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Goblin - Four Of A Kind CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.87 | 45 ratings

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4 stars Goblin is among the great Italian classic prog bands from the seventies, and perhaps the greatest of the instrumentally oriented ones. Often they have made music for films, especially for Italian horror flicks. In recent years there have been more than one Goblin-related line-ups around, but I'm not going into those details here. Former review of Kev Rowland already speculates also about the slight uncertainty on the band name (Goblin or 4Goblin?) I'll put all that rather frustrating mess aside and try to share my reception on this album alone. My Goblin listening history isn't very big: I have the classic non-soundtrack album Roller (1976) and the recent live double disc by Goblin Rebirth.

Four of a Kind saw a re-release this year from Black Widow, and it contains 'Goblin' (Recorded Live in Austin, April 29, 2014) as a bonus track. By the way, I threw the four miniature playing cards away as totally valueless to me... OK, onto the music, which is completely instrumental. The strong and intensive opener 'Uneven Times', featuring the guest appearance of saxophonist Antonio Marangolo, adjusts the level very high. This is truly the same group (give or take one member) that recorded all those classic albums in the 70's. The sound is tight, clear and extremely dynamic. Especially a large variety of synthesizers are used a lot. There certainly are no weak links in this seasoned quartet of keyboardist, guitarist, bassist and drummer. More or less each track is graced with sonic richness and emotional power. Personally, I'm very pleased to hear prog music that is "powerful" without being metal-ish. It does approach "heaviness" here and there, but quite free of Heavy/Metal mannerism. For example the electric guitar completely avoids the metal edginess.

The entire album is pretty even and strong, which means it's not so easy to spot clear highlights. 'Dark Blue(s)' sticks out stylistically, being bluesy, but I'm not convinced by the Gothic male choir addition. 'Love & Hate' contains the most delicate moments, without losing any of the dynamics. '008' that ends the studio album is probably my least fave, and it's not bad at all. Tszirmay's theory of the title referring to the next secret agent after James Bond is right on the spot without any doubt.

The 12-minute live version of 'Goblin' (originally from Roller) is a nice extra, a reminder of how tight this group is also on stage. Five stars wouldn't be totally out of question for this release, but in the end it may be too "even" (in the lack of a better word) for being a timeless masterpiece. But yes, if you're a fan of Goblin, you simply have to have this album.

Matti | 4/5 |


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