BLACKMORE’S NIGHT – All Our Yesterdays

blackmallourHands up everyone who still find a Blackmore’s Night arousing and exciting. Everyone who got the new record and shouted “Finally!!” or “How I have waited for this!”. Maybe it’s unfair to start a review like this, with negative vibes, but I seriously wonder if anyone actually buy their records anymore. I mean, I constantly complain about musicians like Blackie Lawless and Yngwie Malmsteen who keep on releasing the same songs over and over and over again, stealing from themselves so obviously that some songs are nothing but old tunes with a new title and lyrics. Well, I’m not saying that Blackmore’s Night are doing that, but I really can’t find anything interesting at all with their records and to me, everything just sounds the same. When Blackmore’s Night released their debut album Shadow Of The Moon in 1997 and its follow-up Under A Violet Moon (1999), I thought what Blackmore and his wife Candice Night were doing felt fresh and new and I really like those two records, I still do to this day. But since then their whole medieval/ renaissance trip has been put on repeat and the only interesting thing with their records have been to check out the cover versions that they seem to love doing. Artists like Bob Dylan, Jethro Tull, Uriah Heep, Joan Baez, Randy Newman, The Kinks and Elvis Presley has been covered, but also some very obscure stuff like when Blackmore and Night has looked over to my native Sweden and covered, for us well-known, for the rest of the world not so much, pop songs like “Wish You Were Here” (Rednex), “Highlands” (One More Time) and “Journeyman” (originally titled “Vandraren” which means the wanderer by duo Nordman). That’s when the Blackmore couple breaks the mold a bit, but that said, the songs are all done in Blackmore’s Night’s usual renaissance way. They have also covered some Rainbow stuff (“Self Portrait”, “Rainbow Eyes”, “Street Of Dreams”) and Deep Purple’s “Child In Time”. You might have guessed by now that I’m not one of those who get all excited by a new Blackmore’s Night record and I’m not about to put on my tights and go all Robin Hood on anyone. What I will do, though, is to try my best to listen to their brand new record with an open mind.

They open the album with the title track and I immediately recognize the sound here, but this tune is so happy-go-lucky it feels exaggerated and it sounds more like Europop than anything else. Fact is, the couple could participate in the Eurovision Song Contest with it – and they’d probably win the whole thing. It’s not bad, but it’s way too “cheerie-o”. The weirdly titled “Allan Yn Y Fan” is up next and this one is an instrumental. It’s really good, to be honest. I hear influences from both Irish folk and Swedish dito. It’s one of the best Blackmore’s Night songs I have heard in a long time, but it should contain more – and louder – guitar playing from Blackmore. Third track “Darker Shade Of Black” is also an instrumental and it’s even better. This song could have fitted any Rainbow record out there, in fact the song reminds me of “Snowman” (Bent Out Of Shape, 1983). It also has a melody that’s very close to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” – a bit too close, actually. Then it’s time for the first cover of the album, Linda Ronstadt’s “Long, Long Time”. It’s a ballad, duller than dull – yawn. Skip button alert on this one. And while they’re at it, why not bring on the next cover. This time we get Mike Oldfield’s “Moonlight Shadow” and not much has been done to it. It’s very close to the original, Hell, Candice Night’s voice even bears strong resemblance to Maggie Reilly’s, who sang on the original. That said, “Moonlight Shadow” is a great tune and it still is here. I just don’t see any reason for listening to this when you can pop the original version. Ok, let’s move on – to cover number three, Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe”. Ok. I always found this song quite ridiculous and it’s not that they have bettered it here. It’s not bad, but quite pointless. It could have been interesting had Ritchie taken on Sony Bono’s part in the duet, but he doesn’t. Nope, poor Candice had to duet with their backing singer Lady Lynn instead. How boring. “The Other Side” is ok, but it’s an ordinary Blackmore’s Night tune, the kind they have already written tons of and “Queen’s Lament” is an acoustic instrumental that bears resemblance to Deep Purple’s “Soldier Of Fortune”, an ok piece, but a bit forgettable. I’m really trying to stay awake here, folks, but it’s hard. So, thank God for “Where Are We Going From Here”. It’s a great rock song, uptempo with a bit of an attitude and a great melody. Electrify this and rock it up some and we have a bonafide Rainbow tune on our hands. There’s still hope! Then comes “Will O’ The Wisp” and we’re back to the same old, same old. “Earth, Wind And Sky” is a slow, mellow ballad with a bit of a Celtic vibe – a good song, but not that memorable, I’m afraid. They end the record almost as they started it – happy-go-lucky. “Coming Home” is a danceable – if by dancing you mean jumping around the maypole or a fire outside a castle dressed in tights and a Robin Hood-hat – acoustic guitar based pop tune, complete with hand claps and cheering. It’s not as bad as it might sound when I describe it, actually it’s quite catchy, but I’m wondering how many times they can write this stuff over and over again?

If you’re a huge Blackmore’s Night fan and think that this band is the hottest thing since Robin Hood entered the Sherwood Forest, then I guess this one’s a no-brainer, just like all the other nine albums prior to this one, but for me, I get by fine with their two first albums. Still, I don’t wanna say this is a bad album because maybe if this was their debut album, I might have loved it, but what I’m hearing here is stuff I have heard with this lot a million times before and quite frankly, I have a hard time focusing while listening to this. For the love of all that rocks, I wanna hear Blackmore rock again – really rock! And what do we know, almost in time for this album’s release, Ritchie broke the news that he would do just that for some gigs in 2016. Oh, the joy! Sure, only four gigs or something like that, but we can only hope that he can feel the taste of it again and maybe put Rainbow together again for a real album – tour thing. Maybe he could reunite with Deep Purple for the odd gig or too. Far fetched, I know, but a dude can dream, right? With this record, all I know that I wouldn’t spend any green on it.

4/10

Earlier Blackmore’s Night reviews:

Autumn Sky
Dancer And The Moon

Tracklist:

1. All Our Yesterdays
2. Allan Yn Y Fan
3. Darker Shade Of Black
4. Long, Long Time
5. Moonlight Shadow
6. I Got You Babe
7. The Other Side
8. Queen’s Lament
9. Where Are We Going From Here?
10. Will O’ The Wisp
11. Earth, Wind And Sky
12. Coming Home

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