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

CONCERTO GROSSO PER I NEW TROLLS

New Trolls

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.65 | 149 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

coasterzombie
3 stars Concerto Grosso is severely overrated and suffers from an inherent design flaw: The second side bears no relationship to the first and breaks up any continuity that could have made music history. The Beatles, Moody Blues and Pink Floyd had all fused popular and classical music by 1971. New Trolls had an opportunity to be the first rock band to actually play classical music, at least in Italy, for an entire album's length. Instead, the opportunity is squandered with a bloated side-long improv. I don't mean to discredit the live performance capabilities of the band - this is better documented on the excellent Tempi Dispari - I just don't think it suits this particular release and have to rate it correspondingly.

The first three movements, or Tempos, of Concerto Grosso are essential listening for all prog rock fanatics. Unfortunately, this eleven minutes of RPI glory doesn't necessitate its purchase. "1 Tempo: Allegro" establishes the formula, alternating literally between the speakers from Baroque instrumentation to the band. As these ingredients homogenize, New Trolls are able to achieve something really groundbreaking. This becomes more evident during the second minute, with unison playing between the low strings and rhythm section. De Scalzi and Di Paulo double their guitars in octaves and hop on for the ride. This is great, great stuff and a perfect opening statement to an important yet indulgent album.

"2 Tempo: Adagio" introduces vocals for the first time, sung in English. New Trolls has as many detractors as fans for this decision, and I fall into the former category. That is not to say their Italian language albums are any better...I think this waffling hurt more RPI bands than it helped; not Osanna, RDM, Banco or even PFM were ever able to overcome the language barrier and break through internationally. Lyrics aside, the mushy "Adagio" works on a musical level, again merging orchestral inspiration and rock bombast well. What is probably the best example of this combination, "3 Tempo: Cadenza," demonstrates composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov's involvement. His direction and production in this domain would not be perfected however until 1973's Contaminazione by Rovescio Della Medaglia.

"4 Tempo: Shadows" abandons the orchestra and sets a slippery slope for the duration of the album. An obvious Hendrix homage, "Shadows" will impress psych/art-rock listeners but few others. The dreadful improvisation "Nella Sala Vuota" monopolizes the second side and feels like filler to me. Replete with drum solo, the improv just goes on far too long and serves no real purpose. Luckily the CD issue is a two-fer, backed with the slightly better Concerto Grosso N. 2 from 1976. I recommend making a custom disc or playlist with the offending songs excised, and the remaining selections will work much better as a whole. As it was originally sequenced however, Concerto Grosso N. 1 earns 2.5 stars in my book, but I will round up since the first eleven minutes are so important.

coasterzombie | 3/5 |

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