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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Goblin Rebirth

Goblin Rebirth

Review by Mike Korn

If you’re familiar with Italian horror cinema, there’s no way you’ve missed hearing the music of Goblin. They’ve done the spooky scores for classic films like “Suspiria” and “Dawn of the Dead” and many others, with a sound that many have called the occult version of Tangerine Dream. In recent years, the classic lineup has splintered into many different versions, including the subject of this review, Goblin Rebirth, which boasts original Goblin drummer Agostino Marangolo and bassist Fabio Pignatelli.

Goblin Rebirth has many of the characteristics of Goblin, but it’s obvious this iteration of the band is more “rock-oriented” than Goblin itself. The songs are more discrete and feature more prominent drum and guitar parts than the usually more ambient soundtracks of Goblin. This is not a bad thing unless you’re an absolute Goblin purist. You can describe the music here as “dark cinematic prog rock that paints pictures in your head.” If that description appeals, then “Goblin Rebirth” is for you.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Requiem for X

This starts with the sounds of a clockwork toy and then some very eerie whistling. You feel like you are in an abandoned, cobwebby playroom for a long dead child. Piano, synth and huge church organ combine to create a song of many layers. This becomes more hard-edged and “dangerous” sounding until a clear electric guitar solo comes in. This piece already has a more powerful and driving sound to it yet it retains the haunted house feel of Goblin. This is really very dark sounding progressive rock, returning finally to the original theme. It’s a very impressive (and concise) opening track.

Back in 74

“Back In 74” might be my favorite song here. It’s got a snappy “future retro” synth riff and powerful drum beats pushing it along. On this foundation, there’s a great combination of guitar and synth work. This again emphasizes the harder, more rock side of Goblin Rebirth and would make a great soundtrack to an action scene in a film noir movie. Wonderful keyboard work shines throughout.

Book of Skulls

This tune shows another side to the music, based around a slinky bass hook and a spook show synth riff. Some of the synth sounds here are just awesome cool, especially if you’re a fan of 60s and 70s sci fi music. The feeling here is relaxed but ominous until lead guitar cuts in and the pace really picks up.  It cools down and mellows out a lot at the end…a very cinematic piece of music and one of the longer cuts here

Mysterium

“Mysterium” kicks off with a choppy, nervous kind of rhythm interspersed with some dramatic bursts of keyboards. It’s also the first time we hear vocals….a haunting choir sings wordlessly in the background. This is a really progressive song that switches pace and texture a lot. The guitar solo really cranks hard! I get a King Crimson feel out of this one. It will keep you on your toes!

Evil In The Machine

Purist Goblin fans may have some trouble with this song which is a lot heavier and more propulsive than their soundtrack work. It’s also got a lot of robotic, Dalek-like vocals chiming in. This is a song that Pignatelli and Marangolo really dominate with bass and drum work. This is almost like a more cinematic version of Rammstein minus the thick German vocals. I enjoyed the track, but it is definitely way different than the Goblin that did the 80s film work.

Forest

As if to atone for the previous track, this could almost be by a different band. It is spookier, calmer and much moodier in tone. The keys take over here, including some great spacious organ work. You can really imagine wandering through a misty wood, searching for a female ghost in billowing white dress. Smooth female vocals add to the dreamy feel.  Even the addition of drum and guitar doesn’t change the mood. This is one of the best tracks and one that should appeal most to old Goblin fans.

Dark Bolero

“Dark Bolero” has a dramatic Latin flair to it, with lots of layering. This sounds perhaps like a trip along the Italian or Spanish coast on a winding road. It’s one of the purer “soundtrack” cuts here and also one of the shorter songs. There’s some vocal work that sounds like a Gregorian chant added as well.

Rebirth
This song  ends the album in style. Quick drumming and swirling keyboards usher the piece in, and from there Goblin Rebirth adds their trademark layers of sound. Both guitar and keyboards interweave and again this has a kind of Latin or Mediterranean feel.  There’s some smooth keyboard work that reminds one of the Goblin heyday. It’s the longest track here, although at under eight minutes, it’s not the prog monolith one might have expected.
 
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