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Triumvirat - Old Loves Die Hard CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.44 | 169 ratings

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4 stars For several notable moments in their decade spanning existence, Triumvirat managed to at least partially shed their ELP-clone image while still producing quality prog. Most of those moments occurred on "Old Lives Die Hard", a transitional album between the complex machinations of the early 1970s and the missteps which followed. Like many such bridge works, it actually turned out to be the best of the band's career.

The major change that is immediately apparent is in the vocals, with the inimitable Barry Palmer taking the spotlight, and he is introduced on the most rousing "song" in the Triumvirat lexicon, "I Believe". This one has a catchy tune, thoughtful lyrics, and, yes, great vocals. It masterfully stretches out through several phases and does not feel artificially elongated, even though it clearly is. The lack of guitars is a non issue here and throughout the album, and it is relatively rare that I can say this without reservation.

"A Day in The Life" is quite another affair, a pleasant instrumental suite showcasing the band without excess. This leads to another highlight, "The History of Mystery". While at times the ELP references are blatant, Triumvirat seems to offer a simpler approach than their heroes, and it suits the material well. For one thing, not too many ELP full-on melodies were this concise. The segue between Palmer's measured rants and the synths is marvelous as well.

"Cold Old Worried lady" takes the prog song approach of the opener and stays in ballad territory for the duration. Palmer shows he can wax mellow, and the piano flourishes by Fritz offer understated pleasures. Even his orchestral sounding keys add dignity rather than pretension.

Only "Panic on 5th Avenue" really suffers inexcusably from the clone aspect, as Triumvirat abandons the simplicity of most of the album to launch into a full sonic attack. This was no doubt included to appease the long time fans. But the closing and title cut delivers yet another convincing ballad. The imaginative melody is a winner, and the arrangements, particular the organ accompaniment, again provide the perfect foil for Palmer.

I had originally intended to score this 3 stars but old loves really do die hard. This was a very strong album in its day and has aged pretty well. Recommended.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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