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Blackmore's Night - Winter Carols CD (album) cover

WINTER CAROLS

Blackmore's Night

 

Prog Folk

3.25 | 24 ratings

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Alitare
2 stars The album I bet Ritchie's been dying to make for the past seven years.

Blackmore's Night - Winter Carols (2006)

Overall Rating: 7

Best Song: Wish You Were Here, but...

Yeah, everybody's favorite folk folks does what everyone expected them to do, eventually. their musical style always screamed this sort of arrangement, and because each album was just a repeat of the last, who'd actually assume they'd turn down the opportunity to make some easy money at Christmas time, right?

Blackmore's Night offers us twelve stone cold Christmas classics, and you know what? I don't want it. Everyone and Twisted' Sister's mother's kitchen sink has done a Christmas-carol "rocked up" cash in, and I am sick of it. You can easily assume what's going to happen. They are going to turn the songs you grew up learning as a kid into these soulless, adult contemporary rock tunes fit snugly for jolly bell-time stick-a-fork-in-Santa radio airplay. None of it's new, but that's the trademark of Blackmore's Night, isn't it? Isn't that what they're always selling you? "It ain't new, no sirreee, but it sure is pretty!" or the much loved: "It's got Ritchie Blackmore on lead guitar, buy it, today!" So no, I refuse. This is some awfully generic stuff, and I don't want it, anymore.

At the very least, Trans-Siberian Orchestra inserts and asserts their own fleshed out personality into the mix when they recreate old yuletide standards, instead of producing and performing everything in typical folk rock mush. And at least their conceptual basis for the songs is much more cohesive and realized than the banal randomness that this stuff usually entails. Not only do all the songs sound identical to their regular studio output, with Candice crooning in her inoffensive middle range, and Blackmore twiddling on his trusty guitar like a good ol' boy, and the other band members... uh...occasionally doing...things, but it also effectively annihilates the traditionally superb melodies some of them have. Hark The Herald is possibly my favorite snowy tune of all time, but they wreck the main melody with needless amateur intonation on her vocals, and the background mush isn't even striking.

No, this stuff isn't bad, it's just boring, and that's always been the worst hitch with the band. Not only that, they see fit to transform all the material into hollow husks of their former, usually lively, selves. From "good King Wenceslas" to "We Three Kings", it's all hollow and dead on the inside, which could coldly offer copious amounts of insight into Ritchie's spirit, these days. The band doesn't even have their high and entertaining level of performance energy that, more often than not, turned sub=par material into really engaging music. No, this is a fucking corporate music-whore sell-out album for the money, money, money, money, money. I have no respect for a debacle such as this, and I'll be damned if I ever listen to this, again.

Even when they're not butchering old classic standards, they're reaching into their back catalog and raping their own songs. Gee, what a band! "Wish You Were Here" is a feeble recreation of their own song, and no, it has nothing to do with Pink Floyd. Those guys at least knew how to be subtle until bridge over Roger Waters took total control. Dammit, Roger and Ritchie need to form a prog rock super-group, where one can bitch about life and another can bitch about fantasy. I've always wanted to see a suicidal hobbit! Also, I forgot to mention how the album sounds as if it were recorded in an old sled storage basement.

On the bright side, they cut the album down to 45 minutes, which is a godsend, because you'll want this to be over as soon as possible, just like your family Christmas dinner. Here's a tip, go out and get Jethro Tull's "Christmas Album", which is possibly the best 'Christmas' album ever recorded by man, mainly because it's more of an album about Christmas, and it totally makes this pile of commercial slop useless, just like everything else the band ever did. Ho-Ho-Ho!

**

Alitare | 2/5 |

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