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Renaissance - Ashes Are Burning CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.22 | 731 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars This is where it really comes together for RENAISSANCE after the non-stop member exchange that they endured since their formation. Ann Haslam's sophomore release finds her hitting her stride after the less than perfect PROGLOGUE. It was also the first release to feature a full orchestra which is in the truest sense a symphonic progressive album. Even this far into their career founding band member Jim McCarty who had jumped ship quite some time before has a song that made its way onto this album. "On The Frontier" was originally released by his former band Shoot.

The album begins with the excellent "Can You Understand" with that now famous long classical piano intro that eventually leads into the acoustic guitar sound that this album favors leading the band into a kind of symphonic folk sound. The songs feel more fully developed on this release with interesting parts that come and go and always keep it exciting. Ann Haslam sounds like she has finally blossomed into what she was born to be, namely the lead singer for a symphonic rock band that she nails on this release and ushers in the classic era for RENAISSANCE.

Songs like "Let It Grow" that are too poppy and sweet are what bring this album down a bit for me. This song actually reminds me of the fact that this group can at times sound like a progressive version of The Carpenters. Although this is a great album there are times it has just too much of a la-la-la-let's-skip-through-a-flower-field-and-yodel feel to it. Still a huge improvement from the previous RENAISSANCE lineups and the first of several beautifully orchestrated symphonic rock albums. Not a masterpiece for me but more than enough awesome material to warrant a mandatory space on my shelf.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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