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Goblin - Roller CD (album) cover

ROLLER

Goblin

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.06 | 234 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One-half of a fine album

As I was reading up on Goblin preparing to write this review, it is ironic that the first thing I find is this comment from the italianprog.com site: "Goblin represent a rare case of a band that's much more popular among foreign collectors than in Italy, where their name has always been strictly associated to the Dario Argento horror films' soundtracks they've played on, rather than as a real prog band." While that last part is a rather harsh statement it hits home with me because Roller doesn't scratch my Italian itch. This may be a good album in some respects but it sounds rather nondescript and like it could have originated from anywhere. My biggest complaint is that for all of the jamming that is here, from the aimless moments to the spirited ones, the album simply fails to leave any lasting imprint on me emotionally. That in essence is my biggest problem with Roller. It sounds good on paper, it just doesn't inspire me, it never leaves me longing for the next spin.

Things start on a high note. The music of "Roller" is pretty good stuff that should please most instrumental prog fans. Impeccably played, vivacious, nicely constructed. The first thing that jumped out at me is the nice big fat bass on the title cut, it just slides and hits that groove that I love being a big fan of actively played bass. The meat of the song features a nice tri-mingle of the lead bass, keys, and electric lead in a pleasant melody. There are lots of water sound effects in the aptly titled "Aquaman" which starts quietly with acoustic guitar and synth. There are lots of nice keyboards on this album, synths, organ, and piano. Halfway through Morante lets rip with a wailing electric guitar solo with keyboard-strings behind. Percussion is played with great care in the background as the acoustic and water sounds return. "Snip-Snap" is a funky little romp but really pretty silly. "Il Risveglio del Serpente" starts with panned cymbal and effects, then lovely piano comes in with acoustic guitar and the track sticks mostly with the solo piano. "Goblin" is another high energy workout like "Roller" and is the other highlight of the album. Great lead guitar fireworks with fat, funky bass and tight drumming. Good synth parts develop in the quieter moments and are allowed some space from the guitars. The ending gets more intense again with even a little drum solo just before the final close. "Dr. Frankenstein" has a diabolical beginning with eerie sounding guitar leads over spooky synths, followed by the snappy bass and drums. The track goes to highlight the good rhythm playing with some wild keyboard work to the foreground but like four of the six tracks it is nothing special.

"Roller" does not fully satisfy either as an Italian prog album or as instrumental rock album. It sounds pretty flat compared to the robust regional flairs of its competition from the time, which is why I can relate to the comment from italianprog.com that I led with. From instrumental rock I want more building, emotional playing, whereas in my opinion, Goblin seems to be a collection of parts pasted together that result in a curiosity rather than any well though-out epics. I think I even prefer the Cherry Five to this album for its undeniable fire-in-the-belly. I am not saying Roller sucks by any means, there are some pretty nice moments in the title track and in Goblin, as well as nice piano in Serpent which garner 3 stars for sure. I'm just saying it doesn't float my boat beyond that point for reasons noted so decide for yourself-lots of folks think this is the cat's meow! The booklet contains a brief history of the band but not much else. Sound is pretty good on the CD MDF 307 reissue.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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