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Renaissance - Turn Of The Cards  CD (album) cover

TURN OF THE CARDS

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 429 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars My decision of listening to Ashes Are Burning and Turn Of The Cards back-to-back was an unusual experience for me since the two albums ended up sounding like two sides of one complete experience. It was only a few month later when I made the effort of listening to Turn Of The Cards on its own that I realized that it wasn't as great as I originally had given it credit for.

Running Hard is a neat album opener but I can't help comparing it to Can You Understand? and that's when it suddenly becomes a pale remake of the Ashes Are Burning's formula. I Think Of You is the obligatory ballad, considering the placement of Let It Grow on the previous album. It's a good song but even though each of the individual components of it should create one excellent whole, this doesn't happen here. Just like Ashes Are Burning before it, Turn Of The Cards starts loosing some momentum towards the third track. The biggest difference this time around is that Things I Don't Understand actually manages to recover itself towards the end with a completely gorgeous conclusion to an otherwise average track.

Instead of the expected pop song like Carpet Of The Sun, we actually get to hear the tune that I consider to be this album's biggest highlight! Black Flame returns me to the realm of magnificent Renaissance compositions and the only real complaint on my part is that it's too short for its own good. It is then followed by a semi-cheesy track called Cold Is Being. It's really not a difficult task for Annie Haslam to sing along to a classical piece of music, luckily this tune is very short and makes for a decent transition between the two lengthy tracks that surrounded it.

I honestly was expecting a bit more out of Mother Russia, considering that the title track that occupied that same slot on Ashes Are Burning is easily one of Renaissance's best works. This one could have easily been shortened down to 5-6 minutes in length, giving more space to Black Flame. The only part of this performance that really makes it worth a while for me is the 2-minute instrumental interlude leading up to the final reprice of of chorus.

Turn Of The Cards might not be as terrible as my review would suggest but it's definitely not as great as Ashes Are Burning, which is why I would recommend everyone to start with that album. This was, nonetheless that golden era for Renaissance and so it's still worth an excellent rating. If anything, it's a much more balanced album than both Ashes Are Burning and Scheherazade And Other Stories.

***** star songs: Black Flame (6:29)

**** star songs: Running Hard (9:37) I Think Of You (3:09) Things I Don't Understand (9:32) Cold Is Being (3:05) Mother Russia (9:20)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |

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