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Goblin - Phenomena  CD (album) cover

PHENOMENA

Goblin

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.62 | 15 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars A daft but thoroughly enjoyable Euro-pudding from cult Italian filmmaker Dario Argento, the 1985 shocker 'Phenomena' features a youthful Jennifer Connolly(as a spoilt teenager able to communicate with insects.) and a not-so-youthful, wheelchair-bound Donald Pleasance(as a grouchy Scottish entymologist) working together(with a monkey) to track down a mysterious murderer with a penchant for slicing up posh school-girls. Set in Switzerland, featuring a fairly incomprehensible plot(a trademark of Argento's films which sadly marred much of his bravura, stylistic excess) and some truly bizarre moments(pits of maggots, decapitation-by-scissors, deformed imps etc) 'Phenomena' the film is, simply put, barking. Yet it's also quite fun. Despite some distracting elements, such the dreadful mid-Atlantic dubbing forced upon the European supporting cast and the frankly rather odd addition of a clutch of NWOBHM tracks - by the likes of Iron Maiden, Andy Sex Gang, Accept, Motley Crue to name but a few - to the soundtrack, the film features a strong visual aesthetic and some superbly-mounted, stylishly-executed set-pieces. Accompanied by Goblin's ethereal, synthesizer-heavy score, the music is once again a central part of Argento's tension-building technique, just as it was in his two best feature films, 1975's Hitchcockian thriller 'Deep Red' and the seminal supernatural piece 'Suspiria', both of which featured classic Goblin compositions in the shape of their respective theme tunes. The 'Phenomena' album isn't quite of that calibre - Goblin's best efforts all came in a brief period during the mid-to-late-seventies - yet it's still a strong release, both as a soundtrack piece AND as a stand-alone slice of symphonic synth-prog. Highlights include the classically-spiked title track, the keyboard- washed 'Jennifer', and the suitably spooky 'The Wind', a delicate track laced with a slight experimental bent a la early Tangerine Dream. Ignoring the awful 1980's metal(which Argento himself hated) this should more than please Goblin's legion of hardcore fans, the group's overall sound perfectly suited(once again) to the blood- drenched visuals of Argento's films.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 3/5 |

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