There is but a single downside to Back To The Goblin 2005 and that is its title, while it certainly gets to the point. And this isn't Goblin Lite by any means, though the absence of Claudio Simonetti (who's been busy with Goblin's notably heavier "reincarnation" Daemonia) hasn't failed to draw at least a few jeers. Yet the "others" are all here: original members Massimo Morante and Fabio Pignatelli who founded Goblin with Claudio Agostino Marangolo (who replaced original drummer Walter Martino), and Maurizio Guarini, who joined the band as second keyboardist a few albums in and played on Roller, Il Fantastico Viaggio del Bagarozzo Mark, and Zombi, and stayed on after Claudio left in the early '80s. Nor is Back To The Goblin 2005 a batch of rerecordings of old material: the music here is brand-spanking-new. The end result is an even more retro-sounding trip than the band's last official soundtrack Nonhosonno.
Fabio Pignatelli produced and mixed the CD, and thank the heavens for that. The sound is warm, not sterile, deep and layered but with plenty of "negative space." Everything breathes; this is one fire that won't be snuffed out by a crowded mix. The synth sounds no doubt are from current virtual analog units, and sound just fine. Agostino's drumming delivers the punch Fabio's rhythmic pulsations require. The opportunity presents itself to disclose that while Fabio's studio in Rome is where most of the action took place, Maurizio, who actually joined the project last, recorded at and sent files from his studio in Canada (ultimately he did fly over several times). In addition, Agostino recorded his parts at his own studio, also in Rome. The album couldn't sound more organic, even "live," effects desired but not as often achieved by similar means.
Musically the CD sports everything one would expect, from the fuzzy, angular guitar and robust bass to prominent keyboards and the cinematically resonant motifs they spark. Maurizio takes solos on most of the tracks he plays on (more on that later), chiefly and deftly augmenting the wunnerful Baroque colorations applied to rock that defined Goblin early on. Initially a bassist, Fabio also played a significant role when it came to keyboards, performing all the (sampled) Hammond organ segments and certain string and piano parts. Serving as an overture of sorts, the Guarini-penned "Victor" is mildly rhapsodic fare that echoes Goblin's score for St. Helene (its relevance as a leadoff piece increases after multiple spins). The opening synth notes of the oddly-titled "Dlen Dlon" are more than a little familiar consider them the key to the classic sound we continually revisit on Profondo Rosso, Zombi, Buio Omega and Tenebre reordained. "Bass Theme in E" isn't related to Notturno's nor would it be a tough contextual fit. This theme is beefier, anchored by that gargantuan regal presence that acts as overseer to all else that transpires in the mix. [Unintelligible] processed vocals and spiralling synth colorations touch up the sonic palette. With a looming crescendo, guitar heroics and riveting bassline that would cripple the composition were it excised, "Hitches" is the stuff of Roller and Viaggioist dreams. Massimo's solo is brief if powerful, but Fabio's bass lead commands a starring role.
Before Maurizio was called in, Fabio and Massimo and to an extent, Agostino had already composed a few pieces and laid down some bed tracks, along with shaping a few initial ideas to which Maurizio would add his own touches. "Japanese Air" and "Sequential Ideas" are the two "trio" pieces here. "...Air" features bass and keyboard work entirely by Fabio (as it was in Goblin's latter days before a long period of inactivity) and is a deeply sentimental, melancholic cousin to that timeless ode called "Oblio" (Oblivion) from Zombi. "Sequential Ideas" is uptempo, almost danceable. "Lost In The Universe" reprises the harder edge we experienced earlier, a delicate piano intro preceding a guitar-spawned kickstart and sizzling synth solo by Maurizio. Another piano bridge, and an emotional guitar solo eventually surrenders to a complete "space-outro." Finally, a dynamic bombast-laden closer in "Magic Thriller" with power chords, spunky staccato piano, squawking synth lead, galloping bass the works.
Say, there may be another downside to all this: what seems like an awfully short album at barely over forty minutes. What sinks down, must resurface: eight tracks, no filler. Old school. Twenty years ago, we didn't enjoy albums with bonus tracks, outtakes, B-sides, live versions amenities enabled by the age of the compact disc. It isn't so bad now, is it? Another plus: this newly-reformed quartet has set up a brand new website, and has made it very clear more music, along with live action, is yet to come. Goblin Part Troix. Sounds good to me.
1. Victor (2:30)
2. Dlen Dlon (5:11)
3. Bass Theme In E (4:15)
4. Hitches (5:32)
5. Japanese Air (6:57)
6. Sequential Ideas (5:58)
7. Lost In The Universe (5:20)
8. Magic Thriller (4:57)
Total Time 40:40