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Blackmore's Night - Shadow Of The Moon CD (album) cover

SHADOW OF THE MOON

Blackmore's Night

 

Prog Folk

3.21 | 81 ratings

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Progosopher
2 stars When I first heard that Ritchie Blackmore had an acoustic band, I went to the nearest record store (part of the now-defunct Tower chain) and bought the only copy they had there. I was very excited when I first put it on, and pleased with the instrumental opening of the first and title track. This excitement actually lasted quite a while - over several listens, but then something crept in, something I had difficulty identifying. After some time it came to me. Yes, there was something wrong here, and it has become a major problem for me whenever I listen to Blackmore's Night. It is the vocals. Before I explain the problem I have with them, allow me to list what I do like about this album.

The main thing I like is Blackmore's guitar playing. That might seem obvious for one who grew up adoring the things this man could do with six strings. In the olden days of Deep Purple and Rainbow, Blackmore played some of the most outrageous guitar around. Now, however, his playing is subdued - tasteful and elegant. The acoustic instrumental passages, such as Possum's Last Dance, are quite enjoyable. A change for the better. Huzzah! Also on the positive side is the melodic nature of the songs. They use traditional folk melodies and put original lyrics to them, with the occasional classic, such as Greensleeves. Ah, but there is where the problems come in.

Technically speaking, Candace Night is a decent vocalist. She is not great, however, and her biggest problem is a lack of emotion. Yes, she enunciates her words so we can understand the lyrics, but there is no feeling to them. Medieval Babes may have been a more appropriate venue for her, but no, she is married to Ritchie Blackmore, and thus has the opportunity to front the new (relatively) band of a rock 'n' roll legend. Because of the vocals, much of the music sounds the same, especially since Blackers repeats himself. Another problem I have, and this is not so much the fault of the band as it is of its fans. This is not renaissance music. This a fantasy of renaissance music, in much the same way that a renaissance fair is a fantasy of the renaissance itself. Now I have been to a good number of such fairs, and have enjoyed them immensely, but I never for one second thought that it was a period of time I could actually live in. I have read so many reviews about this band that contain the phrase, "if you like renaissance music you will like this band." No, you won't. This is modern contemporary folk rock inspired by a variety of folk traditions. That they even sing a song about being from the renaissance and feel more at home at a renaissance faire does not help the problem. I am sure they think such things when they drive home in their new Mercedes.

As to my favorite tracks, there is the previously mentioned Shadow of the Moon; Play Minstrel Play features a guest appearance by Ian Anderson, always a plus in my book; Ocean Gypsy is different from the original Renaissance version, which is the better and a good example of where Candace Night fails as a vocalist and where Annie Haslam shines, but I still like the song. Good instrumentals, besides what's already mentioned include Memmingen and Mond Tanz. I cannot take the songs Renaissance Faire and Greensleeves seriously. They are, in a word, awful.

In conclusion, there are some good qualities to this album, but they tend to wear thin with the negatives. For Blackmore, I will give it three stars, for Night, only one. That balances out to two stars.

Progosopher | 2/5 |

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