Unless you've been living under a rock the last 40 years, the name Goblin should be no stranger to you if you've at all followed European horror films or progressive rock. This Italian prog outfit (originally called Cherry Five) initially provided the chilling soundtracks to the Dario Argento horror classics Profondo Rosso in 1975 and Suspiria in 1977, in addition to George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead in 1978 and their own classic album Roller. Multiple line-up changes, stops, starts, breakups, and reformations have led us here, to this new version that is being called Goblin Rebirth, featuring original Goblin members Fabio Pignatelli (bass) and Agostino Marangolo (drums), along with Aidan Zammit (keyboards), Danilo Cherni (keyboards), and Giacomo Anselmi (guitar). This incarnation toured with Zombi a few years ago, so audiences who happened to see them live will be thrilled at this new album that tells an instrumental tale about the birth of an evil dwarf-like monster. Note that there are currently three versions of Goblin going today, one with original guitarist Massimo Morante at the helm (Goblin), and also one with founding keyboard player Claudio Simonetti (Claudio Simonetti's Goblin) leading the charge. Sound confusing? It certainly can be, but truth be told, the music from all are splendid, although it would be great if they could all play nice and just keep one band going. But, that's a discussion for another day...on with Goblin Rebirth!
One of the best aspects of Goblin's music over the years has been their ability to create moody, haunting music using all the aspects of progressive rock and jazz-fusion at their disposal. Here, the original rhythm section and their new bandmates have done just that, as each track on display seems perfectly suited to the soundtrack to any horror film,or, as in this case, just a damn good prog rock album. "Evil in the Machine" is just absolutely creepy, complete with ominous keyboard layerings, vocoder effects, and heavy guitar riffs, while "Dark Bolero" creates an intoxicating wall of sound, as the acoustic guitars and Mellotron just lull you into a tranquil state. Of course, it's the more upbeat, energetic tracks that succeed the most, especially "Rebirth", "Back in 74", and "Book of Skulls", each one brimming with fusion styled rhythms, dazzling guitar solos, and sumptuous keyboards. Even the symphonic opener "Requiem For X" has plenty to offer with its vast array of keyboard textures and haunting melodies.
It's good to see Relapse Records breaking the mold a bit and releasing something like Goblin Rebirth, a very fine album from a few old friends and their new mates which lives up to the formidable Goblin tradition.
- Requiem For X
- Back in 74
- Book of Skulls
- Evil in The Machine
- Dark Bolero