As a teenager in the 1970's, this was absolutely one of my favorite LP records (remember those?). I practically wore out the groove in the vinyl playing it so often. I've been waiting for the CD release of Spartacus ever since. Now that it's here, I have finally gotten another long-awaited fix of Spartacus. To my pleasant surprise, the audio quality of the CD remastering is quite good. Kudo's to EMI for doing it right.
The album concept is excellent. The lyrics are appropriate for the theme. (A gladiator/slave revolt is a gory matter, so this ain't no namby-pamby New Age disc.) And the musicianship is fabulous. On the LP, Juergen Fritz's keyboard work was always spectacular, and the incredible groove of Helmut Koellen's bass line on "March To The Eternal City" was instantly addictive to anyone who'd heard it. (This was THE bass demonstration song back in the '70's.) But on the CD, Hans Bathelt's drumming is what really stands out to me now. It's far more intricate and exiciting than that of most other rock and roll drummers, then or now.
Of course, Triumvirat still bears an inescapable resemblance to Emerson, Lake & Palmer ... but that's not a bad thing at all. Anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of progressive music, and actually listens to this album, should admit to one fact: These cats were awesome players on their respective instruments. Check out the extended soloing in the live bonus tracks, if you need further convincing. The musicianship Triumvirat's members display on Spartacus is on a par with almost anything ELP ever recorded: Tight, fiery, inventive, expressive and eminently listenable... everything a prog-fan should want.
So, if you've never heard this album, or, if you have and dismissed it, PLEASE, give it a whirl/re-whirl, in both cases, with an open mind.
If you do so, IMHO, I think you will find a work that not only stands on its own, but one that is whole-heartedly, start-to-finish, just downright, doggone enjoyable.
1. Capital of Power - Triumvirat, Fritz, Jurgen
2. School of Instant Pain: Proclamation/The Gladiator's Song/Roman Enter - Triumvirat, Bathelt, Hans
3. The Walls of Doom - Triumvirat, Fritz, Jurgen
4. The Deadly Dream of Freedom - Triumvirat, Bathelt, Hans
5. The Hazy Shades of Dawn - Triumvirat, Fritz, Jurgen
6. Burning Sword of Capua - Triumvirat, Fritz, Jurgen
7. The Sweetest Sound of Liberty - Triumvirat, Bathelt, Hans
8. March to the Eternal City: Dusty Road/Italian Improvisation/First ... - Triumvirat, Bathelt, Hans
9. Spartacus: The Superior Force of Rome/A Broken Dream/The Finale - Triumvirat, Bathelt, Hans
The Capital Of Power (Live)
The Deadly Dream Of Freedom (Live)
The March To The Eternal City (Live)
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