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Vanilla Fudge - Renaissance CD (album) cover

RENAISSANCE

Vanilla Fudge

 

Proto-Prog

4.16 | 67 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

dltonya
5 stars Considering this album came out in 1968, there really wasn't a precedent for music that sounded like this. To say this album was unique was a huge understatement. This album was definitely psychedelic, but at the same time it was also quite progressive. Given that their first album was essentially a covers album for which "You Keep Me Hanging On" garnered them wide exposure; this album appears to come out of nowhere.

Most of the songs are penned by the band themselves. The lone cover song, "Seasons of the Witch", has a middle section that sounds like Vincent Price reading poetry! And almost all the music is dynamic and haunting. At times the sound is soft and low, but that usually gives way to a controlled cacophony of bombastic noise. The guitars are distorted and heavy, complimented by Leslie drenched organs, and in the middle of it all, the haunting vocals of Mark Stein. Throughout the whole album, Tim Bogart's wandering bass lines augment Carmine Appice's amazing drumming. For many years Tim and Carmine were regarded as one of the best rhythm sections in music (even backing up Jeff Beck for a while).

I've always considered this to not only be their finest album, but to also be one of the more important albums of the era. Renaissance combines psychedelia, proto-metal, and primordial prog with excellent musicianship in a way no band had ever done before and years before anyone else would follow. Unfortunately, the Fudge never did take the ideas on Renaissance any further. One could say the band had a hard time finding their direction because of the popularity of the self- titled debut album. After a few more albums the band split up with the rhythm section forming Cactus, a 220 proof blues boogie band. (worth listening to if you want to hear the inspiration for Van Halen)

dltonya | 5/5 |

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