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Vanilla Fudge - Renaissance CD (album) cover

RENAISSANCE

Vanilla Fudge

 

Proto-Prog

4.08 | 108 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This band started its career by doing artistic cover versions from tunes composed by other people, and this third album presents their own matured composing skills. Earlier "The Beat Goes On" was more like an abstract artsy tryout when compared to this masterpiece in my opinion. The most dominant elements are still the strong organ chord layers, powerful vocal harmonies and very strong emotional load, resembling a state of religious pathos.

A crash of gong opens the album, and introduces a dualistic song "The Sky Cried - When I was A Boy". This beginning holds a mysterious haze of psychedelic sounds seeking their form, concreting as an aggressive storm blasting furious fuzz guitar sounds, stormy drums thunderbolts, wild raw keyboards and preaching vocal sermon. The verse brings a calm eye to this storm with some sound effects, contrasting the song's drive effectively. The duo song shifts to its second phase via short graveyard soundscape, section with full of true anxiety. Following "Thoughts" is a shorter song culminating to a chorus sections, having also a calmer verses and bursting with exploding emotions. "Paradise" starts with eerie organ solo painting very raw and interesting visions; This is another longer track running for over six minutes, and it takes it time to build up. The rest of the band creeps in with multi vocal harmonies. The main part of the composition is another wonderful melancholic keyboard driven calm sequence, paused by heavenly voids of contemplation.

Then there's a batch of two shorter songs; "That's What Makes a Man" has a dynamic theme, which is followed by another poetic composition shifting from calm verse growing in power for the strong chorus. "The Spell That Comes After" begins with abstract rhythmic process of voices creating a magical feeling. These melt as another powerful melodic tune following the stylistic line of previous the songs. There's a cool short jazzy quotation arranged in the middle of it, and the available space is used for the aural description of magical events, making this one of the most impressionistic numbers here. "Faceless People" continues to flow nicely after it, bringing a calm vision of space, slowly starting to move and making room for the aggressive iconoclastic purge carving out the more conventional composition out of the chaos. This process was first introduced in their debut album, and it's a cool way to enrich basic rock tunes. Some may of course find such as unnecessary artsy overdoing, but I like it, as it brings more atavistic elements to the music, and fits to the song naturally. There's also very interesting raw guitar solo on this tune.

The last song is the long "Season of the Witch" running nearly nine minutes. It also begins very calmly, taking its time, and allowing quiet drops to fall over a distant humming of the organs. The vocal melodies start to drive the composition, which rolls as slow and frightful tides. This song relies much on the vocals, there's even some kind of narrated part in it, and the final ending of it is very grim. My copy didn't have the bonus tracks, but I have heard two of them from the "Psychedelic Sundae" compilation. 7' Version of "You Keep Me Hanging On" cuts out the long starting rituals of the original album version, which I maybe prefer a bit more, and "Come By Day Come By Night" is beautiful and dreamy melodic 1960's song colored with psychedelic tones.

If you liked this album, hunt down Arcadium's "Breathe Awhile", it holds quite similar powerful music sounding pretty much this album. I have also heard that this band was an influence for Uriah Heep, and though their music is more happier and not as trippy as this, I believe this innovation can yet be heard in tunes like "July Morning". Recommended warmly if you like serious and emotional music from late 1960's, and if you do not shun depressive music.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 5/5 |

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