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Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin: The Devil Is Back

Being a progressive rock aficionado, I am almost embarrassed to admit I have never heard the music of Italian progressive rock band Goblin which formed in 1972. The band is famous for making movie soundtracks that garnered a lot of attention at the time. They disbanded in 1982 and regrouped with various original members in the early 2000s. Almost reminding me of Yes’s revolving door of members. In 2013 yet another formation arose out of the ashes, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, Simonetti being an original member. In 2014 the band released The Murder Collection follower by their 2015 release titled Profondo Rosso (Deep Red), a rerecording of the original band’s 1975 debut album. This brings us to the band’s latest 2020 release titled The Devil Is Back. The lineup presented here is:

Claudio Simonetti (piano, Hammond organ, synthesizers, theremin, vocoder, computer programming, arranger and producer)
Bruno Previtali (electric and acoustic guitars, bouzouki)
Cecilia Nappo (bass, visual designer)
Federico Maragoni (drums, percussion, visual and audio designer)

So, this being my first foray into Goblin’s music I really did not know what to expect as I have only researched the band vaguely over the years. It is always exciting to hear a band with such an extensive background for the first time. It has been a rewarding experience to say the least as The Devil Is Back is an excellent slice of instrumental progressive rock, marrying different genres like electronic and symphonic into the band’s progressive framework. The disc starts strong with “Brain Zero One” featuring a hypnotizing electronic groove, trippy keyboards and stellar bass riffs. The instruments are added gradually with the sound building into electronic tinged heavy prog. The keyboards are featured prominently and are integral to the band’s sound. The next track “Revenge” is excellent featuring outstanding bass fills, electronics and some dramatic guitar along with the ever present keyboards. The band’s instrumental prowess continues with “Drug’s Theme” beginning with a clean and crisp drum groove and an ultra cool proggy guitar riff proceeded by layers of trippy keyboards and fine electric piano creating an intense, moody and highly interesting sound. It is pretty catchy as well and the guitar solo is a certain highlight. Perhaps my favourite track is the moody “Agnus Dei” making excellent use of choirs and a darker keyboard melody. The guitar and drums enter in dramatic fashion and the song settles into an hypnotic mid tempo groove including riveting guitar and synth solos. Just a great track.

It is not often an instrumental album is this impactful but The Devil Is Back hits all the right notes for me. I think it’s safe to assume fans of the band and those who appreciate consummate musicianship and stellar keyboard work will find plenty to enjoy. In a word…excellent!

Track Listing:
1. Brain Zero One (5:33)
2. Revenge (5:35)
3. Drug’s Theme (4:19)
4. Agnus Dei (6:55)
5. The Devil Is Back (5:28)
6. Neverland (5:04)
7. Solitude (3:38)
8. Chi? (3:41)
9. Chi? Parte Seconda (3:15)
10. Saint Ange (7:51)

Added: May 4th 2021
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 453
Language: english

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