J.R. BLACKMORE & Friends – Voices Part 1 (2011)

J.R. BLACKMORE & Friends - Voices Part 1 (2011)


Jürgen Blackmore was born in London in 1964 as the son of guitar virtuoso Ritchie Blackmore and his German wife, Margit.

Raised in Hamburg, Jürgen received his first acoustic guitar at the age of 10, and with the encouragement of his mother, the little player knew early on that he would have a career in music.

After his own band 1990’s debut ‘Still Holding On’ and an instrumental album, he was involved in several projects, being the most recent last year’s ‘EBC Roxx’ (featured on 0dayrock) in collaboration with female singer ELA and the legendary Tony Carey, recording the CD called ‘Winners’.

In 2011 Jürgen started his own record and publishing company, to release his really first integral album; “Voices”.

Entirely written by him, and with a tight band assembled with renowned musicians, Blackmore called the best melodic hard rock vocalists from Germany such as Oliver Hartmann, Michael Bormann, ELA, Dave Esser and more.

The oriental-style “Voices” opens the album with a mystical-sounding intro, and then develops into a classic hard rocker quite similar to earlier Rainbow. Singer Mark Engelstädter fits perfectly with a vocal tone resembling Swedish Mats Leven. Jürgen R. Blackmore has noticeably evolved with the 6 strings, palpable on his melodic and accurate legato phrases throughout the disc.

Follower “Guardian Angel” has a much more commercial approach, featuring one of the best singers recently appeared in Germany, the Rüsselsheim-born Oliver Hartmann.

“Beethoven” has an epic and (obviously) neo-classical structure, but Jürgen never lets the music go too heavy. Here comes the first surprise of the album; the lead vocals are at charge of Michael Bormann (Jaded Heart), singing in a style never heard from this melodic frontman. I am not completely convinced if it works or not…

“Destructive Mania” has the female vocals of the (unknown to me) Catherine Jauer, a more than interesting singer with powerful and articulated vocalizations.

On “Incomplete” Michael Bormann returns to the mic, and now yes, his melodic vocals appear and really fits this song, a very nice semi-slow melodic ballad with an inventive guitar work by Jurgen and a swirling keyboard solo. Sadly, to my ears, this track deserved a better mix.

Dave Esser does a good job on “Jeckyl & Hyde” imposting his deep and low tone on this good (although a bit generic) rocker, while ELA sings the dark “Nanshu” in a semi-symphonic style adding some variation.

For “Victorious”, Engelstädter was again a right choice, he sounds as Mark Boals in places.

As bonus, last track “Dreams” is a fine instrumental piece taken from Jurgen’s ‘Between Darkness And Light’ solo album.

J.R. Blackmore has released his more complete and consistent CD to date with “Voices”.

Jürgen playing and songwriting has his father’s genes not being necessarily a clone, but Ritchie’s influence is undeniable, as well as Uli J. Roth, Steve Morse and many other classic guitarists.

As all albums featuring such diverse vocalists, some tracks work better than others, you need somehow a magic touch to choose the right singer for each track.

On “Voices”, the result is successful for the most part, being specially Mark Engelstädter a revelation to me.

Nice and Classic Hard Rock melodies abound on “Voices”, a correctly produced album (apparently only to be released in Germany) that worth to investigate.

You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrock

1. Voices (ft. Markus Engelstädter)

2. Guardian Angel (ft. Oliver Hartmann)

3. Beethoven (ft. Michael Bormann)

4. Destructive Mania (ft. Cathrine Jauer)

5. Incomplete (ft. Michael Bormann)

6. Devil in Disguise (ft. Oliver Hartmann)

7. Jeckyll & Hyde (ft. Dave Esser)

8. Victorious (ft. Markus Engelstädter)

9. Nanshu (ft. ELA & Dave Esser)

10. We Are Rock´n Roll (ft. Dave Esser)

11. Dreams (Bonus Track – instrumental)

J.R. Blackmore: Guitars

Paul Morris (Doro, Rainbow): Keyboards

Danny Miranda (Queen, Meat Loaf): Bass

Charly Zeleny (D-I-O-N): Drums


Markus Engelstädter (Flash Queen coverband, musicals): 1 / 8

Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia, At Vance, Solo): 2 / 6

Michael Bormann (Jaded Heart): 3 / 5

Cathrine Jauer (First Child, Cat): 4

ELA (Ela Rocks, EBC Roxx): 9

Dave Esser (OpusDavi, Schattenspieler): 7 / 10



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