Triumvirat Reviews

Also see: St. Louis Keyboard Extravaganza

Bookmarks: Album Re-releases ~ New Album ~ 2004 Status

From: Mark Fonda <>
My long-standing undervalued Prog band is Triumvirat.   This German trio was most often referred to as an ELP clone. I've always thought of them as being great instrumentalists in their own right. Jurgen Fritz was a master of the keyboards and he produced some raspy synth sounds I have not heard elsewhere. Take the song 'Eleven Kids' for example off the album MEDITERRANEAN TALES (1972)... the synthesizer line just jumps out and grabs you!! Granted their vocals were a little cheesy at times (English w/heavy German accent) but they improved with each release and SPARTACUS (1975) was a masterpiece IMO. All their releases are now available on CD.

From: Mark Fonda <>
I know some of you get 'Tales Across the Waters', the Triumvirat newsletter, but I'm going to pass this on anyway. See the URL below for the rest of the newsletter.
>>>>>>>>>> TATW Issue #014 (Wed, 22 Jul 1998)
We have waited eighteen years to hear this, and now it is really official! According to a statement released Monday, July 6, from the office of Triumvirat's agent in Cologne, Germany, "Triumvirat is returning to the international music scene within weeks. Be prepared for a surprise." J?gen Fritz called me to confirm this as well. At this very moment, J?gen is beginning plans to produce a new album under the name "Triumvirat", and follow it up with live shows, presumably to be recorded for a possible live album and video. This information is so new that it is still a bit sketchy. We do know that J?gen Fritz will be producing and playing keyboards on the new Triumvirat album. What we don't know yet is the exact lineup of musicians. J?gen confirmed for me Saturday morning that "Curt Cress will definitely be the drummer" and that Barry Palmer will be invited back for vocals! The most amazing thing is that Triumvirat is already booked for some major festivals that I cannot yet announce in both Europe and the USA for the summer of 1999. <>
Other confirmed information from J?gen Fritz in Cologne is that some of the hard-to-find gems of the Triumvirat catalogue will be re-released on CD very soon, presumably in conjunction with the new Triumvirat album, which should be appearing in early 1999. These include the legendary "Spartacus", "Illusions On A Double Dimple", and Helmut's 1977 solo album "You Won't See Me".
Lastly, I would like to publicly thank J?gen, for listening to and acting upon the fan's requests for the return of Triumvirat. This could be the greatest chapter in the history of this band, as well as the chance for many of us to see them live for the first time.
Welcome back, Triumvirat!   Russ Shaw; Triumvirat Website Author/USA Liaison/Biographer

From: Mark Fonda
Sorry, I just can't contain myself over this one!! More incredible news for you prog keyboard freaks!
>>>>>>>>>> TATW Issue #014 (Wed, 22 Jul 1998)
Time for more exciting news. Robert La Duca is attempting to contact ELP management about having P? Lindh Project perform in a joint tour of ELP/PLP some time next year if possible. This could mean hearing live pieces such as "The Three Fates", if the two groups get together on several pieces in addition to a joint tour. P? Lindh responded back to me by e-mail (within a day) that he would gladly listen to the Barry Palmer solo works and Triumvirat vocals (he is only 36). Russ and I have arranged for Barry to listen to all the releases by P? Lindh. The idea came to me when I heard that Mastermind and Barry were listening to each other's works, but geographically too far from each other to really pursue working together on a joint project. However, P? has his own Crimsonic studio/label in Sweden, Robert La Duca is in favor of them joining together, and everyone is open to the realistic possibility of something happening next year possibly if time and details can be worked out. Stay tuned for details as they develop. <>
Check the P? Lindh website for updates on USA cities his band will play at in 1998, followed by a few cities in France. Recording of the next PLP CD will probably start in early 1999. With the recent TRIUMVIRAT news, the fan base has a realistic possibility of creating an ELP/TRIUMVIRAT/PLP triple header concert. This is not a joke. With Robert and P?'s support, we already can make 2/3 of this happen. You could possibly hear Barry Palmer singing full sets with two groups. Wouldn't you pay almost any price just to hear one Emerson/Fritz/P? Lindh keyboard jam session or even 2/3 of one? It is up to the fans to show support for joint tours with groups like ELP whose management inappropriately chose ELP to open for the non-progressive, less popular group of Deep Purple. Stay tuned for new developments!  Joe Toohey; TATW Newsletter Editor/Distributor

From: "Jeff Marx" <>
Oh happy happy day!! I expect Jurgen to come back and settle for all time the great superiority in sound of analog synths vs. digital as he did more superb analog work on the four major Triumvirat releases than Emmo did on pre-"Works" ELP releases. Make sure to visit the Triumvirat website if you want more information.  As Brett has said, this is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime event.  I can't wait to hear Par Lindh get his hands on that Triumvirat material...the video concerts are sure to be memorable!

From: "Shipley, Craig" <>
> Is the real Triumvirat getting back together?
Who do you consider the real Triumvirat to consist of? The trio that did SPARTACUS? (can't happen, bass player dead of accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning). The quartet (Quadumvirat?) that did OLD LOVES and POMPEII? The mess o' studio musicians that did ALA CARTE & RUSSIAN ROULETTE? (God, I hope not!!) Personally, I would love to see Fritz on keys with Petereit on bass and Cress on drums (I happen to like early Passport, too!) and Barry can sing, if they choose to do an album with vocals (might be interesting to hear an all-instrumental T'rat release, for once...) I would REALLY like to hear the SPARTACUS line-up, if that were possible, but it isn't...  Well, all I can say is that I hope the direction is more towards the progressive side of T'Rat, instead of towards the pop atrocities that were ALA CARTE and RUSSIAN ROULETTE. If it is anything like those last two, my credit card will remain firmly in my wallet. I don't want to hear a complete re-hash of SPARTACUS or the sound (although I really love the synth sounds on that release the most, plus the tunes are just so dang good!!), but I would like to hear Jurgens' interpretation of "prog rock on the cusp of the New Millennium", instead of "gee, how can we sound like the German keyboard version of <>?"

From: "Brett Rains"
Greetings! The folks-in-the-know are being pretty close-lipped about it, but the word is the 'new' Triumvirat will NOT sound anything like the "Spartacus" & "Illusions On A Double Dimple" era T'Rat. Jurgen Fritz is scheduled to begin work on the new album this month, but anybody who knows about Mr. Fritz knows this is subject to change. Barry Palmer won't be part of the new project. There's supposedly a couple of 'surprise' gigs scheduled for later this year that are also being kept secret. ('Progfest', maybe?) I for one would love to hear that "Spartacus" sound again, & here's hoping, but apparently Jurgen doesn't want to rehash his past. In any event, it'll be interesting.

From: "Jeff Marx" <>
Well...this is a sad thing to me, as "Spartacus" was Triumvirat's high-watermark.  Certainly Jurgen's mastery of moogs/hammond/piano represents some of prog's finest playing.  If he doesn't want to revisit the mid-seventies era, that's his decision, though I think he's liable to regret it (ask ELP if they regret not reaching their BSS-era playing/composing in the 90's). All the more reason to embrace the Triumvirat Tribute that Par Lindh Project, Barry Palmer, and Alaksa are shooting for in June!!

From: "Mark Fonda" <>
Yes, disappointing to say the least!  I've always loved Triumvirat's first four albums: MEDITERRANEAN TALES, ILLUSIONS ON A DOUBLE DIMPLE, SPARTACUS and OLD LOVES DIE HARD. But, you never know, maybe Jurgen will surprise us all!

From: "Brett Rains"
<This goes out to Craig, Brett, Mark, or any other T'Rat enthusiast...I know the first five Triumvirat albums very well, but Ala Carte and Russian Roulette not at all. Are these along the Pompeii lines, or are they completely off-the-wall, non-prog entities?   I've been thinking about picking up Ala Carte, but there seems to be an almost universal loathing of it?
"Ala Carte" & "Russian Roulette" are Triumvirat albums in name only. At this point, Jurgen Fritz was the only member of Triumvirat & the albums mentioned were done with a revolving cast of studio musicians. I wouldn't recommend either one unless you are a completist in collecting Jurgen's music. IMO these are uninspired & lifeless, & do not sound like the music T'Rat made earlier on. Especially avoid "Ala Carte". There's good reason it is despised-- it sucks. I don't know what Mr. Fritz was thinking when he signed off on this clinker. A poor attempt at sounding 'modern' (for the time) & disjointed at best. Stick with the first four.

From: "Craig Shipley" <>
Beautiful summary, Brett. If you like pop-poop and how low can a prog-rock band go, by all means snag a copy of ALA CARTE. If anyone is REALLY a T'Rat fan and must have a "white-label" (pre-production) pressing of both ALA CARTE and OLD LOVES..., make me an offer! I paid $35 bucks for this combo, as the note in the record store stated that the LP accompanying the OLDH was an un-released T'Rat LP!!! Can you imagine my shock and dismay upon placing said LP on the turntable and hearing "Waterfall"? :-( (There is a reason why the LP sleeve and label are all white, as in "elephant"). Still, for the collector out there, "I got something you might want..."  If you want to get a feel for the last two T'rat LP's, go check out the T'rat Web page. Read the lyrics, look at all the guest musicians and decide for yourself.

From: <>
I'll bet it's been at least 15 years since I've listened to A La Carte, but I remember it as being pure rubbish. I should listen to it again though. I pulled out the first three this week ('Tales..", 'Illusions...', and 'Spartacus') for a play. All 3 are classics!! The discussions renewed my interest in T'rat.

From: "Jeff Marx" <>
> hello everyone. just saw this album in my local vinyl store. New Triumvirat-Presents Pompeii... is this one of the dogs everyone was talking about or is it good?
No, it's not a dog.  Many people judge Triumvirat on the strength of their first 3 or 4 albums, "Mediterraenean Tales," "Illusions on a Double Dimple," "Spartacus," and "Old Loves Die Hard."  Those are generally considered their best releases. "Pompeii" came next, billed as New Triumvirat, due to personnel changes.  However you look at it, principal member/keyboardist Jurgen Fritz was there and "Pompeii" had it's share of fine playing. If I had the opportunity, I'd snatch it up if I wanted to hear excellent keyboard-oriented prog.   The dogs to stay away from at all costs are "A La Carte," and "Russian Roulette," which came after "Pompeii."

From: "Shipley, Craig" <>
> Now lets take a step back and see who has listened to Triumvirat's album Spartacus and what do you think of it?
I have listened to this one since 1975 when WHFS in Washington DC played "March To The Eternal City" late one rainy evening (amazing how I can still remember that incident!). They didn't identify the song at the time, but the word "Spartacus" stuck out, so off to the record store in search of an LP with "Spartacus" in it. It was E-Z to find... ;-) This release is essential for lovers of the keys/bass/drums trio. Triumvirat was unfairly saddled with the "ELP-klone" title. This release has NO bad tracks on it, start to finish. Highlights to me are the title track, Gladiators Song" and "March To The Eternal City" If you only buy one Triumvirat release, it should be this one. Caveat emptor: all the others will sound inferior after you hear this one (if you see a copy of "Ala Carte", run away screaming, holding your wallet firmly in your pocket. Do NOT be tempted!)

Brett Rains <>
"Spartacus" is Triumvirat's high water-mark. IMO, one of prog's best (& overlooked) albums. I've practically worn out my original vinyl copy, & can't wait for the cd reissues later this year. Essential stuff.

From: "Lawless, Steven" <>
I only recently bought Spartacus, as I only recently became aware of T'rat from their website at Having listened to the album from start to finish maybe 2 dozen times since I bought it, I have to say I find the album from start to finish a fantastic listening pleasure. I agree that the ELP clone line is sometimes used in a detrimental way and prejudices the potential listener. It seems that any band who uses this power trio lineup and does so with some success is inevitably compared to ELP and is always from the start therefore at a handicap. The album is from start to finish one of my favorite prog rock albums and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys prog rock. I have also heard that some would say that their prior album is even better, i.e., Illusions on a Double Dimple. I have not heard this album, so I will reserve my opinion until Christmas, 1999, when it will be reissued and I will gladly put it on my Christmas list and hope Santa likes prog rock and gives it to me.

From: Jeff Marx <>
If I was stuck on a desert island with only three albums, Spartacus would be one of them :) It may be the greatest display of Hammond/moog mastery on a studio recording (I know, what about BSS or Inferno?) ever. Jurgen was sure a master....we'll see where he wants to take T'Rat music in the 90's whenever the new album comes out.

From: Marcelo Gutierrez <>
IMO the best of the bunch is without a doubt 'Spartacus', not a single weak track in it and much better that what ELP were doing at the time (and different), 'Illusions on a double dimple' is almost as good, with longer track times, but the only drawback that this one is more similar to ELP circa Tarkus, 'Old loves Die hard' has THE BEST Triumvirat track ever IMO 'Panic on 5th Ave', it is fast and furious with loads of keyboards, BTW I much prefer the USA LP cover to the CD cover.

From the latest "Tales Across The Waters" Triumvirat newsletter:
<<TALES ACROSS THE WATERS (TM) The Triumvirat Electronic Newsletter Issue #019 March 9, 2000
Greetings Friends ! Finally ! The news we've been waiting for for so long ! The Triumvirat Remasters are coming, and we've got a timetable and a few details to share with you. So without further delay..... May/June 2000: "Mediterranean Tales", "Illusions On A Double Dimple" "Spartacus"; September/October 2000 "Old Loves Die Hard" "Pompeii"; January/February 2001 "A La Carte" "Russian Roulette" "You Won't See Me" (the late Triumvirat singer Helmut K?len's 1977 solo album.)
All albums will be digitally remastered and no-noised. All will have an 8-12 page booklet incl. liner notes, lyrics and photos. And all will have bonus tracks (mainly singles a's & b's plus some live material), although on the second half of these albums we don't have much yet.
In addition to the news about the Triumvirat Remasters, here is what is happening at the moment: The latest word about the new 'Triumvirat' album is that it will be released in September on Chlodwig Records. J?gen Fritz is keeping many of the details under his hair, although we know that there will be a number of different musicians on the record, including legendary English singer John Miles (formerly with the Alan Parsons Project). J?gen has said that he has created a totally new sound and that this recording "will not be 'Son of Spartacus"...No classic Triumvirat members are thought to be a part of the recording, other than Werner Kopal who played on "Ala Carte". Hans Bathelt had written some lyrics with J?gen last year, but it is still not known if any made the album...>>

From: "execevent" <> Subject: Re: 2001 Top 10
> 5. Still no Triumvirat remasters
I agree. Especially Spartacus which could use a little remastering!!  But Illusions on a Double Dimple is by far their best.. a fan for 30 yrs..

From: David Levkovitz <> Subject: RE: new  TRIUMVIRAT!!!!!!!!!!!
I am not sure about this. I just listened to the song "Just a Face" from their website and it sounded frighteningly like Styx circa Paradise Ballroom. Not very promising, IMHO.

From: "Craig Shipley" <> Subject: RE: new  TRIUMVIRAT!!!!!!!!!!!
Cool, now if they can finally get the back catalog reissued!!!!!

From: "Mochaen" <> Subject: Re: new  TRIUMVIRAT!!!!!!!!!!!
Didn't press my buttons either. 'Tis a real pity, 'cos I like the Triumvirat of old. Still, I wish them success in their new endeavour, and maybe we'll see that back-catalog like Ship says. Hope so!

From: "Craig Shipley" <> Subject: RE: new  TRIUMVIRAT!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, hell, guys, it's _something_ out of them!!! Perhaps this is their most commercial track on the new release. It is head and freakin' shoulders above anything on the execrable "Ala Carte". And I must admit to liking quite a bit of early Styx, up until that one that had the feet 'n flashlight front cover. Did not care at all for the radio hits, but how can you not like a song about Plexiglas toilets and a synth version of the Halleluiah Chorus (Serpent Is Rising)? EQUINOX was laden with synths and sequencers for an American band (place it in context of 1974, OK?). Yeah, the later stuff was puff pop-prog, but they were good early on...

From: "Jeff Marx" <> Subject: More Triumvirat News
More on the new album here at

From: "amfonda" <> Subject: From Juergen Fritz...
As we speak, the new album "THE WEBSITE STORY: Part One of THE BOOK OF LIFE, A DIGITAL TRILOGY" is nearing completion. At short intervals we'll be adding information, film clips, sound files and surprises to the teaser website for download or to merely enjoy at your leisure. This will all lead up to the unveiling of the website proper shortly before the release of the album. It all sounds a bit complicated but, please believe us, this is a labour of love and therefore requires our time and your patience. In the end, it's all about Triumvirat's music and the suspense of the internet build up will only add to the excitement of hearing the music for the first time.  We're very proud of what we have to offer and wish you maximum enjoyment. Lots of love and bye for now, Juergen Fritz & Grant Stevens.- The official website of Triumvirat ...with all news concerning the new Album "THE WEBSITE STORY: Part One of THE BOOK OF LIFE, A DIGITAL TRILOGY"

From: craigashipley Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 Subject: [e-Prog] Triumvirat's '2002' release missing, what happened?
Remember all the buzz that "Triumvirat was back!" and that there was going to be a brand spankin' new release called "The Webside Story" way back in 2002? So, here it is, 2004 is half gone and as for the new CD, doodly-squat, zip, nada, nothing. Vaporware. Anyone know what happened? The official Triumvirat website appears to be still functioning but abandoned and of no help (last updated sometime in 02, with about half of the info slots blank). Did the aliens kidnap 'em? Sucked into a black hole? Went back to their day jobs?
Lost a deathmatch with ELP? Scared s#itless by Niacin? Hearts broken by Ars Nova's lovely ladies? Hopelessly lost in Disneyworld? What???

From: David Kuznick Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2004 Subject: Re: Triumvirat's '2002' release missing, what happened?
It came out on a special 2-fer with UK's Legacy. ;-) And everyone wish Ship a Happy, slightly belated, Birthday.

From: hugh manatee Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2004 Subject: Re: Digest Number 2316 / triumvermin
since the samples were such sub-Asia crap, maybe they just went back to their jobs at the german equivalent of jiffy-mart.

From: Peter Lurowist Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2004 Subject: Re: Triumvirat's '2002' release missing, what happened?
From what I recall from a statement in their newsletter I believe, that they finally finished doing the album and EMI suddenly changes their mind and doesn't want to release it. Yes, the same EMI Germany that screwed so many great prog bands. Then, they would have to go and find a label that would want to release it.

From: craigashipley Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2004 Subject: Re: Re: Triumvirat's '2002' release missing, what happened?
Well, if this is the case, you would have thought that they would have taken ten minutes or so to update their website to say what had happened so that the rest of us would have had a clue as to what was going on! Damn inconsiderate of them, that's what I think! Rotten way to run a railroad (boy, is that saying OLD!!!) If nothing else, by doing so, another smaller label might have offered them a deal to release the recording. They may be talented musicians, but they sound like really poor businessmen... (I was signed up for their newsletter and I don't remember hearing this, not to say that it did not happen exactly as Peter states. I think that they should have gone the independent/small label route in the first place, barring any contractual obligations that might have existed with Emasculating Musicians Worldwide. What about the Inside/Outside label?; they have become a powerhouse for releasing new prog-rock; methinks that they would have busted a gut to have signed Triumvirat!)