Renaissance

Azure d'Or

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AllMusic Review by

This is one of the better late-era Renaissance albums from the original continuity of the "mark II" lineup of the group (which is the one everyone knows). It's also something of a step up from the two preceding albums, with lush, melodic passages, beautiful lyrics, and some splendid playing by all concerned. Moreover, it rocks pretty well too, songs like "Secret Mission" being one of the better showcases for the group's rhythm section, as well as offering Annie Haslam in a glittering, dramatic showcase for her vocals. Azure d'Or would probably compare very favorably with the group's early albums, but for two major changes in their sound -- the emphasis on the use of the synthesizer, which is a departure from the piano that was prominent in their earlier work, and the extended instrumental passages, which aren't all that interesting and change the focus of the band's music somewhat. Still, the overall sound is compelling, and when Haslam gets a piece of music into which she can sink her teeth, such as "The Flood at Lyons," the results are breathtaking.

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