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For 20 years Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night have been enticing audiences all over the world with their unique blend of folk rock and Renaissance music. What started as a meeting of minds based on similar musical tastes and influences soon developed into fusing together styles, breathing contemporary life into these age-old musical forms. Initially unsure that their music would have a marketplace it was soon clear that the Renaissance rock that they had created would give the band such longevity.

Their work has been critically acclaimed from the beginning and over the course of ten studio albums, the band have drawn us into another time, with fairytale themes of mysticism and all otherworldly accoutrements. Even on the road, the band strive to present a unique spectacle dressed in Renaissance attire and often performing in the open air on heritage sites. This 20th-anniversary celebration of their music pieces together favourites from across the albums alongside bonus tracks. All the songs on this compilation offer some insight into the world of Blackmore's Night. One thing that is profoundly noticeable is the talent and skill of the musicians involved, able to switch seamlessly between instruments and style creating an absorbing pull into a different time and dimension.

Shadow of the Moon kicks things off with a traditional sounding folk tune, but it becomes pretty evident early on the musical scale of Blackmore's abilities. The siren at the heart of their music is Candice Night's endlessly captivating vocal. On Renaissance Faire Night's pure vocal tone is reminiscent of Sandy Denny one of the pioneers of folk fusion with Fairport Convention. A bonus track of Rainbow's I Surrender suits Night's voice, with not much between the high tenor male vocal and the belt of a mezzo soprano, it makes it easy for her perform the track without too much adaptation. The site itself is still decidedly rocky, almost as if it was from a jukebox musical. With dynamic musical orchestra sections in Cartouche Night's ethereal vocal bounces effortlessly and mysteriously and Ghost Of A Rose, takes a spin on the progressive elements of the music and with a rock backing the track could easily fit the set list of bands like Evanescence or Nightwish. The instrumentals on the album such as Possum Goes To Prague and Nur Eine Minute showcase the expert classical playing of the band and a return to its genre roots.

With two decades of music over two discs the compilation takes us on a well-structured tour of the musical versatility and skill of Blackmore's Night, through the ages, fantastical places and definitely to the moon and back.

Groupie Rating 5/5

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