DPAS ALBUM REVIEW
Standard fayre from Blackmore's Night which won't bring them any new friends, but is guaranteed to satisfy their existing fans like me. It has all the usual themes of castles, mystics, and songs of friendship, and is also a tale of two cover versions.
“God Save The Keg” shows everything that Blackmore's Night are about musically in 3 minutes, with simple guitar building up to a full fanfare sound , crashing symbols, electric guitar, church organ and finally chanting – which leads seamlessly into ...
“Locked Within The Crystal Ball” is this cd's “Fires At Midnight”. It's good, but unfortunately could have been so much better. This is Ritchie's first 8 minute song probably since Rainbow Rising and I was hoping for a masterpiece. Ritchie is doing his best, but this song needs a powerful vocalist and that's not Candice. She does her best but she's no Shirley Bassey or Elaine Paige, and that is the track's weakness. It only seems like 5 minutes when you listen to it, not because it drags you in like “Stargazer” but because it is not so memorable. A bit harsh perhaps as it is still one of the best on the album.
“Gilded Cage” is a gentle flowing song that Candice is best at, with some acoustic plucking from Ritchie.
“Toast To Tomorrow” is one of those songs which sounds so familiar from the very first hearing, and sounds like a happy-drinking Euro holiday song (Y Viva Espania anybody?) and one that I can live without.
“Prince Waldeks Galliard” is an acoustic instrumental which sounds like a traditional Elizabethan dance, a nice delicate track from the man.
“Rainbow Eyes” – is it really! This is almost unrecognisable as the Rainbow track, making it a true Blackmore's Night song. It is so different it is not possible to make any proper comparisons, but it is an excellent way of covering a song.
“The Circle” is another formal sounding track, with Turkish hints to me, with Candice singing about the continuity of life. Very pleasant, gets more rousing towards the end, but doesn't really do anything for me. Ritchie brings out the Fender for the last minute or so but by that time it's too late to raise the song above standard for BN.
The next one is “Sister Gypsy” which tells about a gypsy woman but with no real conviction. Nice but not essential listening.
“Can't Help Falling In Love” is a complete waste of electricity for Ritchie's Fender. Whatever possessed Ritchie to do a Christmas-style sing-along version complete with 1980's Claptrap backing. It may be OK for a party-atmosphere sing-a-long encore but not to listen to. I wouldn't even insult the Japanese by giving it to them as their bonus track!
“Peasant's Promise” is very nice. Candice singing at her delicate best, rythmical backing and a simple but effective refrain which I imagine is Candice on recorder
“Far Far Away” is another acoustic song which seems very familiar, with hints of “Streets Of London”. Not overplayed but kept ticking along nicely.
“Empty Words” is a great ending to the cd and reminds us where we came in, with the same tune but kept acoustic, and set with delicate lyrics from Candice reflecting that there is much talk but little is actually spoken. Her voice is lovely on this track, but not everyone wants to hear her breathing on every line.
Finally, the booklet has the lyrics of all the original songs,but not the cover versions. I presume this is a copyright issue, but it is frustrating nevertheless
In which Ritchie eases up on himself a little, gives the Strat a bit of a polish with the Pledge, and adds quite a lot of bite to what would otherwise be a solid but largely 'as you were' offering from the Minstrels.
Some of the tracks are longer, give the music room to breath, and allow some flashes of Blackmore magic to shine through. Try the work in the opening twelve minutes for starters, or the sublime playing in a much reworked cover of Rainbow Eyes - so reworked I'm not sure I'd have spotted it without knowing up front. Elsewhere we get the obligatory but nevertheless top notch acoustic instrumental, and a slew of fairly standard BN fare. Or should that be fayre.
The faithful will love what is a far more convincing outing for the band than last time, but will someone please try and explain the awful speeded up cover of Can't Help Falling In Love?
SPV Press Release
The Secret Voyage is another kaleidoscopic musical journey through time and space, incorporating and rearranging traditional melodies from all over Europe, blending the "old" and contemporary. The brilliant guitar stylings of Ritchie Blackmore, the enchanting vocals and lyrics of singer/songwriter Candice Night and the saturation of authentic Renaissance instruments woven throughout the melodies, create a unique style of music they call Renaissance/Folk/Rock..
Secret Voyage consists of twelve new tracks, recorded by Candice Night, Ritchie Blackmore and their Band Of Minstrels. This musical journey is inspired by nature and incorporates acoustic and electric guitars, strings, renaissance instruments and Candice Night's ethereal voice and mystical lyrics.
Candice Night comments on the new songs:
God Save The Keg - A grand entrance as you embark upon your secret voyage. Starting on simplified peasant instruments and building to the royal pageantry celebration for the start of the adventure, this song was inspired by a traditional melody and many vats of beer.
Locked Within The Crystal Ball - The fortune teller sees our future within the crystal ball, but are the visions locked within that crystal? Taken from the Traditional Medieval melody of Stella Splendens, new instrumentation, lyrics and arrangement transformed this melody into the wondrous path into the crystal ball, the mysteries throughout the ages that mysteriously affect us to this day and the secrets they hold. From the elements to the ancient castle walls, to the standing stones- the olden ways are evident throughout our vast and varied travels around the world. But what secrets do the stones hold, and will they be locked within the crystal ball until we discover them?
Gilded Cage - Taken from a French traditional melody, and introduced to us by the German band Des Geyers, the gilded cage is representative of the tragic yet fragile and timeless wisps who enchant us and capture our hearts. Whether it is through the medium of stage or screen, through song or story, sometimes those who you hold high on the pedestal are afraid of heights. The spotlight holds the secret that not everyone is as it seems...
Toast To Tomorrow - Inspired by a Russian traditional folk song, Toast to Tomorrow is a celebration of our lives, our friends, our experiences and our memories. So, grab a glass, laugh, sing and dance the night away!
Prince Waldeck's Galliard - One of our favorite castles, Schloss Waldeck in Germany was reputed to have a Prince reside there. This is in honor of him.
Rainbow Eyes - A Rainbow track recorded many years ago, so many fans asked us to re-record this one in Blackmore's Night style, how could we say no?
The Circle - A very powerful symbol throughout the ages. Representing the seasons, nature renewing itself, the earth and moon, and the fact that history repeats itself. Can we learn from our past and allow it to teach us about or future? This musical commentary touches on everything from global warming to the witch trials. Its up to us to respect and protect our connection with the earth and with each other. Will we ever learn?
Sister Gypsy- She's the one who beckons you into the wood to dance beneath the moonlight. She is silhouetted by the trees beyond the bonfire. She tempts you to break the rules. She is the wild side hidden within us all.
Can't Help Falling In Love - An old Elvis song we had fun playing around with.
Peasant's Promise - The true love that blossomed beneath the willow tree. Inspired by a traditional English tune, the Peasant's Promise is about a love that isn't based on riches, on shallow needs or desires. The vow of this peasant is that he has only his heart to offer. And that is always enough.
Far Far Away - Written by a close friend of ours, he performed this song for us one night at an acoustic gathering. The visuals of the castles, the longing and the fairytale ending captured our hearts. By the end of the night, everyone was singing along to the chorus. We now present it to you...
Empty Words - A sort of reprise of the introduction song, we always find it fascinating how many people are around that speak of absolutely nothing. And yet speak all the time. Silence is a rare commodity and desperately needed in this day and age. Words are so important when they are chosen carefully and so unimportant when they are.
This year holds many new ventures for the band members. Not only will Candice Night be expanding her role in the cutting-edge-of-technology interactive theme park 'Magiquest' as Princess Candice, but she now also plays Princess Amora on the interactive screens within the Magiquest and Great Wolf Lodges. Magiquest features the music of Blackmore's Night exclusively and has branched out throughout the USA as well as in Japan. New parks will be opened this year and in the years to come.
Candice Night will also co star in her debut feature film 'House Of Eternity', due to begin shooting later this year. She will play 'Emily', an innocent girl from the 17th century in the wake of the witch trials, who finds judging eyes to turn her way. The film is set to be released fall 2008.
Join them as they take their "Secret Voyage" through their music - and let the music speak to you - so you can travel on your own Secret Voyage.