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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

3.74 | 226 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

Being one of the oldest "rock" groups from Italy, The New trolls embarked on a very ambitious project, an attempt to merge heavy progressive rock with classical symphonic music with the help of conductor Luis Bacalov. The group had decided to move on to more serious music after their concept debut album, and in the process replaced their keyboard player with the long-standing Maurizio Salvi who will see Bacalov helping out on the keys as well. The album cover represents a somber purple baroque theatre, which is appropriate to the music.

TNT's first movement Allegro is a fairly common call and response between the group and the orchestra, and while not being disastrous as Deep Purple's experiment; this writer is anything but impressed by this uninventive blending. The following Adagio is more interesting, with both De Scalzi and Di Palo singing, but the strings section's overly romantic underlines are very cheesy, sounding like a decade later these terrible Rondo Veniziano records heard in supermarkets. The third movement Cadenza - Andante Con Moto is a better movement where indeed the two sections are working in the same direction, even if I can't help but thinking that a mellotron could've easily replaced the orchestra at lesser costs! There is definite Jethro Tull feel to the "concerto" due to a flute. But the A-side's apex is Shadows (for Jimi Hendrix) where De Scalzo and Di Palo's guitars are giving their all to pay decent tribute and the singer's vocals are much reminiscent of Vanilla Fudge, but this track hasn't much to do with the orchestra.

The flipside is filled by a sidelong-improvised "jam" recorded live in the studio. Nella Sala Vuota starts out on a long organ intro before the rest of the group enters like madmen with flute, searing guitars, wild drum-banging, then the whole things calms almost to a stop before starting in unison, giving Mad-Flauting Caravan-esque feel to the track before Uriah Fudge vocals take over, later segueing into a Santana passage, then leading into the obligatory and inevitable drum solo (grrrr!!! I hate those!) How many long jams have been ruined by those elongated drum breaks (and this one is a long fucker too!!), but the good thing about it is that it is almost at the end, so you can skip it, as well since the last 40 seconds are just the closing notes.

A very over-rated album, and certainly nothing original (or groundbreaking), Concerto Grosso 1 is probably the most over-estimated album of the peninsula, even if it has most of the ingredients to please 70's prog fans. And to think that this same group would indulge in second Concerto (albeit after popular demand) is flabbergasting, but not necessarily in a positive way.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |

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