Renaissance: Ashes Are Burning. Many a pop or rock band has experimented with a full orchestra. Usually it comes off cheesy and strangely mechanical. One exception is Renaissance, perhaps because, rather than a gimmick, the orchestra was always an essential part of the band's sound. It helps, I think, that the band basically comes from a folk / acoustic background, which means no odd grating of orchestral and electric sounds. My one complaint, alas, about the band is that they seem incapable of really kicking the intensity up when it needs to be. To paraphrase one six-string genius, "they don't go to eleven."