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

RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE

Gryphon

 

Prog Folk

4.16 | 616 ratings

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Chaser
5 stars Good things come in threes! In the case of Gryphon's third album, "Red Queen to Gryphon Three", great things come in threes, because this album is an essential masterpiece of progressive rock music that every prog rock fan should own.

Why is it so essential? Because this album successfully achieves the fusion of medieval folk and progressive rock in a way that few other albums ever have.

The Gryphon journey is one from almost pure folk on their self titled debut, to pop rock on their fifth album "Treason", but, in truth, they were at their best when they combined these two influences, and nowhere did they achieve this so completely and successfully as on this album.

The album also achieves a level of consistently high quality across all four pieces on the album.

Other Gryphon albums tend to have at least a few weaker tracks, but here nothing is weak, all of the pieces that make up the album are brilliantly conceived and executed with the highest standard of musicianship.

The theme of the album is ostensibly based on a game of chess, and I have heard people say that they haven't listened to the album because they're not interested in chess! Really the chess theme is nothing more than incidental to the album and, whilst I do like chess, the album could really be about anything and you certainly don't have to be a fan of chess to enjoy it.

The other great advantage of this album is that it is entirely instrumental. I have always thought that vocals were not Gryphon's strong suit, so their absence on this album is all to the good.

To be able to successfully combine crumhorns, bassoons, flutes, synths, and electric guitars, to create a work of art that sounds both at the same time medieval and modern is no mean feat, but Gryphon pull it off in style in this album.

All of the musicians are superb on this album, but special mention should go to Richard Harvey who is, for my money, one of the best exponents of the flute that I have had the pleasure of listening to. His soaring, lilting flute on the closer "Checkmate" is simply joyous.

A wonderfully uplifting album that achieves everything that it sets out to achieve and is unquestionably a landmark in medieval folk prog fusion. This album absolutely shows how it should be done and no serious prog rock fan should be without it in their collection. A masterpiece of the genre.

Chaser | 5/5 |

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