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Goblin - Suspiria (OST) CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.71 | 152 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars Life has a funny way of taking many of us on a completely different course than what was expected. Claudio Simonetti was born in Brazil of Italian heritage and after returning to the homeland of Italy never even considered the world of musical soundtracks but rather was more interested in the progressive rock scene that had emerged from the European scene in the late 60s and early 70s however once he crossed paths with Dario Argento, the Italian filmmaker who specialized in a certain niche genre of horror films, his destiny was forever altered. Simonetti's fortune changed fairly quickly in his musical career.

After a short stint with the band Cherry Five which released one self-titled album in 1975, Simonetti shifted gears to his more famous curator of creepy sounds for some of Italy's most blood curdling and hair raising cult films. After changing the band's name to GOBLIN, the new musical outfit found great success with its debut release "Profondo Rosso (Deep Red)" and cemented a mutually beneficial relationship between GOBLIN and Argento who was seeking such talent to provide some sound scores for his revival of the Italian film genre called giallo which often mixed crime fiction, sexploitation and psychological horror along with slasher elements and supernatural phenomena. It proved to be a marriage made in heaven.

After the success of the first collaboration, GOBLIN took the opportunity to nurture Simonetti's true passion of creating a bona fide progressive rock album and 1976 saw the release of "Roller," one of the band's scant few examples of an album not influenced by the film industry. Despite intentions to continue down this path, Argento kept the band diverted from that path and steered GOBLIN back to crafting the score for 1978's supernatural horror film SUSPIRIA which was partially based on Thomas De Quincey's 1845 essay "Suspiria De Profundis" (Sighs From The Depths).

Although Argento was already riding high on the Italian film scene with one box office smash after another, GOBLIN proved to be the extra icing on the cake that catapulted both director and band into new levels of fame and fortune however the soundtrack which GOBLIN crafted seems to have eclipsed the film as the decades have elapsed and has gone down in history. It has has become one of the most successful horror film soundtracks to have ever been scored and a major influence on such disparate bands ranging from Mogwai and Secret Chiefs 3 to all the countless GOBLIN splinter groups that are too numerous to even keep track of.

With the suggestive power of Argento, GOBLIN crafted a unique mix of disparate genres that included the creepy sounds of horror synth with the subtle sophistication of 70s progressive electronic most famously experienced by the likes of Tangerine Dream. GOBLIN fused the mood enhancing ominous sound effects with the intricate constructs of progressive rock and teased them all into mysterious experimental pieces that fit into the confines of the film's script. The results of all this were that the music not only made the film infinitely more interesting than it would have been otherwise but is one of those cases where the musical score has become more popular and influential than the film it represented.

The title track beings the score with creepy chiming that reminds me of the chilling Satanic overtones of films like "Rosemary's Baby" but the track also implements some freaky demonic whispers and a talking drum as it ratchets up a terrifying nightmare inducing sort of lullaby that continues throughout the film's run. Eerie synthesizer runs add murderous atmospheric vibes in the background thus generating the proper subliminal psychological torture. The track also excels in hypnotic repetition that allows a rhythmic pummelation of the senses while creepy pulsating Moog synthesizers slink around like a bloodthirsty vampire seeking out its next victim.

The tracks differ substantially and although each represents a certain moment in the film itself, the soundtrack flows together brilliantly in the most effective manner. The second track "Witch" provides a haunting blend of jittery percussion and possessed vocal utterances emerging from the synthesized avant-garde swirls of sound. "Sighs" contains a terrifying mix of hellish torturous vocals emerging from a cauldron of bouzouki strumming whereas "Markos" focuses on a more Berlin School style of progressive electronic run of synth stabs along with a frenetic display of various percussive sounds having a demonic conversation with a Moog that sounds like Keith Emerson joined Black Sabbath. The percussion sounds evoke an exorcism of hell which floods the 3D with evil astral entities.

"Black Forest" and "Blind Concert" were originally separate tracks but often appear as a single one on newer remastered versions. The former takes on a jazzier big with guest saxophonist Antonio Marangolo although remains in creepsville by displaying the plethora of mellotrons, organs and moog sounds, also contains some of the most authentic "rock" elements. The latter adds some funk elements that contrast with the freaky synthesized counterpoints and irregular chiming elements that slink in and out of the scene. At times the synth-funk sounds like a highly intoxicated version Herbie Hancock a la the "Headhunter" era. The soundtrack ends with a piano based waltz appropriately called "Death Valzer" and comes across as something heard in the soundtrack of the film "The Sting."

From a prog perspective perhaps not as scary as albums such as Univers Zero's mind-bending "Heresie" or some more modern albums by Deathspell Omega or other experimental artists, nevertheless GOBLIN constructed a successful mastery of horror film ethos within a melodic synth rock context. The album was groundbreaking at the time because it was very rare to hear synthesizers in any film scores at all and after SUSPIRIA, it became common place. Most scores hitherto were often accompanied by elaborate orchestras or other classical arrangements. SUSPIRIA was a great success and pretty much made GOBLIN the horror film soundtrack stars that they still continue to be some two decades on in the 21st century but despite the many scores having been produced since, none rings as true to the source as SUSPIRIA which remains the chosen top dog of horror film scores and with that conclusion i cannot argue.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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