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




Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 382 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The sophomore Triumvirat release is in my opinion (and of many) the top achievement of this German power trio. As stylish as "Spartacus" can undeniably appear to the educated progressive ear, it is in "Illusions on a Double Dimple" that Triumvirat reveal themselves on top of their game regarding sonic power. During the recording process, Hans Pape was still in charge of the guitar/bass department, but Helmut Köllen was just making his way into the band (something that Fritz embraced quite gladly) until he eventually filled the stringed instrument department by himself. His singing was capable, being melodic and strong at the same time, so he became the third part of Triumvirat's classical line-up. Bathelt's drumming is more inventive and engaging than it ever was or would ever be in successive albums, so as I said earlier in this review, the trio was in top form and comprising its best line-up. The first of both suites is the best amalgamated one in terms of thematic unity; the second one, on the other hand, surpasses the first in terms of thematic development and energy - together, they state a solid album in which the ELP framework meets a creative variation that is more focused on clean melodic sensitivity and a bit less of pomposity and aggressiveness. This is made very clear from the beginning through the fluid sequence of the 'Illusions on a Double Dimple' opening section 'Flashback' and the follower 'Schooldays'. The bombastic delivery of the three main portions of 'Triangle' finds Fritz showing off his mastery on piano, Moog synthesizer and Hammond organ, successively. The last section fades out as the famous "sacked Last Friday" monologue enters in to start the 'Illusions'/'Dimplicity' section: being a catchy alternation of soft romantic prog and rock'n'roll, it properly portrays a perfect example of the sort of constrained pomposity that characterized Triumvirat. After an abbreviated reprise of 'Triangle', 'Last Dance' closes down the suite with a joyful mood evidently based on Central European folk. 'Mister Ten Percent' starts with what arguably is the best Fritz composition ever: 'Maze' - a solid instrumental full of inspired mannerisms from Baroque and Neoclassical schools, very Emersonian, with an intended rough rhythm section. 'Dawning' is a lovely piano solo than soon gives way to the sarcastic 'Bad Deal' (combining R'n'B and rock'n'roll). This, in turn, is followed by yet another instrumental tour-de-force entitled 'Roundabout', which is longer than 'Maze', including more excerpts, being almost as splendid. 'Lucky Girl', in spite of the obvious hint at ELP's acoustic side (also with music written by the singer-guitarist-bassist instead of the keyboardist), has a more similar feel to Yes. This description fits the extended Moog solo as well, which bears a very deep Wakemanesque vibe. 'Million Dollars' flows quite well from the end of the previous section, displaying a mid-tempo exercise on melodic prog in a convincing return to the predominant ELP influence. The only minor points that bother me somehow whenever I listen to this album are the extra additions of female choral arrangements, sting section and brass ensemble. Well, the latter is not that annoying since I find it as making sense within the nuclear ambitions pursued in the two suites, but I tend to find the female vocals and string arrangements quite corny, almost approaching the muzak scheme and so, unnecessarily toning down the music's inherent majesty. Specific objections aside, "Illusions on a Double Dimple" is in itself an excellent manifestation of the best that Germany had to give to the symphonic prog rock scene worldwide: it is only a justice of Fate that Triumvirat had to catch the attention of wider audiences over the world with this album.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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