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Renaissance - Azure d'Or CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.07 | 260 ratings

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Mr. Gone
4 stars I really like this album. Is it as majestic as Ashes Are Burning or Song of Scheherazade? Not at all. It's a more modest-sounding album. Orchestration is replaced completely by keyboards. The flirtation with electric guitar that began on Song for All Seasons is in even more full bloom here. This certainly doesn't sound like the same band that cut Ashes or even Seasons. But somehow, it all still works.

A great deal of it has to do with melody. "Jekyll and Hyde", "Winter Tree", "Golden Key", "Forever Changing" (an earlier reviewer said this song reminded them of Genesis' "Entangled" - I agree wholeheartedly), "The Discovery" - all very melodic and quite captivating. "Kalynda" and "Secret Mission" are also very good. The album stumbles a bit at the end - neither "Friends" nor "The Flood at Lyons" grab me much, and "Only Angels Have Wings" sounds a bit out of place. But the thing is that the group seem to have embraced that the days of writing epics have passed for them, and in this new paradigm they seem to function very well - not overreaching or trying to reclaim past glories which would have maybe sounded insincere or forced (the last couple of albums prior to this seemed to suffer from that at times). Is this an album that should be mentioned in the same breath with Close to the Edge or A Trick of the Tail? Of course not. Is it fully prog? No - there's plenty of pop here. But it's still a minor classic much like ELO's Time album - a small but nicely polished gem from a group on its downslope but producing something incredibly listenable and revealing hidden surprises with each listen. Four stars.

Mr. Gone | 4/5 |


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