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Blackmore's Night - Autumn Sky CD (album) cover

AUTUMN SKY

Blackmore's Night

 

Prog Folk

2.57 | 30 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Kinky

"Autumn sky" is Blackmore's Night's eighth studio album, coming two years after the excellent "Secret voyage". In the interim, Candice Night gave birth to a baby girl, yet still found time to write the lyrics throughout, with Ritchie writing the melodies. Given that the first album by the band was released in 1998, the productivity rate for Blackmore's Night is on a par with the halcyon days of Deep Purple or Rainbow. With so many fine albums behind them, it was perhaps inevitable that there would be a dip a some stage, and "Autumn sky" is that dip.

Do not get me wrong, this is still a highly enjoyable album, with excellent performances all round. There is though a sense of going through the motions here. The songs are written to the Blackmore's Night template, but for me they lack the spark of the band's best material. There is no feature track (like the epic "God Save The Keg/Locked Within The Crystal Ball" on "Secret voyage" and no Deep Purple/Rainbow cover. What we have then is a set of Blackmore's night by the numbers songs, which if this were the band's first album would be highly impressive.

Such a preamble probably suggests this album is not worth listening to, but that is certainly not my intention; there remains much of value here. "Journeyman" is a superb piece, the highlight being some of Ritchie's most dexterous guitar work for some time. The following "Believe in me" is a beautiful soft ballad, but even here Ritchie slips in some excellent lead guitar. The feature cover song this time is of the Kinks "Celluloid Heroes", one of Ray Davies best compositions. Candice Night offers a fine interpretation of the song, bringing out the sensitivity of the lyrics.

On the other hand, songs such as "Sake of the song" have a strong air of familiarity to them. Even here through, when paired with the following "Song And Dance", which exploits the same melody as an instrumental, the two part piece will surely become a live favourite. "Darkness" and "Dance Of The Darkness" are structured in the same way, the latter once again featuring some great sleight of hand by Ritchie.

The album closes with a traditional folk song and Child Ballad "Barbara Allen". This tragic love song is given a sympathetic treatment which retains its simple folk beauty while gradually increasing the dramatic effect.

Ritchie seems to keep in the background more on this album. Yes we have the fine acoustic guitar piece "Night At Eggersberg" and a couple of others, and yes he does add some great lead guitar from time to time, but this is by and large an album which focuses on the (admittedly excellent) vocals of Candice Night. In summary, not the best Blackmore's night album, but a worthy addition to their fine discography.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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