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Blackmore's Night - Dancer And The Moon CD (album) cover


Blackmore's Night

Prog Folk

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Second Life Syndrome
3 stars "Dancer and the Moon". With a title like that, I knew I was in for it. I took this album review knowing only that Blackmore's Night is a prog band, but I didn't know they are prog folk. Even more than that, I didn't know that this band's goal is to bring back an appreciation for medieval music. So, as you can tell, this band uses a lot of tambourines, flutes, pipes, and wild vocal passages. The vocalist is primarily female, though there are some male vocals strewn throughout the album.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some rockin' moments that feature some great guitar work that interweaves with the more eclectic instruments. These moments are few, though; and the majority of this album consists of vocally-driven tracks with some folksy accompaniments.

What's the verdict, then? Well, I LOVE prog rock with folk influences, but this medieval thing is a little weird at times. It often comes off as cheesy and corny, unlike the medieval parts on Pain of Salvation's "Be" or some of Kamelot's albums. The album is enjoyable, but it really requires that you be in a certain mood. Plus, there is little here to bring you back again and again. All in all, an okay album that medieval music lovers will like, but that type of person isn't very common. These musicians are masters of their genre: I'm just not so sure I care all that much.

Report this review (#983916)
Posted Friday, June 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Lady In Black

After the disaster that was 2010's Autumn Sky, I was somewhat reluctant to give my attention to this new album by Ritchie and Candice. But something about the sleeve picture intrigued me enough to give it a chance and it turned out to be a vast improvement over its immediate predecessor. Indeed, I would say that Dancer And The Moon is definitely one of the better albums from the group's 15 plus year career.

The album opens with a couple of rather typical Blackmore's Night numbers. These are not bad, but unimpressive. From the third track onwards, however, the album is consistently enjoyable. Two tracks that are bound to catch the eyes of Prog fans are the interconnected Somewhere Over The Sea (The Moon Is Shining) and The Moon Is Shining (Somewhere Over The Sea). It is not exactly Prog, but it is closer than what we can normally expect from this group and there are electric guitars and even hints of Rainbow.

There are three instrumentals in The Minstrels In The Hall, Galliard, and the closer Carry On...Jon. The first of these is a typical medieval style melody played on the lute (I think). The second is a bit more symphonic, and the third is, I assume, a tribute to the recently deceased Deep Purple-keyboardist Jon Lord. The sound here is indeed somewhat Deep Purple-like (in their most laid-back and bluesy moments), dominated by Ritchie's electric guitar and backed up by Lord-like organ. A fitting end.

A few of the song titles are bound to sound familiar including Lady In Black which is a cover of the well-known Uriah Heep number. It is somehow nice to see Blackmore pay homage to a group that (partly) competed for the same musical turf as Deep Purple in the 70's. Unlike many other covers recorded by Blackmore's Night, this one really adds something of value to the song. It has acquired a medieval flavour here to great effect. Another classic song covered here is Ritchie's own Temple Of The King that originally appeared on the first Rainbow album. I love the original version sung by Ronnie James Dio (who also passed away recently), and it would be impossible to improve on that, but the present version is not bad.

I've never been a big fan of Blackmore's Night, but Dancer And The Moon was a pleasant surprise

Report this review (#1004360)
Posted Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars I must say this is a mixture of stuff that is very dishy and other that is more ingratiating and too languorous. Blackmore's Night is the band of former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his wife Candice Night. Until this day have they done nine records and here it's classified prog folk. I would also say a part of this music is prog folk, the majority though is some form of folk pop. Ritchie Blackmore plays all instruments on this record, so the music must be quite computer made.

The best tracks of this record is instrumental and has a deep medieval feeling, constant and mighty and makes me shiver such as "Minstrels in the hall" and "Galliard". Blackmore proves here what a great guitarist he is and those tracks are also very folky and still proggy. Many tracks with Night's vocals though are little too popular sounding even if the result is professional and nice. "Troika" takes place in Russia and is a great example of good vocals and an appealing pop approach. The closer of the record: "Carry On...Jon" is a fantastic track, instrumental and ties the music to Blackmore's earlier adventures in Deep Purple. "The Ashgrove" is a traditional English folk track and the rest is enjoyable, but quite mainstream and a little to catchy.

This record has a lot of great material and I am glad I discovered it. Sure though is that this band dwells in the surroundings of the prog, a nice disc but not a classic.

Report this review (#1065815)
Posted Thursday, October 24, 2013 | Review Permalink

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