Blackmore’s Night – “Nature’s Light” 2CD/CD/LP (earMUSIC)
Battle Helm Rating
While lamented by many a Deep Purple and Rainbow fan as having fallen into eccentricity, forever lost to his devotees in the hard rock world, the guitar god known as Ritchie Blackmore may be equally viewed as having transcended into the realm of Renaissance light. Forming Blackmore’s Night with wife Candice Night (lead vocals, chanter, woodwind instruments and lyricist) in 1997, the duo and their accompanying band of minstrels have issued 10 prior studio albums, as well as playing select live shows at Renaissance festivals and ‘castle tours’ of Europe, where they perform in historic surroundings for audiences dressed in period costumes to match the band. While it might be all too far removed for hard rockers used to seeing the Strat wielding man in black now in medieval garb playing mandolins and domras, folk and even power metallers may find common ground in the naturistic sound and the intended fairy tale escapism of the music, while the two brilliant guitar instrumentals of ‘Darker Shade Of Black’ and ‘Der Letzte Musketier’ show Blackmore’s guitar dexterity still at remarkable levels, despite being in his mid 70s, but more importantly, still with classic hard rock very much in his heart, indicating he never left his roots. Whatever the case though, this is Ritchie Blackmore you’re talking about, so whatever he lends himself to, you are guaranteed a musical treat along with the brilliance of his guitar work!!! Opening with ‘Once Upon December’, the unfolding folk melody played through woodwind pipes immediately draws you in through its warmth, gently uplifting you as Ritchie’s classical note plucking adds to the embrace of gentle violins topped off by Night’s ethereal brilliance. The allure of the music is second to none, captivating you throughout by superb arrangements of the different instruments and always aimed at touching your heart and soul. Indeed, as the gentle woodwinds and Renaissance guitar bring their featherlight passion to accompany Night’s flowing soul on ‘The Twisted Oak’, violins add their delicate measure of love unbound in magically bringing the harmonious peace of Blackmore and Night to you without end. On the title track ‘Nature’s Light’ heavenly horns will no doubt draw in the power metal listener, while the soothing woodwinds and Night’s tranquil voice, occasionally hitting the highs in drawing you further into inner peace, add to the overall uplift graced by a beautiful Renaissance instrumental smorgasbord. Ending with the heart breaking ‘Second Element’, the emotion is simply overflowing through Night’s angelic voice and Blackmore’s acoustic brilliance, along with some excellent percussion and flowing orchestrals adding their subtle but superb measure, before the miracle of Blackmore in all his classic rock glory shines once more in an unforgettable solo bringing back – yes, all the memories of Purple and Rainbow in proving that the living legend is still with us, shining his light for all rockers during these dark times.