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Fabio Frizzi, live in London

Horror-preoccupied Italian composer brings his creepy chills to the capital

A generic photo of a crowd at a gig
(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

Tonight is dubbed ‘Chills In The Chapel’, which reflects not only the Halloween celebrations, but also Frizzi’s close involvement with cult Italian horror director Lucio Fulci. In fact, his relationship with the late gore master is similar to the renowned partnership between Goblin and Dario Argento. So, preparing for an evening of gouged eyeballs and marauding zombies, the performance starts off with… In The Court Of The Crimson King!

While the reference to the Crimson King could be taken as a nod to Fulci’s blood-splattered reputation, as Frizzi later points out, this is a homage to King Crimson and the influence they and other prog giants had not only on his nascent career, but on most soundtrack compositions from the 70s Italian horror genre. And as the set unfurls, this inspiration is clear.

The Crimson opening melts into a number of suites, beginning with the haunting music from spaghetti western Four Of The Apocalypse. Frizzi and his ensemble offer sympathetic, disciplined representations of the music that’s shaped the maestro’s career. And the man’s own humour always shines through. He takes his work very seriously, yet is prepared to offer amusing quips that not of all the films he’s been involved with are, erm, classics. “This is not the best movie,” he smirks, before Monster Shark takes flight.

There’s a surprise when we get tracks from Perché Si Uccidono, a 1976 film that saw a collaboration between Frizzi and Goblin. One of the songs here, Dodici E Un Quarto, emphasises Frizzi’s enduring prog inspiration, bringing to mind A Whiter Shade Of Pale.

Split into two sets, the evening has powerful visual accompaniment, with clips from the movies on a screen above the stage. But scenes from The Psychic and Cat In A Brain prove too much for a few hapless individuals, who sneak out. You have to wonder what they were expecting!

There’s a welcome guest appearance from scream queen Catriona MacColl, who appeared in some of Fulci’s most iconic movies, before everything is ramped up with an eagerly anticipated suite from City Of The Living Dead and The Beyond, two films in Fulci’s celebrated Gates Of Hell trilogy. The climax of the night is Fulci and Frizzi’s most famous work, Zombie Flesh Eaters. A cheer erupts as the opening, misleading calypso jaunt leads into the viscera of the plot.

This is a brilliant night that showcases the firm link between prog and Italian horror music.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.