a bit of Peter Gunn especially for the strong bass, this time played by Helmut Köllen.

Without any interruption starts the second song "Dawning", softer than the previous and more like side A, with a extremely beautiful piano track that is dramatically stopped by the famous Mister Ten Percent lyrics which announce the next song "Bad Deal", that sounds as a threaten against an abusive landlord, supported by a beautiful keyboard section the song ends with a jazzy section with the peculiar style of Triumvirat, a band that can change style in a matter of fraction of seconds. Hans Bathelt does his stronger job with the drums and Köllen's bass is stronger than ever.

The next song "Roundabout" is the first point where ELP and TRIUMVIRAT meet in an obvious way, a song that carries the spirit of Tarkus, but again the arrangements are so unique that never turns into a cheap copy, they work the influence in a very professional style.

"Lucky Girl" is the softer song of the album and the only one composed by Helmut Köllen, in this case the acoustic guitar and the name are a clear reference to Lucky Man, but even when the song is almost a ballad (or power ballad), has no relation with the ELP hit, except maybe for the keyboard section that sounds very familiar to ELP fans even when the track ends totally different and join immediately with the closer song "Million Dollars", which works as a nostalgic summary of the atmosphere of the album, the ending section is again extremely beautiful and a bit sad, great song.

I don't usually justify my ratings, but in this case I will make an exception, the album is one of the most clearly progressive ones I ever heard, the music, production, arrangements and skills of the musicians are wonderful, probably TRIUMVIRAT is the best German band and IMHO Illusions on a Double Dimple is their best album, there are some obvious influences but every band must be influenced by somebody, so I will go with 5 stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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