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

RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE & RAINDANCE

Gryphon

Prog Folk


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Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This CD was released by Transatlantic Records in 1997 as part of their "Two Albums on One CD" releases, and contains the entire contents of two GRYPHON LPs "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" and "Raindance". For my detailed opinion of the music see my reviews of those two albums.

I rate this 2-LP CD as a 4-star release (Excellent addition to any Prog Rock collection). There's really no excuse not to have it, with over 80 minutes of good music in GRYPHON's inimitable style (Progrssive Rock with medieval and folk influences).

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Send comments to Fitzcarraldo (BETA) | Report this review (#3036)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
5 stars If you like folk prog with influences from Early Music and seldom heard instruments like bassoon, recorder and krumhorn, you ought to know Gryphon already, but if you don't have their music yet, buying this mid-price twin edition is the best move. The sheet includes also brief history and photos of the band. Hey, they have toured with YES!

Red Queen to Gryphon Three (1974) is their magnum opus, an instrumental four- piece consept about a chess game. It's a gorgeous, well-crafted composition including both sudden turns and romantic peaceful sections but never missing the focus or being complex only for the heck of it. Instrumentation is lovely, especially the use of reed instruments makes this a special album. Even the most demanding art music connoisseur can value it high.

Raindance (1975) is very uneven, but not to the point that would make it an unwelcome pair here. (Since RQtoG3 is a definite 5-star album, why not grant this with full rate too.) The final number, 16-minute 'Ein Klein Heldenleben' continues the style of RQtoG3, though it's not as good. Before it there are some short tracks that taste badly like fillers. Drummer David Oberlé is a decent low-key singer but the band really wasn't at their best in SONG-writing. (First albums included traditional songs like 'Unquiet Grave' that no doubt are an essential part of Gryphon's charm.) My favourites in Raindance are the instrumental title track, fresh like rain, and the Beatles cover 'Mother Nature's Son'. I even prefer it to McCartney's original on White Album.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#62138)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars What most amazes me about this band is that I had never heard them until I joined this web site. They are definitely the type of band I would have listened to back in the seventies. But such is the way of music exploration. This way they are fresh to my ears now.

While I enjoy both of the albums on this collection immensely, I find that I enjoy Red Queen To Gryphon Three more of the two. That album is more of a mix of medeival (did I spell that right?) music mixed with modern (1970's) progressive rock. The result is reminiscent of some of Gentle Giant's work in the same era, but with a more renaissance fair (huzzah!) feel to it. Pour me some more mead, and hand me that leg of lamb, wench!

The second half is quite good as well, but it's a more traditional seventies prog rock album. There is still a bit of the early music feel, but it really is only a trace.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#260981)
Posted Friday, January 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars This combo-release of 1997 by Castle Communications was my first (double!) experience with Gryphon. Having two-in-one CDs comes pretty handy but also, in this case, enhances the interest of the listening experience.

The main reason for this is the variation you get between the two CDs as RQTGT flows into Raindance. There is a transition from the long, peculiar, long compositions of the former to the more direct folk/rock character of the latter. In fact, Raindance in someways concludes with the way that RQTGT starts: with a long, intricate, symphonic-influenced composition.

The 'Opening Move' remided me of The Enid and ''In the Region Of The Summer Stars'' with the use of multiple instruments in an intriguing sequence from more melodic folk passages to grandios, barocque style. Apparently, this describes the atmopshere in the first move of the chess game... Throughout the rest of the three compositions, the mood constantly shifts, with 'Second Spasm' starting off as more light-hearted (imagine King Arthur arriving on his horse) but quickly evolving on a memorable dynamic bass line. The music that follows could remind you of Warner Bros' comics (no offence or pun intended!) with the wind instruments dominating, before returning to the trademark folk main theme. 'Lament' is much more subtle, dark and slower, but mid-way through explodes to yet another symphonic-folk adventurous rhythm that brings me back to The Enid... 'Checkmate' concludes the chess moves in an eclectic prog fashion and recurring wind instrument themes.

Raindance starts off in a more direct rock, on the one hand, and relaxed-folk atmosphere on the other with lyrics being first introduced in the mellow 'Mother Nature's Son'. The influence of French music appears in the next number, before 'Fontinental Version' which kicks off the more heavy rock elements in the album, amidst the melodic interludes. 'Wallbanger' presents a mix of flute and rock 'n' roll and 'Don't Say Go' reminds strongly of the canterbury tales of Caravan. The 16 min '(Ein Klein) Heldenleben' is certainly the highlight and potentially the only one resembling profoundly RQTGT, with symphonic/pompous arrangements but with a slightly lighter approach in the vein of Alan Parsons. Midway through it displays a folksier (see very British!) character with fast flute playing and then returns to the main theme of the composition before concluding in grandiose arrangements.

Great addition to your prog collection, even if Raindance does not match RQTGT, this combo-CD shows great variety in moods and includes memorable compositions. + to the price and - to the CD inlays but these are minor details.

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#1215362)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2014 | Review Permalink

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