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TREASON

Gryphon

Prog Folk


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars Some moments on this downright electric effort and really muscled rock . The group has now evolved into a real rock group and bears little resemblances to the early albums that were totally acoustic. Most numberts here are strongly inspired by Yes even to the voice. I am not sure they found more success with this stuff but they lost all of the folkies who were still clinging to them with the previous one and they lost everything because they got swiped away by the punk storm.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#3029)
Posted Monday, February 02, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is "far" from early Gryphon records....still i think this is a great album!! Why? Well... im am very fond of my early Gryphon records....with their folk/rock trimmings. That said.. i think that this outing is fresh...one might say they´re popish/rockish....but still, underneat it all, there is still Gryphon as we know them!! I must say...the more i hear this record, the more i love it...there are still the expert musicianship (..ohh.yes there are!)and the vocal- arrangements are even better than before!! Just listen to track 2 " Round and round" ahh..those wonderful voices..and still there is recorders,horn,oboe along with guitars.. and keyboards.....actually the more i listen to this album...did i mention this?? Nevermind...this IS a great record......there are hints of Gentle giant/Greenslade and of course Gryphon. Ok.....this is Gryphon of this age.......please give it a try ....its not bad at all !! 4 stars.....mostly because it took me by surprise...secondly because its that good!!!

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Send comments to Tonny Larz (BETA) | Report this review (#3030)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
lnclrk@supane
3 stars an excellent album if somewhat dated. quiet thoughtful tracks like 'fall of the leaf ' are contrasted by more upbeat 'flash in the pantry' and 'major disaster'. there sound is something quite different in the realms of folk music. you'll get used to it ...then like it a lot.

definitely worth exploring if you are adventurous in folk music

alzo

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#3031)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It is the last album I own from them. Their sound here is quite more electric than in the past, less folky. I think this record has a optimum balance between electric instruments and acoustic ones. Many would consider bad their new orientation, but one has to listen carefully and conclude that the tracks are sophisticated, very well played and very progressive. There are still tons of percussions (varied small bells among others). The bassoon is still well played, the required synchronization for complex changing patterns is still there. Harvey's keyboards are more rhythmic, more accessible, despite he plays here some outstanding solos. The bass is complex enough and rather bottom. The omnipresent rhythmic guitars and keyboards, the miscellaneous vocals give some bits a style comparable to prog band Kayak. But of course the compositions are quite more elaborated. Different, yes, but still excellent!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#3032)
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Gryphon's last album is absolutely a masterpiece! Yes, ok their sound is different, and one might say they have sold their soul for satan (money), but I can't agree on that. This is one of another breathtakingly album by this superior band! The folk elements and instruments are still there, the great musicship hasn't gone anywhere and the compositions are still brilliantly amazing. Each song sounds totally different from the previous one, and each song is splendidly exciting! No need to mention that this is the band that has made me like prog since it's such a unique and talented band. this is an absolute masterpiece provided by GRYPHON which is the finest prog folk band around, although it becomes a bit more commerical than the previous albums. However, the band keeps on being amazingly awesome. I can keep on like this forever, but let's sum this review by saying that this is a remarkable album that must be heard!

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Send comments to Dan Yaron (BETA) | Report this review (#44769)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The final work released in 1977 "Treason". The sound was made a pop rock the member's changing. It is a work that overturns the image of the past. A sweet melody divides listener's favor. The atmosphere is caused with by the whole volume. The performance that combines exquisite ensembles is rhythmical, and an image very near YES. I recommends it for the fan of YES. The stern is that however, there was firmly greatly differing from the epigone of a lot of existing YES as for the uniting target of ancient music and the rock. The sound of this album is a result of the pursuit.Excellent addition to any prog music collection.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#60365)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars This is in my opinion the best of Gryphon's albums and a well hidden gem, severely underrated. As has been pointed out by other reviewers, this does not sound like any other Gryphon album. But then again wasn't there a pretty large difference between their first and their second albums as well? Gryphon has always been a band under constant progression and to me this album is still very much Gryphon. Most of their trademarks are still here (Krumhorn, anyone?).

This album is perhaps a bit less experimental than the earlier ones, but this is still very much progressive rock - and it rocks harder than any other Gryphon album. You could perhaps say that it is a bit darker and a bit less silly than earlier Gryphon albums, but there is enough silliness to recognize which band it is. Indeed, even the title of the album itself (a prediction of what people were going to say about their change of direction) shows that they didn't take themselves too seriously.

There are also a lot more vocals here than on most Gryphon albums, and the vocals are better too. The songs are very melodious and well written. The music is definitely similar in some respects to Gentle Giant, but without imitating them. This album should appeal to fans of Gentle Giant and to prog rock fans in general, perhaps more so than any other Gryphon album.

The only song I don't really care for here is "Snakes and Ladders" which sounds a bit like the carnival in Rio!

Unfortunately, it is rather hard to find this album. I haven't found it on CD yet for a reasonable price (over $100 on amazon!!). I downloaded it from mp3fiesta.com for about $1.50 (recommended!). I still want it on CD though, as soon as I can find it for a reasonable price.

Excellent addition to any prog music collection, if you can find it.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#178156)
Posted Friday, July 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album starts off very well. 'Spring Song' sounds like it is setting up for some quirky instrumental prog along the lines of one of the tunes from the amazing 'Red Queen to Gryphon Three' album, but then about a third of the way through the tune it morphs into something that sounds an awful lot like Yes. 'Spring Song' ends up sounding like Gryphon's version of 'Close to the Edge'. Now CttE is one of the all time classic Prog songs so maybe this would be a good thing, But Yes already did it amazingly well and this really just sounds derivative. It is sad for me that a band with their own distinct sound decided for one reason or another to change it and decided to openly emulate another band. The album continues with more songs that sound like Yes (with a little Gentle Giant thrown in here and there) and very little of the characteristic folky woodwind instuments that we have heard in previous albums. This isn't a bad album and it's not even really a total copy like Druid, but none of the music really reaches out and grabs you.

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Send comments to digdug (BETA) | Report this review (#187727)
Posted Sunday, November 02, 2008 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars Every time I listen to this album, I have the same reaction. Throughout what was the first side of the album, I find myself enjoying the music immensely. The songs are energetic electric prog, fronted by Bob Foster's Steve Howe like guitar wizardry. I find myself at this listen thinking "4 stars at least, maybe even 5 stars if they can remain consistent."

Then I go ahead and listen to the rest of the album. The energy drops off considerably, and the songwriting loses most of the inventiveness that flowed about the previous songs. So, four starts for side one, two stars for side two.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#261163)
Posted Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars A nice wee album. Just like the Beatles did in '69 with 'Abbey Road' - another album that had no direction -just great tunes after "sergeant'-. Gryphon saved all their best tunes and odds and ends for this final release in '77. The complexity of 'Red Queen' has vanished, and in it's place is something completely different. At this time punk had kicked in so in a way it does sound hopelessly dated but some parts are superb - particularly the drum sequence on 'Flash in the Pantry' which borders on Adam and the Ants. Don't go there 'Ant' fans as it immediately morphs into prog city. A difficult album to rate as they clearly have all their faculties together - it's just that... prog sounded tired at this point. Tired and irrelevant. The late 70's was a time of rapidly changing genres and unfortunately Gryphon got hit hard in the face along with many other bands.

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Send comments to Dobermensch (BETA) | Report this review (#298353)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was Gryphon's last album with an expanded line up. Guitarist Bob Foster replaces Graeme Taylor, drummer Alex Baird (famous for playing The William Tell overture on his skull in concert) and bassist Jonathan Davie have joined the remaining 3 original members in a mainly electric line up.

Sadly, this is well below the creative genius of some of their earlier albums. The album kicks off promisingly with the magical 10 minute Spring Song, a track which rivals anything else they did, with some glorious guitar, keyboard and woodwind playing and fine lyrics and vocals, especially in the chorus. From then on, it's downhill with the songs being short, uninspired if not unpleasant but fairly anodyne. Falero Lady is the only one which grates a bit. The musicianship of all the members is exemplary (I saw this line up on the Treason tour in 1977 and they were sensational), but the material on this album lets them down.

Sadly, punk came and condemned this once brilliant band to oblivion, but on this evidence, they were well past their peak. Spring Song is a 5* song, but the rest is 3* at best.

RIP Gryphon - but may you rise again one day.

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Send comments to Hercules (BETA) | Report this review (#298367)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars I find it difficult to understand the other somewhat glowing reviews of this album. I was a fan of Gryphon when they were actually around, back in the early 70's and I cannot remember an album that disappointed me more than Treason. Treason is an apt name, because in this album Gryphon betrayed everything they once stood for and produced pure and simple trash. I listened to this album exactly once and then literally tossed it into the garbage. I can only liken it to the very similar betrayal perpetrated by Gentle Giant with their release of Civilian. The culprit here, as with so many Prog bands, is the desire to achieve popularity and money. While I certainly understand the financial stresses such bands surely endure, the end result of attempting to become "popular" inevitably ends in mediocracy.

Really people, this album, Treason, contains NOTHING of what made Gryphon interesting. There is NO melodic complexity, no complexity of structure, none of the gentle good humor and integrity of their first album and none of originality and beauty of either Mushrumps or Red Queen. Both of those albums were fabulous works of art. I still listen to them now, almost forty years after their first release. Treason, on the other hand, belongs in the dust bin which is where my own copy went some 34 years ago.

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Send comments to beammeupscotty (BETA) | Report this review (#448317)
Posted Sunday, May 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars As other colleagues have said, this album has little (to nothing) to do with their previous works. From a soft acoustic folk during their first two albums (that showed little prog), the band evolved nicely with "Red Queen" which was IMHHO their best work ever. The music was definitely prog and it was a great mix of folk and symphonic passages.

This album is even more symphonic at times and I also have to say that the long opener "Spring Song" seriously borrow to "Yes": bombastic organ, mellotron, catchy vocals and powerful band. This is a very good track indeed, although it was totally unexpected.

But almost the whole of this album is unexpected. Even if the gentle "Round & Round" is more in line with their roots: a soft folk-rock ballad with a nice touch thanks to several instruments used in here. It is another good moment actually. I am not quite enthusiast though about the jazzy and world-music oriented "Flash In The Pantry"

The remaining songs are not quite exciting and range from jazz-rock ("Falero Lady", "Snakes & Ladders"), melodic rock ("Fall Of The Leaf") to soft-rock music ("Major Disaster"). Vocal arrangements are quite decent throughout the whole album which I rate with three stars.

It was also a difficult time for prog bands to get a place on the forefront at the time (1977 ? I hope I go to heaven. From whom you might know).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#531733)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Some guy on Amazon.com described this album as 'disastrous' or some other synonym of a similar regard, and after deciding to ignore his comment (I'm assuming it's a guy here, it could well have been one of those non-guys) and going ahead and listening to the album I can honestly say his opinion is BS.

Yes, this album is like none other of Gryphon's albums before, the more eclectic nature and construction of their songs is sidelined and the band have moved into a more commercially acceptable vein which clearly isn't to a purist's taste, but you can't call this proto-prog, it's just possibly the least progressive prog album out.

Gryphon still manage to dazzle with sophisticated passages of musicianship as heard on 'Snakes and Ladders' and 'Flash in the Pantry' but also manage to blend in some gentler and more relaxing numbers such as 'Fall of the Leaf' and 'Major Disaster'.

The magnum opus though is obviously 'Spring Song', a delightful 10 minute song which manages to combine both styles Gryphon play in on this album and really is a fantastic track to my ears.

Praise aside, some of the vocals aren't the greatest I've ever heard. The harmonies don't quite work in places and are an acquired taste as I did find them difficult to listen to to begin with.

I'm going to rate this 4/5 because I although I absolutely adore this album and find it difficult to take out of my CD player I just can't rate it 5/5 because that would mean rating it higher than 'RQTG3' which I'd chose to save first in a house fire any day.

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Send comments to Canterzeuhl (BETA) | Report this review (#596501)
Posted Monday, December 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although only recognized by few, this is by far the best Gryphon album. Finally they succeeded in developing a true sound with complete songs. On their previous albums the sound quality was really too poor and the structure of the songs was hardly perceptible, the only truly tangible songs, being medieval or renaissance tunes. In stead of freakish experiments, Treason has to offer us a collection of well-balanced, melodic and warm sounding symphonic folk songs.The genious of Richard Harvey, who would later become so succesful as a writer of television-series tunes is here fully displayed. The singing on the album, both solistic and harmonic, is of excellent quality and the playing is impeccable. Beautiful arranged and recorded crumhorn, recorder and bassoon parts decorate songs like "Round & Round", "Fall Of The Leave" and "Major Disaster". The keyboard sounds are subtle and well placed, while guitarst Bob Foster fits in the band like a glove. Gryphon still haven't lost their sense of humour, as you can observe in songs like "Flash in the Pantry" and the saxophone dominated "Snakes and Ladders". The longest song on the album is the opening piece "Spring Song" a very warm sounding elaborated progressive folk composition, full of tempo and character changes, evoking the blessings of spring. One could only regret the shortness of the album. It's a pity that in the late seventies so many great bands were washed away by the hooligans of punk music. I think this record will please every melodic folk lover and can be considered an essential in the genre, so I will reward it with five stars !

Erik de Beer.

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Send comments to Life Line Project (BETA) | Report this review (#749920)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2012 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In 1977 it probably wasn't the best idea for even an erstwhile Prog band like Gryphon to name their new album "Treason". Fans of Progressive Rock were suffering enough persecution at the time, without the added betrayal of their favorite medieval troubadours presenting themselves as mainstream commercial pop stars.

That wasn't quite what happened, obviously. But I can still recall my disappointment after first hearing the album, fresh off the record store shelves. The emphatic cover art promised a heavier, more aggressive experience, not the cloying high-calorie sweetness of Prog-Pop ballads like "Round & Round", "Fall of the Leaf", and the too-aptly titled "Major Disaster".

The line-up of the band had been drastically reshuffled too, with original guitarist Graeme Taylor quitting and David Oberlé leaving his drum kit to focus strictly on singing duties, both moves oddly mirroring similar cataclysms within GENESIS at around the same time (but with far less profitable results). And the antique Elizabethan whimsy of earlier albums, already in jeopardy, was almost completely eradicated. No more krumhorns, alas, and Richard Harvey's signature recorder runs were conspicuously missing, until a too-brief, token appearance in the album's final moments.

Treason, indeed, but that was then. Fast-forward to the early 21st century...

Revisiting the LP for the first time in many decades, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it's aged. The social context of the later 1970s is long gone of course, so now it's possible to enjoy the album on its own merits, slim and superficial though they may be. The album may have been a sell-out, but it was hardly a sudden one; the process had been evolving ever since the band's self-titled first album in 1973 (a still underrated effort, in these pages).

And, if nothing else, it was at least a well-produced and thoroughly professional sell-out. In retrospect the album was much stronger than their previous "Raindance", and arguably more cohesive than the fan favorite "Red Queen to Gryphon Three", despite having far less interesting material. There's a stronger overall sense of purpose here, even if that same purpose was fast becoming desperately unfashionable with every passing hour.

To their credit the band had enough forethought to call it quits soon afterward, instead of dragging their heels into terminal redundancy like so many other Proggers at the end of the decade. The sad example of their tour mates and mentors in YES springs immediately to mind, as well as the waning GENTLE GIANT, Gryphon's closest stylistic competitor and fellow casualties of changing times.

Karma can indeed be a bitch, and the penalty for this particular "Treason" was a quick and premature oblivion. But try listening to the album again, this time with unblemished ears. It's lightweight stuff, sure, but you might just catch yourself tapping your toes to the playfully spastic rhythms of "Falero Lady", or joining in the upbeat chorus of the optimistic "Spring Song".

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#808682)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Not what you think!

It's exaggerating greatly to say that Gryphon committed treason to their sound and their fans with this album. I'm actually surprised by the negative comments above. I kinda understand their deception; you have to remember that Gryphon was (and still is, frankly) so superior in writing and execution than everybody else. Few could come close to being that skilled, but a lazier album by Gryphon is STILL better than many, many other 'classics' in the prog world (*cough* ELP).

I do agree, they changed their approach: less medieval, more Yes-like, more vocals, more catchyness, more love-oriented texts and a general less 'showoffness'.

You STILL have an above-average record with lots of hooks and a Fairy Tale mood that will still satisfy your hunger for mind-blowing prog.

Not a Treason by any means, just more pressure from The Man.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#1138889)
Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2014 | Review Permalink

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