Album Review: Goblin's FEARLESS (37513 Zombie Ave)

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If you have a passing knowledge about 70’s/80’s horror films, you have surely heard of the band Goblin. They composed soundtracks (under a few different line-ups) for Dario Argento’s films Profondo Rosso (Deep Red), Phenomena, and perhaps most famously the original Suspiria. They also recorded the score and soundtrack for the European version of George Romero’s classic film, (and in my opinion the best zombie film of all time) Dawn of The Dead.  They went on to record several prog albums and do scores and soundtracks for many other films.

The thing that might be confusing to some people, or at least it was for me at first, is that at this point in time, there are two iterations of Goblin. There’s Goblin..who recorded FEARLESS and then there’s Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin.  The whole situation is not unlike in 2013 back when former members of Black Flag (Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, Bill Stevenson, and Steven Egerton) formed the band FLAG while Greg Ginn (the founder of Black Flag) revived Black Flag with himself, Ron Reyes (later replaced by Mike Vallely) and Gregory Moore. I wouldn’t doubt if there was a certain amount of drama amongst the two iterations (as there certainly was in the case of Flag/Black Flag) but in my own selfish opinion, it just means more opportunities to see and hear new music from the members of the band who revolutionized horror soundtracks and prog rock.

Just to clarify, the members of GOBLIN who recorded FEARLESS are Massimo Morante, Fabio Pignatelli, Maurizio Guarini and Agostino Marangolo. They toured the world in 2018. Keyboardist Claudio Simonetti also toured with members of his band Daemonia under the title of Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin. Both iterations have played scores to the films they worked on with Dario Argento to packed crowds everywhere.

Now onto FEARLESS itself; it’s a re-visitation of Goblin’s songs on the European version of Dawn of The Dead as well as the songs “Sighs” and “Suspiria” from Suspiria . The songs are very interesting to hear outside of the analog sound used when the scores were originally recorded. The production is stellar, and the attention to detail and quality of musicianship is absolutely worth noting. The new versions of the song are a little bit more orchestral and stadium rock-ish, which to be quite honest, I’m not sure how I feel about.  I’d have to say that my favorite track on the album is the new version of “Sighs”.

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead

The thing about these songs is that they are decidedly of their era, so to hear them being redone with more modern instrumentation on an album feels a little cheesy to me personally. I’m not denying any of the musicians’ talent here because prog music is exceptionally difficult to play and amazing to see live. Something about the new editions of these songs just doesn’t translate as well to album as the originals. The fact of the matter is, however, that I am a musical purist, typically. I also feel the same way about films. Usually, I don’t think something that was amazing the first go round necessarily needs to be done again. I’m willing to listen to this album a few more times and I may eventually grow to love the reimagining of the songs. I just feel that Claudio Simonetti is such a vital part of Goblin, as well as Massimo Morante, Fabio Pignatelli, Maurizio Guarini, and Agostion Marangolo, that they’re doing a disservice to each other by not performing and recording as a group again.  

The thing about this is, these are how musicians work. Some people just can’t work together anymore after a certain point. I am eager to hear some original material from both new iterations of the classic horror-prog band, but I think that they should save the classics for the live shows and focus on recording new material so the fans can have a chance to differentiate the two entities from the one that both groups stemmed.

This doesn’t mean that Goblin isn’t extremely savvy to release this album, because it is a huge service to mega fans of the band and the films on which the original songs appeared. It also doesn’t mean I won’t go see them live, or Claudio Simonetti’s version for that matter. I’m just conflicted on the need to revisit songs that were already perfect when they were originally recorded.

TRACK LISTING:
1. L'Alba Dei Morti Viventi
2. Zombi
3. Oblio
4. La Caccia
5. Zaratozom
6. Sighs
7. Suspiria

FEARLESS is now available to own on Vinyl and CD, as well as a special Limited Edition Camouflage Vinyl. To order visit shop.backtothefudda.com.

Lorry Kikta

Maurizio Guarini, Massimo Morante, Agostion Marangolo, Fabio Pignatelli

Maurizio Guarini, Massimo Morante, Agostion Marangolo, Fabio Pignatelli