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Triumvirat - Illusions on a Double Dimple CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.97 | 475 ratings

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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.

TCat | 4/5 |


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