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Gryphon - Raindance CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.26 | 180 ratings

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2 stars Extremely Uneven Follow-Up to Gryphon's Signature Album

I got Gryphon's RAINDANCE album bundled with their highly rated RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE, and they are grouped under one album in my iPod. As a result, the tracks off RAINDANCE have usually come up as afterthoughts to RQrGT, the "leftovers." My impression had always been that there was nice music in that group, but also a lot of forgettable material. For this review, I've taken some time to isolate the songs and really listen to the album on its own. RAINDANCE turns out to be an album from a band really searching for an identity, with widely different tracks, inconsistent quality, and no real direction. Luckily, Gryphon is a talented band and we are still left with some nice prog.

I'll start with the epic, "Ein Klein Heldenleben" which is ballyhooed in these reviews as well worth the price of the whole album, the best song ever recorded by the band. As a piece of Renaissance-influenced prog, the song is quite nice. It's more typically prog rock than the similarly themed pieces on RQ, using heavier guitars, classic prog key sounds, and judicious use of Gryphon's trademark horns. The composition flows nicely through a number of moods from quite rocking to a medieval flute-fueled dance. Despite its over 15 minute length, it never overstays its welcome. Still there's no part that plays back in my head later, nothing that really distinguishes it. The song itself I would rate in the 6/10 range on its own, good but not quite reaching the "excellent" mark.

The rest of the album is extremely spotty. Two of my favorite songs are oddities, the sound- effect fueled "Raindance" and the pleasant cover of the Beatles "Mother Nature's Son." Other songs allude to Gentle Giant, Caravan, and Yes in an apparent search for identity. Not surprisingly, I like the GG bits the best. The founding theme of the band, melding Renaissance and classical music and modern sounds, seems to have fallen aside a bit. Perhaps the band was hoping for more commercial success, or maybe just bored with the same sound of the first three albums. Instead of having a new organizing idea, however, the band is now a bit adrift.

This is not an unpleasant album at all. Given that it was bundled, I don't mind having it and sometimes listen to it when RQ runs over. If you've exhausted the genre, this will likely have a few pleasant moments for you. Otherwise, there are so many better albums to get first. 2/5

Negoba | 2/5 |


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