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6 Jan 2017

New Trolls “N.T Atomic System “ 1973 Italy Prog Rock

New Trolls  “N.T Atomic System “ 1973 Italy Prog Rock
N.T. ATOMIC SYSTEM released their first album in 1973, a splendid album very rich in the vein of classic Ital-Prog culture with Vittorio De Scalzi himself playing flute and keyboards along with guitar… The music on this album is fully of beautiful melodies and dramatic instrumentation. On this album they have added the female vocals of Anna e Giulietta whose voice sounds great along with De Scalzi’s. This album contains the bands rendition of Mussorgsky’s “A night on Bare Mountain” (Una notte sul Monte Calvo),… a short but great instrumental track, sounding a bit evil and creepy. One of the standout aspects of this album for me is the great keyboard playing of Renato Rosset (piano, Hammond organ, moog, mellotron and electric piano). This album has it all.lots of sound dynamics, the special 70’s Italian passion with great theme dynamics and great instrumentation. My personal favourite is track 6 “Quando L'Erba Vestiva La Terra” which carries a strong PROCOL HARUM feel with dense yet lush symphonic organ and keyboards as well as a beautiful melody. The last song “Butterfly” is surprisingly sung in English and sounds like Ian ANDERSON (JETHRO TULLl) with a heavy MOODY BLUES feel to this last track. For me this is definitely not only the best NEW TROLLS album but also would have to rank IMHO as one of the very best albums from the 70’s Ital-Prog scene. An essential Ital-prog album deserving to be in your collection !………. by loserboy ………….. 

Released at a time when Vittorio de Scalzi was not sure if he was able to use the NEW TROLLS name, so the original LP was released simply as N.T. ATOMIC SYSTEM. What happened was, shortly after the release of UT at the closing weeks of 1972, there was a split in the band. Vittorio de Scalzi wanted the band to go the prog rock route, which Nico di Palo wanted the band to go the hard rock direction. So NEW TROLLS broke up, and di Palo went to form a group that was to be called IBIS (they had an album released in 1973 with a big question mark on the cover, which the name eludes me at the point). During legal battles over NEW TROLLS and IBIS, de Scalzi formed a new band called N.T. ATOMIC SYSTEM with him on keyboards and vocals, Giorgio D'Adamo on bass, Renato Rosset on keyboards, Giorgio Baiocco on sax and Eminent, Tullio D'Episcopo on drums, and Ramasandiran Somusundaran on percussion. This helped de Scazli pursue the prog rock direction he wanted. And also he launched the Magma label, in which this band, as well as ALPHATAURUS, LATTE E MIELLE, the totally obcure but wonderful “Pholas Dactylus”, and even Ramasandiran Somusundaran all recorded for. 
Many people regard N.T. ATOMIC SYSTYEM as one of the greatest Italian prog rock albums, but I am not one of them. I rate this album up there with SEMIRAMIS’ “Dedicato a Frazz”, and IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO’s “YS”, as being overrated and a bit overhyped, but still worth having. Without a doubt the two best songs on this album, “La Nuova Predica di Padra O'Brein” and “Ibernazione”, five stars all the way for those songs, they can rival many of the Italian greats such as BANCO or MUSEO ROSENBACH. I’ve also really grown to like “Ho Visto Poi”, which reminds me of PFM. But there are some pieces I think drag on, bogging down the album a bit. One is “Tornare a Credere”, which sounds is more pop-oriented, except for the middle part, which is much more prog, and a killer passage. “Butterfly”, the only piece sung in English, finds the band moving away from prog rock and to West Coast folk rock, late ‘60s style, almost having more in common with JEFFERSON AIRPLANE or IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY (minus the violin) than NEW TROLLS, SEMIRAMIS, MUSEO ROSENBACH, etc. The problem I have is with the crap lyrics, telling the story of a kid getting lost in the woods catching butterflies. Basically this kind of music should’ve been left for the California bands of the late '60s, not an Italian prog band of 1973. Again, this is still a worthwhile album, but doesn’t quite live up to the status of “Greatest Italian Prog Album” to me… Proghead …….. 

Fans of Italian Progressive Rock will immediately feel at home when they hear the intro to 'La Nuova Predica di Padre O'Brien’, with glorious keyboards reminiscent of BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO. Some good spinet, Hammond and Mellotron, very breathy flute plus a dash of female backing vocals interspaced with De Scalzi’s Italian singing make for a very good track. 
'Ho Visto Poi’ starts with Mellotron and Hammond before bringing in synthesizer, switching back and forth between the heavy and the mellow, with the mellow reminiscent of CELESTE. The overall effect is quite psychedelic. 

The first half and the end of 'Tornare a Credere’ sound like a sort of melodic mainstream Italian rock-pop song with some good piano work and female backing vocals. It isn’t Prog Rock but who cares: it’s very pleasant music. From about the halfway point the track turns into pure instrumental Prog with jazz influences, again with some excellent piano and keyboards (reminiscent of ELP and TRIUMVIRAT). I like the track even if some of it is too commercial for a purist (which I’m not). 

Some nice, fat synthesizer starts off 'Una Notte Sul Monte Calvo’, the band’s arrangement of that Mussorgsky rocker (!) 'Night On Bare Mountain’. Great track, and a good choice by the band as the piece readily lends itself to Progressive Rock. 

'Ibernazione’ again has prominent spinet, piano and synthesizer and will be of interest to fans of ELP. The song has a very jazzy feel. Halfway through the track there’s some good flute and the music takes on a very medieval feel. Then there is some nice jazzy bass. Great track. 

'Quando L'Erba Vestiva La Terra’ starts off with an ecclesiastical-sounding Hammond but turns into a song that initially reminds me a little of the MOODY BLUES but then halfway through takes on a jazz-rock feel complete with tenor sax. Nice. 

'Butterfly’ is sung in English. Why?! It’s a 1960s-style pop song with female backing vocals. Some brief, breathy flute and good keyboard improve the track a little, but it’s not in the same league as the others on the album. 

The overriding impression when listening to this album is of the consummate musicianship. Renato Rossert’s piano and other keyboard work is superb, but then the other band members all contribute evenly. Even the drums are noticeably good. And the keyboards are sublime in places. The last track is underwhelming, but overall the album would be a good addition to any Prog lover’s collection. I like the mix of the rough with the smooth, the strong jazz-rock influences and the early 1970s feel to the music. Despite the rough edges and the underwhelming last track there are some outstanding moments, and I feel it fully deserves 4 stars (Excellent addition to any Prog Rock collection)… Fitzcarraldo …….. 

This is another great varied work of the Italian symphonic progressive style. The compositions were really avant-garde for 1973: it easily sounds 1975. No tracks sound alike. The lead vocals are sung in Italian. The miscellaneous and very varied keyboards have a strong Italian flavor, a bit like Locanda Delle Fate, but it also includes influences from ELP and Triumvirat. There are often some percussions of the tam-tam family. “La Nuova predica di padre O'Brien” contains very complex keyboards arrangements full of clavinet and Hammond organ among others, and flute parts a la Focus and Jethro Tull. “Ho visto poi” contains mellow bits made of electric guitars a la Steve Howe (and we should say Glass Hammer too!) and peaceful organ a la Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You”; the more loaded bits may remind you the early Gentle Giant. The very progressive “Tornare a credere” contains very catchy Italian female backing vocals, excellent piano, organ, anthemic moog solos and memorable flute parts. “Una notte sul monte calvo” partly reminds Triumvirat as reveal the dirty Hammond organ; there are some visceral hard rock electric guitar solos and jazzy electric piano a la George Duke. “Ibernazione” has moog solos and piano a la ELP, and some clavinet and flutes a la Locanda Delle Fate. “Quando l'erba vestiva la terra” has densely floating streams of keyboards a la Le Orme; then, an abrupt change of air occurs, leading to clinical Italian keyboards sounds, and finally terminating with a weird sax and drums solos. “Butterfly” starts with gentle acoustic guitars, and then the addition of female backing vocals to the male vocals will definitely remind you the Renaissance band; there is even an excellent Jethro Tull-esque flute solo and some interesting clavinet parts!… greenback …….. 

Released in 1973 on the Magma label, the avoiding confusion between band members must have been a very difficult time period for the Italian band. So why was there avoiding and disagreements with this? Well let’s set a little background, after the release of UT was successful in 1972, there was tension between Vittorio De Scalzi and Nico Di Palo. Soon there was a lawsuit between the two of them to decide who owns the rights to the name of New Trolls and De Scazli won his battle and even though Vittorio wanted to avoid confusion, the new incarnation from him with New Trolls Atomic System already sounds like a futuristic rock beauty that seemed that was at the wrong place at the wrong time due to the court case, it’s a perfect antidote of this unearthed classic. 

Vittorio’s version of New Trolls throughout 1973, is quite breathtaking and Atomic System is quite beautiful of the influences of classical music, jazz, and folk that influenced the Italian Prog sound from a band who moved away from the first five albums into unbelievable uncharted territories that still sounds fresh and very impressive since the album was made during that time period and let’s just say that while the legal name was still going on, you can hear the pain and anger in this album from start to finish. 

From the sounds of Symphonic Jazz Rock, you’d hear influences raging from ELP, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, and Dick Heckstall-Smith with much more horn sections you can hear on Quando L’Erba Vestiva La Terra with an acid freakout jazz section as the operatic opening prog free-for-all keyboard twister sound of La Nuova Predica Di Padre O’Brien, makes it an attempt to follow into the Aqualung-era meets In a Glass House-era while the mellowing Ho Visto Poi is quite a dreamland adventure into wonderland with its atmospheric sound of guitar and keyboards filling the scenery. After that, it comes to the soaring yet adventurous overtone reminiscent of Triumvirat on the 8-minute Tornare A Credere, but their take of Mussorgsky’s haunting classical composition, Night on Bald Mountain (Una Notte Sul Monte Calvo) which was a single for them, sounded like it was recorded in 1982 and could have been used for the opening credits of Dario Argento’s Tenebre. 

Veering into the Goblin sound of the Roller-era, Ibernazione, a fusion-sque roar of moog’s going haywire is quite evidential that provides female background vocals, militant drumming from the haunting gothic sounds that provides the groove flavor to it as they bring the English song styles back into the core on Butterfly which closes the album into late ‘60s psych-folk sound that reminisces Led Zeppelin’s Thank You with heavy acoustic guitar rhythm section and some amazing percussion sounds that would make you think how amazing this track could have been an opening fanfare for the soldiers to come back home after a long day fighting a brutal war. 

In retrospect, it doesn’t matter about the court case, this is a must have for Italian Prog or Prog lovers to sink into, which has been a collector’s item to buy online. By the way, the music is plain brilliant and top notch that would pop the cork out of the champagne and celebrate………………… 

Line-up / Musicians 
- Vittorio De Scalzi / guitar, flute, Arp synth, spinetta, vocals 
- Giorgio D'Adamo / bass 
- Renato Rossert / piano, Hammond organ, Moog, Mellotron, electric piano 
- Giorgio Baiocco / tenor sax, flute, Eminent string emsemble 
- Tullio D'Episcopo / drums - Ramasandiran Somusundaran / percussions 
- Anna & Giulietta / chorus 

Songs / Tracks Listing 
1. La nuova predica di padre O'Brien (6:43) 
2. Ho visto poi (7:31) 
3. Tornere a credere (8:35) 
4. Una notte sul monte calvo* (3:31) 
5. Ibernazione (5:48) 
6. Quando l'erbe vestiva la terra (7:16) 
7. Butterfly (4:41) Total Time: 44:05* Bonus track on V.M. release. 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..