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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Blackmore's Night - 2008 Secret Voyage
Blackmore's Night - 2008 Secret Voyage

ARTIST: Blackmores Night
ALBUM: Secret Voyage
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Ritchie Blackmore - guitars, mandolin * Candace Night - vocals, woodwind * Gypsy Rose - violin, fiddle * Earl Grey of Chamay - bass, mandolin, guitar * Bard David of Larchmont - piano, keyboards, organ * Squire Malcolm - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 God Save The Keg * 02 Locked Within The Crystal Ball * 03 Gilded Cage * 04 Toast To Tomorrow * 05 Prince Waldecks Galliard * 06 Rainbow Eyes * 07 The Circle * 08 Sister Gypsy * 09 Can't Help Falling In Love * 10 Peasants Promise * 11 Far Far Away * 12 Empty Words



Ritchie Blackmore returns with the sixth instalment of Blackmore's Night. This is my first taste of his new reincarnation which it has taken me a good 10 years since the 'Shadow Of The Moon' debut, and after listening to this, it's me who is the loser. Ritchie's partner Candice Night takes the vocals and is an essential part of the duo and is one impressive vocalist. I have recently been on holiday visiting Stonehenge, Norman Castles in fact a lot of the Jurassic Coast Line on the South Coast of England, so I was quite looking forward on my return to listening to some medieval/renaissance, which is Blackmore's Night. The musicians are using a variety of instruments from acoustic guitars, hurdy gurdy (!), violins and tambourines, but also still glimpses of Blackmore's electric guitar.

The Songs
I have always been a bit reluctant to shell out for this group's CD's, but over the last 18 months my tastes have widened, maybe it's the influence of listening to lots of pagan material, like Moonsorrow, Turisas, that have got me interested in the story telling of times gone by, and which Blackmore's Night do well, although not just in an extreme way of these bands. The cd starts off with the impressive 'God Save The Keg', it sets the scene, try to imagine this as the opening song at a concert, maybe staged in a cathedral or ruined castle, with the group members slowly walking out of the shadows. This is a cinematic opening of mammoth proportions. Next is 'Locked Within The Crystal Ball', I feel this is the most 'rock' tune of the release and for some reason I feel a likeness to Nightwish playing acoustically. It's an 8 minute epic, which flies through and you get to hear that Ritchie Blackmore classic guitar sound, it quickly settles into a catchy chorus, which rattles along, until a solo takes your attention, speed builds up again like a steam train travelling through the English green countryside. 'Toast To Tomorrow', is not my cup of mead, in fact I do skip this track, I was brought up watching Sunday afternoon film matinees, and anything that opens up with the line 'come & gather around', reminds me of Burt Lancaster in the 'Crimson Pirate'. Many of the tunes are based on traditional works, and then up pops the Rainbow tune 'Rainbow Eyes', in fact I feel I hear more Rainbow-esque than Deep Purple on this cd. When I was much younger I remember listening to the original and always thought that this tune showed how much feeling Ronnie James Dio's voice can have, so the transition to the vocals of Candice is not that surprising, and she breathes new life into this classic, one of my favourites, and I don't usually like covers. 'The Circle' is one I enjoyed very much, again catchy. Parts of it sound like the introduction of the 'End Of The World', from 'Down To Earth', I find a lot with this cd, that I am listening to alot of the background music, rather than the vocals. The tempo is reduced to the similar sounding 'Sister Gypsy' with tambourines, and bells which sounds like Thomas Tripp's milk float (the milkman in Chigley ,60's cult children's classic!!), maybe it's just me. I have mentioned Nightwish before, but I do get reminded of Candice vocals sounding like Annette Olzon's vocals at times, next up is the Mike Oldfield sounding, being the classic tune of 'Can't Help Falling In Love', the one that UB40 destroyed amongst others, it's a fun song, listen to the guitar solo/break and it's a really excellent take on this classic. The CD closes with another 3 tunes, with 'Peasants Promise' incorporating many traditional instruments and we finish with 'Empty Words', full circle here with this having a similar melody to the opening track, but with vocals, it's a delightful ballad with exquisite harpsichord background, Elizabethan feel to this tune, play track 1 again to see the connection.

In Summary
Overall, an excellently produced CD, musicianship second to none, of course that's expected, but you feel a real 'enjoyment' of making this a great release, the feeling, the care.. and this comes across to the listener. Yes! I will be investigating previous releases, my only worry is how much 'electric' guitar do they contain, because however much I enjoy the traditional style, some of the songs really benefit from the input of the electric guitar, even if it's just now and then. Of my recent buys, this was the one I was most looking forward to, and yes it's the one I have played the most, it doesn't disappoint and really takes you to a distant place.?

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#1 | englandashes on January 01 1970 01:00:00
Glad you enjoyed it jefflynnefan.

Just purchased Fires at Midnight from 2003, so looking forward to that, when it arrives, hopefully it's as good as Secret Voyage.
#2 | gdazegod on August 31 2008 03:04:15
Great review Chris, I quite like this album myself, and have been giving it a good listen. The Nightwish comparison is good too, as would be bands like Iona and Karnataka. Welcome to the reviewers team!
#3 | Eric on August 31 2008 14:13:25
I really like these albums and all have that 'Heavy Wood' feel much like the late 70's Tull records. Nice!
#4 | jefflynnefan on August 31 2008 22:25:20
I've kinda got a love/hate relationship with Blackmore's Night but I really enjoyed the review!
#5 | gdazegod on August 31 2008 22:51:35
Me too, but I really enjoyed this album, so much so that I will go back and have a dig at their earlier albums.
#6 | george_the_jack on September 02 2008 12:23:51
Personally, Blackmore simply does not exist after forming this emetic, hermaphrodite band for the glory of his 'gorgeous' wife!
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