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SPOOKY SPOTLIGHT: Goblin

Band/Artist: Goblin

Country: Italy

Members: currently Massimo Morante (guitars), Maurizio Guarini (keys), Fabio Pignatelli (bass), Agostino Marangolo (drums)

Active Since: 1972 – 1982, 2000, 2005 – 2009, 2010 – present

Genre: Jazz fusion, progressive rock, electronic, instrumental, soundtrack

FFO: Zombi, Magma, John Carpenter

Italy had its fair share of incredible film score composers, with people like Fabio Frizzi and Piero Umiliani being two of the most obvious points of reference. What many people don’t realize, though, is that there is a relatively obscure prog rock band to be named in that context as well: Goblin. While some musicians from our scene have been repping these guys in the past (Mikael Åkerfeldt [Opeth, duh] has been a vocal proponent of their work, for example), they still fly under the radar a bit; unfairly so, if you ask me.

Influenced by the initial scene of English progressive rock bands (King Crimson, Genesis, etc.), Goblin’s first recording was released in 1975: Profondo Rosso, the soundtrack accompanying the eponymous horror/thriller movie by director Dario Argento. And to this day, the majority of the band’s albums (15, to be exact) are film scores, including one for the now-legendary movie Dawn of the Dead, also known as Zombi (take a wild guess at where the band called Zombi got their name from).

Goblin’s music isn’t always creepy or horror-related per se, but it does fit the gloomy supernatural context needed for accentuating that particular genre very well. Their pioneering use of electronics in more rock-oriented music helped them shape the eerie soundscapes that made their soundtracks stand the test of time with flying colors; the re-releases of early works by them have been met with an exceedingly positive resonance, mostly in Germany and Japan, curiously.

Where there’s light, however, there has to be dark. A sentence that holds true for many of the most bone-chilling horror flicks also applies to the career of this particular group. After the release of the aforementioned Zombi score, the line-up of Goblin began falling apart, and soon enough, various groups, containing fragments of the original band and many different new members, were competing for the title of the ‘most authentic’ Goblin derivative, all of them contributing to the band’s growing discography.

They briefly re-united for the Dario Argento movie Non ho sonne (or Sleepless) in 2000, but as Claudio Simonetti put it, old wounds resurfaced during their brief reunion, and the band went their separate ways again. Today, there are four different incarnations of Goblin around: the originally-titled one with the members listed above, Simonetti’s band Daemonia, Goblin Rebirth featuring Fabio Pignatelli and Agostino Marangolo, and the band Cherry Five, which takes its name from the first name Goblin went under.

With the former containing four fifths of the original line-up, it’s safe to say that it’s the one that’s most true to the band’s origins. You can follow them on Facebook, and also see them perform live in October through November on the ‘Sound of Fear’ North American tour.

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