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Gryphon Raindance album cover
3.29 | 253 ratings | 32 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Down the Dog (2:44)
2. Raindance (5:37)
3. Mother Nature's Son (3:08)
4. Le Cambrioleur Est Dans Le Mouchoir (2:14)
5. Ormolu (1:00)
6. Fontinental Version (5:36)
7. Wallbanger (3:33)
8. Don't Say Go (1:48)
9. (Ein Klein) Heldenleben (16:03)

Total Time 41:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Brian Gulland / bassoon, lead (6) & backing vocals
- Richard Harvey / grand piano, Rhodes, RMI & Crumar electric pianos, Minimoog, Copeman Hart organ, Mellotron, clavinet, glockenspiel, recorders, crumhorns, penny whistle, clarinet (4)
- Graeme Taylor / guitars, backing vocals
- Malcolm Bennett / bass, flute
- David Oberlé / drums, percussion, lead vocals (3,6,8)

Releases information

Artwork: Tony Wright with Philip Warr (art direction)

LP Transatlantic Records ‎- TRA 302 (1975, UK)

CD Canyon International ‎- PCCY-00347 (1992, Japan)
CD Curio Records ‎- ITEM CD7 (1995, UK)
CD Talking Elephant Records ‎- TECD166 (2010, Europe) Remastered from the original masters
CD Belle Antique ‎- BELLE-162576 (2016, Japan) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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GRYPHON Raindance ratings distribution

(253 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

GRYPHON Raindance reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars As far as I am concerned this is my favorite album , although most progheads will choose RQTG3 . Heldenleben alone is reason enough for acquiring this album .

Part of Gryphon's music is veering towards Yes and is more and more electric as lps go by, and the rest staying more traditional Gryphon style. More and more the rock music is taking place as albums go on and it is yet another step up from Red Queen . The main difference here is that some numbers are downright rock and electric and some are still perfectly traditional . As I said above , the real highlight is the 15 min Heldenbengen very close to Yes in spirit but still so Gryphon-ish.

This album could've gotten another half star but the main reason why it does not is thatthe tracks choice is definitely more uneven than RQTG3 and there two weak moments IMHO. Still definitely woth the investigation and then the investment.

Review by Menswear
3 stars Don't be afraid, this album is not a total goner. Okay, it's different than Red Queen. But, be honest, is it cool to do the same album all over and over again (sorry Dream Theater)? The album is a bit like the white album. There's bits and pieces of influences everywhere and the guys are having fun to have less boundaries. They proved their talent (and how!) in the previous album. Now, they experience. And, as a treat, you get the best, and I mean, the best song of every Gryphon album on this record: (Ein Klein) Heldenleben. This song is worth the price of the album. I was suspicious at first. I mean, this record is a total no-name. But, the last song will make you rejoyce and dance, amen.
Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The next album after the acclaimed "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" album shows GRYPHON becoming more rock-based and less medieval in their sound. There are 9 tracks on this album, versus the 4 long tracks on "Red Queen To Gryphon Three", although the shorter tracks on "Raindance" are counterbalanced by the last track '(Ein Klein) Heldenleben' which is the album's pièce de résistance and perhaps more like the music on "Red Queen To Gryphon Three".

'Opening Move' has a funky start and is a pleasant 'foot tapper' (with an abrupt end), but it's nothing special.

The title track is basically the sampled sound of rain falling with backing instrumental music, with some thunderclaps near the end of the track. It's pleasant, relaxing and quite evocative, but hardly a masterpiece.

'Mother Nature's Son' is GRYPHON's rendition of the Lennon & McCartney song, and for me is one of the highlights of this album. The vocals, recorder and acoustic guitar make for a beautiful track which I like very much. It also reminds me of just how good Lennon & McCartney were at song writing. I wonder, though, why GRYPHON chose this particular song to include on the album.

'Le Cambrioleur Est Dans Le Mouchoir' (the burgler is in the handkerchief!) is a fun number in a 1920s-like style and reminds me a little of BONZO DOG DOO-DAH BAND, even down to the Viv Stanshall-sounding singing in places.

'Ormolu' is a short song with a tick-tock rhythm; it sounds to me like the soundtrack to a BBC TV programme for small children!

'Fontinental Version' is initially a rather laid-back, melodious song with nonsense lyrics, sounds a bit like an 18th Century English country dance in the middle but then has a good Progressive instrumental part with synth, electric guitar and bass. I like this track.

'Wallbanger', an instrumental written by Harvey (!), has a foot-tapping beat and good use of instruments (including clavinet): there's still a bit of GRYPHON's recorder and bassoon in there but also plenty of bass, organ and percussion, amongst others. It's still easily identifiable as GRYPHON with the medieval influences, though. Great track.

'Don't Say Go' is a tuneful, 'foot tapper' song, but nothing special.

The long instrumental '(Ein Klein) Heldenleben' is more like the music on "Red Queen To Gryphon Three". It's a very good track containing a variety of catchy rhythms, melodies and moods. You can still easily hear the medieval influence for which GRYPHON is known, but it's also very Progressive music in my opinion. It also rocks in places with some nice keyboards (almost Wakeman-like in one place), electric guitar, bass and drums.

All in all not a bad album, but not as good as "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" in my opinion. Nevertheless, I doubt you would regret owning this album. In any case, as Transatlantic Records has released it together with "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" under their "Two Albums on One CD" releases, there's no reason not to get it!

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Gryphon's fourth release, "Raindance", was a step down from the previous "Red Queen to Gryphon Tree" album. This one is closer to regular Progressive Rock instead of Folk-Prog. The band's technical abilities is still present but the songs are less creative and interesting. However, the title track and "Ein Klein" are both beautiful and masterful songs that easily are among Gryphon's best songs. Other than that, there are a couple of good tracks, but also some completely bad ones. If you like this band, get this one for the title track and "Ein Klein".

A very varied album, but could have been better. 3 stars.

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If Gryphon's brilliant third album was a shocking grab for the prog-rock throne, Raindance was a gentle slide back down to earth. It's as if immortality was too much to handle and the core quartet, along with new bassist Malcolm Bennett were content to put out an album that was simply "good".

The stomping opener Down The Dog is widely despised among Gryphonites, but I actually found it quite funky. However, a combination of the reverrent, but unnecessary cover of The Beatles' Mother Nature's Son, the joke song Le Cambrioleur Est Dans Le Mouchoir and the sing-along Don't Say Go soon revealed that Gryphon had made the fatal decision not to take themselves too seriously!

That's not to say that there isn't a lot of quality lurking around. The atmospheric title track, entertaining clock-based instrumental Ormolu and the beautiful if slightly nonsenical Fontinental Version are among Gryphon's best tunes. And the 16-minute closer (Ein Klein) Heldenleben is the sound of Gryphon rocking out as never before.

In fact, from a progressive point of view, Raindance is clearly Gryphon's second best work. It's just that it suffers in comparison with the masterpiece that preceeded it. ... 68% on the MPV scale

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album is their most progressive rock one. The songs styles are very varied. The medieval patterns are less present than on the previous albums. For the first time, Gryphon use here omnipresent miscellaneous keyboards and excellent electric guitars. "Down the dog" contains an overload of clavinet. The "Raindances" track has magic and graceful keyboards arrangements, sounding VERY modern for 1975: the flute and the delicate small percussions enhance the enchanted tendency of this track: the very fast Fender Rhodes and/or Wurlitzer and/or clavinet? is amazing. The very acoustic, delicate, charming and catchy "Mother Nature's Son" has more the traditional medieval style of the earlier albums. "Le Cambrioleur Est Dans Le Mouchoir" is a short funny track made of melodic acoustic guitars, funny percussions, some badly spoken French vocals in the background and clarinet. The very short "Ormolu" is a stunning and funny exhibition of varied percussions played through repetitive clock ticks. The OUTSTANDING and structured "Fontinental version" is a more conventional complex progressive rock song, having abrupt air & pattern changes: the dissonant parts are well exploited, and the mellow parts remind me the PFM's "Photos of ghost" album. "Wallbanger" has successive parts of melodic harpsichord, electric piano, bassoon + flutes and harmonium. "Don't Say Go" reminds me the Caravan's "Golf girl" track. The last track, the epic "Heldenleben" is among my all-time favorite progressive rock tracks: the omnipresent electric guitars are very impressive! Richard Harvey's keyboards are speechless; the bass and drums complete well the complex whole. Some bits are even progressive hard rock! There are delicate and subtle moments, like the piano, flute and bassoon combination past the fourth minute; the canon bit around 6:30 reaches the quintessence; there are impressive pedal effects (delay among others) on the last electric guitar solo, near the end. All the tracks are at least excellent!


Review by soundsweird
3 stars Not as overtly progressive as "Red Queen...", and lacking most of the Early Music overtones of their first two efforts, this all-over-the-map album has some fine songs mixed in with some... "missteps". I like the tunes that show a Gentle Giant/Caravan influence, and tolerate the tracks that attempt to expand their trademark sound (the sequencers don't work, Mr. Harvey). I'd say that about half of the album is worthwhile. Unfortunately, I'd say the same about the 16-minute closer. It's difficult to listen to the whole track, since it's got good and bad sections. Ah, well....
Review by NJprogfan
4 stars Tough to rate this album by our medival/folky/prog Gryphon boys. They have a couple Gentle Giantish songs, (beatwise, anyway) "Down The Dog", and the beginning of "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben", a few Stackridge/kitchen sink variety ditties, "LeCambrioleur Est Dans Le Mouchoir" and "Ormolu", some popish songs, "Mother Nature's Son" and "Don't Say Go" and then there's tracks only Gryphon can do, "Raindance" and "Fontinental Version". So why is it hard to rate this? Well, when you consider the last track, "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben", you can't believe a band can play this type of mind-blowingly complex and wonderful prog and yet saddle the listener with the popish stuff mentioned previously. Even songs like "Fontinental Version" is very Gentle Giant-like in spots and ROCKS! I guess if you're looking for something with a wide pallate of sounds, then this album would fall under the 4-star umbrella, the last track alone warrants the fourth star. But in reality, it's really 3.5 rounded to 4; uneven but highly enjoyable!
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The sound of the krumhorn

I have always looked upon Gryphon as a second division prog band. They are undoubtedly a talented bunch of guys, but for me their albums lack that spark which separates the good from the great. On the face of it, this their fourth album (from 1975) has many of the right ingredients; a tastefully artistic sleeve, a 16 minute opus, a multi-instrumental line up, and so on. What we have though is at best a mixed bag.

The arrival of Malcolm Bennett for this album coincided with a change in the band's style, away from the folk sounds of earlier albums towards rock based music. Whether this was down to the fact that they had toured with Yes (Bennett also worked with Steve Howe) is debatable. It may just have been that the band were seeking a new direction anyway.

The plethora of traditional instruments (including the krumhorn) which distinguish the sound of Gryphon are still present, sitting well along side their more modern peers such as mellotron and synthesiser.

The music is a pleasant blend of CAMEL, MAGNA CARTA and YES. It tends to be reflective rather than aggressive, with a pleasant overriding folk feel. On side one of the LP, "Fontinental Version" is by far the most diverse and progressive offering, with hints of PFM in the tempo changes and acoustic vs. electronic passages. The unusual mixture of synthesiser solo, mellotron backing, and an array of traditional instruments actually works well. The cover version of the Beatles "Mother Nature's son" is an agreeably soft interpretation which brings out the delightful melody of the song.

Side 2 of the album consists of three tracks, but is dominated by the 16 minute "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben". "Wallbanger" is probably the band's most rock orientated composition, while the brief "Don't say go" has the feel of one of CARAVAN's light, whimsical ditties. For me, while "Heldenleben" is well composed and performed, it is not the feature track which might be expected. The rock and classical influences are certainly blended will, with tasteful instrumentation, but the piece leaves me feeling that it could have been considerably more dynamic.

This was effectively the last of the real Gryphon albums, the line up changing substantially before their final album "Treason". It is a fine representation of the point the band had reached in their development, with the rock influences coming more to the fore, balanced effectively with more traditional folk moods.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This fourth album is lighter (in my opinion) compared to the third one. There are many influences from ELP but still this band has its own identity. The music is as complex and misunderstood as previous album - at least for my personal taste. Some people might be able to fully digest the music. For me personally, I have to force myself to be able to enjoy the music. So, what's the point? It does not fulfill my principle that "music is emotion". I'd rather listen to other kind of prog music and leave this album to those of you who like complexity and do not think melody as important part of music. I do not say that this is a bad album - not at all - it's just not tightly composed, musically (in my opinion). The epic at the end of the album can be considered something that I can enjoy - but not the whole epic track. I leave it up to you whether or not to purchase this album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars Is it acceptable to buy an album for one song? Yes, when that song is (Ein Klein) Heldenleben! Of course, the epics are what catches most proggers' eyes anyway. Just don't expect much more from this album. The other songs are not bad, but highlights are few and far between. And then you have Heldenleben, one of my top 25 prog epics.

As should be apparent, I don't find the non-epic tracks to be memorable. Mother Nature's Son would be the exception--a very catchy and tender mellow tune, up there with Focus' Janis and Hackett's Hands of the Priestess for simple elegance. Wallbanger features an upbeat tune with a very proggy arrangement, and Raindance is a nice ambient piece. Both are decent, not great. The rest is either too short or too goofy for me to take seriously.

And then we come to Heldenleben: Nearly 16 minutes of some of the most diverse, attention-grabbing, well-arranged prog I have ever heard. They have albums worth of great melodies packed into this song, and every instrument has its moment to shine, without ever directly being given the spotlight. You have the great baseline to begin, followed by marching keyboard, leading into an intricate drum/flute duo, moving to a cool flute/krumhorn build up, and finally the absolutely spacey keyboard/guitar climax. That is just a taste of what Heldenleben offers. Could have a little bit more crisp production, but otherwise a wonderfully unique and creative piece of prog history.

One phenomenal song, a couple worth returning to, and the rest filler. That is the paradox of Raindance. Sixteen minutes of fabulous prog is worth my money, and I'll wager it's worth yours as well.

Review by obiter
3 stars Whoops. I've put on the wrong record, someone must have slipped a disc that certainly doesn't belong in a gryphon record sleeve. Where are the outrageous krummerhorn solos?

Just relax, deep breaths ... this is Gryphon, prog normality shall be restored in a short while, we are merely experiencing temporary pop turbulence (a comon feature of the mid 70s) nothing to be alarmed about, return to your seats and strap yourself in.

Ahhh, Raindance eases my troubled brow. It has to be said it's a bit like cabbage leaves for young rabbits ... soporific. This is a cosy seat; the music is inoffensively bland; it's been a hard week at work, time to nod off. Kummerhorns are heard in the background. I like it, but then I'm easily pleased. it's OK but not great.

At the end of the first side we are treated to Fontinental Version. Maybe teated is not the right word: it's more of an imposition. I cant' quite put my finger on it but, nah who am I kidding, it's just a bit disappointing and rubbish.

Side Two begins with the blandWllbanger and then Don't Say Go. Boy but this song is pure Canterbury. THis would not be amiss in the Land of Pink and Grey or If I Could Do it Again I Do It all Over You. As a Caravan fan, I love this short track.

Aha ...Heldenleben. Like for Marcia on Astronaut Dismatles Hal (Amplifier) this is a greta track which oyu should have in your collection.

It 's good album ( and a decent addition to a prog collection) but it's neither essential nor an excellent addition so 3 stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars I'm not a fan of this band at all and I think that Red Queen To Gryphon Three is very overrated on this site. However, I do rate the much underrated Treason album with four stars, definitely my favourite Gryphon album. Compared to Red Queen To Gryphon Three, Raindance is a bit more rock influenced and, indeed, I would say that Raindance is Gryphon's first Prog rock album! The first three not really being Prog at all in my opinion.

You might think that, since I like Treason so much, which was an even rockier album than Raindance, I should like this one too. Well, as a matter fact I don't, very much. This album is very uneven and the material is rather weak. Apart from the Beatles cover, which is nice, but no more. Wallbanger is the first track on this album to even grab my attention. It sounds good, but nothing remarkable.

(Ein Klein) Heldenleben is better compositionally than anything from Red Queen To Gryphon Three or Midnight Mushrumps. It is also the best and only memorable track on this album. It is enjoyable to listen to, but a masterpiece it is not. They might have been a bit influenced by Yes at this time, but this is far away from Yes in both style and quality. Don't get me wrong, they are excellent musicians, and all the instruments are very well played, but the composition is really not that strong.

It seems to me that Gryphon did not have many good musical ideas at this point. Most of the compositions are rather second rate and they are not as experimental as earlier albums, for better or worse. But don't let this album deter you from checking out the much better Treason album, where they finally made a good album.

Uneven, but with some good moments.

Review by Negoba
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

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars Most people will consider Raindance a notch below Red Queen to Gryphon Three. To my ears, they were simply trying new things and see what works and what doesn't and you can see that for yourself. The band lineup is still basically the same: Richard Harvey, David Oberle, Graeme Taylor, and Brian Gulland, with new bassist Malcolm Bennett, who replaced Philip Nestor. I long recognized Malcolm Bennett's name long before I ever heard of Gryphon through Steve Howe's Beginnings (an album he played on, as well as Graeme Taylor and David Oberle), back when I was in my Yes phase (since I didn't know of Gryphon then I had no idea they actually toured with Yes).

"Down the Dog" has a decidedly funky feel, with Richard Harvey playing clavinet. This is something completely unheard of previously. The title track has that minimalist feel with electric piano and an electronic feel. Again a piece completely out of the question on their previous release. Then comes their cover of the Beatles' "Mother Nature's Son". The original has never been a favorite of mine, but Gryphon did an even better cover of it, with some medieval influences showing up. The next couple pieces are short and don't really do much for me. "Fontinental Version" is a vocal piece, but I like the rather complex approach they do to it. What's really surprising is the use of Mellotron, an instrument Richard Harvey obviously never used before. "Wallbanger" is a more rock-oriented piece, but still has some of that medieval feel. The 16 minute "(Ein Klein) Heldenbelen" is, as most people regard it, the album's high point. This is a truly amazing and complex piece that is without a doubt one of the finest pieces Gryphon had ever done.

I still recommend Raindance, even if a couple pieces I thought were throwaway, the worthy stuff is great, and I like some of these new things they do here.

Review by progpositivity
4 stars Raindance is an eclectic excursion in many different (only slightly more commercial) directions for Gryphon. Far from ignoble, this album suffers mainly due to comparisons with its masterpiece predecessor "Red Queen to Gryphon Three".

"Down the Dog" is funky, fusion-y, powerful, catchy and "to the point". As far as "instrumental" tunes garnering AOR airplay in the 70's, this is the type tune that could have done it.

The band seems interested in integrating sounds into their music on this album. "Raindances" is a nice mood piece that begins and ends with the sound of rainfall. The song "Ormolu" conveys the mood of an ornate gold-plated clock consistently tracking time. Is it mere coincidence that this song clocks in at exactly 1 minute? Not a second more nor a second less!

Even before their first album was released, Gryphon was known for performing medieval/renaissance style adaptations of Beatles songs. This "style-sampler"' album afforded them the opportunity to cover "Mother Nature's Son" as only Gryphon could do!

"Raindances" closes on a high note with "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben", a 16+ minute piece that takes the band's medieval sound even deeper into Progressive Rock territory than much of the material on Red Queen to Gryphon Three.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With this album Gryphon started to add vocals to their once instrumental sound. There is also more use of keyboards here. "Mother Nature's Son" is a cover of the Beatles tune. Nothing special and not much different to the original. "Le Cambrioleur..." is a short folky song with lyrics in French. Pure filler. "Don't Say Go" is another short song with some nice cowbell. This song sounds like Caravan.

Opener "Down The Dog" is my fave here. It begins with some cowbell and clavinet. A very fun and funky song but there are more symphonic sections too. Some organ and bassoon/krumhorn as well. Some cool sounding synths at the end. The title track has great synths with a single drum. It just builds and builds. The sound of a thunderstorm to end it. "Ormolou" has a New Wave style sequencer part with bassoon/clarinet/krumhorn playing as well. "Fontinental Version" starts out as an almost country-ish singer/songwriter type of song. It then goes into an almost Gentle Giant like part with a marching beat. It goes back to the earlier singer/songwriter vocal part. Then a great synth solo with the Gentle Giant part. Some krumhorn(?). Back to the marching beat. Then a folky section. Back to the vocal part but with some Mellotron this time. The Gentle Giant part gets briefly reprised before the song ends.

"Wallbanger" has some great bass. Some harpsichord and flute as well. The guitar playing sounds like Steve Howe. The Yes influence is most noticeable on the 16-minute "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben". It begins very classical sounding. Around 1 1/2 minutes in goes into a Yes-like part. Around 4 minutes there is a marching beat. It goes back to the classical section. Before 7 minutes there is a synth drone with a flute solo. Before 10 minutes there is a nice melody on flute/bassoon, etc. Then an electric guitar solo. 11 1/2 minutes there is a weird synth solo. After 13 minutes the nice melody comes back. It then goes into another Yes-like part with the same melody. Ends with a melody on glockenspiel(?).

Gryphon were never very consistent. Raindance does feature some of their best music along with more filler stuff. More diverse than but not as consistent as the instrumental Red Queen To Gryphon Three. Deserves 3 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars As far as I am concerned, their previous album was their absolute top. It was a superb combination between symphonic and folk prog. This work is not too bad either, but the grandeur of its predecessor is not present.

The first part of the album features an upbeat & jazzy track ("Down The Dog") which is not the best opening number I have heard from the band. The mood is completely different with the sophisticated and melodic "Raindance". It is a tranquil track which features some beautiful background piano.

There is also truly folkish music ("Le Cambrioleur") which is not memorable and some" press next" type of tracks as well as "Ormulu", but there are also some more interesting musical parts available like the melodic "Mother Nature's Son"; but the latter sounds pretty much as a "Simon & Garfunkel" affair (which is not a poor comparison; on the contrary).

A song as "Fontinental Version" is quite Canterbury oriented. It is somewhat jazzy, but the vocal parts are quite well achieved, and the instrumental sections are extremely well played. It is a very good song indeed.

Some songs from this offering are on the average side ("Wallbanger") and are more on the soft rock angle ("Don't Say Go"). Not bad but nothing spectacular either.

As far as I am concerned, I am rating this album with three stars thanks only to the "Heldenleben". It is a very good epic that should pleased most prog lovers: symphonic, folk, jazz and rock: it is all there. The band demonstrates, once again, their great musical skills during this long piece of music (just around the sixteen minutes mark).

At times it sopunds as a great YesSong and during others "Tull" is not very far away. Still, this great piece of music is rather personal. One of their best song ever for sure.

Most of this piece is on the rocking style but it is also combined with sweet and classical piano and wonderful flute sections.

This album holds some very good moments, but it is too much unequal. Three stars.

Review by Neu!mann
2 stars If this hadn't been my first Gryphon LP I would never have guessed it was the same band responsible for the delicate medieval folk rock of earlier efforts. That funky clavinet introducing the album opener 'Down the Dog' was a long way from the court of King Henry VIII, and the languid Space Rock of the title track showed a group turning its collective back on the past without even the courtesy of a second glance.

On compact disc the muddy sound of the original vinyl is greatly improved, but it's still an uneven album, to say the least. Most of the shorter songs (the majority of the album, in other words) are little more than incidental filler, including a lovely cover of the otherwise negligible Lennon / McCartney tune 'Mother Nature's Son'. Even the mid- length 'Fontinental Version' is a haphazard medley, awkwardly splicing ideas from at least three separate songs into a single ersatz composition, then and now one of Prog Rock's lazier habits.

The balance of Side Two is reserved for the mini-epic '(Eine Kleine) Heldenleben', the title a riff on a Richard Strauss opus. It's the only thing here with any real ambition, showing the scope of classical training among the quintet of players, and the extent to which their later style was undermined by the Symphonic Rock influence of YES (I hope Steve Howe was flattered by the outright theft of his guitar style).

Even with a generous sixteen-minute running time there isn't enough meat in the track to carry a side of vinyl, let alone an entire album. But it does present the last great recorder solo by frontman Richard Harvey: seventy seconds of Elizabethan bliss from your local Renaissance Faire, updated with a throbbing electric bass guitar and ominous mini-moog atmospherics.

The rest of the piece is flashy but trivial, to a point where it's hardly surprising when a bit of circus music (a brief quote of the Souza / Fucik chestnut 'Entrance of the Gladiators') pops up in the song's closing moments. Fun stuff, to be sure, but not enough to distract attention away from the album's other deficits, including some truly awful cover art.

I suppose you could argue that Gryphon took their music from the 15th to the 20th century in the span of just a few albums: real progress for a Prog Rock band. But here the group sounded as if they might have been unequipped for the journey, and unsure of their ultimate destination.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Raindance from 1975 is definetly a good follow up the the excellent Red queen, but this time Gryphon change little bit the ingredients here, musicaly speaking. While is a worthy album, here are also some unintrsting tracks and of course combined with some very fine moments. More rockier and less medieval in aproach then Red queen but with folk influences added as usual in Gryphon sound, Raindance desearve attention from prog listners. The opening track Down the Dog and the title track are excellent instrumental pieces that shows a mature band with good ideas, a worthy metion is the ending piece, the longest (Ein Klein) Heldenleben , a great musicaly ride in everything Gryphon has best, the rest of the tracks, some with voice are ok but nothing more. So, decent with some parts being great, so I think 3.5 stars worth this release, little to low rated IMO.
Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Following the elaborate and sophisticated songwriting of their third album, "Red Queen To Gryphon Three", British prog folk outfit Gryphon comes out with this eclectic album that can best be described as quirky.

Aside from the album's concluding epic, which is very much in the vein of their previous album, "Raindance" is composed of 8 shorter, odder tracks. It is obvious that the band was having a lot of fun recording this album, which is seething with silliness. Not that it's a problem at all; there are still fine musical moments scattered throughout and the whimsical moments are fun and carefree. As far as the epic goes, this one should be of particular interest to Yes fans, since it sounds about as close to a full length instrumental Yes track as you're likely to find.

This album really doesn't have anything to dislike and the epic, the simplistically beautiful Beatles cover "Mother Nature's Son" and the fact that it comes bundled on CD with "Red Queen to Gryphon Three" are more than enough incentive to give this album a listen. Three stars for a happy, inoffensive release that will sit on your shelf for a while but should bring joy every time you take it out.

Review by ALotOfBottle
2 stars After their outstanding third album Red Queen To Gryphon Three, which presented a fresh, bright, and ambitious vision of progressive folk rock, Gryphon enjoyed a relative success. The band was offered to open for Yes during one of their tours. It is at this time that we can observe Gryphon's radical drift away from their folk roots. Philip Nestor and Peter Redding, the bassists left the group and were replaced by Malcolm Bennett, who was also a fluent flautist. In 1975, Gryphon recorded Radiance.

The band's sound on Radiance is dramatically different from their previous releases. Their original distinct sound shaped by English medieval and renaissance folk music is almost entirely absent. These elements are being replaced with a style that would not be out of place on works by Yes or Gentle Giant. However, the newer influences are executed in a rather clumsy and awkward manner, sounding unnatural and dull.

Gryphon's signature bassoon sound is all that is left from the old style. Most of the sound is dominated by keyboards and an electric guitar. The musicianship is very decent. The band shows a strong tendency of building melodic structures on rhythms set by repeating sequences on a diverse range of percussion instruments. Folk-inspired acoustic guitars do appear in places, but play a minor role in the band's new sound. The previously mentioned keyboards range from grand piano to a Minimoog synthesizer, which is definitely something new In Gryphon's music. There are also some ambient passages with various electronic sound effects.

The album consists of nine tracks. Some of the titles are in German in French. "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben" is Gryphon's own 15-minute "mini-epic" and highlights the most essential elements of Radiance. One of the pieces is a cover of The Beatles' "Mother's Nature Son". It's a good song and probably the best track on the album, but feels sort of unambitious for a progressive rock band to play arrangements of popular music. "Down The Dog" is also a very decent with an interesting clavinet sound.

Radiance is nothing short of a big disappointment. The band's original and unique sound presented on previous releases is sacrificed for mediocre, popular-sounding soft rock with just little strains of folk music. It's a real shame, because Gryphon could do much better than that. The album is not bad in its own right, but it is recommended to avoid it, unless you are a fan of Gryphon. 2.5 stars!

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars The London based GRYPHON had had a wild ride since they emerged in the early 70s as the world's best known medieval Renaissance folk revival band when they made a splash with their eponymous debut in 1973, but the band quickly caught the prog bug and on their followup "Midnight Mushrumps" they had begun to incorporate more challenging progressive rock elements which, after touring with Yes, had blossomed into the heights of holy progginess on their landmark masterpiece "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" only the following year. The band had evolved quickly into one of the classic prog bands of the mid-70s but just as quickly as they ascended to the promised proggy lands, as quickly did they fall from grace and fade into irrelevance. The band spent 1974-75 touring with Yes in support of "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" but perhaps the prog bug that they caught so quickly failed to yield the desired success that fellow bands like Yes were finding.

With the release of their fourth album RAINDANCE, the band would dampen their progressive ambitions and release a more streamlined album of eight shorter tracks and only one longer prog behemoth in the form of the instrumental "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben" that would resemble the ambitiousness experienced on "Red Queen." While "Red Queen" was unified by a concept thus allowing all the tracks to connect, RAINDANCE is a very random assortment of tracks that don't sound like they belong together and in the end sounds more like an archival release of unreleased material rather than a proper followup. Given that Graeme Taylor, Malcolm Markovich and David Oberlé left soon after this was released, it most likely meant the band's chemistry had fallen into a slump and that the honeymoon was over. While there is no doubt that the music on RAINDANCE could have come from no other band than GRYPHON, somehow the passion had been tamped down as well as the ambitiousness of the grandeur of yesteryears.

As the prog years were quickly waning, it seems GRYPHON like many others were trying to simplify their music in order to cash in before the complete upheaval that the punk years would bring. Right from the very first notes of "Down The Dog" it's apparent that RAINDANCE would be no "Red Queen II" as it begins with a jazz-fusion oriented funky bass line with a Fender Rhodes sounding more like Herbie Hancock's funk jazz "Headhunter" days than GRYPHON's previous works. While the folk instrumentation does kick in with the recorder, flute and subdued occasional crumhorn, the track is clearly more straightforward and pop oriented than anything that came before. The track doesn't even hit the three minute mark and then followed by the completely different title track which sounds more like a Tangerine Dream progressive electronic track. Had GRYPHON collectively found themselves with a case of musical amnesia and forgotten who they were? Now it seems they want to copy whoever else was popular at the time instead of crafting their own brilliant slice of progressive rock mixed with medieval folk.

While the first two tracks are hardly bad and the title track actually quite interesting, the instrumental pair cede to one of the most out of place tracks on the entire album as a cover version of The Beatles' classic "Mother Nature's Son" is done GRYPHON style complete with the crumhorn to accent the syncopated beats. While not badly done per se, this track completely deflates any expectations of a brilliant album experience as performed on the band's first three releases. The album only becomes more disjointed as the GRYPHON created "'Le Cambrioleur Est Dans le Mouchoir" sounds like one of those show tune pieces that Paul McCartney came up with on The Beatles' albums as well as sounding like a drunken Ringo Starr. The band utilize the folk instruments and once again and although i can't say this is bad, it is nevertheless a head scratching moment as the tracks zigzag randomly all over the place.

Same goes for the next instrumental "Ormolu" which delivers a mere one minute track that sounds like it may have been a leftover from the "Midnight Mushrumps" days as it's more medieval folk than rock. "Fontinental Vision" is another soft rock vocal track that goes through a variety of moods and isn't a bad track either but sounds unlike anything on this album or any other from the band. It's kind of a silly track actually with alterations between mellow serious parts and harder comedic moments with a few progressive time signature changes and a bombastic Minimoog outburst at the end. "Wallbanger" and "Don't Say Go" end the shorter tracks with a rather mediocre delivery before the best track of the album closes in the form of "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben" which is a sixteen minute instrumental that is on par in quality with anything from "Red Queen." THIS is the followup everyone wanted and the fact that this track is tacked on to the end only makes the rest of the album sound inferior! The closing track wends and winds through the familiar soundscapes of the most progressive aspects of GRYPHON with all the brilliant musical interplay they displayed at their peak.

It's really no wonder that this album wasn't (and still isn't) well received. It's a true let down and a major departure from the brilliance of their first three album run. This signifies a band that had truly lost their momentum and were tumbling from grace but to be honest, there are really no bad songs on here if you simply accept this as an album of nine distinctly individual tracks. Throw away the idea of a unified concept album and think of this as a collection of bonus tracks and it's all quite pleasant indeed. Despite the dumbing down of the formula, GRYPHON found no major crossover appeal and as a result three of the members would jump ship. The band would continue with new members and conjure up their final album "Treason" two years later before disbanding, but by the sound of RAINDANCE, it seems the spirit of the band had already jumped on their big winged mascot and flown away for good. This is a decent album but not essential by any means but "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben" is well worth the price of admission for hardcore GRYPHON fans.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
2 stars Been a while since I have reviewed a Gryphon album, let's change that. After their third release, Red Queen to Gryphon Three, the band has gone into a more progressive stance, more than they ever had in their career. At this time they had two fairly solid albums that played in their medieval wizardry, combining their folk influences with more electric styles of playing, creating a unique sound they bathed in. Here, in Raindance, we get some of the same-ish material that Red Queen to Gryphon Three brought to the table, but with something a little different this time.

The first time I heard this album I was very confused since it never really felt like Gryphon, heck more like a variety of other bands that weren't them. This could be due to them trying to evolve their more progressive rock sound they started with Midnight Mushrumps and evolved with Red Queen. However as shown with the first track of Down The Dog, it seems like sometimes evolving to where you cannot have much of your original sound retain some curfew is a way to make you fly too close to the sun. The thing about Gryphon that made them special was the medieval sound that they have retained since their beginning, and only expanded more through their career. Here though it is all but lost. We get keys similar in vein to Gentle Giant, fewer acoustic instruments, and a lot more percussion than usual. Not only does it not feel like Gryphon, it feels more like parodying off of progressive rock but not doing it effectively, unlike some of their other progressive folk contemporaries (cough cough Jethro Tull). While it is far from bad, it's far from Gryphon, and in its wake, I cannot feel right at home with it.

Despite this, they do have some folk aspects still retained, like in the title track of Raindance. This album's new age mix to their past sound does give me a glimpse of an idea that Gryphon might've had for this album. With Red Queen, it was a concept record based on a game of chess, with a lot of calculated yet seemingly random movements. For me this song could relate to maybe another concept that was scrapped away with, possibly the concept of rain as they transform their sound to something a bit more electronically wavey than more rock-ish. As for the song itself it took me a bit to fully appreciate it. I think it does lead to an interesting development in the band's sounds, and I'd say it is much more preferable for me in the context of Gryphon than anything else. It is a solid new-age track that feels weirdly at home with Gryphon's past sound. As it does sound very much at home with Gryphon, it feels like they are taking a bit too many notes from the lack of Mike Oldfield or Tangerine Dream. I'd say this entire album feels like they are peeking at the homework of all the other acts that were going around, almost as if they are copying. This leads me to feel as though they aren't trying as hard with this album, and that sucks a lot of the charm of Gryphon right out for me.

However, the most striking info for the claim in my point is a cover song of The Beatles' Mother Nature's Son. While I do not feel weird about the fact they are covering a song, it loses the album's charm in every sense of the word. While the last track made me question if they were even trying, this is definitive proof that they pretty much aren't. It's kinda sad in a way. It is like Icarus flying too close to the sun due to putting extreme faith in their wings. The thing that gets me is that none of the songs are bad, it's just they aren't original.

Things get more off-putting with "Le Cambrioleur Est Dans le Mouchoir" being almost a show tune that one of The Beatles would make. The thing too is that it pretty much doesn't fit with Gryphon's sound, creating the first true dud of the album. It is so short too that it makes it feel wasteful concerning the album as a whole. They wasted potential in what would be a mediocre album. This is even more so with the track afterward being Ormolu, however, with that track it does sound more like a classic Gryphon track so it may be the most original track on the album, but it is so short that it feels less like a track and just a snippet of what we could've gotten.

I think there should be some positives this album could bring, like for example with the Fontinental Version, a track that does feel like they aren't copying anyone really and instead trying to create their progressive rock track for once. We get a unique, almost Irish-sounding symphonic-styled prog here, making a unique flavor that I think only a band as definitely experimentative as Gryphon is. While it does almost feel like the band became less of what they once were, it isn't entirely bad and I think what it held in sound and scope does allow it to be a fresh and new track in a sea of mediocre melodies.

The last few shorter tracks of Wellbanger and Don't Say Go end with a Canterbury stylization, very much like Caravan. I have stated before that this made it almost extremely lackluster and unoriginal, so you can connect the dots with that. A shame.

However, we get a huge glimpse of what the album should've been with (Ein Klein) Heldenleben, the 16-minute epic that feels like what the evolution of Gryphon's sound should've been on this album. A mix of the more electricity of guitars and keys with the acoustic medieval stylizations that they were popular for. This feels like what Gryphon should sound like, minus the more rock-layering drums. Each small movement brings me to the same joys Red Queen led me on when I first reviewed it a while back. It ends pretty great too, not ending with a big guitar solo but more just strums of the acoustic guitar with light percussion. It is pretty great and their best epic since Midnight Mushrumps, heck it exceeds that song even further and beyond. It does make me ponder, like the man in the nude man on the album cover also listening to this album. It makes me ponder what this album could've been if they went in a more original direction than trying to copy their contemporaries. It is an epic that makes me question an alternate history where Gryphon led a different charge for this album that could've led them to further stardom rather than a fall from gracefulness.

It is very awkward how high Gryphon rose and how hard they fell within just two years. Red Queen was when they made their winning move, creating an album that, while imperfect, could've been the basis for a great progressive folk band that'd be considered a classic next to Jethro Tull or Harmonium. Instead, though, we get mere homework copying as Gryphon looks around the class, cheating on the test and only writing a fairly great write-up at the end of said test. No wonder 2 years after this release, and another album, they would disband, though they did come back in 2018 and made an album at the beginning of this decade so maybe after this day they learned their lesson. Hopefully, not certain, but hopefully.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Over the four albums they recorded with Transatlantic, Gryphon's sound transformed from neo-medieval folk with touches of classically-inflected progressive rock to classically-inflected progressive rock with touches of neo-medieval folk. Raindance captures the end of that transformation, and finds them exploring a whimsical sound reminiscent of Camel's albums from the mid-to-late 1970s; I don't think many people regard Gryphon as a Canterbury band, but I could imagine them on the same bill as classic Caravan or Camel when Richard Sinclair was with them.

As with Midnight Mushrumps, it's the long track here which is the standout piece; (Ein Klein) Heldenleben is also the place where those medieval folk elements make themselves felt the most, being as it is a journey through every dimension of the band's sound. The album is perhaps a little overlooked compared to Red Queen To Gryphon Three - where Gryphon's blend of prog and medieval folk perhaps found its perfect balance point - but it doesn't deserve that, because it's a perfectly pleasant progressive rock album, albeit not one which progheads will find staggeringly original (though give Heldenleben a good listen and you may pick up on things you miss on a superficial hearing).

Latest members reviews

3 stars Raindance was my first experience of Gryphon, having known the band only from hearing them on progressive rock radios. I like the cover sleeve of the album a lot and bought at a prog-rock festival. The album is quite accessible, varying between folk, prog and pop-rock. Due to some light poppy t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2431329) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, July 22, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Gryphon's journey from outright folk band to pop rock ensemble reached its perfect equilibrium in the magnum opus that was Red Queen to Gryphon Three. Here, in their next album, Raindance, the balance is tipped in favour of a more progressive pop rock feel, but still combined with some folk elem ... (read more)

Report this review (#2111908) | Posted by Chaser | Friday, December 28, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Gryphon becomes a (progressive) rock band. This is the album where Gryphon morphs from playing progressive medieval music while using both medieval and modern instruments, to a rock band playing progressive rock that also includes medieval instruments. As other reviewers have noted, the album c ... (read more)

Report this review (#1825197) | Posted by Walkscore | Monday, November 20, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 'Raindance' is an inspiring mix of all the influences used on Gryphon's other three albums, plus a new blend of rock. The compositions are shorter, apart from '(Ein Klein) Heldenleben' which is a main highlight. It contains some powerful guitar and synthesiser solo passages that remind many li ... (read more)

Report this review (#452876) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, May 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you are new to Gryphon, Start with 'Red Queen to Gryphon Three'. If you love RQtGT and are looking for more. This is definitely a worthy addition. Only the last track matches the sheer brilliance of that album. But the rest of the tunes are all at least good. The opening two instrumental ... (read more)

Report this review (#187536) | Posted by digdug | Friday, October 31, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Urgh.. I really like write about bands like Gryphon. They have almost all to become one of the famous bands. The music is permeated by beautiful melodies and some fairy tale. It was made in classic english rock with some touch of folk music. All the songs together are just a fairy tale hypnotic ... (read more)

Report this review (#91396) | Posted by | Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great album by a great band, sadly underrated. This is mostly a classic English progressive album with a few touches of classic rock, featuring incredible playing, exceptional writing, and a peculiar sence of humor as well. Just listen to the tongue-in-cheek "Le Cambrioleur Est Dans Le Mouchoi ... (read more)

Report this review (#3021) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Tuesday, June 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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