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Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy

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Goblin biography
Symphonic band from Italy who adapted their music to the movie industry, mainly horror movies from the 70's. The outstanding keyboard work performed by Claudio Simonetti is a trademark of GOBLIN. Most of their stuff is really heavy and moody, with a Floydian progressive feel, and generally pretty good.

Beginning with their first "Profundo Rosso" GOBLIN were obviously better suited to soundtrack music than as a studio offering and the majority of their work was in this vein. Their excellent second "Roller" is a very nice album of traditional symphonic progressive rock from the Italian group. Newcomers to the group will want to investigate their heralded soundtrack albums first, particularly "Profondo Rosso" and "Suspiria". The "essential" GOBLIN works. Highly recommended for fans of soundtrack music.

The band is again active with more releases and touring.

Goblin official website

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Buy GOBLIN Music

Suspiria [180 Gram Vinyl]Suspiria [180 Gram Vinyl]
AMS Music 2013
$31.82 (used)
Ultimate CollectionUltimate Collection
Imports 2015
Audio CD$14.10
$16.24 (used)
Live in RomaLive in Roma
Cinevox Italy 2012
Audio CD$17.09
$28.34 (used)
Non Ho Sonno AKA Sleepless [Vinyl]Non Ho Sonno AKA Sleepless [Vinyl]
AMS Music 2013
$33.36 (used)
Box set · Soundtrack · Limited Edition · Import
Bella Casa 2012
Audio CD$37.04
$80.11 (used)
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GOBLIN discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

GOBLIN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 136 ratings
Profondo Rosso [Aka: Deep Red] (OST)
4.06 | 222 ratings
3.46 | 31 ratings
Perché Si Uccidono (O.S.T. with the name Reale Impero Britannico)
3.65 | 129 ratings
3.53 | 84 ratings
Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bagarozzo Mark
3.56 | 57 ratings
Zombi - Dawn of the Dead
3.00 | 14 ratings
Amo non amo
2.43 | 14 ratings
Squadra Anti-Gangsters
2.67 | 17 ratings
2.80 | 22 ratings
1.65 | 15 ratings
3.31 | 29 ratings
2.22 | 9 ratings
2.70 | 22 ratings
2.67 | 11 ratings
La Chiesa
3.56 | 9 ratings
Solamente Nero *
3.15 | 15 ratings
Phenomena - The Complete Soundtrack *
3.26 | 25 ratings
Buio Omega *
3.13 | 16 ratings
La Via Della Droga
3.56 | 26 ratings
Non Ho Sonno (O.S.T.)
3.90 | 23 ratings
BackToTheGoblin 2005
4.38 | 8 ratings
The Murder Collection (Claudio Simonetti's Goblin)
3.86 | 40 ratings
Four Of A Kind

GOBLIN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GOBLIN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.67 | 3 ratings
Austinato: Live in Austin, Texas

GOBLIN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.17 | 9 ratings
Greatest Hits
4.67 | 3 ratings
Goblin (French compilation)
3.22 | 8 ratings
Greatest Hits (1987)
4.00 | 2 ratings
Zombi / Tenebre
3.41 | 9 ratings
The Goblin Collection 1975-1989
3.25 | 14 ratings
Profondo Rosso - The Complete Edition
5.00 | 1 ratings
Eccitante! Goblin *
4.04 | 5 ratings
Soundtracks Vol. II 1975 - 1980 *
4.50 | 2 ratings
Soundtracks Vol. III - 1978 - 1984 *
5.00 | 1 ratings
Italian Horror Showcase *
2.67 | 3 ratings
The Original Remixes Collection Vol. 1 *
2.75 | 4 ratings
Claudio Simonetti Compilation (Profondo Rosso)
3.35 | 7 ratings
The Best Of Goblin Vol.1
4.14 | 5 ratings
The Fantastic Voyage Of Goblin

GOBLIN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Profondo Rosso
0.00 | 0 ratings
4.00 | 2 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
Suspiria (Japanese Version)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Un Ragazzo D'Argento
0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
ゾンビ (Zombi)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Amo Non Amo

GOBLIN Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Four Of A Kind by GOBLIN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 40 ratings

Four Of A Kind
Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Four Of A Kind by GOBLIN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 40 ratings

Four Of A Kind
Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

There is no doubt in my mind, and nor in many other's I would imagine, that Goblin are the finest progressive rock bands ever to come out of Italy. Their 1977 soundtrack to the cult horror 'Suspiria' is an amazing album, and I was lucky enough to see a version of the band play live in front of a showing of the film in Auckland a few years ago. But there's the problem, their history has been a little problematic, and in 2015 there were two different versions of the bands doing the rounds. I am a little unsure if this is a Goblin album, or a 4Goblin album, as it doesn't appear on the discography of their official website, and a '4' appears inside the capital 'G' on all places, and not long before this album came out in 2015 there was a band called New Goblin. In addition, Claudio Simonetti also has a version of Goblin, but he is the only member of the 'Suspiria' quartet missing from this line-up, his place taken by Maurizio Guarini who joined the band in 2003.

Originally released by Backtothefudda in 2015, Black Widow have pulled out the stops with this release as there is a booklet, slip sleeve, and even four playing card aces featuring cartoons of the musicians. But, it is easy to see why, as here is a band that may have left the scene for quite a few years in this career, but they are back with an absolute vengeance. The production is spot on, which allows each of the musicians to really shine on this instrumental album. It shouts class from the first note to the very last, and it is incredible to realise that this band was formed more than forty years ago yet is still producing music that is important and relevant today. Massimo Morante has the same delicate touch on guitar as always, and this brings the music together in a fashion that allows the others to create space and depth throughout. This is yet another Goblin classic to add to their canon, and I hope that I manage to catch these guys in concert again. Superb.

 Four Of A Kind by GOBLIN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 40 ratings

Four Of A Kind
Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Goblin surprised the Prog world by releasing 2 albums in 2015, Goblin Rebirth being an off-shoot band that kept the magnificent rhythmic tandem of Fabio Pignatelli and Agostino Marangolo together while infusing 3 talented players, creating a memorable self-titled album that I anointed with the highest praise. On 'Four of a Kind', the two are joined by initial members Massimo Morante on guitars and keyboardist Maurizio Guarini. Only Claudio Simonetti is missing but he has his own version of Goblin. For a bass fiend like me, an instrumental album that puts Pignatelli's instrument up front and center can only be another blissful pleasure. Since there are no vocals, I sort of see this 43 minute musical gnome as a one multi-part suite.

The usual Goblin characteristic is omnipresent throughout the 10 tracks , a dark, brooding, at times menacing atmosphere that permeates the arrangements, steered by that carving Rickenbacker bass, thankfully pushed forward in the mix, ably supported by Marangolo's decidedly Bonham-ian approach to percussive beats. Lather on top some profuse synthesizer weavings, shrill Hammond organ flashes and occasional piano eloquence. Finally the electric guitar frills add tension and sizzle to the bombastic expanse. The 7 minute+ 'Uneven Times' possesses all those characteristics, only including a brief sax venture from Marangolo's presumed relative, Antonio. The synth- heavy 'In the Name of Goblin' proposes troubling musical shifts and obscure patterns, kept in line by the Pignatelli 4 string magic. Morante constructs some complex axe phrasings that scratches the surface of some epidermal fear of the unknown, a classic Goblin trait. It starts out fairly homogenous, armed with a classic guitar melody before veering into a murky cemetery-like dirge middle section that reverts back to the beginning. The clavicembalo (a mythical RPI instrument) that is nothing more than a harpsichord, makes a brief intro on' Mousse Roll' before vaulting into a beefy leviathan of sound and fury, relentlessly pummeled by both the feisty bass and the cruel drumming, assisted by acoustic and electric guitar incursions. 'Bon Ton' keeps the rhythmic assault forceful, a very binary onslaught with zealous distortions and lightning blitzes that suddenly evolves into a complicated but surreal atmosphere where only the bass seems to be on target while the others float around in some semi-state, before resuming the bombast with even more aplomb. Morante makes his fret board scream and rage, it's a beautiful feeling as the choir mellotron howls in the background. The exit is phenomenally suave. 'Kingdom' flutters at first, elegant piano and orchestral gravity set the tone, a solo guitar serenade in the high notes introduces a more avid piano melody that is boosted by more choir mellotron, synths twinkling mechanically in the back ground. 'Dark Blue(s)', as the title may imply, is a bluesy affair, highly surprising under the circumstances but Goblin pull it off rather brilliantly, Morante showing decades of experience and chops on the guitar and he simply shines. Part Roy Buchanan, part Gary Moore, he bears his soul on the fret board, knowing the three others are right behind him, the genial background choir doing immense positive damage to the arrangement. Almost a Gothic religious feel to it that ends with a heartbeat. Amazing! 'Love & Hate' is back to the classic infernal dichotomy between two extremes, starting off all bothered and sweaty before slipping into radiant sweetness, the synths and piano in maximum lullaby overdrive. Achingly gorgeous, divine in spirit and expertly delivered by mature, talented musicians. You guessed it, on a dime, it reverts to almost Crimsonian bluster, angry Wetton-like bass blasting feverishly and slashing guitar scimitars doing serious damage. '008' is perhaps dedicated to James Bond's next agent in the line of fire, a rambling Hammond-fueled soundtrack for a raging Aston Martin barreling down the autostrada, a Beretta popping off synthesized bullets and some suave bambina looking back at you with a furtive glance. Sexy, sizzling and suave finale to a thrilling album that can easily offer future pleasures to the discriminating fan. Just listening to the bass and drums has more than enough interest for the audiophile

Can we please have some more music like this, per favore?

4.5 gargoyles

On a side note, it took 3 months for this disc to arrive in the mail, proving once gain that I have more patience than a hospital (wink)

 Volo by GOBLIN album cover Studio Album, 1982
1.65 | 15 ratings

Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

2 stars So, the dreaded `black sheep' of the Goblin family gets to join the rest of the clan at the Devil's banquet table! One of the last Goblin-related releases to arrive on CD thanks to the Cinevox label, the notorious `Volo' from 1982 is now reissued, very likely to the (excuse the pun!) horror of the true Goblin-ites! The Eighties was not a banner year for much of anything prog-related, and with bass player Fabio Pignatelli the sole founding member here, he's joined by a mix of related ex-Goblin members and session players, and together they delivered a sleek set of pop/rock/funk pieces very much in the manner of the popular commercial styles of the time.

The first seven tracks offer a variety of straight-forward poppy tunes sung in Italian, with most of the pieces revealing some brief little interesting musical idea or soloing spot for a few fleeting seconds, and admittedly the album is made more enjoyable by Mauro Lusini's warm lead vocal. Opener `Polvere Blu' sets an early template, a solid polished driving pop-rock song with a catchy chorus and strong melody that can quite easily become lodged in your head, and the sax/keyboard/piano solo spot in the middle is a highlight. `Fortuna' is a breezy tune with male and female vocals and a very Brian May-esque guitar solo in the middle, the highlight of `Giornata Isterica' is the gently murmuring bass and tasty guitar soloing, and the charming romantic `Agrodolce' has a lovely melody, sweetly sighing group harmonies for the chorus and the briefest of whimsical keyboard soloing.

The upbeat piano-driven `Armonia' opens the second side with softly funky bass and the obligatory feel-good sax solo, the up- tempo and foot-tapping title track `Volo' boasts one of the better keyboard solos of the album and comes complete with hand- claps and some vocals that briefly call to mind Phil Collins and the emerging poppier Genesis pieces of the time. `Punto di Rottura' is a little more restrained but is still a fairly bland pop tune at heart, but thankfully the album ends with an instrumental `Est', apparently a leftover from previous recording sessions and a piece that would later be reworked for the `Notturno' soundtrack. It's unsurprising to find it's far and away the best moment on the album, and the eerie synths, murky soloing bass and drifting faraway sax brings plenty of atmosphere, and the piece would be warmly received on any other Goblin album.

So the question comes down to this - if you're an obsessive prog or Goblin fan, do you commit to collecting just the key albums, or are you happy to add the less special or even average to bad albums to your collection for completest reasons? While it's mostly a world away from the darker horror of their defining soundtrack albums or even their pure RPI gems like `Roller', `Il Fantastico Viaggio del Bagarozzo Mark' or even the peppy `Reale Impero Britannico' album, `Volo' can at least claim to be a melodic, undemanding and well-played surface level pop album at best.

Two stars for a competently made and enjoyable pop/rock album, but only really of interest to the Goblin completest.

 Greatest Hits (1987) by GOBLIN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1987
3.22 | 8 ratings

Greatest Hits (1987)
Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars The most effective soundtrack music complements the screenplay rather than upstaging it. Having not seen any of the original films for which the tracks in this compilation were written, I can only remark that GOBLIN produced some absolutely stunning pieces for film, and in a wide variety of progressive styles, mostly moody and keyboard oriented. However, with respect to some of these, their intensity could submerge even a gory horror flick of the type often taken on by GOBLIN. I''m guessing that in "Profondo Rosso", the original soundtrack includes more atmospheric pieces, and the title cut does indeed dominate the proceedings whenever it appears and, as such, makes for a thoroughly engrossing and visual listen with eyes closed, its melody lingering and waiting to....GOTCHA!

"Witch" is almost the polar opposite, an impenetrably dense and amorphous arrangement that seems lost without cinematography. While it may work just as well or better in its intended format, this is a CD review, and as a standalone piece it's invalid. Most of the rest succeed reasonably in the dubious anthology format, the best being the hypnotic "Suspiria", which transforms into an electronic piece worthy of TANGERINE DREAM or VANGELIS halfway through; the more jazzy and mellow "Est", and especially the ravishing "Jennifer", which gives me goosebumps every time, but not in the chicken-hearted manner one might expect from Goblin. Its appearance near the end of the disk helps to assuage some of the disquietude that might have heightened over the prior half hour or so.

While I am not necessarily about to race out to acquire the full OSTs sampled herein, GOBLIN's greatest offers more hits than misses, and may have paved the way for more keyboard oriented and electronic soundtracks by prog artists down the road. Scary thought?

 Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bagarozzo Mark by GOBLIN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.53 | 84 ratings

Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bagarozzo Mark
Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars In 1978 the reduced four-piece Goblin line-up recorded another album for Cinevox, but this was one of the rare cases this had nothing to do with a film.It was a regular Prog effort under the title ''Il fantastico viaggio del bagarozzo Mark''.Strange concept and front cover, as this had to do with a flying bug.

Musically I think this was the strongest work by the band throughout the 70's.Propably because they had added a full lyrical content in this work and the music had no particular specifications for an upcoming film, thus ''Il fantastico viaggio del bagarozzo Mark'' offered the very best balance the legendary band could achieve.The music displayed comes as a nice example of Prog's transitional period from the 70's to a new era, featuring a more pronounced synth performance and less emphasis on organ.You even get the feel of an Italian pre-Neo/Symph atmosphere during the listening, later to be met in the works of HOPO, GUERCIA or even SITHONIA towards the end of the 80's.It's the most symphonic album ever produced by the band, based on the Classic Italian Prog principles, which were the expressive or even theatrical vocals, the dramatic and romantic textures and the impressive, symph-oriented arrangements, even if none of the tracks exceeded the 6-min. mark.The sound is driven by Simonetti's varied keyboard work, characterized by the Classical background, the grandiose orchestral material and the soaring synths with Morante filling the gaps with his lovely electric and acoustic moves.Morante was also responsible for the neurotic vocal lines of the album, which was actually the only element crossed with the previous, more dark sound of the band.As expected, the album contains also some great melodic themes and even some electronic beats in the process, resulting a beautiful music document of the era.

The next few years were rather inconsistent for the group with line-up changes and more conventional works, always linked with Italian movies.They fell in hiatus around early-80's to reform in 2000 with old member Maurizio Guarini retaking the keyboard lead from Simonetti.In 2009 they were split in two bands, New Goblin (with the comeback of Simmonetti) and Goblin World.Another side project appeared in 2013, named Simonetti's Goblin, these attempts only hurt the band's long and succesful story in my opinion.

Anyway, if you're stuck in the 70's ''Il fantastico viaggio del bagarozzo Mark'' is among the best Italian Prog Rock documents and a must-have for all fans oif keyboard Prog.Very nice and clever transition from the vintage stylings to more modern sounds, keeping an impressive composing quality.Highly recommended.

 Tenebre by GOBLIN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.31 | 29 ratings

Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Seen by some as Argento's last great film before his long, slow decline, 1982's 'Tenebrae' features American actor Anthony Franciosa as a successful horror novelist promoting his new book in Rome, only to discover that the book is influencing a rather nasty copycat killer. Very much a return to the director's giallo roots, 'Tenebrae' finds the Italian director blending slasher elements(a sub-genre then in it's infancy) with a murder mystery plot, though his trademark flourishes, such as the stylish, fluid camerawork and yet more brutal and bloody violence, are still very much in check. Curiously, much of 'Tenebre' is filmed during the day, with most of the action set in either harsh, brightly lit interiors or outdoors during natural light . As a result, 'Tenebre' features a rather unsettling tone, but like much of Argento's work, this carefully-constructed design is sadly marred by some rather weak acting, some genuinely atrocious dubbing, and, once again, the director's almost complete disregard for the convetions of plot and narrative. Therefore, despite the lofty claims of some esteemed film writers, 'Tenebre' proves a genuine mixed bag, even for long time fans like this very writer, with excellent technical craft spoiled by lazy writing and bad acting. The same, however, canot be said the soundtrack from three of the members of Argento's usual soundtrack aurthors Goblin. Issued under the moniker of Simonetti-Pignatelli-Morante, 'Tenebre' has become something of a fan favourite over the years, even hittng the mainstream thanks to its sampling by the french dance duo Justice on their excellent 2007 debut album 'Cross'. The title-track, with it's whirring synth lines and bouncy melody, belongs to that small group of iconic Goblin theme tunes that beautifully sum up the feel of their respective movies, though here there is a slightly modernistic, almost dancey edge to the music. The rest of the album is made up of the usual instrumental pieces, some better than others, but like all soundtrack albums the key is to listen to it all in one go. Only then can you grasp the fundamental dynamic of both movie and album. So, not quite in the same class as the real Goblin classics - read 'Suspiria' or 'Deep Red' - but 'Tenebre' certainly has it's moments. The film may prove disappointing, but don't let that put you off, this is still vintage Goblin. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2014
 Non Ho Sonno (O.S.T.) by GOBLIN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.56 | 26 ratings

Non Ho Sonno (O.S.T.)
Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Zahler

4 stars Non Ho Sonno is one of my favorite Goblin albums. Although I adore their soundtracks for Profondo Rosso, Tenebrae and Zombi, I feel that Suspiria has essentially one great track (the main one) and a bunch of things that work well for a movie and some funky lounge music that bores me, and all of the albums without Simonetti and Morante (such Patrick and Contamination and Buio Omega) are interesting jazz/progressive scores, but not as good as the Simonetti driven stuff.

This album reunites one of the greatest rhythm sections ever--Marangolo (drums) and Pignatelli (bass) with Simonetti (keyboards) and Morante (guitar) and the classic Goblin feel is here. Sure, the drums have a different, more modern "big studio" feel (rather than the "traps" of old), but the way this band operates is the same--four instruments that alternately take center stage while crafting creepy, lush progressive rock.

The only real complaint I have about Nonhosonno is that (like many albums made in the CD era) it simply has too much material. The first six cuts are all good or great, especially Death Farm Animals, Killer on the Train, and the lush title cut with its floral ivory arpeggios, oscillating riff from Morante, and great stuttering drums fills by Marangolo. Had the album ended there or had another song or two of this caliber, it would probably be my second favorite Goblin record ever, right behind Roller, but that is only the halfway point of the album. So, since this is a soundtrack, most of the melodies in the first six songs are then revisited in shorter, less compelling variations that were needed for the movie. All of these reprises are pretty good--but with the exception of the porcine lurker, The Pig, the material was done best the first time Goblin gives it to you and this stuff feel like bonus track material, not part of the album proper. Additionally, you'll hear some of the themes repeated three or four or five times in a fifty minute experiences, which is a reprise or two or three too many.

Still, this album is highly recommended. Non Ho Sonno has about twenty minutes of music that compares to the best stuff on Zombi or Phenomenon or Tenebrae (not reaching the peaks of Roller or Profondo Rosso), and is superior to all the Goblin stuff without Simonetti, though Back to the Goblin, which has everyone but Simonetti, is almost as good as this. Nonhosonno is an admirable and worthwhile (and brief) reunification the RPI masters...

 BackToTheGoblin 2005 by GOBLIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.90 | 23 ratings

BackToTheGoblin 2005
Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars It's a relief to find a modern comeback album by a vintage progressive band that doesn't sound like an uninspired group of old men merely going through the motions! 2005's `Back To The Goblin' features the members of Italy's premier horror soundtrack group who recorded one of my all-time favourite progressive albums `Roller' (only missing keyboard maestro Claudio Simonetti here), and although this work doesn't come quite so close to the perfection of that record, there's more an enough quality musicianship and experimental textures to be of much interest to fans of the bands and darker tinged progressive rock. It has all the usual traits that highlight most of their albums, with a couple of absolute knockout pieces. Guitarist Massimo has never sounded so wild and excited, bass player Fabio Pignatelli never so loose, Maurizio Guarini employs a great variety of keyboard sounds and styles that pushes the band into previously unexplored directions, with drummer Agostino Marangolo perfectly complementing everything perfectly.

One thing you won't see coming is the music on the first track that opens the album `Victor'. Not only is it nothing like what you'd expect from Goblin, but it more resembles an epic symphonic Rick Wakeman-styled orchestrated piece (although performed on keyboards). It's pompous and grand, triumphant and whimsical, and I was quite put off by it on my first few spins as it sounds barely anything like Goblin. But I've come to find it's still very cinematic, which means it's really just the band experimenting with a different type of soundtrack work. Fellow Prog Archives reviewer Nick (Progbethyname) pointed out in conversations that it would make the perfect accompaniment to a `Legend of Zelda' or fantasy videogame, and I completely agree. It's pretty amazing to hear keyboard player Maurizio Guarini arranging such a piece like this.

`Dien Dion' will reassure fans right away, as it's full of typical Goblin twinkling synth mystery, churning heavy guitar, crashing drumwork and imposing organ blasts, and well as a few slight nods to their previous classic works, especially the opening cut of `Profondo Rosso'. `Hitches' is a bombastic horror blast that sees Massimo tearing his electric guitar through a child's lullaby over punchy synth stabs and bashing drumwork. It even reminds me slightly of the comeback albums from Italian occult icons Antonius Rex (as do many little moments scattered around the album), and I'm certain that synth solo in the outro reminds me a lot of ex-Dream Theater keyboard player Derek Sherenian. `Sequential Ideas' runs through pounding synth/dance pop, 70's club/funk, orchestrated grandiosity and intimidating heavy shredding, really moving through a range of many styles the band has covered in their 40 plus year career. `Lost In The Universe' combines emotional piano tinkering punctuated with heavier guitar sections and stomping percussion outbursts.

But like all Goblin albums, there's several superb tracks that highly impress. I was totally blown away by `Bass Theme in E' on my first listen, and it shows a looser, more ambient and thoughtful band that we don't see too often on their studio works. Gorgeous floating, pulsing bass from Fabio weaves around gentle washes of synths and chirping keyboard soloing, gradually building in mystery and tension as it moves back and forth in tempo. My absolute favourite part of the album is `Japanese Air', a deeply Tangerine Dream- influenced ambient piece that ebbs and flows with the gentlest of orchestrated synth waves and reflective piano before a hugely passionate electric solo solo that not only ranks up there with his best, but would almost give David Gimour a run for his money.

The band wraps on the dominating, aggressive yet impossibly catchy `Magic Thriller'. Just listen to how well the two keyboard players here Fabio and Maurizio pile on skittering synth patterns that scrape at the nerves, maddening jazzy piano soloing, and uptempo pulsing synth runs over stalking heavy guitar tension and tormenting dramatic orchestration, not to mentions Agostino's stomping drumming. Anyone who has seen the band open their recent shows with this number will know how great it is, and it's a classic Goblin track as good as any of their most loved 70's pieces.

`Back To The Goblin' is overall another winning addition to the band's fascinating discography that fans of the group shouldn't hesitate to snap up. Although this particular line-up has splintered, with Goblin figurehead Claudio Simonetti now back in the band, and assisted by his Daemonia cohorts Bruno Previtali and Titta Tani who now serve as live touring members, there's so much potential for the band to make the most of their current status in progressive circles and the goodwill they have from horror audiences and record again. Hopefully we'll eventually get another studio album from them yet, but if not, this is a very respectable, varied and successful work for them that means they can exit with their heads held proudly high.

Four stars.

 BackToTheGoblin 2005 by GOBLIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.90 | 23 ratings

BackToTheGoblin 2005
Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by progbethyname

5 stars Celebrating 30 years in fine form, Goblin take heed and create a lovely, concise album with the release of 'Back To The Goblin.'

Dating back to the year 1975, Goblin released their very first studio effort with 'Profondo Rosso' and in my eyes the album was a huge success, and is still a giant land mark in the Horror/film scoring genre today as well as the RPI music scene as well. Amazingly 30 years later, being the year of 2005, Goblin still show no signs of rust or age for that matter with the album release of 'Back To The Goblin' which represents beautifully, a thirty-year tenure fully equipped with diverse soundscapes. 

'Back To The Goblin' was a project that was conceived a couple of years before the year 2005, in order to prepare and honor 30 quality years in music making. 2 years? For the making of an under 40 minute album? Well, in my opinion, it paid off and made sense. For this reason, it wasn't easy given the fact that both Guitarist/composer Massimo Morante and Bass/Keyboard virtuoso Fabio Pignatelli lived in Italy while the legendary keyboardist Maurizio Guarini was residing in Richmond Hill, Canada where he assumed studio control in 'Bedford Studios' While his other bandmates Marangolo, Morante and Pignatelli would write and record at the 'Pignatelli Studio' in Rome. I guess the band couldn't deal with the travel expenses or hassle of flying back and forth to compose and complete an album at their own leisure? Ummm? Nonetheless, the Goblin team would prove victorious given their geographical differences by making excellent use of 21st century technology, which is that new-Fangled thing called the Internet.  Compositions and sound sequences where thrown back and forth in Cyber like fashion from the Goblin machine, and it all started with the inception of Guarini's 'Victor' which, in my humble estimation, is a perfect lead off track opener to incite the direction Goblin were taking with this album and that direction was difference. 'Victor' is completely composed/recorded by Guarini himself and 'Victor' is not in any way, a typical sounding Goblin track. You could say that 'Victor' could be an opening theme to a very adventurous play or maybe even I would go so far to say that Guarini's creation could be used as a video game score. Furthermore, 'Victor' is a very clever track, but for the hard-core Goblin listener it may take some getting used to since it carries no moody or ominous dark nature to it. 

Meanwhile, back in Italy, Morante and Pignatelli were hard at work recording and laying down solid ground for the rest of the tracks on the album.  Specifically, Morante was working on his intial compositions like 'Bass theme in E minor' which is a thumpy and grumpy bass line that persists and pulsate's throughout the entire track and is an excellent track overall. I love it when the 'bass' is the featured instrument in a prog song. Also, I thought Pignatelli would have wrote that one! Another track that was being worked on, and my favourite on the 'Back To The Goblin' album is 'Dlen Dlon.' This is a song where you will be immediately hooked into an extremely catchy and edgy guitar riff followed up by Guarini and Pignatelli's amazing soft, ambient like keyboards while 2-minutes in, the track speeds up with Morante playing faster and Pignatelli crushing those Hammond pads to give the track the edge it deserves. All in all, a wonderful track and as I said my favourite on the album. The next Morante pieces to follow were 'Lost In The Universe' which starts off with a beautiful piano intro about 1 minute in, a light guitar performed by Morante seals the deal for a delicate beginning that would last to the 2min mark and then Bam!! Morante kicks his guitar up into high gear performing a nice little speed riff accompanied by the cymbal high hat crashing of Agostino Marangolo's drumming. A nice little Crescendo I might add. To continue,' Lost In The Universe' is actually a track you can get lost in because it is a perfect blend of Drums, keys, Bass and Guitar. Something that we all love and appreciate from that vintage Goblin sound.  Lastly, Morante's 'Hitches' which is a track that has some light vocals on it similar to the track 'School at Night (lullaby mix)' off Profondo Rosso special edition. To be honest, the vocals performed by 'Arden Smith' is something I really can't get into and it's borderline distracting for me, as a listener. The vocals are sparse on the track, which is a good thing cause they are performed as if a 10 year old child is having a bit of fun with a microphone. Mainly, I felt 'Hitches' lost major points here because i think Goblin should just stick to being the great Pantomimes they are, especially on this album. My guess is that the vocals on 'Hitches' were for diversity's sake, but I can't see or hear how it fits on this album. It's a mistake I think, but on a higher note and Morante's last major contribution to the album is the 'Back To The Goblin's closing track 'Thriller' and it is nothing for short of pure gold. Guarini's keys start slow and frightening while Pignatelli picks up the synth slack by fashioning such a beautiful, cleverly upbeat and fast melody that's around 6 or 7 notes in the making. The 'Thriller' track is full of many twists and turns with regards to the style and tempo of the track. It's a fantastic conclusion indeed. 

Moreover, Fabio Pignatelli was concocting his own creatively written and composed tracks with 'Sequential Ideas' and 'Japanese Air.' I must say that both of these tracks are so very well done and are more electronically driven than the Morante vision of song crafting. 'Japanese Air' starts off like it could be that of a Tangerine Dream song from the 80's Blue years catalogue. The intro reminds me of a lot of Hammond synths sequences taken from Tangerine Dream's 'Live Miles' track, especially near the end of the song. 'Japanese Air' is the most emotional song on the album and focuses on the more serious side of Goblin's playing style and character rather than being dark and Moody as most Goblin veterans know them to be. On the contrary, 'Japanese Air' is a soft, kind of ambient song with very touching and romantic melodies attached to it. I was deeply moved, especially since I've never heard Massimo play his Guitar in a David Gilmore and Steve Rothery like fashion. A soft touch by Pignatelli to have Morante play like that for this particular track. In any case, 'Japanese Air' is a complete winner and rounds out the album's overall diversity so incredibly well. On the another hand, 'Sequential Ideas' is an up beat, kind of in your face track that could belong in a Dancehall. Pignatelli created a beauty here, getting Guarini to play his keys like they belong in a Dracula movie while instilling a light disco beat to go along with the bass playing and drums.  A very creative track that most Goblin fans are really going to appreciate because it's really like nothing they've ever done, and from my experiences it's 'Diversity' that usually wins over the prog hearted individual. 

Thus, 'Back To The Goblin' is a fine representation to mark a historic land mark of 30 years of creating some of the very best and most unique music in progressive rock in general. 'Back To The Goblin' also depicts such character from the band, by how well Goblin work together as a team/unit. They are a beautiful team of musicians at that and I thought it was really neat how they worked so well together without not being in contact as an entire cohesive unit working together in the studio. The power of technology, and it just goes to show you that 'Goblin' as a band, are not afraid to adapt to any differences in terms of not having the total complete convenience of being able to write and compose an album together in the studio. Now that is musicianship baby! To continue, and given the light of all these circumstances, I cannot find much fault with this album at all. I really can't other than the fact as I mentioned earlier,  the vocal parts on 'Hitches' were deeply annoying for me and I felt the album was a tad too short. I would have loved to had at least one 10min epic showcasing the classic Goblin skill with the basis of a really dark atmosphere because after all, 'Back to The Goblin' is a pretty light and listening friendly album that showcases a ton of diversity while minimizing the famous dark and ominous scores they are trademarked for doing in Dario Argento horror pictures. Goblin really terrifically showed a different side to what kind of music they can create and surprisingly did it all without Claudio Simonetti, who was Goblin's leading Keyboard virtuoso from when they started back in 1975, but Pignatelli and Guarini have stepped up big time to fill some pretty big shoes left by Simonetti in the keyboard/synth department as well as other additional programming. 

Above all, I have to award this album a perfect rating even if the album doesn't include one of Goblin's most highly decorated band members in Claudio Simonetti. Regardless of that, the album is still a masterpiece that is full of character, diversity and clever song writing/composition. I would even recommend 'Back to The Goblin' for a Goblin newcomer, who wants to explore the wonderful music they have to offer by going beyond just horror picture scores. 'Back To The Goblin' is an album that is a quick listen (39min) and sadly it will leave you wanting a bit more, but I do see the point as to why Goblin kept this album to be a very tight, efficient and concise album cause when you embark on new territory in terms of sound, you may not want to go overboard. Goblin, certainly didn't do that and I admire them for that. They walked before they ran. 


Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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