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Spartacus

4.8 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Germany's superstars Triumvirat have just announced they are back together again after a very long hiatus, and Friday Music is celebrating their return with the re-release of a newly remastered version of their Prog-Rock classic Spartacus. Spartacus was their most enduring and successful album ever. It graced the upper rungs of the album charts for the better part of 1976 and gave this act a home forever in the progressive rock movement. The album based itself on the story of the historic Roman gladiator and the trials and tribulations of his war against his country. As the saga unfolds, the skillful keyboard artistry of founder Jurgen Fritz alongside his band mates Helmut Kollen and Hans Bathelt help to deliver one of this genres most memorable and important recordings.

Triumvirat began to make some credible noise with their previous release Illusions On A Double Dimple in 1973, and as the fan base and radio support began to build in time for the 1976 release of Spartacus, they were soon becoming a staple of progressive and rock playlists throughout the world. It is easy to see why, when you listen to the first few bars of the opening track "The Capital Of Power." It was common to hear tunes like this and "The Sweetest Sound of Liberty" alongside tracks from notable arena rock entities on U.S. radio in the seventies. When they arrived in the States to help promote their first couple of albums for Harvest/Capitol, their airplay dominance helped garner a solid reputation as a successful touring outfit.

This newly remastered deluxe edition of Spartacus proudly includes some very rare recordings that we have recently dug up in the EMI vaults. Three wonderful live recordings from the BBC, which have been discussed for years, rarely heard except for an inferior overseas bootleg, are now digitally rescued for your listening pleasure. Listen to the extended jam that the band delivers on "The March To The Eternal City." This is a fine trio of recordings which showcases how brilliant Triumvirat performed in concert.

As a fitting close to this deluxe edition, we have enclosed two more rarities for the die-hard Triumvirat fans. "Late Again", fom the Ala Carte sessions, is now in it's full extended-version glory, as well as the uptempo German only A-side "Take A Break Today."

This concept album continues to receive rave reviews from a whole new legion of younger Prog-rock fans. Keyboardist and founder Jurgen Fritz holds his accomplishments in some rather highly reputable company and his artistry is truly in heightened form on this great album. It has been quite awhile since this masterpiece has been available in the United States. With the addition of the recently discovered bonus tracks and the newly remastered treatment, Spartacus (The Deluxe Edition) is fit for a king.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Capital Of Power
  2. The School Of Instant Pain
  3. The Walls Of Doom
  4. The Deadly Dream Of Freedom
  5. The Hazy Shades Of Dawn
  6. The Burning Sword Of Capua
  7. The Sweetest Sound Of Liberty
  8. The March To The Eternal City
  9. Spartacus
  10. The Capital Of Power (Live)
  11. The Deadly Dream Of Freedom (Live)
  12. The March To The Eternal City (Live)
  13. Late Again
  14. Take A Break Today


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 30, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Friday Music
  • ASIN: B0000CD5JO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,731 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Triumvirat Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eric Scott on October 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After God knows how many years, "Spartacus" is finally available on CD!! And about time, too. Triumvirat generated a number of classic albums in the '70s, but this one clearly stands head and shoulders above the rest of their work (although "Illusions on a Double Dimple" is a very close second). The concept behind "Spartacus" is strong, the lyrics work well, and the musicianship is absolutely unstoppable. "Capitol of Power", "School of Instant Pain", "The Burning Sword of Capua", and "The March to the Eternal City" are each signally powerful and energetic numbers, while "The Deadly Dream of Freedom" offers a smoothly lyric break from the hurly burly. And the finale, "Spartacus", simply has to be heard to be believed ... wow!
Of course, Triumvirat still bears an inescapable resemblance to Emerson, Lake & Palmer ... but that's not a bad thing at all, and fans of the latter group should run screaming to their computer keyboards to order "Spartacus".
It would be lovely if the EMI folks would hunt up some old tapes from some live performances ... !
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I have written several hundred reviews on Amazon, the majority dealing with the remastering of compact disc recordings. As a 50-year-old, lifelong music fan, an owner of a CD collection large enough to be termed a library, a crazed pursuer of tens of thousands of dollars/decades of audio equipment upgrades, and ultimately, as an intense LISTENER, I feel comfortable in my mastering observations.

However, in all those reviews, I have seldom opined to content. I've always held music criticism in various forms of contempt: I'm old enough to have read the original reviews of many albums Rolling Stone magazine panned back in the 70's that they now hail as "classic" and "must-own" recordings.

As Irish author Brendan Behan once waxed best: "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." And, as Harlan Ellison succinctly observed, Roger Ebert, albeit one of the pre-eminent film historian/critics of our time, will also, unfortunately, always be the guy who penned the original screenplay to "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls".

Respectively, sage words and adroit perspective to live by, I always thought.

So, on to Triumvirat and "Spartacus".

Being an instant prog-fan with the first ELP, King Crimson & Yes albums in 1969, Spartacus knocked me out the first time I spun it on a turntable in `74.
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Triumvirat's heyday was limited to just two or three albums from the early to mid 1970's (before Helmet Kollen's departure), and "Spartacus" was their magnum opus. Despite other reviewers' unjustified complaints that they were simply an ELP ripoff band, Triumvirat proved with "Spartacus" that they could compose and play an intricate and interesting concept album on an original subject, and deliver a work that has stood the test of time as well as anything that their progenitors ever produced.

The original album contains about 42 minutes of great music, and this remastered version rewards the listener with three previously unreleased live versions of songs from the "Spartacus" album, plus two so-so bonus tracks recorded after this album (more in the prog-pop vein, and sung by the less likable [to me, at least] Barry Palmer). The highlight of the bonus tracks has to be the middle section instrumental of "March to the Eternal City" - they go from the dark and foreboding march theme to an almost funky(!) groove with a extended keyboard solo that sort of sounds like what the Alan Parsons Project would do if they had Triumvirat's chops and audacity. Pretty cool.

But back to the original album - what a fantastic treat this was for anyone into keyboard-driven prog. Jurgen Fritz was just a phenomenal keyboard player; he was fast and inventive and knew just the right time to use the piano or organ or synth or some combination of all. Helmet Kollen played a very busy and melodic bass, supplied some appropriate guitar riffs, and sang the English lyrics in a nice tenor that bore little German accent. The drumming by Hans Bathelt was crisp and clever.
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We are bigtime progressive rock fans, and loved groups such as Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, early Rush and UK. Triumvirat, which hailed from Germany, was a relative latecomer in the ranks, but helped to keep progressive rock alive through the latter half of the 70s. We have quite a few of their albums on vinyl and they've been played half to death. Vinyl being vinyl, much of the sound quality has suffered. We searched for a couple years to find replacements on CD and were at last delighted to find that Triumvirat was releasing remasters on compact disc. We pre-ordered Spartacus, our favorite album of the bunch, and received it at long last. It was worth the wait. The sound is crisp and clear, very impressive. Like Rush and Pink Floyd, the entire album is a story, in this case the saga of Spartacus, who led the gladiators' revolt against Imperial Rome. Triumvirat was clearly the brainchild of Jurgen Fritz, the keyboard player, who never left the lineup no matter how often it changed. His indelible mark is found in the classical elements lacing each song. Soaring and powerful music and haunting vocals make this a fine example of progressive rock. Their sound is so timeless that even our teenage children fell madly in love with Triumvirat. This CD is an excellent investment and we highly recommend it for hours of listening pleasure.
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