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New Trolls - Searching for a Land CD (album) cover

SEARCHING FOR A LAND

New Trolls

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.64 | 106 ratings

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paolo.beenees
3 stars Maybe, after the huge European success of "Concerto Grosso", the New Trolls started feeling larger than life, and embarked on this ambitious project, a double album completely made of new stuff, with one of the two discs recorded live and completely sung in English. The album was released in a beautiful multi-fold cover and with the right promotion on the Italian state TV. The result was a colossal flop. This doesn't mean that, overall, "Searching for a Land" is a bad album, but it also displays the reasons for its flop very clearly and drammatically. First of all, the double- disc format really "dispersed" the compositive skills and energy of the band, which had always given its best in the classical "song" format (by the way, the Italian public then wasn't prepared for a double album, which was perceived as an unappealing economic effort); there are, indeed, moments in this double record which are pure fillers, and sometimes they make you want give up listening to it. "Searching", the opener track, could be a good hard rock/fusion crossover, but it is all built up on the tearing repetition of a chord pattern and it's way too long. "Once that I prayed" sounds pointless, poorly structured, almost improvised on spot. "To Edith" is really exasperating: it lets you wait for a climax that never comes and Di Palo's distorted vocals sound a strangled hen (sorry for this comparison, but I couldn't find a better one). On the live disc, "Intro" is a good show of each member's good qualities, but lacks in a real compositive effort, while "Muddy Madaleine" is a pure Deep Purple rip-off. Also the choice of English for the lyrics wasn't a lucky one: even if they had recruited a Canadian bass player (with Italian origin), the vocalists' pronunciation is sometimes annoying and many grammar errors can be found here and there. Finally, the live disc is FAKE: the band clearly recorded the tracks live, but with no public, whose clapping and acclamations are clumsily overdubbed. But "Searching for a Land" is also made of excellent tracks. The acoustical "Percival" features a stunning performance by Nico di Palo: very good vocals, impressive arpeggios and an acoustic guitar solo which you'll hardly forget. "In Saint Peter's Day" retains a part of the feeling of "Concerto Grosso": good orchestral arrangements (without an orchestra: it's Maurizio Salvi's good job on his Eminent) and De Scalzi's passionate and dramatic vocals build a real heart-moving song. "Giga" is an enjoyable short piece for two acoustic guitars, while "Bright Light" is a straight and remarkable hard rocker. The remaining two tracks are the best on this album. In the long "Lying Here" the band displays its skills and sources of inspiration: the classical, meditative organ-driven start, featuring the band's good vocal harmonies; the slow evolution to a hard psychedelic obsessive instrumental and then the sudden burst into a powerful hard/fusion piece with plenty of room for instrumental improvisation. But the very core of this album is "A Land to Live, a Land to Die": after the classical organ introduction, this songs continues under the direction of Nico di Palo as a sort of meeting point between the Pink Floyd and jazz rock, with Nico's beautiful voice and guitar in the forefront, then it evolves in a long, stunning hammond solo which leads you directly to the conclusion of the song. Had the New Trolls limited this album to these pieces (and made a single one instead of a double), maybe "Searching..." would have been another good success. On the contrary, it represented the beginning of a deep crisis in the relationships between the two leaders of the band, Nico di Palo and Vittorio de Scalzi, which would always affect the story of the band since then.
paolo.beenees | 3/5 |

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