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Goblin Rebirth - Goblin Rebirth CD (album) cover

GOBLIN REBIRTH

Goblin Rebirth

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.91 | 74 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Best to start off by getting one thing very clear. Goblin's Roller album has been a familiar friend since its vinyl landed first on my doorstep, back in 1976, initially captivated by the thundering bass playing of Fabio Pignatelli, who has never failed to be on my top bassists list. His upfront Rickenbacker sound really hooked me good on pieces like the title track which remains one of my favorite bass lines ever. Not too shabby on "Aquaman" and "Goblin" either! Now drummer Agostino Marangolo is no slouch either, the perfect foil for Pignatelli's ramblings, a rhythmic duo I found to be my all-time best in RPI, with deep respect to both Djivas/DiCioccio and Tagliapietra/DeiRossi. Goblin Rebirth is a "stunfest" of exotic Gothic-tinged progressive rock, nearly 40 years later and they still impress beyond words. Needless to say, from my historical perspective, I could not help to be glued to the rhythm section again, as the tandem still connects like frankly few others in all of rock music. With all due deference to the Simonetti Bros, Morante, Guarini, Zammit, Cherni and Anselmi, the two veterans just kick royal ass again. Better than ever, I would even daresay. Their power and their glory are impossible to evade, supremely effortless and razor-sharp, as drummer Marangolo has developed a big sound that makes him into the prog version of John Bonham (having seen the latter live, I can assure that is one hell of a compliment!).

"Requiem for X" gives me the chills, the forlorn bell peeling in the faraway landscape, rekindling memories of that first Black Sabbath album, yet swerving into a proggier, keyboard-infected groove that evokes doom, gloom and capitulation. When the crusher lumbers forward, the bass, drums, keys and guitar are all in a merciless merger, unrepentant. Phew, sweat flooding down my neck.

As if to remind everyone of the very lengthy hiatus , "Back in '74" serves as a reminder of those heady times when rock music was breaking down all sorts of stylistic boundaries, not content to just 'rock around the clock' ! Bouncy and petulant, uncharacteristically obscure and death-defying, the theme is deliberately cinematographic, as if beckoning the listener with images of times gone by, while playing the modern card, as displayed by a 'rhino in heat' guitar phrasing that rasps asymmetrically. Hommage this certainly is. But wait it gets only better!

The morose yet grandiose "Book of Skulls" is an aural steam-roller that crushes everything in its way, the duo relentless and almost gruesome in its simplicity, finding a rhythmic path that allows the marauding Giacomo Anselmi guitar to rampage appropriately, the dual keyboards in total acquiescence with some divine synth and piano work. Pignatelli likes to step out of the furrow and unleash a few spectacular runs, a true virtuoso. The theme is bombastic, dark, spectral and downright scary.

On the haunted "Mysterium", the colossal binary beat is laid down quickly, shouldered by that smoldering bass and unhinged by some of the most glorious choir mellotron ever recorded. Twinkling piano, tortured synth bubbles, crushing guitar scrapings and Agostino lifting his sticks high in the air. The mood is sombre, cinematographic and spine-chilling. This is so good, I cannot help but to nervously giggle!

I keep the cynical laughter going as Fabio does his magic right from the get go on "Evil in the Machine", a nearly electronic prog-rock piece that has an undeniable modern feel, a Kraftwerk-like vocoder voice and the most binary beat this side of Moby Dick, a bang-bang assault of concussive muscular power that is hard to fathom, the spotlight shifting firmly towards Pignatelli riffling nastily on his sweltering bass. Chris Squire, you may rest in peace, you won't be forgotten. Perfect Halloween horror movie music.

The classic prog of the 70's is reborn on "Forest", a standout palette of classic prog standards, a return to the church of prog if you will, as the sultry choir voices exalt the divine, the pompous pipe organ involved front and center , celestial cascades of mellotron and tormented synthesizer streaks all combine to pray to the god-like guitar solo. Well-deserved winks at Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd.

Poor Maurice Ravel must be turning in his grave (an ideal place, the cemetery) , "Dark Bolero" is a neo-classical piece par excellence, with a mournful cello upfront leading the obedient violins, the drums slickly percussive, all just waiting for the reptilian Pignatelli bass to show us the way to Dante's Inferno, stormy mellotron and chanted choirs that rekindle memories of "the Omen" series of movies. Slightly satanic, breeding palpable fear and a severe sense of engulfment with danger.

"Rebirth" certainly rekindles a renaissance of this much vaunted subgenre, the voluptuous bass motivated like some zombiefied monster, infested with Mellotronic pestilence, spearing forward like a Macedonian phalanx, both immovable and immortal. Or so it's seems with this long awaited rebirth. Just to hear again the duo of Pignatelli and Marangolo on this album is worth every expense. Magnificent RPI in the Goblin tradition. Easy perfection, in my book.

5 gnome revivals

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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