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

RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE

Gryphon

 

Prog Folk

4.12 | 430 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars Gryphon is surely a band that progressed in the sense that they developed their sound and approach with each subsequent album. They started out as a pure medieval Folk group playing traditional material on traditional instruments. Then they gradually started to incorporate some electric instruments into their music and attempted braver compositions. This third album is again an improvement over the second one. While the debut was basically pure medieval Folk music, this is much more eclectic and instrumentally more interesting. Keyboard instruments such as piano and Moog find their way into the music here, and augment the acoustic instruments. It is indeed an interesting and different wall of sound. However, I find some of the brass and wind instruments a bit annoying, to be honest. They make the music too cheerful and happy and, I would say, a bit shallow in some sense.

I hesitate to call this Prog rock. There is not much rock in it, even if much more so than the almost all acoustic debut, of course. The electric bass guitar is well played and sounds similar to many Symphonic Prog bands, but apart from that there is really nothing to put this in the same category as those bands. Unconventional? Surely! Progressive? In some sense, yes. But rock it is not, really. Though, the beginning of Checkmate sure sounds more than a bit like Gentle Giant.

While there is absolutely no doubt about their impressive instrumental prowess and their ability to spit out many fun musical ideas, they had a lot to learn about composition and arrangement. While much stronger compositionally than the Midnight Mushrumps track, the four compositions that make up Red Queen To Gryphon Three still have something of a Mike Oldfield structure; they jump from one theme to another, and then to another, and then to yet another - but they never really progress. They are full of interesting musical ideas, but they are still somewhat directionless. (Ein Klein) Heldenleben on their next album would further improve in this respect.

I can understand why many people like this, but I just cannot put this in the same division as other all instrumental albums like Rick Wakeman's Six Wives, Camel's Snowgoose or Return To Forever's Romantic Warrior. And it is absolutely not up there with Prog Folk masterpieces like Thick As A Brick and Hero And Heroine.

Not really my cup of tea, I'm afraid.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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