Blackmore's Night

Picture of Blackmore's Night

Shadow Of The Moon

Blackmore's Night - Shadow Of The Moon ©1997 Intersound
1. Shadow Of The Moon
2. The Clock Ticks On
3. Be Mine Tonight
4. Play Minstrel Play
5. Ocean Gypsy
6. Minstrel Hall
7. Magical World
8. Writing On The Wall
9. Renaissance Faire
10. Memmingen
11. No Second Chance
12. Mond Tannz
13. Spirit Of The Sea
14. Greensleeves
15. Wish You Were Here
16. Possum's Last Dance

The famous Mister Blackmore teamed up with this rather obscure siren to make one a compelling record full of medieval folktunes, ornate minstrelsy and mild campiness. But since solemnity and aptitude overpower the occassional laziness in songwriting and interspersed bouts of banality, this is definitely worth owning. And considering the singularly dismal harvest of 1997, this particular CD is prime crop. I mean, look at the bountiful weed: rap-metal started its dominance that year.

The production here is almost perfect: the guitar and the voice dominate, as Blackmore's pluckings emanate a rich, crisp timbre that complements Candice Night's melancholy crooning. The form fits the content. Night is most effective when she makes her presence known and asserts her power: "Play Minstrel Play" is simply brilliant, and the title track, "Renaissance Fair" and "The Clock Ticks On" are all really well performed. Top performance from Night, and it's really the confidence plus the pace that make them stand out. There's some that don't quite work as well - I theorise that it's because they draw from some of the melodic lines of those main songs and end up sounding like afterthoughts. When you have a core that's that powerful, I suppose it's bound to happen.

My chief complaint, though, is that at least three to four tracks are filler and entirely unnecessary. In fact, they're awkward hurdles in what is a rather pleasant momentum of good quality. "Oceam Gypsy", "Magical World" and "Spirit of the Sea" are all garbage; the record just fizzles out towards the end. They're sort of vacuous compositions redolent of an incompetent pop diva's attempts to soar - think Gloria Estefan, with that repulsive lisp. This here is without the lisp. And a far better voice. But you get the point. Verdict: recommended.

Review by Rahul Joshi

Review date: 03/2002

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Under A Violet Moon

Blackmore's Night - Under A Violet Moon ©1999 SPV
1. Under A Violet Moon
2. Castles And Dreams
3. Past Time With Good Company
4. Morning Star
5. Avalon
6. Possum Goes To Prague
7. Wind In The Willows
8. Gone With The Wind
9. Beyond The Sunset
10. March The Heroes Home
11. Spanish Nights (Remember It Well)
12. Catherine Howard's Fate
13. Fool's Gold
14. Durch Den Wald Zum Bach Haus
15. Now And Then
16. Self Portrait

Ritchie Blackmore is an artist with a prolific history. He has played in the bands Deep Purple and Rainbow to name just two. His talents have always seemed to lean toward heavy metal and arena rock style guitar virtuoso-ism. This disc and this band are quite a departure for him in terms of style and songwriting.

Blackmore's Night play a very melodious style of medieval folk music. It is as though Blackmore has been bitten by the bard fever bug. Blackmore teams up with Candice Night who has sung with Deep Purple in the past to make some very interesting and memorable music. Night's voice is rich and could be compared to Maddy Prior's for the ability to convey emotional scope and range.

This music belongs several centuries removed from our present. It has a festive flair and you can easily imagine it being performed in some drowsy town square in the 1600s. In some cases the theme is pushed a little too hard and you have the acoustic equivalent of Rhapsody or Edguy. However, I admire the way the band stays true to the theme of creating an authentic medieval folk music album. There are no wailing guitars on this one. No "Smoke on the Water" or "I Surrender". What you do have is an hour of good folk music filled with story songs that are sure to please and relax you.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 08/2001

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Fires At Midnight

Blackmore's Night - Fires At Midnight ©2001 SPV
1. Written In The Stars
2. The Times They Are A Changin'
3. I Still Remember
4. Home Again
5. Crowning Of The King
6. Fayre Thee Well
7. Fires At Midnight
8. Hanging Tree
9. Storm
10. Mid Winter's Night
11. All Because Of You
12. Waiting Just For You
13. Praetorius (Courante)
14. Benzai-Ten
15. Village On The Sand
16. Again Someday
17. The Times They Are A Changin' (CD Extra Video Track)

This disc really surprised me. Where Under A Violet Moon was light and fanciful, this disc is serious and very intense. The music is still in the medieval, folksy at times, over the top bent. But added to the original Blackmore's Night sound is Ritchie Blackmore stretching a bit on the guitar. There are some very definite echoes of Rainbow licks in some of these songs. While the guitar's presence is not dense enough to make this a hard or heavy rock album by any stretch, it certainly adds a new dimension to the sound. This is plugged-in Blackmore's Night.

The festive air of Under a Violet Moon has been replaced with a much more serious approach to the songs. Some accused the first two Blackmore's Night albums of being to fanciful and lacking substance. While I disagree with that point of view, it must have struck a nerve with Blackmore because this is a much more somber and serious album. This isn't to say that Fires at Midnight is completely devoid of any frivolity. The music is still fun to listen to and obviously it was equally fun to create. If you're looking for celtic influenced medieval folk music with a bit of bite, this disc is for you. Good song writing, technical play and exquisite singing. The music moves along at a stately pace, calmly assured. I think this is some of the best music that Ritchie Blackmore has ever written and produced.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 08/2001

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