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Goblin - BackToTheGoblin 2005 CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.90 | 24 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars It's a relief to find a modern comeback album by a vintage progressive band that doesn't sound like an uninspired group of old men merely going through the motions! 2005's `Back To The Goblin' features the members of Italy's premier horror soundtrack group who recorded one of my all-time favourite progressive albums `Roller' (only missing keyboard maestro Claudio Simonetti here), and although this work doesn't come quite so close to the perfection of that record, there's more an enough quality musicianship and experimental textures to be of much interest to fans of the bands and darker tinged progressive rock. It has all the usual traits that highlight most of their albums, with a couple of absolute knockout pieces. Guitarist Massimo has never sounded so wild and excited, bass player Fabio Pignatelli never so loose, Maurizio Guarini employs a great variety of keyboard sounds and styles that pushes the band into previously unexplored directions, with drummer Agostino Marangolo perfectly complementing everything perfectly.

One thing you won't see coming is the music on the first track that opens the album `Victor'. Not only is it nothing like what you'd expect from Goblin, but it more resembles an epic symphonic Rick Wakeman-styled orchestrated piece (although performed on keyboards). It's pompous and grand, triumphant and whimsical, and I was quite put off by it on my first few spins as it sounds barely anything like Goblin. But I've come to find it's still very cinematic, which means it's really just the band experimenting with a different type of soundtrack work. Fellow Prog Archives reviewer Nick (Progbethyname) pointed out in conversations that it would make the perfect accompaniment to a `Legend of Zelda' or fantasy videogame, and I completely agree. It's pretty amazing to hear keyboard player Maurizio Guarini arranging such a piece like this.

`Dien Dion' will reassure fans right away, as it's full of typical Goblin twinkling synth mystery, churning heavy guitar, crashing drumwork and imposing organ blasts, and well as a few slight nods to their previous classic works, especially the opening cut of `Profondo Rosso'. `Hitches' is a bombastic horror blast that sees Massimo tearing his electric guitar through a child's lullaby over punchy synth stabs and bashing drumwork. It even reminds me slightly of the comeback albums from Italian occult icons Antonius Rex (as do many little moments scattered around the album), and I'm certain that synth solo in the outro reminds me a lot of ex-Dream Theater keyboard player Derek Sherenian. `Sequential Ideas' runs through pounding synth/dance pop, 70's club/funk, orchestrated grandiosity and intimidating heavy shredding, really moving through a range of many styles the band has covered in their 40 plus year career. `Lost In The Universe' combines emotional piano tinkering punctuated with heavier guitar sections and stomping percussion outbursts.

But like all Goblin albums, there's several superb tracks that highly impress. I was totally blown away by `Bass Theme in E' on my first listen, and it shows a looser, more ambient and thoughtful band that we don't see too often on their studio works. Gorgeous floating, pulsing bass from Fabio weaves around gentle washes of synths and chirping keyboard soloing, gradually building in mystery and tension as it moves back and forth in tempo. My absolute favourite part of the album is `Japanese Air', a deeply Tangerine Dream- influenced ambient piece that ebbs and flows with the gentlest of orchestrated synth waves and reflective piano before a hugely passionate electric solo solo that not only ranks up there with his best, but would almost give David Gimour a run for his money.

The band wraps on the dominating, aggressive yet impossibly catchy `Magic Thriller'. Just listen to how well the two keyboard players here Fabio and Maurizio pile on skittering synth patterns that scrape at the nerves, maddening jazzy piano soloing, and uptempo pulsing synth runs over stalking heavy guitar tension and tormenting dramatic orchestration, not to mentions Agostino's stomping drumming. Anyone who has seen the band open their recent shows with this number will know how great it is, and it's a classic Goblin track as good as any of their most loved 70's pieces.

`Back To The Goblin' is overall another winning addition to the band's fascinating discography that fans of the group shouldn't hesitate to snap up. Although this particular line-up has splintered, with Goblin figurehead Claudio Simonetti now back in the band, and assisted by his Daemonia cohorts Bruno Previtali and Titta Tani who now serve as live touring members, there's so much potential for the band to make the most of their current status in progressive circles and the goodwill they have from horror audiences and record again. Hopefully we'll eventually get another studio album from them yet, but if not, this is a very respectable, varied and successful work for them that means they can exit with their heads held proudly high.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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