Necromancy was a form of magic used to summon the spirits of the deceased for spiritual protection or wisdom. It was widespread in Western antiquity right up to the middle ages. At London’s Scala, as five men walked onstage and brought themselves back to life in their previous incarnation as Italian prog rock band Goblin I realized it was back in practice.
Goblin have been a long time dead. Theirs is a sound first heard emanating from the twin spools of VHS tapes of the cult 70s horror flicks which their soundtracks brought vividly to life. But although it’s like watching ghosts of the past come to life in visceral, blood-curdling real time these guys play with such intense concentration you could believe it’s their first time on stage.
Goblin’s stadium rock sound was tightly packed into the venue like so many sawn off body parts stuffed into a suitcase. To see them live is to see an entire musical career, of impressive ingenuity, compressed into a single gig. Classic songs from Romero’s Dawn of The Dead, and Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Tenebrae were played out against clips from the films. But they needn’t have bothered: this was horror brought forth by the use of sound alone. Blood-curdling prog bass riffs, spine-chilling keyboards and machine-gun drum rolls all helped put fear in the heart. Though whooping for joy between tracks whilst Goblin played the crowd quietly soaked up every chord, arms hanging limp at their sides, heads filled with wonder at the rebirth of this never-to-be-forgotten monster. Classical necromancers addressed the dead in a mixture of high-pitch squeaking and low droning. Goblin’s sound is just that: a deep, rolling rumble under high pitched melodies mixed to conjure up spirits you hoped never even existed.