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Renaissance - Ashes Are Burning CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.22 | 677 ratings

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4 stars My initial encounter with Renaissance came though the highly acclaimed album Scheherazade And Other Stories. No matter how much I tried to get into that record, it just would budge and so I gave up and moved on. Eventually once I got Spotify, aka music database at my fingertips, I once again felt obliged to give Renaissance a new chance. But which album was I to start with? Since my choice fell on Ashes Are Burning and Turn Of The Cards, I gave them both a shot!

Ashes Are Burning turned out to be a very pleasant surprise which didn't waste much time and kicked off with the 10-minute opener Can You Understand?. This track has everything that I felt was lacking on Scheherazade And Other Stories; energy, creative arrangements and a wonderful lead melody! Annie Haslam's introduction is built up in a grand fashion and the momentum is maintained all throughout the performance.

What should we expect after such a wonderful album opener? Why, an even better followup! Yes folks, Let It Grow is just as good as a Renaissance ballad will get! The melody is just gorgeous and the instrumental arrangements, including Haslam's vocals, are excellent all around. But after the cheerful sun comes a short rainy period with the rather average On The Frontier, that brings me no pleasure. Carpet Of The Sun is slightly better although it's still not really the same band that performed on this album's first two tracks.

Luckily it all improves and the lengthy instrumental intro of At The Harbour gives a good indication of just that. The middle section, or so called main portion, of the piece isn't really on the same level as the two symphonic sections that surround it but it makes me long for the excellence to come! I'm clearly referring to the lengthy title track to Ashes Are Burning. This is clearly the epicness (spell check seems to dislike this word, but I'll let it slide) that I lacked on Song Of Scheherazade. I would much rather hear this tune two consecutive times than expose myself to the rather tedious progression of that 20+ minute epic. Simply a perfect reason to love Renaissance! Ashes Are Burning is an amazing record that is held back by a few minor flaws. Although my overall perception of this album is highly positive, it just merely misses the masterpiece-rating. If you haven't heard this album then give it a shot!

***** star songs: Can You Understand? (9:51) Let It Grow (4:17) Ashes Are Burning (11:21)

**** star songs: At The Harbour (6:48)

*** star songs: On The Frontier (4:57) Carpet Of The Sun (3:32)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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