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The album we've been hoping for
on 26 September 2005
Anyone who bought and loved their first CD 'Shadow of the Moon' might well have been hoping that 'Blackmore's Night' were heading into a really exciting area that could best be described as "modern medieval folk-rock". Love of this type of music did, after all, underpin so much of Ritchie's work with Purple and Rainbow - but there the emphasis was upon rock and the medieval origins of many of his ideas tended to be lost. With the first of the CD's from 'Blackmore's Night' it was clear that he now wanted to develop the type of music that must have been in his head for all those years. All the signs were there and it was a good recording, but their next two releases 'Under a velvet moon' and 'Fires at Midnight' didn't seem to move on. If anything, they showed signs of being rather vapid at times - full of light ethereal imagery and similar-sounding melodies, but with occasional highlights of belting rhythm or strength.
With this 4th release, the initial promise seems to be fulfilled. This is an excellent recording and is, I think, their best so far. There's a depth with occasional hints of darkness which were lacking in previous songs. The melodies are also more varied which is a very welcome relief - and is also to be applauded because Ritchie is working within the modes of medieval music and yet is now managing to expand these to encompass more modern ideas. There also seems to be more emphasis upon the use of medieval instrumentation. Candice's voice is stronger and less 'girly' and, as can clearly be seen on the band's brilliant DVD 'Castles and Dreams', she is a good rock singer as well.
For those of you who still hanker after a bit of 'Blistering Blackmore', there is 'Rainbow Blues' which shows that the rocker within him isn't dead yet .... so don't be fooled by the gentle intro.
The best thing to do is listen to the clips and judge for yourself. But for me, this is an album that I always hoped 'Blackmore's Night' would record ..... and as an added bonus, many of the tracks can be seen being performed on that DVD. My advice would be to buy them both.