A new CD by Blackmore’s Night called Secret Voyage is coming out soon (though I got sick before I could post this and so it may be out already). I managed to get my hands on a review copy from Victor of Special Ops Media, and of course the deal was to write a review for it! That seemed pretty spiffy to me, especially since I like Blackmore’s Night.
Overall Secret Voyage is a very fine compilation of music. It would go well with fantasy roleplaying games, and filk lovers are very likely to dig it along with celtic lovers. According to my iTunes this CD is classified as Easy Listening, but somehow that doesn’t seem to cut it. It feels more like celtic/rock/jazz to me. Here are my thoughts on the individual songs.
God Save The Keg
This feels piece feels like victorious music you would hear in a video game. There is an organ in the beginning which lends a classical feel, but enter in the flutes and there’s a folk feel to it. It slowly builds, bringing in percussion and voices and guitars. The more it builds the more it feels like victory music after a long battle, journey or voyage. It feels like it’s about to end, but then comes in the organ and it the music changes in the last minute to something more ominous, moving from a major key into a minor key. After the organ is silenced chanting voices are heard. It moves right along and immediately into the second song.
Locked Within A Crystal Ball
This is more new age mixed with rock. Candice Night’s singing is very cool and lends itself very well to the style of the song. Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar solo is very anticipatory. You are just waiting for what comes next. The beat kicks up again and we’re back to the chorus. They make use of what sounds like mini-bag pipes. Unfortunately, in my opinion the song fails in that it fades out. I feel that fade outs are a cop out to figuring out an appropriate ending for a song. It’s not that it ends quietly, but it is repeating the chorus over and over again and slowly fades into silence. If not for the fade out this would be a favorite of mine. However, if this CD is in the background it is still one of the few that catches my attention when I am in the middle of doing something else. That’s a positive thing.
The violin carries the melody in this piece and has a more easy listening feel. It flows very well, and has a bit of a melancholy sound to it.
Toast to Tomorrow
Russian folk dancing! Seriously, you just want to start stomping your feet while clapping and shout HEY about every two or three measures from the get go. Which, actually occurs a little a bit in the middle of the song. Then about two thirds in, there’s a series of HEY’s and it changes the key about a whole step, or maybe a third (interval recognition by ear was never a strong point for me).
Prince Waldeck’s Galliard
This is a strictly instrumental piece on acoustic guitar. It has a sort of a modern celtic feel. It is in a minor key, and is rather reflective.; as in, it causes one to close their eyes and think on things. Then it does the worst thing it could possibly do in the end. Again, this is just a personal musical peeve. It does a picardy third! ARGH! I detest 99% of picardy thirds. Let me explain, the whole piece is in a minor key, and then the last chord ends in a major key. In Classical times, ie Bach, it was felt that major keys were more stable, thus pieces written in minor ended in a major chord. I find this jarring. Bach managed to do one that actually sounded nice to my ears. . . If it weren’t for the stinkin’ picardy third this piece would have been a favorite of mine.
I love the guitar riffs in this one. It sells this song. Take that away, yeah, it’d be nice but nothing memorable, but man, that guitar is full of awesome. It’s got this rock bluesy tone to it, almost like a sexy saxophone played by the most attentive of lovers.
This feels bit a like Scottish celtic music with hints of light rock. It has a very definite driving beat, yet at the same time it is not over powering. It also plays to the strengths of Candice’s voice. Right in the middle of it though it brings in these strings that always remind me of ABBA for some reason, after which it switches key and still has a bit of an ABBA feel to it through to the end.
This is more typical of celtic folk music. I get the image of a bard and his players working together to tell the story of a gypsy.
Can’t Help Falling In Love
I do not particularly care for this remix of I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You by the A-teens. Though I think theirs was also a remix.
This starts out as simple, very little instrumentation, mostly Candace’s voice, and then the drums start in and it intensifies while carrying out the same motif from the beginning throughout the song. Unfortunately this is another fade out song. This makes me sad because it would have been really great otherwise. Now it’s just good.
Far Far Away
This song reminds me of the sort of things my mother used to sing while playing the guitar while I Was a child. It’s a story about a woman and how she used to have such wonderful dreams of the future and now the question is can the person she is now still dream like she used to dream? Towards the end it has an Enya to feel. Yet again though it’s a fade out. It would have been better to simply end quietly. However, in this song it’s a bit more forgiveable because of the ending being “looking for moments of far away” as she lives on.
“There’s so much said in empty words. . . No one’s saying what they mean.” This is far too true in real life, and unfortunately we humans aren’t very good at reading in between the lines or body language to really gage what a person means. Action speaks louder than words because it supports your words. Thus, it seems that one should always say what they mean, mean what they say, and show it through action. That’s what I get out of this very simple voice and guitar piece.
WHOA! Okay, so here I am, having already posted this review on a couple of sites (FanDominion.com and Ruthiechan.net) and in the beginning of “God Save the Keg” is the tune to “Empty Words“. I listened to “Empty Word”s and then felt like listening to the whole CD again, only to find myself singing the lyric to “Empty Words” while listening to “God Save the Keg!” It really makes me wonder what other subtleties I am missing. I am betting this CD is telling one continuous story but it’s hard to tell when one doesn’t have the lyrics to read (the preview CD didn’t come with lyrics). This discovery has just increased the coolness value of Secret Voyage.