Goblin - Four Of A Kind album review

Four’s a crowd but this version of Goblin hit pay dirt

Goblin - Four Of A Kind album artwork

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Stick around in the progressive world long enough and inevitably you’ll probably end up with more than one version of your original band. Look no further than cover stars Yes. Or FaUSt.

For Italy’s Goblin, there are currently four incarnations doing the rounds: pre-Goblin act Cherry Five, Goblin Rebirth, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin and plain old Goblin, and it is the latter mob, featuring originals Massimo Morante (guitar) and Fabio Pignatelli (bass) with drummer Agostino Marangolo and keyboard player Maurizio Guarini, both of whom had joined by 1975, that are here.

It was this line-up who recorded the reunion album Back To The Goblin back in 2006 and almost a decade later announced a PledgeMusic campaign to fund a new album. Originally released in 2015, Black Widow have got their hands on Four Of A Kind, and reissued it, with one extra track, a live version of the track Goblin, from their 1976 album Roller, recorded in 2014, along with four Goblin playing cards, representing the four members.

Fortunately the music is far easier to comprehend than the band’s chequered past. It’s more stylised prog than the sometimes discordant, jarring soundtrack work which forever cemented their place in the prog pantheon. Opener Uneven Times offers a heady mix of Yes and ELP, while In The Name Of Goblin and Bon Ton add more Genesis-like textures. Guitarist Morante and keyboard player Guarini both come to the fore on the highly atmospheric Kingdom and Dark Blue(s), Love & Hate and 008 all maintain a solid and engaging run of form. The epic 12-minute plus of Goblin, recorded live in Austin, Texas and taken from the band’s own live Austinato release, closes things off, replete with drum solo. If the band’s blood-spattered Giallo and zombie affiliated soundtracks have passed you by, then this reissue of Four Of A Kind is the ideal place to begin your investigation.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.