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Blackmore's Night - Under A Violet Moon CD (album) cover


Blackmore's Night


Prog Folk

2.68 | 87 ratings

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2 stars This is really a remarkably boring album, all things considered. First off, it is not a progressive album by any stretch of the imagination. It’s more like a combination of easy listening and adult contemporary, with a few goofy hats and some mandolin thrown in as a nod to folk. The tempo and arrangements are all rather pedestrian, and the subdued track mixes go beyond understated and even approach catatonic at times.

But mostly Candice Night’s voice is just too much here. Not that she has a bad singing voice: on the contrary, she has well- modulated tones and even though her range is suspect she has a voice that is well suited to folk-like music. The problem is just that there’s too much of her on these sixteen tracks. I’ve always wondered what Mostly Autumn would sound like if Bryan Josh would just shut up and let Heather Findlay do all the singing. Well these guys give a watered-down glimpse into what that might be like. Not that Mrs. Blackmore-Night can compare to the range and richness of Ms. Findlay’s voice, but the mental image strikes me as valid nonetheless.

And speaking of that comparison, the other thing going on here is that Ritchie Blackmore is entirely too inconspicuous. At least with Mostly Autumn Josh lays down some tasty guitar licks. Blackmore, whose talent far exceeds that of Josh’s, seems content to noodle on his mandolin and bass, and offer up only the occasional brilliant acoustic guitar morsel (“Possum Goes to Prague”, for example), and even more infrequently a great electric guitar passage. “Spanish Nights (I Remember It Well) “ and “Gone with the Wind” fit the latter description, although “Gone with the Wind” also sounds about as close to Mostly Autumn as a band can get without actually hiring the them to perform the backing duties.

Too many of the other tracks sound awfully self-indulgent and pretentious though, including “Avalon”, “Fool's Gold”, and “Self Portrait”. Again, too much of Night’s wistful and forgettable vocals and too little of anything else.

This really isn’t a very good album, although I’d be inclined to cut it a bit more slack if there weren’t such a glut of talent being wasted here. Blackmore is capable of so much more, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why he chooses to fritter away his waning years with such tepid material. Jeff Glixman also appears here, and he should know better than to let a fading guitar god spend his days showcasing his wife’s marginal talents. Jens Johansson is so under-exposed that he’s almost nonexistent, and the other metalheads like Roy McDonald and Mick Cervino just seem to be pandering to Blackmore’s indulgences.

So this is really a fans-only recording, and from the other reviews I’ve read even they don’t have much love for these tunes. I haven’t heard the other Blackmore’s Night albums so I can only hope this one is the exception and not the rule; but in any case this one rates two stars at best and is also best avoided.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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