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New Trolls - Concerto Grosso 1 & 2 (71) - 5/10
New Trolls' two Concerto Grossos were originally released on two records, but can now be found on one CD. I started out despising this record, and did almost not listen to it the first couple of years that I had it, but this turned out to be a mistake. The record shows, as far as I know, the first attempts in Italian music to fuse classical music and rock. The sometimes English, sometimes Italian vocals are... uh, not exactly good. Part 2 largely consists of absolutely horrible, over-pretentious ballads sounding quite a bit like Queen, with few influences from classical music. However, there are some OK parts too, but I cannot recommend part 2 on its own. Part 1, however, is a different story. The vocals are still bad, but only present once in a while. Occasional Jethro Tull inspired flute and the strong presence of classical music makes part 1 sound similar to Osanna's great Milano Calibro 9. This is because the composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov composed parts of both these albums. Bacalov actually received an Academy Award in the 90's for the soundtrack of the Italian movie Il Postino. Part 1 also contains a Hendrix cover and an improvisation lasting for 20 minutes, and is by far the best of the two parts.

New Trolls - Ut (72) - 6/10
An uneven record. Ranges from absolutely brilliant ("XXIIa strada") to very tedious ("Paolo e Francesca").

New Trolls Atomic System - New Trolls Atomic System - 9/10
Not the same band as New Trolls. Excellent Italian symphonic. Includes a brilliant version of Mussorgsky's "Night on Bare Mountain".

Nuova Era - Il Passo del Soldato (95) - 7.5/10
This seems to be a concept album about a medieval war or battle. Apart from the bass, no guitars are used. Instead, intricate keyboard arrangements dominate the sound. Hammond organ, moog and mellotron make the band sound as if they were from the seventies, and they remind me of ELP and Metamorfosi. The vocalist even sounds a little like Metamorfosi's Jimmy Spilateri - that is, dramatic and almost operatic. Other influences heard occasionally are baroque and folk music. The compositions are a little derivative and never particularly original, but still ambitious. The 12 minutes long title-track is really good. I should point out that there is nothing on this album which sounds like pop or neo-prog. Being the best Italian record I have heard from the 90s, Il Passo del Soldato ranks above most prog, and should definitely appeal to fans of keyboard-oriented music and the Italian progressive scene.

Numi, I - Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (7?) - 5/10
This is another Italian record from sometime around 1975, released by the glorious Vinyl Magic label. I had never heard of the band before I bought this record in a used CDs shop for NOK 25 (GB£2), and not entirely without reason. It lasts for less than 35 minutes, and most of them are filled with quite conventional 70's rock/psychedelia with the traditional verse-and-refrain structure. Six of the seven tracks are quite static, and don't take any unexpected turns. The title-track, however, lasting for eight minutes, is good stuff. Some nice xylophone(?) and organ alongside some very decent guitar and bass, spiced with frequent tempo changes, makes it the highlight of the record. As on the rest of the record, the male vocalist sings well - and in Italian. The instrumental "Furma Materiae Progredientis", almost three minutes long, is also good, containing Ian Anderson-like flute, space-rock-like guitar and the divine instrument harpischord. But the rest isn't above par - at least not the last track, "Alpha Ralpha Reprise", which is a rather silly rock and roll song which thankfully doesn't last any longer than three minutes. In total, this is an okay record, but I'd spend your effort & money elsewhere.