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Blackmore's Night

Prog Folk

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Blackmore's Night Secret Voyage album cover
3.75 | 72 ratings | 10 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. God Save The Keg (3:40)
2. Locked Within The Crystal Ball (8:04)
3. Gilded Cage (3:42)
4. Toast To Tomorrow (3:49)
5. Prince Waldeck's Galliard (2:13)
6. Rainbow Eyes (6:01)
7. Circle (4:48)
8. Sister Gypsy (3:21)
9. Can't Help Falling In Love (2:51)
10. Peasant's Promise (5:33)
11. Far Far Away (3:54)
12. Empty Words (2:42)

Total time 50:44

Bonus Video on Enhanced-CD releases:
Video - Village Lanterne (5:14)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ritchie Blackmore / acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin, mandola, mandocello, Swedish fiddle, hurdy gurdy, tambourine, percussion, arrangements
- Candice Night / lead & backing vocals, shawm, recorder, arrangements

- Pat Regan / strings, arrangements (1), producer
- Elizabeth Cary (Gypsy Rose) / violin
- David Baranowski / backing vocals
- Joe Castle / backing vocals
- Jim Manngard / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Rpunktdesign

2xLP Steamhammer ‎- SPV 91781 2LP (2008, Germany)

CD Minstrel Hall Music ‎- MHM 006 (2008, Europe) Enhanced CD with a bonus Video
CD SPV USA ‎- SPV 91782 CD-E (2008, US) Enhanced CD with a bonus Video

Thanks to easy livin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy BLACKMORE'S NIGHT Secret Voyage Music

BLACKMORE'S NIGHT Secret Voyage ratings distribution

(72 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

BLACKMORE'S NIGHT Secret Voyage reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The secret's out

"Secret voyage" is Blackmore's Night's sixth studio album (excluding the seasonal release "Winter carols"). The moody sleeve illustration suggests an intention from the outset to create something both darker and perhaps harder this time around, an objective which is resoundingly fulfilled.

Once again, many of the tracks are based on traditional songs, but the arrangements here are ambitious and adventurous. Take the opening "God save the keg" for example. This instrumental fanfare simply bursts with the pomp and grandeur, driven to greater an greater heights by organ and guitar. The first we hear of Candice Night's superb vocals is on "Locked within the crystal ball", a magnificent upbeat number running to over 8 minutes. Ritchie wastes no time plugging in for the track, his lead guitar sounding as vibrant as ever against a wall of sound his former bands would have been proud of.

"Gilded cage" may be a ballad in the more traditional Blackmore's Night way, but even here the sound is decidedly full. The track features some superb violin credited simply to Gypsy Rose. "Toast to tomorrow", inspired by a traditional Russian song, has an unashamedly Romany flavour with lyrics about glowing fires, dancing through the night and drinking toasts.

Ritchie's acoustic spot is a tribute to "Prince Waldeks Galliard", who reputedly lived in one of the duo's favourite castles. The distinctive tones of lead guitar return to introduce a revisiting of Rainbow's "Rainbow eyes" (from "Long Live Rock and roll"). I must confess, I was not particularly impressed by the song as it appeared on the Rainbow album, but the version here brings out aspects which have lain dormant for 30 years. The song, which is co-credited to Blackmore and Dio, naturally sounds rather different when sung by Candice Night instead of RJD, but the results are superb.

Traditional wind instruments define the main character of "The circle", another darker, atmospheric song which demonstrates yet again the immense talent Candice Night has when it comes to writing an inspired lyric. The orchestration of the track is reminiscent of that on Rainbow's "Stargazer". "Sister gypsy" is a rather predictable Blackmore's Night standard. A decent enough song, but undistinguished. As the track concludes though, a thumping beat introduces one of the bands heaviest songs ever. The real surprise though is that it turns out to be a cover of "Can't help falling in love with you". Yes I mean the Elvis/Andy Williams favourite. This stonking romp through the song is as wonderful as it is radical, the blistering pace meaning its all over in just over two minutes. This is almost a punk interpretation, you'll either love it or you'll hate it.

Normal service is resumed as Ritchie's intricate acoustic arrangement introduces "The peasant's promise". The familiar melody is based on an old English folk tune, Candice's lyrics telling a simple love story. "Far far away" is unusual in that it is an original composition written by Kenn Machin, a "friend" of the band. The song is well in keeping with traditional Blackmore's Night fare.

The album closes with "Empty words" which, according to Candice, is "a sort of reprise of the introduction song". The song, which is a soft acoustic ballad with a pleasant traditional melody, forms the perfect conclusion to the album.

For me, on "Secret voyage" Ritchie and Candice do exactly what they needed to do. While the album is totally recognisable as a Blackmore's Night album, it also breaks new ground and adds enchanting new dimensions to their repertoire. The fact that this combines with some excellent songs, and a stunning new band classic ("Locked within the crystal ball") means that we here have what may well become nominated as their best album to date.

It is difficult to tell from the official album credits whether all the usual players are present. There is no drummer or bassist listed, and no mention of the delightful Sister of the Moon backing duo. Given the fullness of the sound though, one can only assume though that it is the credits which are incomplete.

The limited edition digipak version includes the video for the title track of the previous album, "The village lanterne". The film includes footage of Candice as the Lady of the lake swimming underwater in a white dress (while singing!). This is interspersed with some altogether more violent medieval battle imagery.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Nice release by Blackmore's Night here, in what is now the longest lasting band project guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore have ever been involved in.

The voice of Candice Night is the dominant trait on this album, all instrumentation basically sets up a foundation for her vocals to float upon. She has a good voice, is a skilled singer - and as long as you like the timbre and sound of her voice this will be regarded as a good release.

As for the music itself, it's a nice mix of new age, mellow rock and folk/classical tinged sounds - mostly on the folk side for the latter. Keyboards and synths of various kinds is the main melodic provider in many tunes, often creating multi-layered melody lines. Percussion and drums add drive, and Blackmore plays various forms of acoustic guitars and adds some atmospheric, soaring guitar solos to some songs too. Adding texture to all tunes are various forms of medieval instruments, giving the songs that ancient sounding folk-tinge so intriguing to find mixed in with modern instruments and classy female vocals.

Good release, good production and accessible melodies - this is the kind of album that should sell by the truckload.

Review by lazland
4 stars I bought this just before Christmas, and after a few listens, am able to award four stars with confidence and recommend to all readers of this review.

I have always loved Blackmore's guitar work since the Deep Purple days, and I feel that the criticism levelled at him by Classic Rock magazine (Geoff Barton in particular) is extremely unfair - for no one should be in any doubt, this album rocks and features some marvellous guitar work from the Man in Black.

I also think that Candice Night has matured as a singer a great deal on this album. Empty Words, in particular, sees her on fine form in a lovely ballad.

The album starts off with a great, almost symphonic, instrumental on God Save The Keg (hear hear!!), and from then traditional songs are interpreted in a thoroughly modern way. I particularly enjoyed the reinterpretation of Rainbow Eyes, one of my favourite Rainbow tracks - Night sings it very well and Blackmore's guitar work is far better than the original.

All fans of Mostly Autumn, Jethro Tull, and other folk orientated prog bands will enjoy this and previous releases. The violin on Gilded Cage, in particular, is simply stunning and creates such a sweet mood.

Highly recommended.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Well some people really have it made and Ritchie Blackmore certainly can count his lucky blessings! While a rather perennial taciturn character, he has carved out quite a niche for himself in the rock pantheon of guitar heroes, albeit in his own inimitable style with both Deep Purple and Rainbow. He has prepared his "golden years" rather well, hooking up (and recently marrying) with the lovely and talented Candice Night, and putting together his world renowned medieval extravaganza in 1998, Blackmore's Night. In the process, Ritchie managed to fiercely resist any outside interference by media, fans and corporations by doing his own thing, love it or leave it. While I do admire his previous incarnations as a guitar-god, I also have all his Blackmore's Night albums, including DVDs, mainly because I deeply enjoy the entire Renaissance/Baroque/Medieval/Celtic prog-folk sub-genre, with its mystical atmospheres and moods, as well as all the exotic instruments (krumhorns, fiddles, hurdy- gurdy, various mandolins, Spanish guitar, harpsichord, celeste etc..). His previous albums have been well received; his tours successful and his relationships endure. The new "Secret Voyage" is a further progression on his formula of adapting ancient themes and melodies, reworking them into more contemporary compositions. After a brief and yet rousing intro "God Save the Keg", both Ritchie and Candice get into an immediate groove with the stellar 8 minute plus "Locked Within the Crystal Ball", spiced up considerably with some superb bluesy electric leads that tingle the spine to no end, while the fluid female vocals have now gained authority with all the confidence, as on the next track, the exquisite "Gilded Cage", a riveting ballad that caresses the soul and lends well to dreamy exaltation. The acoustic guitar passage is pure dexterous control while the violin introduces an almost Gypsy camp fire feel, suave cascades on a breathy theme. "Toast to Tomorrow" is more of a banquet/feast sing along as the title implies with torches ablaze, jesters dancing, jugglers spinning their craft, a medieval square dance with overflowing goblets dripping on the cobblestone floors. "Prince Waldecks Galliard" is a Blackmore solo piece where he gets to do his best Jan Akkerman on the lute imitation (as on the Dutchman's Tabernakel album), a simply delightful demonstration of baroque playing. Then Ritchie really throws a sly loop, getting out his white Stratocaster and reformatting the old "Rainbow Eyes" classic with sublime elegance, Candice giving the piece quite a different take than howler Ronnie James Dio did way back when. Blackmore's luxuriant solo is masterful, as one would expect and one cannot help to be fully entranced by the sheer emotion. I actually prefer this song to the previous "Soldier of Fortune", which wasn't too shabby either! "The Circle" returns us cleanly to the raconteur/troubadour feel that encapsulates the Blackmore's Night style, a rather moody formula that is a heady mixture of toe-tapping simplicity yet instrumentally rich, lyrically dreamy and still firmly "mind" music. The choir work here is particularly astounding and a slithering and intricate electric lead adds to the bombast. "Sister Gypsy" is almost self explanatory, as a seeming companion to the previously recorded Renaissance (the band) classic "Ocean Gypsy". While Candice is an amazing vocalist, she does not quite achieve the rich fluidity or the world famous reputation that has hallmarked Annie Haslam for evermore. I mention this only because it's almost as if the lyrics are about her idol. But music is not a competition, it's an art form and this song certainly feels great. Another surprise is the choice of the ultra classic "Can't Help Falling in Love" made famous by no other than Elvis, an almost punkish delivery (hunka-hunka meets chugga-chugga rhythm guitar ), very bold and ultimately satisfying. The man has balls, to say the least! "The Peasant's Promise" is another fabulous musical adventure based on a traditional song, with brilliant acoustic guitar and breathtaking vocals slowly morphing into a massive musical tale, frankly this is what this band does so well, highlighting scintillating old melodies and elevating them into a dense forest of atmospherics. This is another outright winner, full of lilting beauty and mystic euphoria, surely a selection on future concert tours. "Far Far Away" is a ballad written by colleague Renn Machin (sounds a lot like a pseudonym to me), again Candice vocals setting the stage, with spirited phrasing. "Empty Words" closes out this masterful set of songs, another retooled traditional folk song, as if by this time we needed some kind of explanation. Without a doubt, Blackmore's Night crowning achievement, a testament to their undeniable talent, their irascible determination to "do it their way" and the hell what people may say. I converted to prog back in 1970 due to its rebellious nature, surviving over the decades because of it and despite the silly scorn heaped on it by innocent victims of "mode propaganda" , reminding me of that once famous sentence "Forgive them, for they do not understand their own folly". Ritchie, Candice, you rule! 5 Village Lanterns
Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars While I enjoyed very much Ritchie Blackmore´s debut with Candice Night, not all their CDs after that were particulary convincing. They all had nice melodies and all, but were a bit repetitive and some lacked the spark their stunning debut surely had. So I was not realy thrilled about this new release by the duo. But reading the good reviews they got from many websites, I decided to give it a shot. And I was quite surprised by it.

Ok, this is not perfect, but it does have some very strong and passionate stuff here. Beginning with a fine instrumental called God Save The Keg, it leads to the Cd´s best track, the 8 minute epic Locked Within The Crystal Ball. This is another classic in the same vein of Shadow Of The Moon. Great melodies, great arrangement, great vocal performance and fantastic guitar runs by Blackmore. This track alone is worth the price fo the CD. But there are some other good ones still: Gilded Cage, The Circle and The Peasant´s Promise are among Blackmore´s Night best. The remaining tracks are not that outstading, but they are good anyway.

Special mention should be given to the CD´s covers: one is another Rainbow tune. This time they chose Rainbow Eyes (from Long Live Rock´n Roll) and I must admit it turned out to be much better than the original version. It seems that the duo found some harmonies and subtleties that were missing from Rainbow´s interpretation. And, believe it or not, their cover for something so kitsh as the classic Falling In Love With You (yes, THAT song!) became really good! They completely changed its rhythm and gave an excellent rock guitar arrangement. That choice of tune could be a disaster but they managed to turn it into a very interesting moment of the CD. Kudos for them!

Conclusion: maybe their best CD since Shadow Of The Moon. Four strong stars.

Review by Kotro
3 stars Secret voyage down the same old route?

Common sense dictates that if you have a winning strategy you should stick to it. After a string of all too similar albums since Fires At Midnight (but with the last two, while not entirely disappointing, never quite reaching the quality of that one), whose reception has been positive, one would expect the band to, once more, stick to the plan and offer a good dose medieval/renaissance-inspired music wrapped up and delivered in a modern packaging. Speaking of which, the album comes in a nice digipak, albeit a bit too long (you have to turn four pages of the thing before getting the CD).

Once you finally pop the CD in the player, you are treated to the opener God Save The Keg. What an unusual track! It begins as one would expect from a Blackmore's Night track, with an acoustic intro and a melody resembling some African nation's national anthem. This is confirmed by the pompous orchestration that follows the acoustic intro. Towards the middle we hear the distant wailing of the electric guitar. Towards the ending we get an eerie Jacula-like church organ solo complemented with quasi-Gregorian chant, and without a break, we move into the next track, Locked Within The Crystal Ball, introduced by the fast martial drumming and Candice's vocals, beautifully harmonized with the Gregorian chant in the background, while in the foreground Ritchie's Strat assumes centre stage. The song is now a full-blown rocker more reminiscent of early Rainbow than of later Blackmore's Night. We get some of the medieval flavour with the woodwind solo introducing a quieter middle section with featuring another electric guitar solo from Blackmore. The initial energy is resumed for the second half of the track. What an energetic song, never growing tiresome during its full eight plus minutes. An excellent start to the album, and easily of Blackie's finest songs! Gilded Cage follows in the more traditional BN's vein - an acoustic ballad where Candice's vocals and Ritchie's acoustic guitar lay in perfect symbiosis over a delicate bed of synths. Features a lovely violin solo from the middle of the song on. Up next is Toast To Tomorrow, a merry gypsy- flavoured tune, reminding me of some rather kitschy German folk songs one might hear at Munich's Oktoberfest. Prince Waldeck's Galliard is up next, the expected short acoustic instrumental, showcasing Ritchie's neverending guitar talents, and serving as an interesting interlude before things get more serious again. I have said before that Blackmore´s Night have an excellent attitude towards their cover songs, really making them their own and usually more interesting (not to say plain better) than the originals. Here we are treated to Rainbow Eyes, another Rainbow cover. Blackmore's Strat is still there, the song toned down a bit, drenched with synthesizer layers and, of course, a different vocal approach by Candice. Circle ensues, woodwind instruments introducing another mid-tempo tune built upon the sound produced by the hurdy-gurdy, several string instruments and Blackmore's acoustic guitar rhythm, but also featuring some solid vocals by Candice and whoever joins her for the emotional chorus. It gets serious somewhere in the middle, with flashes of electric guitar being heard as the song's main line resumes. It has a nice growing intensity to it, and the last minute is an interesting climax with some very emotional electric guitar soloing. We get some more Renaissance dance tunes in Sister Gypsy, yet another predictable number, still featuring excellent arrangements. It is followed by a completely different sound, courtesy of an utterly rakish take on Can't Help Falling In Love, turning the mellow and sappy song immortalized by Elvis Presley into a fast-paced, electrified number. Needless to say, it is quite an improvement over the original. Peasant's Promise is next, opening with a delicate acoustic guitar intro reminding me more of something off an Alan Stivell album. It is soon complemented by Candice Night's vocals, and nothing else for a while - soon enough, after this gentle and quiet intro we hear the percussion and woodwinds. This is probably the more "authentic" of the folk songs, stripped of electric instruments, and perhaps not by chance, it's also the best on the album. Far Far Away does not bring much excitement into the mix, another ballad relying too much on the synths supporting it. Empty Words finishes off the album with a reprise of the melody of the first track, but this time in the form of a stripped down acoustic guitar-driven ballad.

Secret Voyage carries on Blackmore's Night's now firmly established formula of mixing the traditional and the modern and creating a sonority quite their own. The production is once more top-notch, with great arrangements, very talented players and a few good melodies, even though sometimes it sounds to polished and glossy. Somehow it doesn't fully satisfy. The album begins very well (all Blackmore's Night albums do), with a very unusual first track and an excellent, long rocker following it (one of their best). However, this is perhaps one of the major flaws, as none of the material following it (apart perhaps from Can't Help Falling In Love and Peasant's Promise) is even remotely close quality-wise. This is not to say that the material is bad - quite the contrary, it is the openers which are really good. The remaining material is simply too predictable and uninteresting, and it's easy to have your mind stray into other directions while listening. That's the problem with winning formulas - eventually you will risk boring people.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I have put off reviewing this recording for quite a bit longer than I thought I would, but in retrospect I am glad that I did. It has allowed me to listen and then digest the entire scope of BN'S work and give me a great appreciation of the progress and maturation of what Ritchie and Candice ... (read more)

Report this review (#465054) | Posted by Moose | Sunday, June 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Hats off for the instrumental tracks. The rest is more of the same: they do a decent but uninspiring cover of an old Ritchie piece (the beautiful Rainbow eyes from LLRnR), another pop cover (now with a mid tempo rhythm) and... nothing new. After three really good albums I believe the formula exhau ... (read more)

Report this review (#299421) | Posted by moodyxadi | Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Oh! Another Blackmore's Night album? Are you sure about that, mate? Oh, okay. At least it's not another Christmas record, my stomach can't handle it. Blackmore's Night - Secret Voyage (2008) Best Song: Locked Within The Crystal Ball Overall Rating: 11 I thought it couldn't be done, myse ... (read more)

Report this review (#290822) | Posted by Alitare | Sunday, July 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I too go with four stars on this release because it does indeed go a bit further along the renaissance-pop curve than earlier BN works. Ritchie's guitar work is top notch; Candice's vocals are emotive and wide ranging from sonnets (Rainbow Eyes, The Peasant's Promise and Far, Far Away) to a drink ... (read more)

Report this review (#178499) | Posted by macpurity1 | Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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