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Goad - The Silent Moonchild CD (album) cover

THE SILENT MOONCHILD

Goad

Eclectic Prog


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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Formed in Florence in the mid Seventies by brothers Gianni and Maurilio Rossi, Goad holds a reputation that somewhat aligns them with the darker Italian projects such as Antonius Rex, Devil Doll and Goblin among numerous others. Offering a string of varied recordings over the decades (some which actually remain unreleased) and often based around the gothic works of writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, H.P Lovecraft and Edgar Lee Masters, as well as cover interpretations of King Crimson and Moody Blues tracks, 2015's `The Silent Moonchild' delivers the expected sludgy hard- rock full of organ, Mellotron and vintage synths associated with the group, where Maurilio's moaning voice slurs and groans appropriately. But this time around (and surprisingly most welcome!) the arrangements to all the doom and gloom are grandly symphonic and more melodic and sophisticated than ever before, and contributions from Italian prog notables such as Delirium's Martin Grice on sax, Circus 2000's Silvana Aliotta on vocals and Guido Wassermann of Alphataurus on guitar are very welcome too.

Looking at many of the highlights, `Except Hate' sets a dramatic template for the rest of the album, with thick heavy organ, plodding drumming, darting flute, Grice's murky Van der Graaf Generator- styled sax and Maurilio's wickedly theatrical and deranged purr coming close to the flamboyance of Devil Doll's Mr Doctor. Pompous and strangled symphonic intensity rises in `For You' by way of droning sax and Mellotron slivers, and Maurillo croaks despairingly "Give my life the whisper of a magic time, just tell me you'll be here' throughout `Here with Me' with a sublime vintage synth and Mellotron-fuelled instrumental second half that could soundtrack a gothic fairytale. Drowsy slide guitar weaving in and out of the maddening `Clay Masks' reminds of the acid daze of the early Pink Floyd albums before a spiralling Moog run in the climax, and the first two parts of the title-track are full of romantic longing before an extended instrumental passage of slow-burn electric guitar and ghostly piano delivers a dazzling theme that reminds of Goblin.

The bombastic organ dominated `Ballad in the Moonlight' comes the closest to a grander symphonic Le Orme-like take on RPI, and `The Book of Time' is a hard-driving up-tempo rocker with male and female vocals singing in unison, making it a nice diversion from the pieces on either side of it. The 8-minute third section of the title track `The Silent Moonchild' and `Moonchild End' are the most extravagant and ambitious moments of the album, presenting everything from ethereal floating synths, ghostly Mellotron choirs, fanfare pomp, triumphant violin and confident electric guitars giving flight to the uplifting lyric before closing the album on sweeping symphonic fancy.

The album is perhaps just a little too long at 53 minutes, and if this were to be your first Goad album, be aware that Maurilio Rossi's scratchy and pained voice will be an acquired taste, but `The Silent Moonchild' is the most varied, focused and approachable Goad disc to date. Lyrically dark, hopeful and romantic in equal measure and full of lavish symphonic flair, those Italian prog fans that like to walk in the dark side and drink in the shadows may be very pleasantly surprised by what they discover here.

Four stars, and a high point in the career of Goad.

Report this review (#1578517)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2016 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "... if this were to be your first Goad album, be aware that Maurilio Rossi's scratchy and pained voice will be an acquired taste." Right on, Aussie-Byrd-Brother! Yes, this album is my first acquaintance of this long-time Italian band, and indeed the vocals are the hard part for me; they're like a blend of Rod Stewart's rasp and Steve Jolliffe's (Tangerine Dream, 1978) pervert and throaty expression. Funny, I have no trouble listening to either of them, but Rossi sounds unbearably phoney, artificial and ugly to my ears. If the album would be notably less vocal-oriented, that wouldn't matter too much because the music is interesting, sometimes even great and honestly beautiful. Its only fault is that it feels like being there for the vocalist, not the other way round. Except for the few instrumental moments.

Sorry, I really find it hard to concentrate on the music. "Oh, please, just shut up!", I keep on thinking. The playing has a charming seventies vibe with Mellotrons and all, ranging from dark-toned and gloomy to symphonic and celestial. The arrangements are pretty varied. I'd probably love an instrumental version of this band. Maybe also the Italian lyrics instead of English might help in concentrating on the music. You'd better check this band out by yourself.

Report this review (#1583628)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2016 | Review Permalink

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