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Renaissance - Prologue CD (album) cover

PROLOGUE

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

3.74 | 441 ratings

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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
3 stars A bizarre little album, resulting from a period of total chaos in the Renaissance lineup, sees a group of entirely new performers on the record - none of whom wrote any of the songs performed! All the songs on here were either composed by Jim McCarty or Michael Dunford, with lyrics by band lyricist Betty Thatcher; Jim had left Renaissance never to return by this point, whilst Dunford had joined after the completion of Illusion, then left before the recording this album, before rejoining after this one.

This, then, is a transitional album that sits partway between the classical-influenced symphonic prog of the former lineup and the folk-tinged symphonic rock of the classic lineup. The biggest difference between the sound here and the one which would be unfolded on Ashes are Burning is that Rob Hendry plays electric guitar, whilst Michael Dunford would use the acoustic guitar during the classic Renaissance period. The standout performances from here are from John Tout, whose piano work keeps everything hanging together from the start of the title track to the very end of the album, and of course Anne Haslam, who proves herself to be both a capable successor to Jane Relf in those sections of the album that are reminiscent of previous Renaissance albums and a powerful vocalist in her own right.

That said, it would only be on subsequent albums that Haslam would be able to work with material that was tailor-made to take best advantage of her vocal capabilities, and next to the classic Renaissance period which would be inaugurated with the following Ashes Are Burning this feels like a competent exercise in going through the motions, with the new lineup perhaps not feeling as close a connection to other people's material as they would to their own compositions later on.

After the mayhem that had engulfed the band and transformed it into this completely different lineup, this album was crucial - had it bombed, I can't see how the band could have continued. So it's fortunate for us all that it's a great success, and whilst it isn't in the top rank of Renaissance albums, I'd say it's a welcome change of course that provides much-needed consistency after Illusion, which was mostly hit-and-miss with a strong emphasis on misses.

Warthur | 3/5 |

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