This was very much a new experience for me. Being a huge fan of Deep Purple and Rainbow I guess it’s strange that I’d not explored Ritchie Blackmore’s delve into renaissance folk before. Blackmore’s Night have been churning out music for the last fifteen years or so though, so they must be doing something right. I suppose speaking as a rock fan the very idea of it was enough of a turn off for me to give it a wide berth. Anyway, when the opportunity came up to review this latest release I thought I’d give it a go to see what I’ve been missing out on for over a decade.
Candice Night’s vocals were the first thing that impressed me, they envelope you like the song of the siren and lure you away from the real world into somewhere altogether ethereal. As talented as Ritchie is, I didn’t think there would be much place for rock guitar in this kind of realm, but I have been well and truly forced to eat a large helping of humble pie as he has been able to fit it in perfectly.
For the most part the music is a very medieval affair with lutes, mandolins, and a variety of wind instruments. There are also some Celtic elements, especially with regard to rhythms and the addition of some violins. There is also, of course, some great keyboard work, everything from from pianoesque grandeur to harpsichordal accompaniment, and a lot of variations in between.
The DVD has been mastered in 5.1 DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1 and digital stereo, and in each of the variations the sound is exemplary (but of course it’s best enjoyed in it’s 5.1 glory). The sound has an ability to encapsulate you, carrying you away on a tidal wave of beautiful melodies and of course Ritchie’s guitar solos, honestly some of the best I’ve ever heard from him.
Seriously? Why the hell have I not heard any of this stuff before?
The authenticity is added to by the fact that everyone on stage dressed in their own medieval garb, and an eerie stage setting with minimal lighting. This kind of music is not accompanied by massive amounts of musical theatre, rather it’s simple in execution with the music very much the centerpiece. The lyrics are injected with fantasy elements, and have the ability to transport you back hundreds of years.
Musically, the folk & rock genres are well and truly melded together, and it works beautifully. The music itself is very easy to listen to, it’s inoffensive and if you allow yourself to open up to it, it will course through every fibre of your being. It’s an almost spiritual experience, especially when accompanied by Candice’s haunting vocals.
As I said at the beginning, this was the first time I’d ever heard anything at all by Blackmore’s Night but it certainly won’t be the last. The DVD held my attention from beginning to end, without becoming boring. It’s a joy to watch, and a joy to listen to. What’s more it’s completely different to anything I’ve ever heard before which could be the reason I enjoyed it so much.
It could also of course, just be the fact that this is some of the purest music I’ve ever heard. It’s so simple, but it’s extremely effective and executed with an almost sublime precision. That’s hardly surprising though, as Ritchie has a reputation for being something of a perfectionist, and this band of minstrels are just brilliant.
If you’re in the mood for some escapism from the real world put this DVD on and transport yourself to a place where nothing else matters, to a time of myths and legends, knights and maidens, and feel all of your stresses and strains wash away.
Yes this DVD is just incredible and, for the record, Ritchie is the happiest I’ve seen him in an extremely long time. You can tell he absolutely LOVES this music, and it’s not hard to see why.