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Renaissance - Turn Of The Cards  CD (album) cover

TURN OF THE CARDS

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 433 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars More like a trick of the cards, really!!

If the previous Ashes album featured (on the sleeve) the group as a quartet, in the present one Dunford is now included as a full-blown member (which he had been before the others in a different incarnation) as Hendry is gone, and so is the electric guitar. Released in 74 on the BTM label (maybe its first release as the catalogue number is 1000), Turn Of The Cards comes with a tarot over gloomu castle sleeve artwork, supposed to enhanced the magic mood of the album

Among the highlights are the 9-mins+ Running Hard, featuring the usual Renaissance sonic formula plus orchestral arrangements, which allows more depth, but at the risk of over-producing a too-slick a product. Obviously Renaissance felt the need to drive the nail much further in the coffin as they need further explanations after their last album's Can You Understand, now they sing about the "Things" they didn't catch the first time around. Not their best track, though. Dunford's acoustic guitar opens the 6-mins+ Black Flame, before Tout's piano and Camp's bass join in a very-Genesis-typed intro; but once Annie sings, that feel is gone and replaced the Renaissance's formulaic symphonic prog, but this one is a textbook example showpiece, especially with Tout's harpsichord. The other epic is the Mother Russia piece, with its obvious Russian-composers influences and almost-cheesy orchestral arrangements. Another decent good track in a album that's filled with them.

My fave from the Mk III line-up after Prologue. Their formula is still being refined, rather still fresh (it won't last), and they reach their pinnacle here. Most tracks here are classic Renaissance with Mother Russia, Black Flame and the opener being the highlight. While Renaissance had achieved some success right from their first album (Mk I), this is one will go up a few categories and provide the group with enviable sales status, and it won't the last to do so. Impossible to rate as just "a good album", but I don't view it as essential either.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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