Blackmore's Night
Autumn Sky


1.5
very poor

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
January 21st, 2011 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An original idea executed in the most unoriginal way possible.

Take a moment, if you would, to let your imagination drift deep into the history of human civilization. Castles cast their ominous shadows over the valleys which they protect, promising shelter to the good natured farmers, blacksmiths, and merchants laboring honestly in the village. The foggy, crisp morning air is cut in half by a horn announcing the arrival of the king, who has returned safely from his journey into the endless green and black forest. It is an age of exploration, a time of hope, and a moment of rebirth. The arts have made a huge comeback since the dark ages, which were consumed by ceaseless warfare and a daily struggle to survive influxes of barbarian raids and plagues. Music, among those arts, has risen to prominence in popular culture. Its sound is one of elegance and class, while containing the zest of life and all the signs of a fresh slate for humanity.

Now return to the present day. In an industry dominated by one rehashed idea after another, the death of musical invention is looming. Sure, there are those who will stand and fight, but for every one pioneer who seeks to blaze a unique trail, there is a legion of followers who are right on his heels, hoping to claim a small share of the credit that he solely deserves. In this modern dark age, a knight emerges from the shadows claiming knowledge of a path to lead us away from the plague and famine: Blackmore’s Night. There is just one problem: he is not a knight at all; he’s the village idiot.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Blackmore’s Night, and I can safely assume that includes just about all of you, it is a folk rock duo consisting of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (of Deep Purple) and his wife Candice Night, who is the lead vocalist and plays the tambourine among other things. The pair first became romantically involved in 1989 and discovered that they shared a strong interest in the Renaissance time period, along with the music that accompanied and defined the era. Despite their widespread anonymity (especially outside of Europe), they have released seven studio albums prior to their most recent effort, entitled Autumn Sky. Each one has dealt purely with Renaissance music, along with varying degrees of instrumental and orchestral inclusion. Autumn Sky does not only fail to deviate from the beaten path of its predecessors, but it also fails to inspire any of the imagery discussed at the beginning of this review, capturing less of a spark of an interest in the Renaissance period than a monotonous ancient civilization professor.

Despite these clearly damning accusations, Autumn Sky actually starts off promising enough in “Highland.” An uplifting rhythm and a triumphant horn section quickly lend the album a classical charm, and Candice Night’s vocals sound more passable than ever. With something of a swagger, Blackmore’s Night then commences its plunge into the deep end of the cheese pool, and at fifteen songs deep, that much cheese could make anyone nauseous.

The main problem with Autumn Sky is that it is a mockery of the very time period it sets out to celebrate. Nothing, and I mean nothing, about this album is innovative or refreshing. And it’s not that the potential isn’t there…we all know that Blackmore can play the guitar, but he is mind-bogglingly restrained in favor of gratuitous orchestration and Night’s sub-par vocals, whose constantly mediocre chants drown out a lot of what is actually good about Autumn Sky. The instrumental work by both musicians is proficient throughout, but at no point does it expand upon the predetermined “renaissance sound” that we have all heard while watching Robin Hood or any number of movies from our Disney collection. For all intents and purposes, this is music about a time period, aiming to recapture its magic by mimicking it and thus clearly missing the point.

Even if one were to evaluate the album from a different perspective; say, one that focuses less on experimentation and more on execution, Autumn Sky still falls flat. Blackmore has a few intriguing moments on the guitar, and some of the instrumentation and overall technical backing to the album comes together quite nicely. However, the majority of the album is weighed down by painfully obvious repetition of recycled ideas, not to mention that Night’s singing voice becomes a chore to listen to after the third or fourth straight song in which she refuses to vary her tone. Everything just feels boxed in between a lack of variation and the feeling that you have heard all of this before somewhere…some of it even on this very record, several times over.

They say love is blind, and Autumn Sky has all the signs of a passion project pursued blindly out of a common interest. Props to Blackmore and Night for finding something they can bond over, but this sounds more like the results of a hobby than the product of fine art. A truly respectable artist would have found a way to represent Renaissance music while injecting a bit of personal influence – something to make it his/her own. On Autumn Sky, Blackmore’s Night are simply playing Renaissance music without seeing where their creativity and unique skill sets will take it. It is bland, it is predictable, and it is the opposite of a Renaissance.



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
2.4
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
tiesthatbind
January 21st 2011


7441 Comments


YES A SOWINGSEASON NEGATIVE REVIEW

Pos.

Ire
January 21st 2011


41948 Comments


not surprised that this is terribad.

Nagrarok
January 21st 2011


8588 Comments


There is just one problem: he is not a knight at all; he’s the village idiot.


Great line there. I've heard of this before but I've never bothered since I suspected it would dissapoint, obviously this won't change my mind to check them out.

And since Mr. Blackmore was one of the best rock guitarists of the 70's...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1slq_FwRN8o

...it pains me that he has fallen so low.

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2011


11990 Comments


lol sowing taking the contributor status to heart by reviewing this. spare yourself next time

Digging: Lucy Dacus - Historian

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2011


8051 Comments


In Greece we have a proverb that describes Blackmore's condition perfectly.


Digging: Reign - Destitute

Tyrael
January 21st 2011


21113 Comments


YES A SOWINGSEASON NEGATIVE REVIEW[2]

Interestingly I was just listening to Sowing Season when I saw this review. Oh wel...

vanderb0b
January 21st 2011


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Excellent review. I was thinking of doing a write-up for this but it seems that you spared me from having to do it.



Despite these clearly damning accusations, Autumn Sky actually starts off promising enough in “Highland.”


The fuck? That's the worst thing on here.



Btw, a couple songs on this are covers, but you really wouldn't be able to tell by listening to the album - the band makes them sound like just about anything else on here. Just look at this version of Health to the Company:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hB_cv6s8fA&feature=related



And this one of Barbara Allen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfClvlf4-Gk&feature=related

North0House
January 21st 2011


1764 Comments


Nice review. I won't listen to this.
I don't want to go into the cheese pool.


Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2011


7504 Comments


Very well-written Sowing. I find it amazing how you can go away for a while and still totally boss a review when you come back - in my case, I always have to find my stride all over again lol. Also, the medieval concept thing was very well-executed; have a pos.

Minor niggle:

does is expand

It, mayhaps?


Morumbar
January 21st 2011


1 Comments


Seems the guy who wrote this review just has a grudge with the what Blackmore's Night represents, and is consequently unable to form an unbiased opinion on the album.

Also, Blackmore's Night isn't nearly as unknown as the reviewer likes to think. If you're gonna try to up your up your status as being in-the-know about the underground, at least make sure that the music you mention is actually underground.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
January 21st 2011


3912 Comments


I know these guys because i was the biggest Deep Purple fan back in the day, but I've never liked anything BN has ever done ever. Just gonna assume the same for this.

Tyrael
January 21st 2011


21113 Comments


Seems the guy who wrote this review just has a grudge with the what Blackmore's Night
represents, and is consequently unable to form an unbiased opinion on the album.

And so you negged, fair enough.
Wait... what? I think this calls for desperate measures: FANBOY ALERT!


thebhoy
Emeritus
January 21st 2011


4463 Comments


I fail to see how going back to the Renaissance period is anything new and exciting in the first place. It's an okay review, the second half of it is much better than the first which sort of strained my patience but that's probably because I'm in history and I've learned about this era like for the nth time this year.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 21st 2011


28715 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

lol sowing taking the contributor status to heart by reviewing this



I got bored. It was nice to write a negative review though since I think my last 10 or so have all been positive.



Also, thanks Irving for the edit. I made the change.



Seems the guy who wrote this review just has a grudge with the what Blackmore's Night represents, and is consequently unable to form an unbiased opinion on the album.



Actually, it is because the music is awful.



bhboy: sorry if the first half felt prolonged and unnecessarily self indulgent, I probably put too much effort into making my intro work..oh well haha



Thanks everyone for the feedback!

Digging: Exit North - Book of Romance and Dust

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 21st 2011


28715 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

I don't know it depends on your sense of humor. I felt nauseous and got a fever after I listened to it, but I'm sure it is completely unrelated.



Feel free to take that risk lol

Jethro42
January 21st 2011


15570 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

That's too bad for Blackmore's Night for they did release two or three respectable albums in the past. I'm enjoying some of their gems atm. Now it feels the end, it seems. All good things come to an end. I will not listen to a single note of this, btw. Couple days ago, vanderb0b told me to stay away from this, so yes.



Edit; Review is very well written though I disagree with some of your points.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 21st 2011


28715 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

To be fair, you should give this a chance...if you found any of their old material to be of high quality then you might find some redeemable aspects in this album. In other words, it bored Vanderbob and I but it may be percieved differently by you.



And thanks for the compliments, but out of curiosity what didn't you agree with?

Jethro42
January 21st 2011


15570 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

...out of curiosity what didn't you agree with?


Nothing too specific dude. I only feel you tend to bury them alive here or there. You know what?..It's all fine after all. Forget my criticism. Perhaps this album is that bad and you are as objective as you can be.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 21st 2011


28715 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

No it's okay; I mean reviews are always subjective no matter how unbiased we may try to be. This is my opinion and nothing more, I still encourage anyone who thinks this is down their alley to check it out!

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 21st 2011


28715 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

It will never compare to the epic Knott-Irving showdown



http://www.sputnikmusic.com/album.php?reviewid=40580&page=4#comments



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