Blackmore’s Night – Nature’s Light (Album Review)

In the context of contemporary music, whether in the realms of Pop or Rock, the works of Blackmore’s Night are definitely a rarity. They are some of the best that the world music archive could ever offer.

Formed in 1997, Blackmore’s Night consists primarily of Ritchie Blackmore (acoustic guitar, mandolin, hurdy gurdy, nyckelharpe, electric guitar) and Candice Night (lead vocals, woodwinds), plus a collective of various instrumentalists. Bonded by their love for Renaissance music, the couple have released 10 studio albums–from 1997’s Shadow of the Moon to 2015’s All Our Yesterdaysand a new one is slated to come out on March 12, 2021, via earMusic.

Blackmore’s Night’s 11th opus, titled Nature’s Light, continues the duo’s indulgence in spine-tingling medieval Folk, a sound that conjures grasslands, steppes, bonfires, ales, knights, elves, and lore. It opens straightaway with its lead single–the moonlit, jaunty “Once Upon December,” which is perfect for a barnyard gathering of likeminded free spirits. Following next in similar mood, albeit slightly more graceful, is the equally melodic “Four Winds.”

Time to pass the mugs of ale and roasted marshmallows as the melodrama of “Feather in the Wind” lingers with the evening breeze. The night then gets serious and somber as Blackmore’s Night delivers something initially haunting and ethereal–the slow, organ-drenched and string-orchestrated instrumental ballad, and almost dirge, “Darker Shade of Black,” which then transitions into an anthemic and subtly metallic epic.

The benevolent revelers then rest their backs momentarily against the cushion trees as the ember burns steadily and the minstrels play the waltz “The Twisted Oak.” Blackmore’s Night then treat their audience to the highlight of the revelry–the storytelling part in the form of the grand aural mélange of the title-track, as if welcoming the arrival of something royal and high.

Obviously paying homage to his Deep Purple and Rainbow roots, Blackmore, and Night with the rest of their troubadours, then launches into “Der-letzte-Muzketier [The Last Musketeer]”–an electric-guitar-driven mix of Blues, Classical, and Folk. Blackmore’s Night then rouse their now relaxing merrymakers with an electrifying song of longing, “Wish You Were Here.”

An apt track to place near the end of the album, “Going to the Faire” is a song of journey and adventures, amidst a symphony of stringed instruments and a festival of flower-haired pilgrims. Finally, Blackmore’s Night wrap up their caravan of delight with the midtempo stomper “Second Element,” where Blackmore’s guitar virtuosity and Night’s powerful, rustic voice shine through till the end.

In this time and age of danceable Pop and aggressive Rock–which, in fairness, are equally engaging works of sonic art–Blackmore’s Night’s compelling new addition to their oeuvre is truly indispensable. It is ready to satiate both the intellect and the spirits, and so Cryptic Rock gives Nature’s Light 5 out of 5 stars.

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ALfie vera mellaAuthor posts

Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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