Goblin Rebirth – Goblin Rebirth (Album Review)


Rome, Italy-based, Progressive Movie Soundtrack composers Goblin Rebirth was born in 2010 out of the carcasses of other carnations of 1975’s original Goblin lineup of Vocalist Tony Tartarini, Keyboardist Claudio Simonetti, Guitarist Massimo Morante accompanied by Bass Guitarist Fabio Pignatelli, and Drummer Agostino Marangolo. The group’s heyday was with legendary filmmaker, Dario Argento, doing the soundtrack to his 1975 film, Profondo Rosso; aka Deep Red, which culminated when their reputation got them a gig doing the soundtrack to George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead.  At that time, they split, in which various members broke to do their own thing; yet, the band found themselves still together plus two: Agostino Marangolo’s brother, Saxophonist Antonio Marangolo, and nephew, Guitarist Carlo Pennisi, a session man who subbed for Massimo Morante.  Together, and in various forms, they worked on various soundtracks, almost reuniting the original lineup for Argento’s Tenebrae (1982).  Then, radio silence.

Argento’s 2000 film Sleepless saw Goblin come back with a vengeance, old issues prevented them from solidifying and showing their full potential, and Goblin called it quits. On the heels of Giovanni Aloisio’s authorized Goblin biography and the opening of their website, Morante and Pignatelli reformed the group with Marangolo and Guarini with the name Back to the Goblin, as well as recording the album Back to the Goblin (2005) for the independent label Back To The Fudda, which was followed by a tour in 2009 that almost showcased the original lineup except Simonetti.  Again, the band broke, because of inner demons.

Two-thousand and ten saw two factions of Goblin form, New Goblin and Goblin Rebirth, each with original members plus some, each vying for the limelight.  While New Goblin headed by Simonetti and renamed Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, followed by Goblin, has toured and released an album, the other faction, Goblin Rebirth, consisting of Fabio Pignatelli on bass, Agostino Marangolo on drums, Aidan Zammit on keyboards, Giacomo Anselmi on guitars, and Danilo Cherni on keyboards, released their self-titled album, Goblin Rebirth, June 29th for Relapse Records.

The self-titled album mixes their classic scores while modernizing said scores, and molding them into a tale of an imaginary film about the birth of an evil dwarf-like monster beginning with Profondo Rosso’s beautifully haunting “Requiem for X: Goblin Death” featuring voices by Dorraine Zammit Lupi.  As the piece begins, the listener gets a sense of a memory as a childhood music box plays, then, turns into organs accompanied by guitars like someone walking down a long corridor, looking around, peering around corners when light, ominous church bells seem to herald someone’s coming.  Then, guitar riffs scream as the character crosses the threshold into the netherworld.  Next, “Back in 74” has a dreamy chase feel to it with dual synth/drum work that gives an urgency as guitars cut in like blockages in someone’s path or hands grasping.  The piece builds to a crescendo like someone trying to push through a wall until they do…into where?  The bass drives “Book of Skulls” as jazzy, psychedelic drums beat like someone wracking their brain for answers while guitars flow like someone reading pages until they get to the “A-ha!” finale with the final keyboard strikes.  The plot thickens with “Mysterium,” a very abrupt piece of choppy strums with hypnotic synth as the guitar hooks with mysterious voices that float in and out of the tune to complicate the piece to throw the character off the answers.

Something lurks, there is an “Evil in the Machine” with a mischievous bass line with driving drums and hard, choppy guitars as synths raise the fear factor with ominous spectral sounds.  A synthed voice states, “Evil in the machine/Demonize/humanize/absolute control.”  Claustrophobia sets in at the outset of “Forest,” but turns into an ethereally siren-sung, bass/synth/light drum trip with underscored guitars that seem to lead to the light…or does it?  “Dark Bolero” enchants like the sway of the hips with the thumb cymbals and xylophone juxtaposed to the layered synths and drums like flashes in the dark to dazzle and confuse as voices chant incantations. The album comes full circle with “Rebirth,” a progressive, futuristic bongo/synth-driven piece that rises as it continues, incorporating guitars that seem to have the character moving through whatever womb to be free as the synths take over in an ethereal wonderment before fading out to the cosmos as rebirth occurs.

Goblin’s storied transition into Goblin Rebirth is epic in and of itself worthy of a Dario Argento-helmed film. Right down to the clever artwork showing their original mascot being reborn within in the womb. This self-titled debut album is worthy of said film to tell its story in moving pictures.  Or, if the world is to go without, this masterpiece is sure to have listeners’ imaginations run rampant.  CrypticRock gives Goblin Rebirth 5 out of 5 stars.

Relapse Records

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