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




Prog Folk

4.14 | 564 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Red Queen to Gryphon Three was my first Gryphon album. Ignorant to what any of their other work might have sounded like, I put on my headphones and dove in to this record full-force. The emotional results I emerged with after the journey were a mixed batch.

Let's the obvious out of the way: This is not Prog Folk music. It sounds like very well-played, well-composed Symphonic Rock. Nothing wrong with that, but don't go into this expecting Jethro Tull. Even Thick as a Brick wasn't as full-fledged Symphonic as this. I would say Red Queen to Gryphon Three is more along the lines of CttE-era Yes. Just not nearly as exciting.

That doesn't mean I don't like it, though. It just means that it will take longer to grow on you than other, more prominent Prog works. Yes. it's beautiful, complex and brilliant from a compositional standpoint, but how much fun will you have listening to it? Well, that really depends on how open-minded you are in your musical taste. Since you're on a Prog Rock site, I would assume that means you are more game than most to jump in to uncharted waters, but that still doesn't guarantee you'll actually enjoy this album.

On the one hand, you have a clear dedication to the music, and these guys were surely working hard at making a complex, all- instrumental album, and they certainly succeeded at that. But on the other hand, you have to wonder if the band were actually concerned with the album itself being listenable for long periods of time. I would say not, since this type of music is as far from Pop music as you can get. They knew they were making something not that easy to digest, and maybe they didn't even care about that much. But if you want to draw in a large audience, you need to make sure your music's complexity doesn't overshadow the music itself, if that makes sense.

I have grown to appreciate this album a lot more than I initially did, and I do think it's worth coming back to, because a lot of beautiful musical moments do begin to shine through after a while, but I do have some issues here, as well. Much of the more negative criticisms already present on this page are very true. A lot of the passages DO feel slapped together without any true structure, which causes the album to feel disjointed at times. The more frenzied sections DO lack warmth, in my opinion. But those moments are few, and you can still appreciate the bigger picture without focusing on the small and minute. My personal problem, however, is that the small and minute aspects of music are sometimes the most important parts to me. It's a shame that such good musicianship can be so aimless at times.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: If you're already a fan of this approach to music, you will most likely enjoy the record in any case. But if you don't typically go for this stuff, you're going to have to ask yourself a very simple question: are you willing to allow this type of music to grow on you, or not? If you give it time, this album may reveal itself over time as being one of your more intelligent records. If you don't want to give it a chance to grow on you, then you'll probably not ever appreciate it. It's a really tough call to make. Because of that, I don't think I'm going to recommend this. It's only for those listeners who willingly choose to seek this type of stuff out, and won't really appeal to a large amount of people-- even in Prog circles! At least, not right now. Maybe generations from now, Red Queen to Gryphon Three will be hailed as a masterpiece, but for now I wholeheartedly believe that it belongs exactly where it currently is-- just enough below the radar for its specific audience to discover and enjoy it. Everybody else should approach it with caution.

Beautiful at certain moments, but hard to digest the rest of the time. 3.5 stars.

JLocke | 3/5 |


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