Shadow of the Moon is the first album by Ritchie Blackmore's beloved Blackmore's Night project. The former Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist and his fiancée, vocalist Candice Night, created a Renaissance-inspired work with elements of folk, new age, and occasional bits of electric guitar. Blackmore even plays bass, mandolin, drum (yes, singular), and tambourine. Night's voice isn't powerful, but it's bright and sweet, making it perfect for this style of music. Other musicians include co-producer Pat Regan on keyboards and the Minstrel Hall Consort; Gerald Flashman on recorder, trumpet, and French horn; Tom Brown on cello; and Lady Green on violin and viola. Most songs are original compositions but some are based on traditional melodies. "Shadow of the Moon" is a marvelous opener; it's catchy, haunting, and propulsive. Blackmore shreds on acoustic guitar and lets the electric guitar slip into the background for faint power chords. Regal, majestic horns lend an elegance to "The Clock Ticks On," which addresses the passage of time and a yearning to live in the past. "Play Minstrel Play" features Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, one of Blackmore's favorite musicians. The song moves along pleasantly until about halfway through when it explodes into a frantic, handclaps-led pace with Anderson's wild flute solo. The warmth of "Ocean Gypsy" makes it the song most easily classified as new age here; Blackmore plays a gentle but swift acoustic guitar melody under Night's softly yearning vocals. "Writing on the Wall" is quite fast and has a danceable beat, and there's even a blowout jam at the end. Blackmore's electric guitar work is the most prominent on "No Second Chance" and "Wish You Were Here." The instrumental "Possum's Last Dance" is a U.S.-only bonus track.
AllMusic Review by Bret Adams
feat: Ian Anderson