Sound — 5
Regardless of your stance on his departure from Deep Purple during the early 1990s, Ritchie Blackmore remains one of the most instantly recognizable forces in hard rock guitar. Through his contributions as a founding member of Deep Purple and bringing the talents of Ronnie James Dio, Joe Lynn Turner, Graham Bonnet and Doogie White to the surface with Rainbow, Blackmore has undeniably left his mark upon the rock community. It's what such a formidable talent has done since leaving Deep Purple after the reintroduction of frontman Ian Gillan for their "The Battle Rages On..." album, which Blackmore was reportedly infuriated over due to some lack of melody, that has left fans divided; his undivided attention has been centered towards Blackmore's Night, a medieval folk rock duo formed with his wife Candice Night in 1997. The group has released ten studio albums to date and has developed a sound for themselves that is largely rooted in the neo-medieval and celtic musical stylings. Blackmore's Night have been committed to their craft, going as far as donning period stage attire during their live performances; a decision which has fueled that mixed reaction dwelling amongst dedicated listeners.
The particular emphasis that was placed on melodic arrangements has since been less of a focus of attention throughout the most recent Blackmore's Night albums, and that progression continues on the band's new studio album "All Our Yesterdays." Even more unfortunately, the majority of this installment shows Blackmore's Night spending most of their time playing cover songs and moderately bland instrumentals, as opposed to crafting new material. More than half of the record features questionable takes on such selections as Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe," Linda Ronstadt's "Long Long Time," and "Moonlight Shadow" by Mike Oldfield. Although each of these numbers have some rewarding moments where Blackmore demonstrates his abilities on the six strings, the impression is that the duo is finding themselves uninspired musically. After all, it would have a more engaging listen to hear what new material they could forge, as opposed to simple rehashes of familiar work. An album more in line with "Somewhere Over the Sea (The Moon Is Shining)" from 2013's "Dancer in the Moon" would be an excellent venture, however that track in itself was only a brief highlight from an otherwise unmentionable release.
Lyrics — 6
Candice Night is more than capable of handling a broad range of music; her voice has a high range that is fueled by emotion and energy, and has even allowed for memorable takes on Rainbow songs in both the studio and onstage over the years. The underwhelming nature of Blackmore's Night's "All Our Yesterdays" is certainly not the fault of a lack of vocal ability; in fact, that is often the album's most rewarding element throughout the portion of bland cover songs. In the moments where Blackmore's Night finds themselves in a creative rut, Candice attracts the attention of the listener with her engaging performance; however, that isn't enough to salvage a largely unappeasing presentation.
Overall Impression — 5
There is a disturbing lack of creative elements throughout "All Our Yesterdays," something which has become all-the-more frequent upon each new Blackmore's Night effort. Perhaps the album title is most fitting, considering the material is largely room temperature cover songs and new takes on their own tracks from previous releases. Perhaps a return to rock is exactly what Ritchie Blackmore needs in order to rediscover his passion for performing and composing original numbers centered around his impressive playing.