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Goblin Roller album cover
4.03 | 285 ratings | 29 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Roller (4:38)
2. Aquaman (5:22)
3. Snip Snap (3:37)
4. The Snake Awakens (3:27)
5. Goblin (11:10)
6. Dr. Frankenstein (6:00)

Total Time: 34:14

Line-up / Musicians

- Massimo Morante / acoustic & electric guitars
- Claudio Simonetti / organ, pipe organ (Basilica Sacro Cuore,Roma), piano, Hohner clavinet, MiniMoog, Logan & Elka String synthesizers
- Maurizio Guarini / piano, Fender Rhodes, Hohner pianet, Moog, clarinet
- Fabio Pignatelli / basses
- Agostino Marangolo / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Gian Franco Marignani with Carlo Bixio (art director)

LP Cinevox ‎- MDF 33.101 (1976, Italy)

CD Nexus International ‎- K32Y 2053 (1987, Japan)
CD Cinevox ‎- CD MDF 307 (1997, Italy) Remastered by Antonio Giampaoli
CD Cinevox ‎- CD MDF 634 (2008, Italy) Remastered by Claudio Fuiano

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GOBLIN Roller ratings distribution

(285 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GOBLIN Roller reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
5 stars Second album by these notorious Italian proggers, and one of their rare non-soundtrack albums. To me, I wasn't all that big on "Profondo Rosso", it sounded like they really hadn't got their sound developed, and a couple of songs don't even sounds like GOBLIN at all (there was an orchestral and more traditional jazz piece tagged at the end). The album did have good stuff, of course, lots of reminding me of PINK FLOYD playing Mike OLDFIELD's "Tubular Bells" or John Carpenter's musical works from the movie "Halloween", and they even stole the same wind sounds and music box from the CHERRY FIVE album (no surprise, really, as CHERRY FIVE Five was basically GOBLIN with a vocalist and a different drummer, even though their music was more traditional YES/ELP-influenced prog).

With "Roller" GOBLIN can prove that they can float all by themselves without a gruesome Dario Argento flick to back them up. Without the need of worry about a film, the music tends to be a bit longer than what they usually do. The album opens up with "Roller", a song circling around some slap-bass, some OLDFIELD-like keyboards, and this big pipe organ. "Aquaman" is a nice atmospheric piece dominated by the electric piano, then there's a PINK FLOYD-like section with Hammond organ. "Snip Snap" is a funky piece, dominated by clavinet, with some great use of fretless bass. This song isn't too far off with what IL VOLO did on "Essere o Non Essere"? or the Austrian band EELA CRAIG did on "One Niter", combining a blaxploitation funk sound with the prog sound of the time. "The Serpent Awakes" (at least that's the title on the Canadian Attic label LP) is mainly a live piano-dominated piece. "Goblin" is the lengthiest piece at 11 minutes is the album's real high-point, really allowing the band to stretch out, with some somewhat spacy passages, to more funky passages, great themes and great playing all around. Unfortunately the last piece, "Dr. Frankenstein" is the album's only real weak spot, since a lot of the music tends to meander.

Aside from that, a wonderful classic album, and it's really to bad that the only people who don't think too kindly of this album were the members of GOBLIN themselves. Essential, as far as I'm concerned.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am aware that this Goblin album is generally pretty much acclaimed in many prog e- zines, and I certainly can see why. Released when the success of their OST to Argento's movie "Profondo Rosso" hadn't waned yet, "Roller" (a non-OST album) showed Goblin's ability to create varied music and perform it with both versatility and a clean technique. With the entry of extra keyboardsman Maurizio Guarini, there was a very good opportunity to continue working on dark textures and ambiences, even though this repertoire was not conceived as a sonic background for horror movie situations: that they do in most numbers of this album's repertoire. When I mention textures and ambiences, I mean that there is no frenzy dueling nor extreme pomposity in the dual keyboard department. In fact, beyond the occasional soloing and prominent harmonizing portrayed by some guitar, organ and synth parts, there is not a case of exhaustive pyrotechnics and intensive exhibitionism (as compared to Balletto's "Ys", for example) in "Roller", but a true, compact sense of ensemble. Each individual musician's skill is subjected to the concise demands of the written material. The compositions are usually full of subtleties which elegantly hide the real complexity that lies beneath. The first example is the opening title track, which turns out to be effective and catchy, yet complex enough to be of genuine progressive interest: the recurring main motif never gets boring through the reiterations, since the sense of exquisiteness prevails in order to keep and conquer the listener's attention. But is track 5 the most outstanding piece in the album: titled as the band itself, it mixes the special splendorous magic of your regular Italian symphonic prog (BMS, Le Orme) with lots of Canterbury colors displayed in a kaleidoscope of energy and sheer class. Its 11-minute duration doesn't feel too long, really. Between these two numbers, there are: the somber 'Aquaman', mysterious as a journey to the dark bottoms of the sea; the blatantly funky 'Snip-Snap', which takes things to a more upbeat level; the eerie 'Il Risveglio del Serpente', where Simonetti's grand piano assumes the leading role, with Morante keeping track of the piano chords with his delicate acoustic guitar lines and Guarini providing some clarinet stuff in the middle. Goblin certainly knows how to keep things varied while maintaining a cohesive signature sound. With the amazing closure 'Dr. Frankenstein', the band let themselves loose to do one thing they know best - create sonic tension, particularly during the final section, with those hyper-dissonant synth flows and that sinister bass filling the spaces craftily left empty by the drummer. A wonderful ending for an excellent album.

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Without any doubts the summit of Goblin's production. The musical universe is really refined, consistent with a lot of cohesive arrangements. They determine in a few songs their typical musical style: a fusion of jazzy "funky" rock and dark symphonic orchestrations. The self title track is a grandiose composition made of church organ parts, heavy guitar sounds and electronics. The melody is very simplistic, epic and very charged emotionally speaking. "Aquaman" starts as an aquatic, acoustic & rather ethereal song. After a short introduction it directly reaches you into a fascinating spacey / floating voyage with very nice solo guitar parts. "Snip-snip" is a funny, humorous "groovy" song. "Dr Frankenstein" is a heavily "heroic" and "fantasist" musical invention mixed into a standard Goblin "jazzy" structure. The central melody is based upon modular synth lines, punctuated by acoustic piano and powerful guitar solos. Without any doubts Goblin's most representative, accomplished album.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Roller, along with Bagarozzo Mark are the two Goblin's classic albums famous because were not thought to be the soundtracks to any horror movie...

It has to be said that generally Roller is considered to be the most accomplished work ever released by the band. I quietly agree with those opinions even if my personal taste always try to puts Bagarozzo a little step forward. Not for the music, nor for the arrangements themselves. Maybe it's for the unusual (and unespectetly very funny) vocals used to build up the concept on about the fantastic journey of bug Mark all around the world. In the story of Mark lies the secret of this personal and instinctive favour.

By the way, if I had to write a more objective evaluation (this is what I'm trying to do, after all) I would say that Roller is more satisfying in the instrumental parts and it would be more interesting for any good symphonic prog lover. The richness of 70s' keyboards (clavinet, organ, piano, fender rhodes, honer pianet, moog, minimoog, logan string machine) is always welcomed and Claudio Simonetti knows well how to satisfy our ears.

I don't think there is any weak track on this record and the unique reason that justifies the surprisingly not high success after its release is that it was put in the shops too soon after the memorable and immortal Profondo Rosso. If they had waited a little bit, maybe the splendour of the previous masterpiece wouldn't have obscured the follow up which appears to be, in some parts, better than that. With each one of the six songs Goblin stamp their footsteps in the italian prog history. The main problem that could make people believe this is not a solid four stars rating is connected with the (what a pity!) too short running time (only about 34 minutes) and with the fact that the atmosphere is not as dark as one could foresee. The listening goes well from the start to the end without any bad surprise but with the guarantee in the 11,10 minutes of the (self-indulgent?) mini-suite "Goblin", the most sharp and smooth composition, here.

If you have a spot for the italian classic prog scene, this is one you cannot miss!

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Now i want to make again a stop and walk backwards to the beautiful era of 70`s symphonic prog music, again with a band from Italy, but believe me , with a unique and so different band.

If you dont know Goblin is a band which has released so many albums oriented to be music of movies, a clear example of that is their masterpiece called Profondo Rosso, a soundtrack of a horror film, maybe you will remind Vangelis, Tangerine Dream or Phillipe Glass, even the same Rick Wakeman when i mention the term of soundtrack, now i can suggest Goblin as a maker of movie soundtracks.

The difference is that here you wont listen anything electronic or atmospherical as the other progressive rock bands which have done music for films, here you will find the essence of symphonic rock , and the essence of Italian Symphonic Rock, i know that we dont have to separate prog by countries, but it`s clear that the Italian Symphonic Progressive bands have it`s own and unique style.

Goblin offers to us an instrumental sound, beautiful and full of excellent keyboards and actually if im not wrond this Roller album is not a soundtrack, but basically the style of their music is the same.

I will start saying that one thing that could be against Goblin`s releases is that the lenght of the albums are short, Profondo Rosso features almost 30 minutes, and this album 34 minutes, but believe me, that fact doesn`t make it worse at all, sometimes as a prog fan i feel that 30 to 40 albums are less to what i expect, i think i would prefer to have more minutes because the music is great, but anyway 34 minutes could be enough to enjoy of an album.

Those 34 minutes are divided in 6 songs, an average of 5:30 minutes per song , which are pretty good , taking the example of actual horrible music that has only 3 minutes and are hits. A progressive song doesn`t need to be a hit, but it needs to reach the levels of composition and greatness to takes us and have us at it`s feet, what im trying to say this time, is that Goblin`s songs are always sooo enjoyable, they feed my brain with excellent short compositions, and i cant ask more, that`s the beauty of it. Musically i think this album is not as great as Profondo Rosso, or at least i prefer the other one, but the synthezisers are great during thw whole album, also the bass lines accomplished by drumming and sometimes acoustic and electric guitars make it great.

From fast and powerful compositions like the amazing "Goblin" song, which for me is the best song of the album because of it`s great changes and creative sound , to the melodic and classical compositions of "The Snake Awakens", makes me feel free to recommend this album to you, Italian prog lover this is a must, and if you are not familiarized with this band or Italian scene in general, try this album anyway, it could be the gateway to a future love. Because i love it i have to give it at least 4 stars, but because it doesnt fill me like other albums, i cant give it 5 stars.

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A completely instrumental album from GOBLIN, three of whose members played in CHERRY FIVE. Unlike the group's first album "Profondo Rosso", the music on this album is not the soundtrack to a movie; nevertheless it has all the feel of a soundtrack. Actually, according to the CD booklet, 'Aquaman' and 'Dr Frankenstein' were included in the soundtrack to the movie Suspiria. Whilst it has more than a hint of jazz-funk about it in many places, the music still manages to maintain a rather eerie, melancholic feel overall and would be perfect for a horror movie or thriller. The music is well written and professionally delivered -- in fact the group sound to me like session musicians rather than a rock group -- but perhaps the music is slightly unexciting. Because of these various factors, I bet that many people who profess not to like Progressive Rock would not only be able to listen to this album but would do so without realising it is Progressive Rock.

'Roller' starts off spookily but then a catchy staccato beat with meandering Logan String Melody(?) and soaring, almost ecclesiastical-sounding organ liven up the track. The strong bass line and the various electronic keyboards work very well together and set the pattern for the rest of the album. The album is actually a keyboard lover's feast but, because of the compositions, somehow manages not to ram those keyboards in your face (at least so it seems to me).

'Aquaman' has a nice, spooky feel to it, enhanced by the initial sound of dripping water, the plucking acoustic guitar and what sounds to me like Rhodes piano. About two thirds of the way through, some laidback guitar over organ is very reminiscent of PINK FLOYD.

'Snip-Snap' has some really funky keyboards, bass and guitar. It has the feel of a barroom number, yet still maintains a slightly sinister edge due to the rather shrill synthesizer at times.

'Il Risveglio Del Serpente' (the awakening of the snake) is based around calm, pleasant, slightly Baroque or jazzy piano. Clarinet and swishing cymbals, the latter indeed reminiscent of a snake, add some mood to the piece. It sounds like a live number, as I can hear what appears to be the sound of an appreciative audience at the end.

The crunching or crackling sound at the beginning of 'Goblin' is disconcerting, then in comes lovely, tinkling clavinet, the track seems it is going to rock up but then in comes a very catchy yet haunting synthesizer riff. Some funky guitar and bass really jazz up the track and get the head nodding. In my opinion the track is the masterwork on this album. A very pleasing 11 minutes of Progressive Rock. Boy does this sound to me like it belongs in a movie.

'Dr Frankenstein' sounds suitably macabre yet very jazz-funky indeed and. slow, man. Yet another one to groove to, except that, two thirds of the way through, it ups tempo dramatically like a pulsar, and the synthesizers produce some very pleasant sounds indeed. And it ends very abruptly.

To me this instrumental album is very much background music or mood music. At only 34' 21", it ends too quickly and I invariably have to play it again. It's uniformly good: not particularly exciting and yet never fails to please. This is one of those albums that, when I'm not listening to it, I think deserves 3 stars (Good but not essential) but flashes up 4 stars (Excellent addition to any progressive music collection) every time I play it. Do you like instrumentals? Keyboards? Italian Progressive Rock? Jazz-funk? Then go for it, but give it some time to grow on you if it does not wow you straight out of the box.

Incidentally, be sure to check out GOBLIN's album "Suspiria" if you want something more exciting than "Roller" -- see my review of that album.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Without any doubt, "Roller" remains an Italian Progressive classic, a short yet lively album allegedly disliked by the participating musicians but a sheer jewel even after multiple decades of my preciously rubbing this lamp and letting the genie out! The 11 minute track "Goblin" has been a podium reservation since the very first day I heard it, back in 1976. Also of note are the opening title cut, the very liquidly propulsive "Aquaman" , the amusing italo-funk of "Snip-Snap", the slithery "The Snake Awakens" and the moody and somber "Dr Frankenstein" I am particularly still mesmerized by the deep, resonating at times fretless bass of the brilliant Fabio Pignatelli, who sounds like a funkier Chris Squire and the masterful hard- jazz drumming of Agostino Marangolo. The dual keyboard attack (similar to Banco's Nocenzi brothers or even Greenslade) develops a vast array of sensational textures, loads of clavinet, electric piano, Eminent (the Italian version of the mellotron) and various Moog tones that will leave the listener speechless. The diversity and the creativity on display are staggering. Guitarist Massimo Morante adds some opportune colorings in a very personal style that strives for originality above anything else. I could go on and on but there is really no point, as no Italian Prog collection can survive without this singular recording. This is an all instrumental 37 minute progfest of the highest caliber up, there with PFM, Il Volo, Banco, Nova and Arti+Mestieri's finest achievements. An unavoidable "monster", a perennial top 20 all-time classic. 5 little red devils
Review by 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 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 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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Most GOBLIN fans feel that "Roller" was their best album, but the band claims that "Suspiria" was their high water mark. This is an all instrumental record that has little to do with those horror movie soundtracks that they're famous for. This has more in common with the bands previous incarnation as CHERRY FIVE.

"Roller" features moog and synths (that's the advantage of two keyboard players) before a full sound arrives. This is so impressive ! Love the spacey organ as well that follows. Some prominant bass 3 1/2 minutes in. Great start. "Aquaman" opens with intricate guitar,keys and water sounds. Bass 1 1/2 minutes in, then drums a minute later. Gilmour-like guitar before 3 minutes is a nice touch. The organ comes in and it all sounds so good. It ends as it began. "Snip-Snap" is kind of a funky, jazzy tune with keys, drums, moog and guitar standing out. Cool song.

"Il Risveglio Del Serpente" is mostly acoustic guitar and piano melodies. "Goblin" is the longest track at over 11 minutes. It opens with the sound of horses walking on cobblestones. It sounds amazing before 2 minutes, I really like the drum and synth work. Abrasive guitar after 3 1/2 minutes with chunky bass is fantastic ! A calm with synths before 5 minutes. Drums, organ and moog come in as the tempo picks up. After 10 1/2 minutes the theme from earlier is repeated. Nice. "Dr. Frankestein" is darker with some intricate drumming. Piano and synths are added to this dark atmosphere. A change 4 minutes in as the tempo picks up.

For me this is a very solid 4 star album. Well done !

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is an excellent introduction for Rock Progressivo Italiano. While it is instrumental, the music retains many lovable sensibilities, and it is highly enjoyable. The musicians are excellent in their respective capacities, and still each piece moves in a definite direction. This exceptional album is certainly not one to pass by.

"Roller" A brief atmospheric section brings in plucky keyboard, bass, and drums, followed by a steady organ. The organ is incredible during this piece, even though it largely follows the lead guitar. This is an exceptional work, and is not to be missed. While I wish the bass had a fuller sound, it's still well-performed and tight with the drummer.

"Aquaman" Soft, watery sounds, keyboard, and acoustic guitar open this piece. The bass growls but keeps a trebly head. The guitar is pleasantly gritty, working over the bass and drums. The descending riff at the end leads right to the dripping water.

"Snip Snap" This short piece is also the quirkiest. The bass is snappy (makes sense), and it has some great panning effects with the synthesizer. The guitar is funky also. The synthesizer solo is fantastic, though, and the drums sounds phenomenal. This is just a great, fun instrumental.

"Il Riveglio Del Serpente" The percussive introduction is a powerful introduction to the acoustic guitar and piano that follows. But the guitar and piano are jazz instruments in the best way on this one, even with the other instrumentation over and under it. The piano is amazing, running underneath the other instruments as it does.

"Goblin" The piece that bears the name of the band begins with strange sounds, like popcorn being popped, or devilish hands clapping. Synthesizer and piano work alongside each other as the other instruments burst in. The synthesizer use is the best here, though, contributing to the overall structure. The bass guitar is powerful and punchy. The lead guitar work is simply spectacular, working alongside the other music even as the musician demonstrates his ability. It is the synthesizer that makes this track stand out, though. The piece features a rollicking drum solo that is heavy on the snare.

"Dr. Frankenstein" Fabio Pignatelli uses some swampy bass to lead the rest of the of the music. Otherwise, it sounds similar to Camel on the Mirage album. Abruptly, it stops to bring in machine gun bass, drums, guitar, and a wild synthesizer lead, which is the most unrestrained thing on this album.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Roller" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Italian progressive rock act Goblin. The album was released through Cinevox Records in 1976. Itīs the successor to "Profondo Rosso" from 1975 and itīs one of the few Goblin, which isnīt originally made as soundtrack music for a movie. Goblin are predominantly known for making music for movies by Giallo/slasher/horror movie director Dario Argento, but "Roller" is as mentioned an exception. Some of the tracks from "Roller" would however find their way unto movie soundtracks, but they werenīt specifically written with that purpose in mind.

While Goblinīs debut album "Profondo Rosso" (1975) is a soundtrack album (to the 1975 film with the same title), but still worked well without the pictures of the movie, "Roller" is a bit more classic instrumental progressive rock album as the suspenseful moments from "Profondo Rosso" are not featured here. "Roller" may not be a very long album featuring a total playing time of only 34:14 minutes but quantity doesnīt always equal quality and in this case thereīs not a dull moment in sight during those 34:14 delicate minutes and to me thatīs much more valuable than quantity.

The music is keyboard and synth driven instrumental progressive rock featuring an organic playing, very impressive, and at times funky rhythm section. Minimoog, organ, piano, and Fender Rhodes are some of the dominant keyboards/synths on the album. There are some great guitars on the album too, so this is not a strictly keyboard driven album. Four out of the six tracks on the album ("Roller", "Snip Snap", "Goblin", and "Dr. Frankenstein"), are energetic and at times symphonic compositions (but some also funky and even jazzy like "Snip Snap", which features a Weather Report influence) while "Aquaman" and "The Snake Awakens" also feature more mellow atmospheres and laid back moods. Most tracks are varied though and a song like the 11:10 minutes long "Goblin" is to my ears particularly impressive.

Goblin are an incredibly well playing unit, delivering their parts with precision but also the right organic touch. The interplay between the musicians are a great asset to the album. Both the material and the high level performances are further enhanced by the warm, powerful, and well sounding production, and upon conclusion "Roller" is through and through a high quality release, perfectly showcasing that Goblin were both skilled performers and clever composers, able to master different musical styles and still create music which sounds distinctly like them. "Roller" is of course the Goblin album fans of progressive rock should seek out first, before venturing into the world of their horror movie soundtrack albums (which are great too, but different from this one). A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I enjoy Goblin's soundtracks and often even watch some of the more obscure movie titles by relying entirely on the great soundtracks that will keep me entertained no matter how the movies turns out. So I was even more intrigued when I heard of a possible existence of a Goblin album that wasn't recorded as a soundtrack. To my great joy it didn't take long before I had the CD in my hands. Even upon my first experience the album managed to surpass any predetermined expectations that I had!

The first track entitled Roller reminded me of the great movie themes that the band have written over the years. Starting with the trademark-keyboard sounds but this time on a much more progressive side. I think the main reason for the progressive feel also comes from the great drum work from Agostino Marangolo. His performance alone is pretty much worth the price of admission!

The next three quirky compositions don't move me as much as the opener but instead manage to hold me over for the next gem of this album. I might even go as far as proclaim Goblin as the pinnacle of the band's entire carrier and it definitely deserves the name Goblin! The track starts slowly with a repeated keyboard passage that eventually takes off once the all the other instruments join in. What follows then are probably some of the most beautiful melodies that I've heard. The percussion work might at first seem quite subtle but just zoom in on that polyrhythm section and you'll be hooked! The composition is, just like everything here in life, not without its flaws and for me there are two specific moments that stand out more than the rest. I understand that this band-titled track was supposed to be a sort of an introduction of the band but the guitar solo towards the end of the forth minute was really unnecessary. The other flaw is the one minute drum solo that precedes the outro and might get weary on repeated listens. Still these two minor complaints can't take away the fact that Goblin is a magnificent composition and I only nitpick because I've heard it far too many times over these past few years.

The album concludes on a weird sounding improv of a composition titled Dr. Frankenstein. Although the last two minutes of it are magnificent and end the album on a wonderful highlight they just can't outweigh the four preceding minutes that honestly bore me to tears. Maybe the result is magnified even more due to wonderful performance on the previous track.

So far Roller is the only non-soundtrack related album that I've heard from Goblin and I'd love to hear more where that came from!

***** star songs: Roller (4:38) Goblin (11:10)

**** star songs: Aquaman (5:22) Snip Snap (3:37) The Snake Awakens (3:27)

*** star songs: Dr. Frankenstein (6:00)

Review by Negoba
3 stars A Taste of Italy, No Wait, A Taste of Instrumental Prog

Italian prog band Goblin, best known for horror film soundtracks, had a few stand alone albums, and the highest rated is this album, ROLLER. While categorized as RPI, the band does not have the distinctive Italian flavor of PFM or QVL. Like Gryphon or Triumvirat or a number of 2nd tier 70's bands, this group produces high quality, prototypical prog rock. In fact, this album may be the best single "sampler" of the various sounds that made up classic prog. Ranging from acoustic guitar driven pastoral pieces to funky jazz fusion, ROLLER pulls all of the classic instrumental sounds into a cohesive piece of work. While the band really does nothing to create a trademark identity for itself, the members are adept ambassadors for the genre in general.

When I listen to this album, I am impressed with the balance between the players. All get a chance to shine in a variety of tempos and rhythms. Guitarist Massimo Morante plays with plenty of fire, evoking Steve Howe, Anthony Phillips, and even forecasting Alex Lifeson. Maurizio Guarini is great on the various keyboards (especially Moog), pulling out spacey pads, swift-fingered solos, and even quiet acoustic piano. The rhythm section is among the funkiest in support of a symphonic prog outfit, with heavy influence of Weather Report and Billy Cobham. Despite a very broad span of musical style in 34 minutes, the album holds together remarkably well.

Though I only have this album by the band, it seems like the group could have really made a niche for themselves as an Italian symphonic jazz rock fusion outfit. (As ridiculous as that sounds, once you hear the album it will make sense.) On the final track "Dr. Frankenstein," the most fusion-y song on the album, you can hear the members really starting to find some identity. However, the song builds slowly and ends almost abruptly just as they are reaching a climactic energy. (How about sticking around for a cigarette guys?) Maybe they were late for a soundtrack engagement, the eventual calling that would dominate the rest of their career.

In the end, this is a very well done sampler of prog sounds. Lots of fun, very well played, a 3- 4 star effort that I'm rounding toward the middle yet again.

Review by stefro
4 stars Famed mainly for their series of horror film soundtracks produced for the likes of Italian splatter-meister Dario Argento and 'Dawn Of The Dead' creator George A. Romero, Goblin started out during the Italian progressive rock boom of the early 1970's. Originally called Cherry Five, they produced a single, literary-themed self-titled album(which featured, amongst others, songs based on the works of Oscar Wilde, such as 'The Pictures Of Dorian Gray') before internal tensions within the band saw a change of personel and the eventual switch to the new name. Their first release was the eerie, keyboard-and-synth heavy, funk-tinged soundtrack to Dario Argento's 'Profondo Rosso' in 1975. This was then followed up by one of the few non-soundtrack items in their catalogue, 1976's 'Roller', an album which, along with it's soundtrack follow-up 'Suspiria', put Goblin on the international map. 'Roller' saw the group given a new lease of freedom unavailable on their sometimes rather constricting soundtrack work, producing a highly symphonic blend of Italian prog, funk, rock and their trademark creepy soundscapes which showcased the group's eclectic tastes. The stand-out tracks include the funky 'Snip Snap', which features some impressive rhythm beats from drummer Agostino Marangolo and bassist Fabio Pignatelli, and the epic, 11-minute long 'Goblin', in which guitarist Massimo Morante lets rip with some quicksilver finger-picking. Considering the audacious sounds on 'Roller' it's something of a mystery why Goblin produced so few studio albums, with the band focusing almost exclusively on soundtrack work throughout the remainder of the next two decades bar 1978's 'Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bagarozzo Mark'. They would go on to form a prolific partnership with Dario Argento, soundtracking many of his classic films such as 'Tenebrae' and 'Phenomena', and would also forge a strong and loyal cult following across Europe and the United States. However, one can't help but feel an opportunity was lost as the quality of 'Roller' was never again re- produced, with the band instead opting to utilise their penchant for creating creepy sounds over any kind of attempted album career. Maybe the commercial gains of film-work were to prove too tempting, or maybe the band had simply exhausted themselves creatively after producing 'Roller'. Whatever the reasons, and they could well be myriad, they did at least leave behind this fascinating brew of sounds and styles that found this most peculiar of bands operating at their very peak. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This instrumental group grew out of the Italian band Cherry Five. Some call them the Italian Tangerine Dream, which is silly because they sound nothing like TD and were making movie soundtracks before them. Roller is one of the few non-soundtrack albums from Goblin. The music here is symphonic, funky, electronic and rocking. I have to make a special mention of the bass sound here. Terrific!

The title track has a spacey beginning. It then goes into an almost Gentle Giant part, then a more symphonic part. Water drips can be heard at the beginning of "Aquaman". Then some acoustic guitar, Rhodes and synth. Later bass and drums then a bluesy guitar solo. "Snip- Snap" is a very funky number. Good clavinet riff. Awesome bass and synths in this song. Good drumbeat. Has an electric piano solo. "Il Risveglio Del Serpente" starts spacey with percussion. It gets very classical sounding with piano and acoustic guitar. Then saxophone. There is crowd applause at the end but I think that was added after; this doesn't sound like a live recording.

The song that shares it's name with the group is great. You can listen to this song on PA. Starts with crackling and other weird noises. Then piano and synth. Bass, drums and a nice synth melody later. 3 1/2 minutes in there is a ripping guitar solo. Starts to mellow out. Beginning 5 1/2 minutes in a beautiful synth melody starts. After 8 minutes there is a great funky part with congas/bongos and maracas. Before 10 minutes we get a mini-drum solo. This whole song has great drumming. At the end we hear the synth melody at the start. Tape speeds up at the end.

"Dr. Frankenstein" begins spacey. When the bass, drums and guitar comes in it oddly reminds me of what Tortoise would be doing 20 years later. Gets more funky and jazzy later. Awesome bass sound. Over halfway through the music stops. A new fusion-y part starts. It rocks intensely. There is some amazing electric marimba playing. Or is that part done on a synth? A great RPI album. Maybe a little more funky and spacey than your average RPI band. 4 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars A rare non-soundtrack album from Goblin sees the group setting forth their own spooky vision of symphonic RPI. Several sections of the album - such as the first part of Dr Frankenstein, before the wild synthesiser-driven close - show a heavy funk influence to an extent beyond what you'd normally expect for a prog band from the era, pulled off to perfection thanks to Fabio Pignatelli's exceptional bass work. Who knows, perhaps the band were hoping to get some work scoring blaxploitation films, but either way Goblin manage to make the incorporation of funk into a symphonic/eclectic prog soundscape seem perfectly natural, which makes this album worth a listen for anyone with a taste for prog that doesn't turn its nose up at other contemporary genres.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Goblin becomes Goblin instead of Cherry Five (or Oliver).

1. "Roller" (4:38) opens sounding quite a bit like the "Main Theme" the Profundo Rossi soundtrack only a little more densely constructed like a rock instrumental but using the same instruments (bass a little chunkier, synths a little more advanced). Very similar melodic theme. (9/10)

2. "Aquaman" (5:22) again, cinematic accompaniment is the feeling projected from this slow developing, pensive instrumental. All instruments contribute in an individualistic, intermittent capacity until the 2:50 mark when drums and bass kick into a rhythm track supporting a bluesy electric guitar solo. At 3:48 the guitar solo ends and the music returns to the sensitive patchwork hodgepodge of the opening section. (8.75/10)

3. "Snip snap" (3:37) opens with an upbeat bluesy clavinet setting the scene before funky rhythm guitar, bass and drums join in. Jazzy, chunky bass attracts a lot of attention before synths and Fender Rhodes take over the lead, alternating with funky jazz solos. This could be a song from a concurrent Billy Cobham or Herbie Hancock album (Fat Albert Rotunda or Head Hunters). (8.5/10)

4. "The snake awakens" (3:27) sounds like a jazzified classical piano piece adapted for lounge entertainment. (8.75/10)

5. "Goblin" (11:10) opens with percussion and sound effects to create a sound imitating crackling of an open fire. After a minute of this, piano and organ create a melodic weave over which drums and bass submit intermittent, syncopated crashes. At the two minute mark a fully structured full-band song presents itself but is fairly soon dropped for a more complex variation of the previous introductory section. At 3:15 the song finally settles into full speed, full form as synths and electric guitar take turns soloing over the fairly rapid drive of the drums and chunky fretless bass. At 4:40 there is a breakdown and an ensuing delicate and more sparsely adorned synth-led section of sensitive, slow, emotive play. Electric piano, Moog and string synths take turns carrying the pretty lead over the next three minutes with drums and bass slipping respectfully into a more-background support role. At 8:20 there is a turn down a more funky country road in which the speed shifts to a comfortable, steady, breezy rate within which the fine technique of drummer Agostino Marangolo get a chance to shine. Then things end. Good song with some very nice, creative instrumental performances. (18/20)

6. "Dr. Frankenstein" (6:00) opens with an ominous deep synth note that continues to float and flange in the background as bass, electric guitar, drums, and multiple keys build a funky, syncopated jazz weave. Lots of epithets and interjections spewed into the weave from each and every instrument as the only constant, consistent driving force remains the opening synth note and some oddly timed At 3:45 everybody stops, the sound drops away, and then an aggressive rolling bass line emerges to announce the beginning of a much more cohesive, fully fielded sonic spectrum of instruments and fast driving drumming over which a MIDI-sounding synth (but this was pre-MIDI, wasn't it?) plays a frantic, "running" lead--which then plays out to the end. Both sections are pretty cool but truly could've/should have been delineated and separated into two different songs--or, at least, two different movements of a two part suite. (9/10)

Total Time: 34:14

A-/4.5 stars; a minor masterpiece of jazzy, cinematic instrumental music.

Review by patrickq
3 stars I was pretty pumped after hearing "Roller," the first tune on this album. It's a great composition with an excellent sound and absolutely fantastic bass playing by Fabio Pignatelli. Could they keep it going for another 30 minutes?

Not really. Going into Roller, I understood Goblin to be in the movie-scoring business, so maybe this colored my reception of the album. Most of Roller sounded like backing music when I first heard it, and it still does. In other words, most of the songs don't sound designed to stand on their own, but to support a movie, a TV show, or the like.

The album-closing "Dr. Frankenstein," perhaps as suggested by its title, could work as a theme in a science-fiction movie, although it's not distinctive enough to be the main theme. "The Snake Awakens," a piano-based piece with minimal percussion, could work as background music on a historical drama like the BBC used to make. And "Snip Snap" almost sounds more like a 1970s TV soundtrack than any 1970s TV soundtrack ever did. Nice swirly analog synths on this one, by the way.

"Goblin," an eleven-minute suite, moves from jam-band rockin' to melodic, almost new-agey jazz before evolving into that 1970s soundtrack sound with funky rhythm guitar, busy, clever bass, a drummer supported by a Latin percussionist... you get the idea. After a reasonable drum solo, another theme, faster but no less funky, wraps things up.

So the title track of Roller is where it's at. Sure, it's cinematic, but it also holds up as a standalone song. I'd recommend to any fan of symphonic rock and to anyone who enjoys meaty bass playing. As for the album as a whole, it's very good soundtrack music, and merely good progressive rock.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars While GOBLIN has become one of Italy's greatest exports of horror synth prog in the niche of soundtrack music, the band has also released a scant few bona fide progressive rock albums outside the context of Dario Argento's commissioning of products. Following in the vein of the Cherry Five years, GOBLIN took the opportunity to release a non-soundtrack oriented album after the unexpected success of the band's debut "Profondo Rosso" soundtrack. ROLLER took the liberty of dishing out all the prog chops that one would expect from a serious prog band of the 70s but one can't erase what came before completely and the album retains a bit of the creepy blood curdling vibes of the soundtrack that preceded. In many ways ROLLER could be taken as just a mere warm up for the band's phenomenally successful and lauded followup album / soundtrack "Suspira" as it has the seedlings of the haunting vibes to come as well as returning to its Cherry Five roots only blowing them away manyfold.

ROLLER is an interesting mix of what the spectacular 70s prog rock scene had to offer and GOBLIN pulls it off with remarkable grace and technical wizardry. Only consisting of six tracks which includes in the 11-minute-plus spectacular thriller "Goblin," yeah the song which ironically is the same as the band! For the most part ROLLER is a somewhat chilled out album with occasional energetic outbursts. The main melodic drive is generated from the double keyboard sensations generated by Claudio Simonetetti and Maurizio Guarini. Generally speaking one takes on the role of percussive keyboard drive ranging from staccato riffing stabs to beautiful piano rolls while the other generates an intense atmospheric backdrop. The other star of the show is surely bassist Fabio Pignatelli whose rhythmic chops are tantamount to the Italian version of Chris Squire with powerful nosedives up and down the scales but always keeping the backbone of the melodic marches in tact. BTW this is a completely instrumental affair.

The title track initiates the listener into the mid-tempo grooves that are generated throughout ROLLER. Two keyboardists, one bassist and a phenomenal drumming style dished out by Agostino Marnagolo take the scaffolding of the tunes into orbit while Massimo Morante adds subtle textures of guitar sounds to the mix ranging from Steve Hackett styled pastoral prog in the form of acoustic and electric guitars to more skillful soloing out of the Pink Floyd playbook. At key moments he also takes the liberty to unleash some serious guitar wankery that takes the musical prowess far beyond the space rock world into borderline hard rock. "Aquaman" delivers an interesting dripping effect of the keys while nurturing a Floydish style of guitar playing in the context of space rock. "Snip-Snap" jumps ship altogether and takes a cue from the synth funk playbook of Herbie Hancock's "Headhunters" and offers a slice of Brand X styled jazz-fusion.

"Il Risveglio Del Serpente" (The Snake Awakens) provides a gentle piano based respite in between the funkiness of "Snip-Snap" and the monstrous shapeshifting band named track that follows. "Goblin" takes almost a minute to wade through the crackling sounds but then explodes into a series of emotive keyboard runs and power chords guitar style before morphing into what reminds me of Gryphon's style of progressive folk (such as on "Red Queen To Gryphon") complete with an instantly catchy melodic hook and stellar instrumental interplay especially between the keys, bass and drums. Remember that guitars are a tertiary event on this album well at least until Morante erupts into one of the most impressive guitar solos on the entire album which takes on a bluesy heavy rock persona a la Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter and other guitar greats of the era. The track drifts from atmospheric passages and other variations and culminates in a massive drum solo and synth funk-fest complete with African drumming.

The album ends with "Dr. Frankenstein" which slowly and placidly accumulates speed. A droning organ in the background offers a canvas for the guitar, bass and drums to slowly ratchet up the tension. When the bass kicks in, the synth funk groove is established but the counterpoints of the second keys and guitar offer glimpses into the scarier side of GOBLIN's personality that seduce the horrific soundtrack sounds to emerge from their cages. The track is essentially two different ones as about four minutes in morphs into an energetic extravaganza that finds the bass on hyperspeed and the keyboards duking it on on steroids Keith Emerson style. The track offers a profound ending to a nicely laid out album. ROLLER is quite the prog rock sensation and which offers a unique mix of GOBLIN's idiosyncratic goods along with styles from other prog rock bands of the era which offers an outstanding display of pyrotechnics in sonic form that doesn't eschew the art of musical foreplay and then delivering a climactic conclusion. In short, ROLLER displays GOBLIN going for the gusto where they can show off their chops out of the confines of the movie theme limitations and in the process rocked the friggin house.

Latest members reviews

5 stars After a year of casual listening, I finally took the time it takes to get acquainted with Goblin's Roller. It's been spinning in my player going on four days straight. Goblin's methods are subtle on this record, compared to the output of their contemporaries. Fully mature and emotionally c ... (read more)

Report this review (#749847) | Posted by Suedevanshoe | Sunday, May 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Before beginning to write my review on the second albun of the Italian band entitled GOBLIN "Roller" - 1976, I should say that besides this I just know another albun " Fantastic "I'l Viaggio del Bagarozzo Mark" - 1978. For this reason I can only make comparisons between both. Leaving of this, I c ... (read more)

Report this review (#293722) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, August 7, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Roller has many cryptic sounds that remind me of those old bands where they played with great organs, like the style of jazz from New Orleans, not musically similar... For the description of this album i want to be as objective as possible, if that exists ... I think generally has a sound very ... (read more)

Report this review (#251924) | Posted by Diego I | Friday, November 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of my favourites Italian Progressive rock albuns. A very spacey and intricate keiboards, create a space context , very, very pleasant to hear. He is one of the best albums of this band, and one of the few ones that is not commercial. I bring into line that Roller, Profondo Rosso and the begin ... (read more)

Report this review (#181714) | Posted by João Paulo | Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A highly rated "Italian Symphonic ProG classic" or just another great ProG album? Does GOBLIN make better motion picture soundtracks than actual studio albums? I just dunno? But I do know that after listening to the instrumental 'Roller' album a few times I really enjoyed it. All around excel ... (read more)

Report this review (#126273) | Posted by Wishbone Ash | Monday, June 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I listened to Roller for the first time last night and I have to say I wasn't disappointed. This is vintage Goblin and just damn fine prog-funk in its own right. A number of the later songs on the album hint at melodies and rhythms which would later re-emerge on the Suspiria and Buio Omega so ... (read more)

Report this review (#117358) | Posted by ollie | Wednesday, April 4, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I bought this album strictly on recommendations from this site, and I must agree with the majority of reviewers that this is a truly awesome album. My primary exposure to instrumental music (other than classical composers) before this point has been almost limited to Univers Zero. I am a big f ... (read more)

Report this review (#115433) | Posted by chorvath | Saturday, March 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I haven't got anything too terribly profound or sophisticated to say here... Roller is a multilayered, multifaceted effort and one of my favourite examples of Italian symphonic prog by far - it is dark and brooding, yet soaring, melodic, and at times quite technical. Although entirely instrme ... (read more)

Report this review (#83687) | Posted by InfinityParadox | Thursday, July 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The second work released in 1976 "Roller". Original album that is not sound track. All like the rhythm section, the synthesizer, the melody, and the guitar, etc. are technical rock of high quality. A symphonic sound caused by a twin keyboard and a jazzy, elegant performance united and it becam ... (read more)

Report this review (#75469) | Posted by braindamage | Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Released soon after the instant hit of Profondo Rosso (Deep Red), soundtrack of italian horror maestro Dario Argento's movie, Roller was surprisingly enough a commercial flop. It is anyway an excellent record. The title track finds Goblin at their best, with its tipical "cinema feel", but strong en ... (read more)

Report this review (#2938) | Posted by | Saturday, January 31, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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