After the successful album with Luis Bacalov, “Concerto grosso per I New Trolls”, in 1972 I New Trolls released “Searching for a land” with a renewed line up featuring Vittorio De Scalzi (guitars, flute, keyboards, vocals), Nico Di Palo (guitars, vocals), Gianni Belleno (drums, percussion), Frank Laugelli (bass) and Maurizio Salvi (organ, piano). For this album New Trolls deliberately drew their inspiration from foreign bands such Colosseum, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or Jethro Tull although trying to keep an original touch while blending hard rock with classical influences. It's a double album and it's maybe too heterogeneous and not always convincing but it has some very good moments. It was released for the international market and completely sung in English and Italian-Canadian bass player Frank Laugelli, who replaced Giorgio D'Adamo in the line up, wrote most of the lyrics signing them as Rhodes.
The opener good “Searching” begins with a nice acoustic guitar pattern and the lyrics in my opinion capture the spirit of the whole album that sometimes seems to lack a definite musical direction... “Travelling, wish I knew where I was going / Every place now looks the same / Nothing new seems to come my way / All my life I've been searching for something... But I'm happy to be free and to be able to weep / And I'm happy to be me...”.
The second track “Percival” is introduced by a nice acoustic guitar arpeggio and features a distant and filtered vocal part that I don’t like at all. It's a song about time passing by, sometimes you grow up and finally you realize that along the years you never found what you were looking for and now that you're old you have even forgotten what your goal was... “Percival is my name / My kingdom is wide...”. Good acoustic guitar solo!
“Once That I Prayed” is introduced by piano and vocals and is another good track with a strong classical influence. The lyrics and music evoke a feeling of uncertainty and the need for freedom, an absolute freedom that could lead even to solitude... “Goin' on my way I was trying to pray / Something may change into my life / Nothing to say, nowhere to stay / No hand to hold to keep me warm...”.
The sound of the organ introduces the rarefied, dilated “A Land To Live, A Land To Die”, an interesting track featuring a great organ work and an ethereal, dreamy atmosphere. The pace is slow, almost bluesy in some passages, and you can dream of a new promised land where to find peace and rest.
“Giga” is just a short, nice acoustic guitar track that leads to the following “To Edith”, another dilated, dreamy track with an excellent keyboard work that closes the first part of the album. The lyrics are taken from a poem by Bertrand Russell... “Through the long years I sought peace / I found ecstasy, I found anguish, I found madness, I found loneliness, I found the solitary pain that gnaws the heart / But peace I did not find / Now, old & near my end, I have known you / And, knowing you, I have found both ecstasy & peace / I know rest, after so many lonely years / I know what life & love may be / Now, if I sleep I shall sleep fulfilled...”.
The second part of “Searching For A Land” was recorded live and I think that is less interesting, with more hard rock and less classical influences. “Intro” is a long instrumental track where the members of the band showcase their great musicianship while the following “Bright Lights” is an uninspired hard rock track and in my opinion the weakest on the whole album.
Next comes “Muddy Madalein”, a hard, bluesy track with a flute solo in “Jethro Tull style”. The lyrics tell about a man who, while walking in the street with his child, is puzzled by the meeting with the prostitute who was his “first shot”.
The long final track “Lying Here” begins with classical reminiscences (Gregorian chant, flute and organ passages) that after six minutes melt into hard rock with clear references to Deep Purple and ample room for drums and electric guitar solos.
Well, on the whole “Searching For A Land” might not be a masterpiece but I think that it is worth listening to and could be an excellent addition to any prog collection.