This pulse-pounding thriller score occupies an odd place in the history of Italian prog rock legends Goblin: although this isn't an official Goblin album, it was crafted by three of the group's four members under the moniker Simonetti, Morante, Pignatelli. Ironically, it has a stronger Goblin-esque feel to it than the last few official Goblin scores that proceeded it. It's no coincidence that this 1982 score marked a reunion with Dario Argento, the director who discovered them and pushed them to create their most memorable work. Tenebre covers the same gothic-inflected prog rock territory that Goblin pursued on previous Argento scores, except this time the sound is updated with an electronic edge that keeps its eye on early-'80s pop music trends. This newly updated approach is nicely defined by the title track, a pulse-pounding rock instrumental infused with an almost dance-friendly edge: it has the slashing guitar riffs and gothic organ swirls one would expect from a classic Goblin track, but also fleshes out the sound with new touches like vocoder-filtered vocals and programmed synthesizer riffs. Another standout track in this style is "Waiting Death," a reprise of the "Tenebre" theme that allows Claudio Simonetti to take center stage with his impressive chops on the organ. Other tracks take it a step further by taking a completely synthesized approach: The best of these is "Flashing," a densely layered synth epic that begins with creepy washes of spacy synthesizer and explodes into a gothic-sounding programmed synthesizer melody spiked with insistent drum machine beats. In short, Tenebre presents an ideal balance of horror atmospherics and rock muscle, and this makes it the finest post-'70s Goblin-related work.
AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco