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Renaissance - Ashes Are Burning CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.22 | 691 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really. a good BBQ, than?

As the second line-up is now fully established, this one takes a solid turn towards folk-rock and succeeds in re-establishing a new kind of very instantly distinguishable Renaissance sound. A group picture graces the gatefold sleeve, but when seeing previous albums, it is a bit of a deception despite the use of the all-important logo used on many albums in the future. Still with McCarty overseeing things (or at least still writing songs, this album also sees the appearance of Wishbone Ash's Andy Powell for a splendid guitar solo.

As said above, the 11-mins+ title track comes with a rare and superb guitar solo coming from Wishbone Ash guitarist Andy Powell with Annie reaching some incredibly high notes without any distortion in the middle section; definitely the highlight of the album, even if the lengthy "Can You Understand?" has got its moments as well. Actually, the latter starts on with a Russian classical composers-inspired Tout piano solo, much in the line of what John Hawken did in the Mk I line-up, but the track slides imperceptibly into folk territory, but some of the twist in the vocal melody is a bit clumsy. Plenty of good stuff, but perfectible. Another rather interesting track is the almost 7-mins At The Harbour track, a bit different than the usual "piano-starting piece before the band kicks in" routine, with tout's piano indeed opening and Haslam's voice over an harmonium enchants, Tout returning to accompany her in the closing minutes. The rest of the album is typical numbers of theirs with symphonic passages but remaining close to folk territory.

Many Renaissance unconditional fans will regard this album as their "first true album", but this is of course only engaging their own opinions. As far as I'm concerned I could almost say that it is their last true one. If I could give it one word: Pastoral

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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