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Triumvirat: Spartacus (Remastered)

Finally! After being out of print for over a decade, Triumvirat’s most popular album has been remastered by EMI Germany. Triumvirat attained considerable commercial success in the United States during the mid 1970’s and this, their third album, even made the Billboard top 30. Think of Triumvirat as the German answer to Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Often considered a clone band, they nevertheless released some great music during their lifetime.

Spartacus is a concept album that traces the titular character’s journey from prisoner of war to a gladiator who attempts to free his fellow Roman slaves from tyranny. Though the lyrics can be a little on the silly side, one can pretty much tune out some of the inanities while still following the storyline. Despite any weaknesses in the lyrics, the music is classic seventies progressive rock. Led by keyboardist virtuoso Jurgen Fritz, the music is surely as great as any album by ELP. Although his style of Hammond organ playing is strongly influenced by Keith Emerson, Fritz adds his own personality with regard to the string synthesizer which often lends the symphonic music a cosmic edge. Drummer/lyricist Hans Bathelt is similarly a powerhouse percussionist and he very nearly gives Carl Palmer a run for his money! Even bassist/vocalist Helmut Kollen’s style of playing is remarkably like that of Greg Lake. Of course, he isn’t nearly the singer that Lake was but he still acquits himself just fine. It’s quite difficult to choose favorites among the album’s original nine tracks. But "The School of Instant Pain" and its exciting instrumental section is surely a highlight. I also love "The March to the Eternal City". Its rousing Moog work during the "Italian Improvisation" is a dead ringer for Emerson’s spacey workout in the "Aquatarkus" section of the Welcome Back My Friends version of "Tarkus". There are also a couple of welcome bonus tracks, including a live version of "The Capital of Power". Recorded during the band’s American tour of 1975, one can only hope that more live music from this band is eventually released. Also ending the CD is "Showstopper", a previously unreleased studio track that was considered out of place for the original Spartacus album.

The remastered sound is spectacular with crisp clear highs and deep resounding bass during the album’s frequent synthesizer excursions. All in all, Spartacus is a classic and is highly recommended to Emerson, Lake and Palmer freaks. Now if only EMI Germany would get around to re-releasing the next phase of Eloy CDs…

Added: October 20th 2002
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Official Triumvirat Homepage
Hits: 15081
Language: english

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