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Goblin - Suspiria CD (album) cover

SUSPIRIA

Goblin

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.63 | 89 ratings

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Fitzcarraldo
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars GOBLIN, three of whose members played in CHERRY FIVE, was/is a skilled group of musicians who produced slick, well-crafted scores. This one is the official soundtrack to Dario Argento's 1977 classic horror flick Suspiria, and is essentially an instrumental album if one discounts the vocalisations, spooky whispering and speaking here and there. The album is a synthesizer fan's feast, but the synths are so integral to the pieces -- and used to produce such a mixture of sounds -- that to me this does not feel at all like a keyboard-laden album.

The title track starts off spookily, with celesta and bells playing a 13-note theme that carries on through the track and ingrains itself in your brain. The track just screams (figuratively, that is!) "horror movie soundtrack" at you. Creepy, whispered la-la-la-ing and evil-sounding speaking leave you in no doubt about that. There is some excellent use of synthesizer here. The piece rocks up half way through and even turns funky.

'Witch' starts with what sounds like ritualistic tribal drumming, howling vocalisations and a deep, reverberating "Doh!" that hits you in the solar plexus. That specific sound reminds me of PATRICK MORAZ's "Story of i", and I am left wondering whether MORAZ was inspired by this piece. The track contains experimental use of synthesizers and distorted drums, all sounding spooky.

'Opening To The Sighs' is a very brief piece of drumming building to a crescendo, and sounds more like the end of 'Witch' than the opening to the next track, 'Sighs', which starts with such evil-sounding sighs that they literally make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I listen to this on headphones. The track is full of wailing and that deep, resonant "Doh!" again, this time sounding like the chant of Tibetan monks. Twanging acoustic guitar and bouzouki almost sound Tibetan too, the way they are played. Other sounds are mixed into the background: growling, braying, hissing, wailing and the odd spoken word such as "witchcraft". Sounds more like the entrance to Hell.

'Markos', on the other hand, starts off with very fat synthesizer waddling around over repetitive, high-pitched staccato synthesizer, bells and drums. There's a lot going on in this track. Again this is rather an experimental sound and, to me, almost feels like one of VANGELIS' more repetitive electronic pieces. It also has a slightly oriental (Chinese) sound to it. An interesting use of synthesizers, and very pleasing to a synthesizer fan or a fan of psychedelic electronica in general, I would imagine.

'Black Forest' is more musical, using synthesizer and, later, some laid-back, jazzy sax. Like most of the other tracks it has a repetitive theme running through it, but is more musical and melodic than the three previous tracks. To accompany the jazzy sax there is even some grooving guitar slightly reminiscent of PINK FLOYD and some funky, pumping bass. This is my favourite track on the album, and is the most Progressive Rock-sounding track on it in my opinion. A very good piece, actually.

'Blind Concert' starts with what sound like chimes and xylophone, but then in comes an extremely funky bass and drum beat, and keyboards and guitar dart around them. As on the other tracks, synthesizers waddle and chirp away in the background. This track gets your head nodding and, although still slightly spooky in feel, is a very groovy jazz-funk number.

'Death Valzer' is a very ordinary traditional waltz, plonked away on a piano. One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three. More the sort of thing you'd expect at a tea dance. But then you'll need to watch Suspiria to find out how it fits in.

The CD has some 'bonus' tracks, although they don't add much that is worthwhile to the album in my opinion: 'Suspiria (Celesta and Bells)' is a rehash of the first track but with, you guessed it, just celesta and bells repeating that spooky 13-note riff over and over. Think "music box"; think "room with moonlight flooding in at the window"; think "creepy". Gorgeous sound, though. Then comes 'Suspiria (Narration)', which consists of a whispering voice saying, in accented English, things like "There are three witches in the school", over the top of that 13-note celesta and bells riff. 'Suspiria (Intro)' is just a brief, normal-sounding musical intro including trumpets (synthesizer?): nothing of import. Lastly, there is an alternative version of the fifth track 'Markos'; it still reminds me of VANGELIS in his more experimental phase and I enjoy the synthesizer loop accompanied by bells, drums and a fat, waddling synthesizer.

In summary: yes, this album does sound like a soundtrack, but it also sounds experimental and quite exciting. In fact, to me it sounds more exciting and interesting -- albeit less conventionally musical -- than "Roller", the other GOBLIN album I know to date (see my earlier review). It's by no means essential, but I think there is plenty in it to interest, and perhaps scare the bejesus out of, fans of Progressive Rock. Thus I have no hesitation in awarding it 4 stars (Excellent addition to any progressive music collection). Best listened to on headphones at night. alone.

Addtional notes on re-release This is a re-release of the 1977 GOBLIN album "Suspiria", the official soundtrack to the horror flick of the same name, but with four bonus tracks (tracks 9 to 12) which are mostly variations on the existing tracks.

Either the original or this 1997 re-release are worth checking out, as this is a very evocative and spooky soundtrack to a classic art house movie written and directed by Dario Argento. The storyline is that a young American woman travels to a German ballet academy to perfect her dancing. However all is not as it seems: the staff is a coven of witches, and the gruesome killings begin.

Fitzcarraldo | 4/5 |

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