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Renaissance - In the Beginning  CD (album) cover

IN THE BEGINNING

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

2.83 | 14 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 268

"In The Beginning" is a very special compilation of Renaissance. This is a very economic package that includes their third studio album "Prologue", released in 1972 and their fourth studio album "Ashes Are Burning" released in 1973, on only one package. It's a very interesting compilation because it includes two absolutely indispensable musical works of the band at a cheap price, which would be a very worth purchase, at the time, for those who didn't have both albums.

Those albums are two absolute indispensable musical works of the band that represent the two previous studio albums released by the reborn line up of the group, the second Renaissance's incarnation, which is considered in general the beginning of their golden era. Despite "Prologue" and "Ashes Are Burning" be the third and fourth studio albums from the band, they are often considered, especially for the new band's members, the two first studio albums from the band. This new line up doesn't include any founder member of the original line up of the band. The original line up of the band recorded two studio albums, "Renaissance" and "Illusion", which were released in 1969 and 1971, respectively.

As I've already reviewed these two albums previously on Progarchives, in a more extensive way, I'm not going to do it again. So, if you are interested to know, in more detail, what I wrote about them before, I invite you to read those my both reviews. However, in here I'm going to write something about them in a more short way. So, of course, I'm not going to analyze them track by track, as I did before, but I'm only going to make a global appreciation of both albums.

"Prologue": "Prologue" is, without any doubt, a great album and is almost perfect. This is a superb album of lush melodies, full of originality, great song writing, and great performances. It represents excellent progressive rock music with the undeniable classical influences, a trademark of the band so typical on their golden era. The songs "Prologue", "Kiev" and "Rajah Kahn" are truly masterpieces, but unfortunately the other three aren't, especially "Spare Some Love" which is, in my humble opinion, a little bit inferior to the others. However, "Prologue" is an excellent start for this new reborn line up of the band and a fantastic prologue to their most classical musical manifestations. "Prologue" is with "Ashes Are Burning" and "Scheherazade And Other Stories" my first three contacts with their music and I must confess I love these three albums. So, "Prologue" was a beloved album by me, since the first minute, and even after so many years and when I know almost all the others, it represents, even today, one of my favourite works of Renaissance.

"Ashes Are Burning": In my humble opinion, I think "Prologue", "Ashes Are Burning", "Turn Of The Cards" and "Scheherazade And Other Stories" are the four best studio albums from Renaissance and constitute the best musical period of the band, their famous musical golden era. However and after all these years, and I can assure you that I know very well these musical works sice the beginning, I still consider "Scheherazade And Other Stories" their best studio album and the only masterpiece of the group. Despite "Ashes Are Burning" be one of their best pieces, it isn't, in my humble opinion, a truly masterpiece and I even doubt if it's better than "Prologue". As "Prologue", "Ashes Are Burning" has only three songs that can be considered truly masterpieces, "Can You Understand", "At The Harbour" and specially "Ashes Are Burning". Unfortunately, the other three songs aren't as good as the others and "On The Frontier" is, in my humble opinion, even inferior to the others. It's true that the title track "Ashes Are Burning" is, in reality, a memorable piece of music, and it can also be considered, without any doubt, as one of the greatest progressive songs ever made. However, I think that song isn't enough in order to can consider "Ashes Are Burning" a real masterpiece.

Conclusion: In the distant years of the 70's, "Prologue", "Ashes Are Burning" and "Scheherazade And Other Stories" were my three first contacts with Renaissance's music and, in my humble opinion, "Prologue", "Ashes Are Burning", "Turn Of The Cards" and "Scheherazade And Other Stories" are the four best studio albums from Renaissance and constitute the best musical period of the band, their famous musical golden era. However, and after all these years, I still consider "Scheherazade And Other Stories" their best studio album and the only studio masterpiece of the group. I must confess that I don't have this compilation. If you have, like me, the two studio albums in two individual packages, you don't need to buy this compilation because it hasn't anything new to offer, like bonus tracks. Unless you haven't yet the two individual albums, in this case, this compilation album is a good option for you because it's cheaper than the two separated albums. So, if you don't have these two albums yet, you need urgently to leave your home to buy them, because they are essential in any progressive rock musical collection, and in this case, this is the better option because you save on price and space, if it's possible to buy it, yet. So, I think this compilation deserves to be rated with 4 stars because, in my humble opinion, none of these albums are two real masterpieces but only two essential albums.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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