Though they never quite hit the same musical highs as E.L.P., Yes, or King Crimson, this German prog rock outfit garnered a huge following among those in the know. Includes the previously unissued bonus cut "Showstopper."
Spartacus may not be as progressively strong as 1973's Illusion on a Double Dimple album, but it still stands as this German outfit's second best release. Based on the famous Roman gladiator who led the rebellion against his homeland, the music supports the album's concept quite solidly, with the better tracks coming in the form of the sporadic "School of Instant Pain" and the nine- minute "March to the Eternal City," which gathers a menacing conglomeration of bass guitar riffs and pointed keyboard work. The music becomes effectively motivational toward the concept at the proper times, enabling the band's idea to remain fresh and colorful as the music is played out. Jurgen Fritz's Hammond organ and Moog intervention gives Spartacus a genuine progressive air, culminating as it should on the final track. Although Triumvirat's staunch, stern notes and articulate keyboard meandering can easily be compared to Emerson, Lake and Palmer's style, it's balanced quite impressively with Helmut Kollen's electric and acoustic guitar work. This album has a slight edge over 1976's Old Loves Die Hard because the synthesizers are put to better use, while the overall sound and flow of Spartacus contains greater instrumental animation. ~ Mike DeGagne