Music Band Name: Triumvirat
6 Stars
Subject: The Elephant In The Room
Posted by: Beatlenik on April 14, 2016

Format: Audio CD

Okay, let's address the elephant in the room. Everyone else has. It is 1974. ELP and Yes are on hiatus. College kids are looking for the next Prog Rock door buster.
And what have we here? We have a keyboardist with wizard fingers, a bass/guitar player on lead vocals, and a drummer who can match the keys and time signature changes with astounding accuracy. Is it a blatant attempt at cashing on a tried and true supergroup's success or is it circumstance? Let's see. Emerson's bent is at fusing classical music with concert rock. Jurgen Fritz, not so much, more interested in jazz fusion interlacing. Lake's lyricism is for the most part bombastic or humorous ("someone get me a ladder"??? really?). Fritz and Bathelt wrote much more sensible, sincere, and accessible lyrics. In fact they are closer to Supertramp in nature than ELP. Helmut Kollen in fact has a more diverse delivery than Lake. Bathelt's prowess on percussion and timing easily matches Palmer and he seems more at home with fusion jazz than classical rock. Yes you can draw comparisons, but that is all you can do. My geeky progressive rock college crowd and I ate this (and Spartacus afterwards) up without a single dart being thrown at ELP. Someone here who reviewed this said he found them more in line with Yes than ELP. To a certain degree this is true, except for the lyricism, entirely different animals. Triumvirat wrote working class song lyrics, Yes experimented with stream of consciousness writing that went deeper than simple sentences and rhyme scheme. As stated earlier, I find the "message" in the music to be more closely aligned to Supertramp or even to Genesis (Selling England By The Pound comes directly to mind). SPARTACUS will be a triumph of concept art, but for pure unadulterated entertainment, the money and prize goes to ILLUSIONS ON A DOUBLE DIMPLE.

Triumvirat sometimes suffered from the same regaling which accompanied Starcastle, a Midwestern American progressive rock group which was insufferably called a Yes clone. I love their first two albums, the singer does have a Jon Andersonish voice and the musical composition has a definite similarity to Yes, but at the same time the overall "feeling" of the music is bright, much lighter, and much more "Amercian" than Yes' music. In the same vein, Tiumvirat, a German group, has a "feeling" to it which is as far away from Emerson Lake & Palmer as Kansas is. Their muse is sociopolitical and very continental European for that time, but with a backbone that reached into the American social consciousness as well. That being said, one could more easily compare them to Pink Floyd, Supertramp, and yes Genesis or Tull, but only lyrically. The music is Triumvirat, all theirs, and quite remarkable on its own. After SPARTACUS the light would unfortunately fade as OLD LOVES DIE HARD began a downward spiral where the muse seemed to all but vanish. POMPEII was a valiant effort at recapturing the SPARTACUS magic but it fell short and after that, fans drifted away. The predecessor to ILLUSIONS was a 1972 effort called MEDITERRANEAN TALES which was a bit disjointed and only showed a hint of the promise which would be fulfilled with ILLUSIONS. It grabbed some late sales from the curious who were looking for more double dimples, but ultimately failed in the hope as one quickly discovered a keyboard driven disjointed experiment.

This sophomore album and it's followup were the peak of creativity for the band as all three members seemed to be interlocked in perfect sync with each other. Especially on this album, the creative juices simply made a superb cocktail (well of course! A double dimple is a high ball drink with peach schnapps, rum, and fruit juices; and Dimple in the UK is a brand of Scotch so make mine a double!).

So back to the elephant in the room. Is Triumvirat an ELP rip-off, a "poor man's ELP", a blatant attempt at musical one-upmanship? No. Not even close. All you have to do is close your eyes and listen...


Music Band Name: Triumvirat
6 Stars
Subject: For complete xnophiles only to a prog-rock masterwork
Posted by: S. Sherry on October 13, 2018

Format: Audio CD

Nice review by Beatlenik, well done.

Trimvirat Reviews:

JUNE 17, 2015 5:27PM ET

50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time


Review of Triumvirat, ‘Illusions on a Double Dimple’ (1974) rated at #45 on the all time list

Quote from Rolling Stone:

"This German trio is often branded as a clone of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, which is an unfair, if understandable, dismissal. Propelled by Jürgen Fritz's keyboard arsenal of grand piano, Hammond organ and Moog synth, the band were clearly versed in the science of Brain Salad Surgery. But what they lacked in originality they made up for with mind-boggling chops. Triumvirat's second LP, 1974's Illusions on a Double Dimple, is a prog-rock masterwork, incorporating operatic choirs and bursts of pop levity into two seamless, side-spanning epics. They softened their approach later in the decade in a quest for commercial stability — and failed miserably. But thanks to Illusions, Triumvirat's legacy among the prog firmament was secure. R.R."

Whoa Nelly!

From the Rolling Stone Record Guide - 1979 - Reviews and ratings of almost 10,000 currently available rock, pop, soul, country, blues, jazz, and gospel albums.
Edited by Dave Marsh with John Swenson. A Random House / Rolling Stone Press book, Copyright 1979 by Rolling Stone Press

Page 389

TRIUVIRAT - rating (*) by one out of 5 stars:

* A La Carte / Capitol ST-11862
* Illusions on a Double Dimple / Harvest ST-11311
* Mediterranean Tales / Electra 29441
*Old Loves Dies Hard / Capitol ST-11551
*PompeiI / Capitol ST-11697

Record Guide Review:
"Finland's contribution to Seventies progressive rock. For Focus fans or complete xnophiles only. --J.S."
End of Review

Even the new revised edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide from 1983 has the exact same review on page 517.

The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll from 1983 - Edited by Jon Pareles and Patricia Romanowski, drops the band entirely
from the edition, No mention of them!

Except for "A La Cart", I own them all on import and domestic LPs. from the 1970's in mint condition.

In case you don't know, xnophile stands for "a person who likes foreigners or things foreign".

So, in 2015 Rolling Stone now recognizes the band as a German band, not from Finland, and that Double Dimple is a "prog-rock masterwork.!

Wow, talk about revisionist history.

I dropped my subscription to Rolling Stone Magazine decades ago because they were more interested in what a band was wearing, their makeup, tattoos etc... their image, and not the substance of the music.

In 1986 started to subscribe to GOLDMINE Magazine. They covered independent bands and reviewed past reissues etc... More authentic and reliable. Unfortunately over the years the hard copy size has been reduced
to the point where my 60+ year old eyes struggle to read the small print, stopped getting the publication.

I would consider buying the remastered 2012 CD, but not for 50+ dollars, for half that much probably.