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

UNDER A VIOLET MOON

Blackmore's Night

Prog Folk


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars Well we now know this was not just a short fling that Blackmoode was having for his blonde muse and she does not have a bad voice. As the surprise of the first album is not there , this is less interesting also. I don't find much interest in this sort of music if there is no sort of veracity of this so-called mediaval stuff. I think that Richie is living out a fanasy of being and doing the troubadour and he has paid enough his dues in the music business to be allowed that much . But I don't have to apprecaite it but I do acknowledge it.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#17146)
Posted Wednesday, March 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well Mr.Blackmore are at it again......its a shame that so many people did it before him, playing the folkrock that is!!Now dont get me wrong i rather like Blackmore´s guitar... only..i like it back then....oh,those days...those early Deep purple days!!! I use to love hearing the sound of his guitar on the first three albums by Deep Purple!! Which by the way were the most progressive (here´s the chance, my fellow prog- reviewers, to argue with me!) albums by Deep Purple!!! Now ,back to the matter....i know that this is his "love affair" band...as he married the wonderfull Candice Knight. Thats all well and good and she does have a wonderfull voice!! All that said...its a nice record...with wonderfull tunes...and she does sing wonderfully.. BUT...there are so many..many..groups out there..that does it better!!!! Folkrock groups (Who does it better): Fotheringay /Fairport convention/Steeleye span/ Trees/Dando Shaft/Trader horne. To name a few!! But OK if you must...this is an OK folk outfit...just dont expect the real thing! Sorry Mr. Blackmore......back to the roots!! If you please!!

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Send comments to Tonny Larz (BETA) | Report this review (#17147)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
pyciu@hoga.pl
5 stars So what it's not progressive music, so what it has nothing to do with Blackmore's earlier recordings? So what that "we all heard it before"? This is beautiful album, full of simple, gentle music. I wouldn't accept no one than Ronnie James Dio to sing "Self Portrait", but Candice does it equally marvellous. I admit that when I first got "Shadow of the Moon" I was shocked. How could it be possible for Ritchie to play that kind of music? But then I relized that he might have been bored and sicked of playing the same tunes for thirty years, and tried to do something different. So what they wear funny clothes? It's still guitar oriented music. Different, but still guitar. Call me stupid, send me back to school, I don't care, but among many (great) progressive tunes you can still find a time to listen music like this: simple, catchy but still of great quality. Five stars for overall performance.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#17151)
Posted Wednesday, May 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I found this album to be less enjoyable than both its predecessor Shadow Of The Moon and its successor Fires At Midnight. Sure there's a highlight or two like the gorgeous Blackmore solo instrumental Possom Goes To Prague (probably the best of the many that he's essayed with the group) and the violin work on Morning Star but generally I was unimpressed by the pop-inflected folk of this album.

Under A Violet Moon, Castles And Dreams, Avalon and Fool's Gold (probably my favourite of the lot) are all reminscent of the style of the first album, but never quite seem as inspired. Another Blackmore instrumental Beyond The Sunset even sounds awfully like something from an easy listening collection, while his great playing at the beginning of Spanish Nights (I Remember It Well) is ruined by the song's aimless melody. Like the debut, this album is also too long and the last couple of efforts Now And Then and a cheeky remake of Rainbow's Self-Portrait, are pretty unwelcome.

Oh yes, there's nothing remotely progressive about this whole album. ... 29% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#17154)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
WaywardSon
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars There are some standout songs on here, namely the beautiful Instrumental "Beyond the sunset" and the galloping "Spanish Nights". The opening track "Under a violet moon" is horribly cheesy and they sound like some sort of local pub band. Throughout the album there is a sense of sameness about the music . Candice Night´s voice starts to sound very monotonous and you realize you have heard all this before on the debut album (Even the album title sounds the same)

I can only recommend this for die hard fans, rather get the song "Beyond the sunset" on one of the compilation albums, because that is the only excellent song on here.

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Send comments to WaywardSon (BETA) | Report this review (#87613)
Posted Friday, August 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "We're going back to a time we knew."

The second album by Ritchie and his good lady is a natural evolution from their previous offering. There is a more refined air of sophistication here, which lends itself well to the type of music Blackmore's Night perform. The songs are generally developed slightly more than on the previous album, with Ritchie even opting plug in his guitar from time to time. The music is still heavily influenced by mediaeval folk, with acoustic accompaniment being the norm. Indeed the sticker on the sleeve proclaims this to be "a kaleidoscope of European folk music and old world compositions". I suspect the "European" tag is largely to pander towards the strongest market for Blackmore's Night's releases, the music in fact being very English.

The opening title track has a Romany/gypsy feel to it, with shouts of "hey" at the end of the choruses evoking a round the campfire feel. The song features some nice organ work by Jens Johannson. The lyrics can be a little kitsch, with lines such as "Raise your hats and your glasses too, we will dance the whole night through, we're going back to a time we knew.". In fairness though, such lyrics do create the atmosphere which the duo are seeking to portray.

There are many highlights throughout the album. "Wind in the willows" is unusual as the lead vocals are performed by John Ford (of the Strawbs early line up) with Candice Night dueting and harmonising. The song has a Fairport Convention folk song feel to it, telling a pleasant tale of the travelling the English countryside. It is a lovely, highly melodic piece with superior lyrics. "Gone with the wind" which follows sees Ritchie offering one of his great, but all too brief, lead guitar solos. Given the acoustic nature of the preceding tracks, the solo comes as something of a surprise, but there no doubting the man can still hack it when he wants to. The track is darker than usual for Blackmore's Night, telling a disturbing tale to a marching rhythm while thunder rages in the distance.

A number of the tracks are Blackmore's Night by the numbers, with a lilting violin here, a lute based theme there and so on. "Morning star", "Avalon" and "Spanish Nights" (Spanish Guitar and castanets!) among others, all fall into this category. Nice songs, but rather undistinguished, and a little too easy.

Rainbow's "Self portrait" is given a dusting down to close the album. The song was one of the weaker moments on their first album, and remains rather ineffective here. There are three Blackmore composed instrumentals too. Don't hold your breath though, these are acoustic guitar solos of course, along the lines of Steve Howe's solo spots for Yes ("Mood for a day", etc.) or a John Williams virtuoso performance.

The guest list for the album is extensive, befitting of a legend such as Ritchie. Most guests though only feature on a single track, the band being Blackmore, Night and two or three others.

A fine second album with much to enjoy for those who are looking for something relaxed but melodic.

A final word about the sleeve art by Peter Pracownik, which sets the scene perfectly; anyone looking for Ritchie's Deep Purple tones cannot say they were not pre-warned by the illustration. It would look so much better though on an LP sized cover.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#93300)
Posted Wednesday, October 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have planned to write reviews only for the albums I think deserve an advise for the non-initiated listener (to recommend or avoid them). This is the case with Ricthie's second effort with his muse. I don't know how this album can be so low-rated. If it was the case of someone disliking Blackmore's Night musical approach, OK. But it doesn't seem to be the case. People who like Blackmore's Night and recommend some of their albums are bashing this one, that is their BEST effort (IMO)! Of couse, the surprise that we had listening to the first notes of 'Shadow of the Moon" are gone, but there are a lot of wonderful original tracks in this album plus an ok cover of "Self portrait" from the first Rainbow album.

These are the highlights of the album:

Under a violet moon- a happy track with that enchanting fake renaissance mood that marks this group. Good guitar and keyboard work.

Past time with good company - a Henry VIII composition that receives a pop-folk version. Good, and in the live album "Past times with good company" you can compare the diference between the (reconstructed) original mood and the group's version.

Gone with the wind - Well, I miss Ritchie's electric guitar solos, and this song gave us a brief example of what he could be doing if he want.

Beyond the sunset - lovely instrumental piece, short and sweet.

Spanish nights (I remember it well) - the best track of the album. Beggining with wanna- be spanish chords, the evolution of the piece leads to an amazing guitar solo. Put this in a rock mood and it will be pure and classic Rainbow! Catherine Howard´s fate - a sad recollection of one of Henry VIII wives. Well-played and well-sung. Candice's best work in this album.

If you're the casual listener and want to know Blackmore's Night, I couldn't recommend this album enough. But beware: this isn't prog rock in any situation. Listen to it as a "rock meets XVth century" thing and you'll get the spirit.

As an album (without considering it prog or not), 5 stars. Progginess - 1. So I give it 3 stars (if I could, 3,5 stars), respecting the main interest that atract us to this site: prog music.

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Send comments to moodyxadi (BETA) | Report this review (#108657)
Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris H
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars To be perfectly honest, I always refer to Blackmore's Night as the project that killed Ritchie Blackmore, and now I can go a step further and say that I can call "Under A Violet Moon" the album the buried him. First off, it absolutely amazes me that Ritchie would throw away all of the images he's created over the years, by that I mean the revered Deep Purple axe- man, and just go and play mandolin with his wife while wearing stupid hats. Now Deep Purple should even listen to one of Blackmore's Night's albums, under NO circumstances. A little harsh but completely true. Now about the album:

The whole album just reeks of that cheesy Renaissance throw-back style, and the gypsy aura surrounding all of the instrumental works can get so incredibly testing that it's beyond belief. Did somebody order some repetitive, cliché lyrics? You got em, just take the title track as an example. You would think the two lines in the chorus are the only words in the song! Don't even get me going on the cover song attempt, Rainbow's "Self Portrait" being the massacre victim. Not even Rainbow's best song, but there is no need to massacre it here.

To sum it all up, there is absolutely nothing that is actually listenable to normal ears on this album. The only saving grace for me is Ritchie's all to short guitar solo in "Gone With The Wind", which is a dark track to begin with. Just take it from me, leave this one on the shelf. It's not even worth a penny.

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Send comments to Chris H (BETA) | Report this review (#116327)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars While it's all very pleasant, much of "In a Violet Moon" sounds like rote medieval music, and lacks any sort of edge that you might expect in medieval folk. It is just TOO mellow! Nonetheless, the singing and playing is of high quality throughout, and several tracks do distinguish themselves. "Morning Star" adds an eastern european flavour; "Possum Goes to Prague" is a minute-long testament to Blackmore's prowess on acoustic instrumentation; "Wind in the Willows" contains a beautiful melody and features ex-Strawb John Ford on vocals; "Gone with the Wind" shows that Blackmore can still play lead guitar; "Spanish Nights" is a fast paced spanish guitar driven piece with a catchy chorus; and "Self Portrait" is a more "down" song than most, but still featuring stellar instrumentation.

While it is hard to rate "Under a Violet Moon" less than 3 stars for all the quality within, given the "ancient by numbers" approach of much of the album, it is also hard to give more than 3 stars even when looking at it through violet coloured glasses.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#135457)
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
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.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#150532)
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
3 stars I think there's a considerable leap forward between their debut and this second album. Shadow Of The Moon may include songs that have become live favourites (well, certainly there are such songs in here too: the merry title track, the instrumental 'Durch den Wald zum Bach Haus' and the song penned by Henry VIII which gave name to BN's live album). I'm not sure if it was just because it was my first acquaintance with BN several years ago, but I found the debut album somehow half-baked soundwise and many of its songs were terribly weak. Now recently when I made a library reservation of this album, right afterwards I thought I should have picked some later album, but I'm glad it was this one after all: it's much better than I expected.

Candice Night sounds very beautiful here. And the majority of the songs are rather mellow with a nice folkish touch. To some it may mean this album is a bit lame, but I liked it. Perfect music to listen to when feeling cozy in front of the fireplace, romantically imagining of bygone times. As a STRAWBS listener I was delighted by 'Wind in the Willows' featuring John Ford. (In the concert Candice tells that the song was actually introduced to them by Ford.) 'Gone With the Wind' made me smile as I recognized the tune (I had heard it sung in Finnish). With sixteen tracks in total this album surely has many fine moments to any friend of BLACKMORE's NIGHT, and to new listeners this serves as a good starting point.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#181857)
Posted Saturday, September 06, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The second efford by ex Deep Purple founder member and guitar genius Ritchie Blackmore and his wife, the lovely Candice Night, is not really par to their startling debut, Shadow Of The Moon. I see it as even a step backwards for much of it resembles the weakest parts of SOTM. Not that Under A Violet Moon (see teh connection?) does not has its merits. Some songs are really good, like the title track, the hauting Spanish Nights, the instrumental Possum Goes To Prague and the wonderful acoustic treatment they gave to the obscure Rainbow track, Self Portrait. Gone With The Wind is also nice, although quite different from their renaissenacentist trademark sound.

The rest is nice, ok, but does not add much to anything Blackmore has done before and since. While their first album was full of novelties and energy, this one is simply too straight and pretty. In other words, nothing new or exciting here. It almost feel like it was made of leftovers from the Shadow of The Moon. Fortunatly the duo would go on to make some better and more focused works in the folowing years.

Overall a decent CD, saved in part by Blackmore's beautiful guitar lines and Night's pleasant voice. 2,5 stars (good, but non-essential),

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#185900)
Posted Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Kotro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Tasteful

So, Richie Blackmore's Travelling Company of Merry Men and Foxy Ladies are back with another Medieval/Renaissance-inspired folk-rock album. The first one was rather unimpressive, despite some good moments, but it did reveal the interesting (if somewhat limited) voice of Candice Night and a surprising Blackmore proficiency in playing traditional themes. I cannot therefore say I am upset that this project hit the road for a second journey, although I hoped it would be less bumpy than the first.

The title track Under A Violet Moon opens the album, and just like in the debut it does so quite strongly, being of no less quality than the best staples on Shadow of the Moon. A guitar opening introduces us to the soothing vocals of Candice with a faint male backing choir in the background. The structure is quite simple, there is a build-up followed the chorus, not much news there. The track keeps speeding up and getting more energetic, but keeping the medieval sonority. There are some interesting instrumental interludes, the second one being of special notice, featuring a very Nicely done organ solo. There is a great profusion of instrumentation on this track, filling it with a very warm atmosphere and depth. The following Castles and Dreams is a calmer ballad, completely contrasting with the album opener. A more girlish track, built mostly on the multiple female vocals led by Candice and Ritchie's acoustic guitar. In the right mood it is actually enjoyable, but otherwise it's more of a snooze fest. Past Time With Good Company is a take on a traditional 16th century composition, not unlike what was attempted on the previous album with Greensleeves. The track is introduced by a majestic opening, with drums and horns, and there we are transported into a banquet hall in the court of Henry VIII. The Tudor mood is all there, both in the simple playing and limited instrumentation and on the singing, if not for the majestic interludes that take us from the hall to the battlefield. It remains, however, another very delicate track. Morning Star is introduced by a violin, almost giving it a gipsy or Eastern-Europe-like feel. I'm not so happy with the percussion here, but the remaining rhythm of the song is more interesting. Blackmore appears to just sit this one out, only faintly strumming his guitar for the first part before making more of a show from the second part on. Vocals are quite good on this track, as is the violin and the orchestral arrangements. Avalon is another traditional piece revamped for this album. Once again the feel is very mellow, but it gets interesting midway, with some extra energy being added before it returns to the mellow section of acoustic guitars, tambourines and flutes. Possum Goes To Prague is another Blackmore take on acoustic instrumentals, an aspect that I personally though had worked out pretty well in the debut album. This is no different, it is once again Ritchie Blackmore showcasing his skill in the acoustic guitar - interesting but ultimately unmemorable. Wind In The Willows is something different. For starters it is lead by a male vocalist (John Ford) instead of Candice, quite the surprise. Candice joins in for the chorus of this upbeat, bucolic ballad supported by multiple acoustic guitars and percussion, with the occasional tambourines and flutes. Gone With The Wind is opened by the sound of horses galloping and war drums, followed by a horn section that reminds me more of Europe's The Final Countdown than of Renaissance music - immediately I sense we're going for the more modern sounding track of this album. And indeed, here comes the Strat! Ritchie plugs on his baby for this one and the result is quite welcome, even if this aggressive, fast-paced rocker does sound out of place with the rest of the album. But unlike similar attempts on the first album, this is actually a good song. Candice's vocals are especially strong on this track, not to mention Blackmore's work. Beyond The Sunset follows, and once again it is a great contrast to the bombastic track preceding it. Yep, it's another instrumental, mostly acoustic guitar driven, played in a very gentle and mellow fashion, but featuring some orchestral background (probably synth-originated). March The Heroes Home is an interesting piece, beginning like another simple ballad, ending like a military march featuring another paraphernalia of instruments, with a constant crescendo making the bridge between both ends. Spanish Nights (I Remember It Well) is opened by some great acoustic guitar solo by Ritchie, before the electronic drums and keyboards introduce a fast paced Csárdá-like theme. Loads of instrumentation on this energetic track, featuring some excitingly played sections and another strong vocal display by Candice Night. Guitars and violins are top-notch. Catherine Howard´s Fate resumes the Tudor theme so prominent in this band's works. A simple combination of soothing vocals and gentle acoustic guitar get the job done on this track. Fool´s Gold doesn't get much more exciting, even if the vocals and acoustics are joined in by tambourines and what sound like woodwinds. One of the more unmemorable pieces of the album, but nothing abrasive - it's a pretty track, not something you need to skip. Durch Den Wald Zum Bach Haus is the last instrumental of the album, this one sounding more like a full chamber piece than an acoustic guitar dominated one. Now And Then is the sole Candice Night composition of the album. As such, it probably sounds a bit more fluff-pop than the other tracks, even though the music accompanying it is still in accord with the album's overall sound. Finally, we end just like in the debut album, with a cover version. And just like the covers on Shadow of the Moon, this cover of Rainbow's Self Portrait is also, in my opinion, an improvement over the original. The electric guitar and the harshness of Dio's vocals are gone, but the emotion is all there - the acoustic guitar works perfectly, with Ritchie getting some great solos out of it, and Candice delivers one of her best singing performance yet. A strong and fitting ending.

My mind is bewildered upon seeing this as the lowest rated Blackmore's Night album - in my opinion this is a giant's leap from their debut. The first Blackmore's Night album was a bit of a disappointment, its approach very cheesy and kitch despite some interesting arrangements. Under a Violet Moon serves to prove that it wasn't a one-time affair, but something to build-on - and that's exactly what we have here: an upgrade. Compositions are tighter, the production is a lot more tasteful, and a lot more care has been put into this. Unlike the first album, there really are no weak or bad songs, even if there aren't excellent ones either. Ok, the lyrics didn't change that much between albums, but that has never been much of an issue to me. Rock is kept to a minimum, and once again Prog is nowhere in sight. But it is a very entertaining and soothing listen, and even though it does sometimes sound a bit too much POP, it is still good music. 3 stars in my score, but I'll round up to 4 to do some justice to this underrated album.

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Send comments to Kotro (BETA) | Report this review (#201203)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars So, after my disappointment with first Blacmore's Night album, I still had enough faith and bought the second one. Yes, you absolutely true, no surprises ...

To be honest, after I listened ( many ,many times) this, second,album, I realize, that Blackmore didn't joke an album ago. Yes, I just have another portion of medieval mostly acoustic ballads with very rare guitar solos and light voice of Candice somewhere near all that ... jazz.

Yes, I was to much disappointed to have any opinion about that music at all. Some time later I returned back to it, so no mistakes now.

You will have there the same music as in debut one, may be a bit more pop-arranged . In fact, for me it sounds as two-three nice simple children theatre play songs repeating again and again. First song even sounds attractive, second-good enough, after third you understand, that you are listening the same single in repeat regime. It isn't easy to listen the album till the end.

For folk maniacs only!

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#240911)
Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Now "under a violet moon"isnt a bad album for a second album,it starts with under a violet moon which for me is the stand out track on this,this album is more acoustic sounding than shadow of the moon and i think its not as good as shadow,but that doesent mean its not worth having,i quite like all the songs on this but not that keen on wind in the willows[which has a man singing on this mostly who is someone called john ford the bass player],i do think that this maybe isnt the best blackmores night album as it kind of is the same like all the way through,but is a good album but i think they could of made a few different songs in this [maybe more of ritchies stratocaster guitar like],this is more acoustic album but ritchies acoustic guitar does sound nice and relaxing,i have to give this 3 stars as i think it could of been better,although candice is in fine form but i just cant help thinking she might of been better if the songs were better like,maybe this isnt a blackmores night to buy like as the first one,theres better than this album,but 3 stars is fair.

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Send comments to davidsporle (BETA) | Report this review (#247795)
Posted Monday, November 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Some time had passed between the release of the first album by Blackmore's Night before I bought it, which means that not much more time had passed before the second one, Under a Violet Moon came out. My disappointment in the earlier gave way to my admiration for Ritchie Blackmore, the guitarist of many of my earlier years, and so once again I made my way to the nearest Tower Records and bought a copy. I was hoping for something better, but alas, did not find it. That the word 'moon' appears in both titles should have been my first warning signal. Still, there are improvements.

The first improvement is the better production. The sound is much more present and clear. Several of the problems from Shadow have been solved - the music is less the same and more dynamic. Blackmore is not carrying the bulk of the instrumentation, and he even plays electric guitar on a few tracks. This adds more verve to the proceedings, but do not expect to hear the wild workouts he is so justifiably famous for. The orchestrations are real and not synthesized. Jen Johansson's keyboard work fills in a lot of space and adds more depth. There is a sophistication to the music, of a level which should only be expected from one with Blackmore's experience. With all of these characteristics in its favor, Under a Violet Moon is not a better album than its predecessor.

About half the album is the same old boring renaissance fantasy songs, that is, they are dull and uninspired, bringing out the worst qualities of both Blackmore and Candace Night. Even some of the acoustic instrumentals suffer from this problem. The vocals remain unemotional, but they are better.

The opening title track is among the better songs. One of my favorites, oddly, is Wind in the Willows. There is an illuminated child-like (as opposed to childish) quality to this song: John Ford's vocals add a much needed contrast to Candace Nights, yet this is the one song where I actually like her vocals. Spanish Nights is a good upbeat tune with lots of energy, while Gone with the Wind is the most powerful track with its kettledrums, male choir, and brass ensemble.

Even with the improvements, the low-quality songs which make up half the album keep this one on the same level as their first release - two stars. I have given up on Blackmore's Night.

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Send comments to Progosopher (BETA) | Report this review (#261768)
Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars "lalalalalalalalalalala" - Candice Night (On Morning Star)

This thing makes me feel like I've eaten salisbury steak each night for supper for the past three weeks.

Under A Violet Moon - Blackmore's Night - 1999 (1466)

Best Song : Shoot me with yer repetitive longbow, Little John!

Rating: 10/15

I guess it would be too much to ask of the poor fellow to actually go back to his roots. Naw, he's gotta go back to the roots of someone else, namely, King Arthur's court minstrel/lute master-supreme. Funny, it wouldn't be so entertaining if it weren't for how deadly serious these folks are. In 1998, Ritchie Blackmore teamed up with his woman, Candice Night, and they made a brutal death metal band that played on their names, releasing a gruesome batch of harmless derivative folk rock, stuffed to the needless brim. Now they're back, and guess what? It's all the same.

Blackmore's Flight (of fancy) are back with Under A Violet Moon. And, if you've heard their debut, this album is, regretfully, a very pointless creation. That's not to say it's inferior. No, it's just pretty much exactly the same as everything on Shadow of the Moon. There are some intricate differences, but none that matter in the overall atmosphere. It's still Renaissance Faire for the contemporary mind. But, in the grand scheme, there are a few differences that make me like this album a bit more than her predecessor. Firstly, there is a larger hint of subtlety in the mix. I'd say it's a regression from the in your face rocking Ritchie's been doing most his life. Maybe he just wants to eschew his moniker as rock god once and for all. Either way, he's doing a pretty good job of alienating his old Deep Purple fans (although most of them chumps probably don't even know of this band's existence).

Same as before, it's all well produced, well performed, strikingly professional medieval folk rock. It's also extremely faceless, and punishingly monotonous. I swear that each song literally sounds like a carbon copy of the last. Hell, this one is even more monotonous than the last record! The only reason this one doesn't get a lower score is because it was somewhat graciously shaved by about 10 minutes, which does a lot for my mental constitution, let me tell you. What drags this down, though, is how it has even fewer stand-out songs than before, and it's even less diverse and energetic. This is truly ambient music for hobbit [%*!#]ers...er...hobbit 'lovers'. We all know Blackmore's relationship with Lord of the Rings has been strong (Rainbow, anyone?), but this is almost a little ridiculous. But, as negative as I am toward Under A Violet Moon, it's still a very solid recording, and they're at least kind enough to give us something pretty most of the time. It's all very pretty, and Candice Night's a promising singer, if perhaps her range is a smidge limited.

Another thing I noticed was the album's penchant for pop format. Thus making the effort even more repetitive and generic. It's professional, sure, but it's terribly generic. This is all been done, twenty years ago, and two centuries ago. We've all heard it, before, or could easily imagine the whole CD by just hearing the first couple tracks. And, even though it's been reduced in running time by approximately ten minutes, it still feels twenty too long. Did these guys really need to release so much material at one time? I'm sure most folks could just repeat the album once it's finished ( they'd have stronger will than I do). No need to copy and paste all those songs and give them differing titles. Come on, Ritch! Hey, can I call you Ritch?

Actually, if I have to pick a favorite song, one that stands out and actually intrigues me on a major level, it's "Possum Goes To Prague", which is this evocative little minute long instrumental guitar flourish. It's very succinct, and at the same time, flashy in the way we know Blackmore to be. Under A Violet Moon is a fine and dandy medieval folk pop record with no innovation, whatsoever, but with heaps of taste and prettiness, even if it's frustratingly overlong. When you get it, tell them Robin Hood sent you.

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#289316)
Posted Tuesday, July 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Tally-Ho!

If you can pinpoint one flaw to this record (and why not the band entirely) is the 1) the need of more of Blackmood's instrumentals and 2) the place that Mrs. Blackmood is given. One too few, the other too often. Too bad but it feels like Ritchie's not the pilot on this plane anymore. Maybe the charm of the co- pilot is too irresistible for him, but the feel is a bit tackier on this album.

While Shadow of the Moon had it's share of marshmallow, this one is surpassing the latter with cornier lyrics, digital instruments (plastic keyboards and programming) and a general malaise, a higher need to justify yourself in front of your friends why you bought this.

Still there's some many moments to savour like the ear-worm title song and Pass Time With Good Company (far from your mocking friends) and all the instrumentals but a 'relaxation music' factor much higher. Not enough moustache, too much blonde hair. Nonetheless, this band is filling a crucial spot in your collection with a gentler mood and some old fashioned values that lack so much in our generation.

Smells like strawberries but should smell more like roasted meat.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#878452)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars Castles and nightmares

Under A Violet Moon is the second album by Blackmore's Night. It is a very toned down album with a heavy focus on brief, simple, acoustic songs. As such, this is by no means progressive Folk Rock, it is not even non-progressive Folk Rock, but rather something on the borderline between pure acoustic Folk music and (folky) Pop. This is thus further away from Ritchie's past in Deep Purple and Rainbow than even most other releases by Blackmore's Night. Like most others here, I too think that Under A Violet Moon is less interesting and less enjoyable than the two albums that surround it; the 1997 debut Shadow Of The Moon and the subsequent Fires At Midnight released in 2001 (my personal Blackmore's Night studio favourite). Still, even if it was a low point at the time, Under A Violet Moon is not the band's worst. While I do find it simply dull at times, unlike on some of their later albums, there is nothing here that offends me; nothing that makes me cringe.

Some of the tunes from this album were made rockier and more energetic when performed live. This certainly applies to the title track.

This one is for the fans

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#936716)
Posted Friday, March 29, 2013 | Review Permalink

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