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Gryphon - Red Queen to Gryphon Three CD (album) cover

RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE

Gryphon

 

Prog Folk

4.12 | 431 ratings

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ghost_of_morphy
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 1972 was a watershed year for progressive rock epics. Supper's Ready stretched the limits on what could be accomplished with concepts and lyrics while Close to the Edge set a standard of musicianship and composition so high that few groups attempted to reach a similar attainment. One group that did attempt to scale the heights was Gryphon, and the musicianship and composition on Red Queen to Gryphon Three rivals that found on close to the edge. Thank God they didn't attempt to throw in lyrics or a concept, or they'd probably have knocked Supper's Ready off of it's podium too.

Anyhow, I'm quite serious about this record rivalling Close to the Edge. Until 1972, prog rock bands were writing epics based on the venerable Mellotron model that Fripp had pioneered back with In the Court of the Crimson King. With Close to the Edge, Yes broke away from that (after having first updated the sound of the original Mellotron epic with things like Yours is No Disgrace and Heart of the Sunrise.) A new complexity was introduced, and a few acts bravely followed Yes into the breach, most notably by our friends being discussed here, Gryphon.

Red Queen to Gryphon Three contains four approximately ten minute compositions of considerable complexity, exotic instrumentation, and extremely skilled musicianship. Gryphon's background in medieval and renaissance music hasn't entirely dissappeared, but it has become subservient to their understanding of how to play prog. The music is well written, interesting, and quite capable of carrying the listener through the album without any extraneous vocals. Listening to this makes me wish that Mike Oldfield had had a formal music background before he began work on Tubular Bells.

OK, I've told you all of the good things. Great and complex prog rock here, with a bit of folk influence and a lot of instrumental fun. So what are the bad parts?

None.

Seriously, none.

And that's why I have to give this five stars. Not only is it great music, but there are no real flaws that the music has to overcome. So, if you like the best of symphonic prog and haven't yet heard this, you are missing something extremely important.

ghost_of_morphy | 5/5 |

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