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Blackmore's Night - The Village Lanterne CD (album) cover

THE VILLAGE LANTERNE

Blackmore's Night

 

Prog Folk

3.25 | 33 ratings

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Alitare
3 stars Will this band ever change?

Blackmore's Night - The Village Lanterne (2006)

Overall Rating: 10

Best Song: St. Teresa, but don't quote me on that.

No, I don't think this band will ever really change, evolve, progress, become enlightened, stray, experiment, revolutionize, revitalize, re-make, or innovate. Well, Ritche Blackmore's been at the forefront of musical vitalization ever since his Deep Purple days, so why should we expect him to do anything but "old man music" since he is, effectually, an old man, now? We shouldn't, and we should all just accept this for what it is, and what it always will be: Medieval folk rock from a talented old prick. But, that doesn't mean we need to love every bit of it, now do we?

To hell with dragging this thing out, because you all know what my main problems will be with this record. Why? It's the same damn thing as with every Blackmore's Night, Pinky! Trying to take over the world! Wait, no, there's just too much material here, and not enough glorious ideas, so it gets really boring, really fast. That's it, you can leave now. You can all go home, this is my full conclusion: The Village Lanterne is host to numerous pretty melodies and songs, but they could never be stretched to an hour's length, so the album drags, and even though it's softer than their previous entry, there's still a high level of energy, but it all gets kind of boring, and it's basically the same as everything else they ever did, with no visible highlights because ever single god damn song sounds like a remake of the song that came before it. It only gets a 10 because, even if it's not any better than anything that came before it, it's not exactly worse. There, are you happy? Now go home!

Actually, there are some pretty neat licks if you dig deeper, like the guitar line to "I guess It Doesn't Matter Anymore" where Blackie Richmore shows us a thing or three about rockin' out! (not really). Still, it's a cool line that goes away too quickly, but there is a stronger emphasis on electrifying the entertainment, and that's what this is, entertainment. I don't guess in all his days of studying rocking metal, Blackmore ever really had the time to study the heart, very well. But, as I stated before, it's all quaint, adequately performed entertainment, and there are some eye-popping flash moments...if you are devoted to digging through all the overlong, folky mess.

I think that if Blackmore's night would take the ten best minutes of each of their disks, so far, and tossed out the rest, they cold put all that together, and have possibly the single greatest medieval folk rock albums of all time. I also s'pose the same could be said for all those post-Thick Jethro Tull records, too. I'd say there are about 14 minutes of true brilliance on the record, which is about one minute per song. The rest is leather-armor filler, like the utterly predictable acoustic ditty "the Messenger", with the flippy guitar straddles and the "atmospheric" keyboard swells. Even so, it's still some mighty sweet playing, but you knew that, already. Sometimes the melodies aren't so shimmering, and feel rusty, sometimes the melodies are silky and sweet, lifting you up, more often than not, though, they'll be totally generic and just cute. I said it, Ritchie Blackmore is no longer biting or frenetic, his music is just....cute. Most the songs are painfully simple, and a trained ear can spot how second hand the whole damn record feels, as if they aren't even trying to blow people away. It's the dangerous air of contentment that has destroyed many a prolific artist who would rather release their music than bide their time, waiting for inspiration to come.

The Village Lanterne is easily interchangeable with anything else they've ever done, and even if it's pretty, even gorgeous on rare occasion, and unarguably well performed, it's still completely inessential. When I listen to it, I'm left barely able to recall a few segments of music, and not even whole songs. Sometimes it really rocks, like in "St. Teresa, arguably the hardest and most energetic track, even housing a stellar guitar solo fest, but all of them have, here and there. Like with most of their efforts you'll find folk re-imaginings of their old material, or old material from others. Here they do a remake of Deep Purple's wildly popular Child In Time, and while I can't say it bests the original (Hell no, it don't.), it's still a cool track. There's also the Rainbow radio hit "Street Of Dreams" closing the ordeal. While I never much cared for that band after Dio left, and the track screamed commercial orientation, I like this version. In fact, I prefer it. Still, I don't see why you'd need this album if you've already bought the last four Blackmore's Night releases (who? who?), because there isn't a single new musical idea, present. Get it if you just HAVE to have more renaissance fair background music in your collection.

***

Alitare | 3/5 |

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