Under a Violet Moon is the second album by Blackmore's Night, and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore had a very clear idea of what he wanted for the sophomore release by the Renaissance-oriented world and new age music outfit. The former Deep Purple and Rainbow six-stringer and vocalist Candice Night wanted to take Blackmore's Night on an extensive tour, so they made a conscious effort to record a more up-tempo album, making the music more conducive to live performance than much of the relaxed material on their debut, Shadow of the Moon. Countless guest musicians contribute to this album, which was co-produced by Blackmore, Jeff Glixman (best known for his work with Kansas), and Roy McDonald. A variety of sonic textures are found on the album, but the faster numbers do dominate the proceedings and therefore fulfill Blackmore and Night's musical desires. "Under a Violet Moon" is propelled by Blackmore's darkly rich acoustic guitar lines, Night's urgent vocals, and the driving handclaps and tambourine. "Past Time With Good Company," a traditional melody attributed to Henry VIII, utilizes appropriately regal-sounding horns. Rolling rhythms and swirling melodies illuminate the superb "Morning Star." Bassist John Ford shares singing duties with Night on "Wind in the Willows." Blackmore breaks out the electric guitar for some soloing on "Gone With the Wind." The cosmic instrumental "Beyond the Sunset" has a soothing, new age dreaminess to it. "March the Heroes Home" has a sparse arrangement at first, but as each instrument comes in the dramatic feel is heightened. Blackmore's lightning-fast acoustic guitar runs are matched by the violin on "Spanish Nights (I Remember it Well)." The guitarist dips into his past for a rearranged version of "Self Portrait," which first appeared on 1975's Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.
AllMusic Review by Bret Adams