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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Blackmore's Night

Nature's Light

Review by Gary Hill

You really can't go wrong with Blackmore's Night. I have a tendency to think that they just keep getting better with each successive release. I generally include them under progressive rock largely because their blending of medieval sounds with more modern ones seems to fit. This disc, though, has some pieces that land firmly under the prog heading anyway. As always the core here is the husband and wife duo of Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night. They are joined by a number of musicians along the road.

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Track by Track Review
Once Upon December
There is a playful, bouncy kind of vibe to this cut. It has plenty of medieval texture to it, but also seems to be set within a rather folk rock based arrangement. I love the guitar solo, but then again, it's Ritchie Blackmore. What do you expect? The closing alternate section is so strong.
Four Winds
This cut is also bouncy. It's much more of a rock song. Yet it still has plenty of that medieval folk texture.
Feather in the Wind
I love the energy and groove on this cut. It's another that lands more in the folk rock zone. There is an intriguing shift to an interesting bridge that has a real sense of magic to it.
Darker Shade Of Black
You might notice that the title to this is similar to the title of a hit that Procol Harum had. Well, that song was written around a piece composed by Bach. This instrumental is based on that same piece, so it sounds quite similar to that number. This is really set in quite a similar musical style, too. I love some of the intricate parts of the number. Electric guitar comes in later to paint some cool pictures. This one definitely fits under the progressive rock heading with no reservations. It's one of my favorites of the set, too. It really gets powerful.
The Twisted Oak
We're into more traditional medieval sound here. Of course, it is a modern interpretation and adaptation of those sounds. I think the vocal performance on this is one of the best of the disc. I'd consider this piece to be another standout.
Nature's Light
Bombastic as it starts, the title track has a sound in the introduction that combines the symphonic with The Beatles. The track works to more of a folk prog styled piece for the entrance of the vocals. This is another powerhouse, and the bombast returns further down. I'm reminded a bit of holiday music in some ways.
Der letzte Musketier
The opening movement of this track is very much set in a prog rock style. With electric guitar at its core, the tune works to a blues rock jam from there. This feels very much (with a slightly different arrangement) like something Blackmore might have done in his days with Deep Purple or Rainbow.
Wish You Were Here (2021)
This is a new version of an older song from the group's repertoire. I like the arrangement. It's lush and makes good use of limited electric guitar fills. This one definitely lands in the folk prog zone. It also has some hints of The Beatles built into it. The electric guitar gains prominence later in the track. This is another highlight of the disc.
Going to the Faire
This is precisely the kind of thing you'd expect based on the title. It has a real Renaissance-faire vibe. I know that Blackmore's Night performs at a lot of Ren Faires, and I'm sure this would be a real hit there.
Second Element
Coming in with a mellower, balladic approach, this grows out from there to more rocking zones. Later it gets an infusion of even more rock styled sound via the electric guitar, which delivers some expressive soloing. The whole song takes on some real progressive rock tendencies as it continues moving forward. I love this tune, and it makes a great final number for the disc.



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