Album: Dario Argento Tribute
Review by David Kerekes
Everyone knows who Dario Argento is. He is the director of some of the key giallo thrillers and horror films to emerge from Italy during the 1970s and 1980s. His musicians of choice (for the most part) were a band called Goblin.
What I was expecting - hoping - from this Dario Argento Tribute, headed by original Goblin member Claudio Simonetti, was pumped up versions of classic Goblin soundtracks. Sonovac performed a remarkable rendition of Profondo Rosso once upon a time - remarkable in that it was almost identical to the original, note for note, except that the recording levels had been pushed up a click. I was hoping the same of this Daemonia album, except they haven’t done that: they have rerecorded the Goblin classics with added guitars courtesy of an engineer who must have been wearing a Bryan Adams t-shirt for the job.
Goblin fans - myself included - don’t want too many variations on their original themes. And while this album does definitely have its moments, most of them I am prepared to do without.
Goblin’s film music was simple but majestic and, like much good music, out of its time. In Daemonia those majestic themes tend to be tainted with overwrought guitar and synth stuff, the production of which is akin to many a rock album from the 1980s by bands who failed to stop in the seventies; they may have new technology at their fingertips but don’t have anything new to do with it.
At its worse, Dario Argento Tribute sounds about as exciting as a power ballad by Bonnie Tyler - take a listen to the last track, The Phantom Of The Opera (not a Goblin original, but one penned by Ennio Morricone), or track five, Opera, which is close to unbearable once the dreadful yodelling kicks in.
Even the masterpiece that is the Suspiria main theme is devoured by a big guitar solo and several flourishes that serve no purpose other than to ruin the song.
On the other hand Tenebre works well (some other bird yodels on this one), as does Mad Puppet (from Profondo Rosso).
Another non-Goblin track is Inferno. This is taken from the movie of the same name destroyed by Keith Emerson (ex ELP) and his wholly lethargic score. Here Goblin improves on Emerson’s original, but would have been very hard pressed not to.
Profondo Rosso is a track that actual rather suits its new sound (for “new” read 1983). Its muted guitar riff is well served by the addition of a Hammond organ, and the cheesy guitar solo fails to detract. The musicians are obviously on a groove with this one.
Goblin fans will probably want to give Daemonia’s Dario Argento Tribute a spin, but I guess - like me - would much prefer the album of Sonovac performing note for note Goblin covers that doesn’t exist.