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New Trolls - Concerto Grosso Per I New Trolls CD (album) cover


New Trolls


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.74 | 226 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
2 stars Kicking off the album with a thematically correct orchestral tuning and a few moments of silence before the whole concept unfolds, New Trolls go by the book of orchestra-rock band fusions like this. And although it is all too obvious what this is all about, I must say I am both curious and eager to hear if all the ambition in those few seconds really is going to pay off on Concerto Grosso Per I New Trolls.

Allegro - the first of five movements - actually breathes a lot of life into the album right from the start. Grandiose violins, with sharp and dramatically rising and falling bursts pave the way for their counterparts of aggressive flute and angular noodling from the guitar. Reminiscent of RPI's more frothing bands, it isn't unique or supreme in any way, but the alternations between the band and the orchestral arrangements ultimately gives this piece a slight edge, swirling in a pompous, busy and sometimes even convulsive manner. It's not original in structure, but I like the boost of energy it provides.

What follows is - logically - the second movement. Adagio. I'm sure the band considered this an excellent way to add instant dynamics and width to their joint operations effort - the complete opposite to the refreshing Allegro. Serving its purpose, the sugary sweetness and onslaught of string romanticism unfortunately brings the side-effect of lost momentum, causing damage that frankly never is repaired during what's left of Concerto Grosso. Not bad as what it is - an accesible, ingratiating tune that aims to stir up emotions in a mostly superficial way. I miss the profundity I've come to expect from Italian progressive rock. Tempo Cadenza Andante Con Moto is more of that overdone sweetness, thankfully without the vocals this time and slightly more interesting musically, adding some contemplative quality and imagery (mostly attributed to the strings, violins and to some extent keys, as the rest of the band really feels a little out of place - standard drumming, droning bass and a general indifference, a feeling of "we're-just-rockifying-this-piece" that doesn't leave much of a lasting impression).

The Jimi Hendrix influence is certainly evident on Shadows, a soft but efficient bluesy rock song that sometimes move around the territory of early Jethro Tull (that influence pops up now and then on the album). Actually some of the most enjoyable minutes on the album, but strangely out of place considering the overall concept of the album. The solo guitar tribute wrapping up the concerto ends that part of the album in a strange, uncalled for and to these ears rather unpleasant way.

So.what's left? Apparently 20+ minutes of improvisations from the band, this time without orchestral backing/lead, depending on how you want to see it. Still very rooted in the heavy blues rock of Deep Purple and repeating relatively simple riffs over and over with little or no variation, this is more a loosely held-together chain of numerous ideas for individual songs than anything else. There are some nice parts from the keys and surprises from the individual instrumentalists, but they are naturally spread thin during 20 minutes. Throwing in approximately 7 minutes of solo drumming (and not of the percussive firework type) is also a strange decision, and for me a filling of time more than anything else.

As a previous reviewer noted: much of Concerto Grosso is little more than the illusion of progressive rock. I think that's true to a certain point, but would rather call it a blueprint for much of what can be found in RPI. The rough outlines are all there; the fusion of styles and the will to go further. Stylistic likeness, but lacking in sophistication and coherence. Concerto Grosso is a colourful get-together of sounds, no doubt, but also a mess with a lot of loose ends. As such, I really don't think it shows how great this kind of music can be, unfortunately highlighting the wrong side of the famous coin. Perhaps embryonic, but far from great.

2 stars.


LinusW | 2/5 |


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