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New Trolls - UT CD (album) cover

UT

New Trolls

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.85 | 136 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Fifth album from this veteran group that will be lasting unusually long and will produce shorter-lived offshoots. The New Trolls appeared in 67 as a psychedelic group releasing hard blues-rock singles (and later compiled into their second eponymous album), before releasing the first concept album of the peninsula (even if it is a bit confused and not really prog). From 71 onwards, NT will hit their stride with Concerto Grosso, Searching For A land and this album, usually considered their best, Ut; NT's rock is now full-blown progressive rock with lots of classical influences. Not really lucky with its incredibly bland outer artwork, slightly better with the innerfold, the group develops a surprisingly tough-sounding hard-progging symphonic music and there is again little doubt who's the leader of the group: singing lead guitarist Nico Di Palo, but he is well seconded by keyboardist Maurizio Salvi, which comes in handy since second guitarist Vittorio De Scalzi is quite discreet on this album - he would leave soon after this album's release. In some ways this is even more metallic than the huge sound of the De De Lind album

Opening on a gong-bang, the album is strongly heading into a deeply rich classical piano piece, which will be followed by another bong of the gang (you knew this was coming, didn't you ;-) and the piano leading into a short head-twisting instrumental (22nd Century) full-speed ahead, all sails deployed scorcher. Horseman Of Lake Ontario is quite a different ride starting smoothly, after a marching drum (and ending in one too) but soon the two guitars are adopting Led Sabbath stances (hinting at the flipside's epic), but the end of the track is dominated by constant key changes. The following Foglia is starting out on acoustic guitar and delicate vocals, maintaining throughout the song, and even though Di Palo pulls in some lovely electric leads, this could be the album's weakest point. Nato Adesso is more of a Focus-type of number with Di Palo sounding like Jan Akkerman in a lengthy jazzy solo while Salvi pulls in the Strings ARP synth lines behind it. Excellent.

The flipside starts out on the monstrous Troppa Guerra, with its Iommi-esque guitar riffs and often trading space with more pastoral moments; the many different parts mesh well into each other and can make the unaware a bit dizzy. This is one of Italy's prog more surprising song and the second highlight of the album. The next two tracks are a little too close to Santana's later syrupy ballads (including at times Di Palo sounding like Carlos) for my liking, even if in P&F the long guitar solo butters it up a bit too thickly on a thin slice of bread. The closing Capire (who'll understand me?) is filled with ARP strings layers and delves a bit too much aerial not to be taken as second-rate Santana

This album will be their last one before their temporary split in 73, leading to legal name problems and into different offshoots (Tritons, Ibis and NT Atomic System and other projects), before getting back together in 76, but they will fail to recapture their former brilliance. While this album has some particularly superb moments, the album has also its weaker points, even if the Santana-esque ending can be easily over-looked. Very much worth the discovery.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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