Sound — 6
Anyone who calls themselves a classic rock fan has to be at least somewhat familiar with the name Ritchie Blackmore. The musician has played a significant role as the riff master behind some of rock and roll's most iconic anthems and groups, ranging from Deep Purple, to his breakaway project Rainbow. In both groups, Ritchie's guitar playing was always a consistent factor that would make a song great. Between his use of elaborate chord progressions and winding guitar solos showcased throughout such timeless tracks as "Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Space Truckin'," Ritchie became an instant rock icon.
So when Ritchie Blackmore decided to take on a completely different musical approach in the late '90s, with a new band called Blackmore's Night which focused on celtic and folk style of music, it was a move no one saw coming. Musicians should be allowed to go out on their own, feel free to embrace different styles and genres and give their own unique take on such a sound. Unfortunately when you are a guitarist of the likes of Ritchie Blackmore, who is renowned for his iconic electric guitar riffs and rock classics, it's easy to be met with scrutiny from your fanbase if you move outside of the style you're best known for.
Since the group's formation, Blackmore's Night has gone on to release a total of now nine studio albums, and up to this point all of which showed the group strengthfully embracing this new musical style. With their new album, titled "Dancer and the Moon," the majority of the material remains consistent to the direction previously revisited time and time again over the years, but this time showcasing a few tracks that allow Ritchie to sort of unleash some dominative licks. Throughout such new compositions as "Minstrels in the Hall" and "I Think It's Going to Rain Today," Blackmore's Night fail to cross any expansive territory, and simply offer some vanilla sounding instrumental work.
For the first time in too long, Ritchie Blackmore takes the opportunity to deliver a new song that actually sounds like something you'd expect to hear from him in 2013. The track, "The Moon Is Shining (Somewhere Over the Sea)," is energetically rampaging with powerful electric guitar licks, and for a split second you might even feel as though you're listening to a classic Rainbow outtake. Unfortunately, this song is a brief bright moment is soon lost in the band's own cover of an actual Rainbow classic, "Temple of the King." The entire vibe captured on the original rendition has been completely abandoned, and instead gypsy-style group chanting and tambourine playing.
Lyrics — 7
Throughout this entire new album, lead vocalist Candice Night does a standout job at maintaining the celtic vibe throughout all thirteen new offerings. Her voice ties all of the mandolin playing and renaissance drums together, and helps each piece work together nicely. When musically the at-home listener feels as though they are once again going through the motions with "Dancer and the Moon," it's her vocal delivery that saves the track.
Overall Impression — 6
With "Dancer and the Moon," Blackmore's Night deliver another batch of songs that fails to bring anything new to the table and ultimately leaves this listener greatly disappointed. Musically this new outing isn't horrible, but after nine studio albums of the same style again and again with little to no experimentation and expansion it just grows old quickly. After listening to the lead single, "The Moon Is Shining," I had high hopes for this album, as it showed the group finally moving into a new direction, and combining some of those classic elements that made Ritchie's earlier outings such highly hailed rock anthems with some renaissance influence. But unfortunately the rest of the album fails to deliver, and after sixteen years of the same old tiresome performance, you come to expect something a little bit more engaging and creative than what we have with "Dancer and the Moon."