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Renaissance - Ashes Are Burning CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.22 | 700 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars Redefining Symphonic

"Ashes are Burning" is the second album of this reborn RENAISSANCE, and the difference is obvious, if the excellent "Prologue" was practically a the duet "Tout & Haslam", now we are before a solid band with the addition of "Michael Dunford" adding his unique guitar while Sullivan and Camp take a more protagonist role in the performance.

The album starts with "Can you Understand", one of the few RENAISSANCE songs that sounds better in studio than in "Live at Carnegie Hall", the introduction presents us a full band creating music, not only a piano and vocals, and even when "Rout" and "Haslam" are transcendental, the performance of "Dunford" is just brilliant, with a solid rhythm section to support the band. It's also important to notice the polyphonic chorus to support "Annie's" fantastic voice. From the first moment we can notice a huge improvement, what was already great in "Prologue", is superb in "Ashes are Burning".

"Let it Grow" is an unfairly underrated song, that the band hardly uses in concerts, again the interplay between vocals and piano is outstanding, but now you have a very strong bass and percussion, even when the band is still basically melodic, the arrangements take an important part, allowing RENAISSANCE to create a unique Symphonic/Folk style with few imitators.

"On the Frontier" begins with an acoustic guitar solo and a male/female choir that soon is joined by the full band, this is another song that I haven't heard in many live recordings but still a strong Prog piece with a hint of Psychedelia from their early days plus some Rocking sections.

I usually listen an album from start to end, but when the turn comes for "Carpet of the Sun", I feel an irrepressible urge to repeat it two or three times, because of it's incredible beauty and magnificent performance, again "Annie Haslam" is the star, but without the perfect arrangements and capable performance, wouldn't be the same, maybe too short, but.........hey, it's better to leave the audience with the taste of honey in the lips.

If there's something I love from "At the Harbour", is the dramatic contrast between the sober and strong piano introduction (courtesy of John Tout) and the fully acoustic and sweet Celtic Folk ballad performed mainly by "Annie", is like the encounter if two different and opposite worlds that only brilliant musicians can make it work.

The album is closed by "Ashes are Burning", and as we can expect from a title song, it's "La piece de Resistance", the band magically manages to combine the Symphonic brightness with the soft Celtic atmosphere as nobody else did. Don't expect a typical Prog Rock with radical changes but they present is different moods linked one with the other with great dexterity and the addition of "Andy Powell" in the guitar gives a different sound. Special mention for For John Camp who gives an outstanding performance, adding the necessary strength when required and of course the incredibly dramatic organ, guitar and drums finale that always gives me goosebumps.

Any other comment about his album would be unnecessary, I only need to say that as I do with any essential masterpiece, I will give "Ashes are Burning" the maximum possible rating of 5 stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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