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Renaissance - Ashes Are Burning CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.22 | 653 ratings

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Mr. Mustard
5 stars Ashes Are Burning is probably the first essential Renaissance album, filled with the intensity, melody, and expression so found within the symphonic genre. Unlike bands like Genesis and Yes who incorporate symphonic musings into their sound, Renaissance takes full advantage of this by flawlessly combining their orchestral sound with rock in a creative combination that puts them at the top of their genre. Besides this, the band is noted for their attention to melody, a unique folky/medieval atmosphere, and the vocal style of Annie Haslem which combine to create some of the most intense, yet delicate music.

This album in particular is pure melodic bliss. Unlike some of the most revered prog rock albums, this one doesn't rely on insane complexity or excessive experimentation. The album could be considered simpler than most by progressive standards, but is dynamic and melodic enough to be strong in its own right. This is especially true for the middle four songs, all of which are below seven minutes.

However, the real interest, at least for prog fans, is the two bookending tracks, 'Can You Understand' and the title track 'Ashes Are Burning.' Both exhibit diverse song structures, rhythmic oddities, and flawless orchestral work while retaining a melodic backbone. It is perhaps this combination of progressive elements and the attention to melody that makes this band and this album in particular so great.

The only negative I could really muster up for this album is the production, which is a bit muddy, and with less than perfect instrument levels and placement. This is a minor annoyance, but hardly detracts from the top notch compositions and musicianship this album encompasses.


Mr. Mustard | 5/5 |


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