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Gryphon - Raindance CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.30 | 259 ratings

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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 contains a mix of styles, and if nothing else, this presents issues of flow and continuity. Thus, while everything on 'Red Queen to Gryphon Three' was written in the same eclectic progressive-medieval style and flows exceptionally well from track to track (and from section to section within the tracks), on this album the transitions can feel jarring and certain tracks sound very out of place. Saying this, the underlying music is still quite good. The best track here (competing for the best track in their entire catalogue) is the 16-minute "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben". This is the track that provides the most continuity with 'Red Queen', with a very similar compositional style and sound. It is more structured around the rock instruments though (with prominent electric guitar solos, etc) than the medieval instruments, although the latter are still all present and sections of the piece definitely get back into the medieval sound. This is an awesome 5-star piece, and takes up more than a third of the album. The only other two tracks that have a medieval feel are "Le Cambrioleur est dans le Mouchoir" and "Wallbanger" but even these are more 'modern' than medieval, and both are brief. The rest of the tracks are a different story. Indeed, no one versed in the first three albums would probably even recognize the rest as Gryphon - they are very much of various rock genres. "Don't Say Go" is totally Canterbury-flavoured rock, and very catchy, much like Caravan, but I like it. "Down the Dog" and "Ormolu" have a Gentle Giant feel (not at all medieval), while "Fontinental Version" sounds (to me) a bit like the last track on the Quiet Sun album (thus also a bit of a Canterbury flavour, although less so than 'Dont Say Go'). The title track, "Raindance" should have been the last track on the album - it is basically just a mellow outro. Indeed, when I made up the tape of this album, I re-arranged the tunes, with (Ein Klein) Heldenleben first, and Raindance last. I think the album works better in that order. Actually, I would say that the order of the tracks on the original album is one reason why the transitions are jarring for the listener, and perhaps why this album gets some poor reviews. This is easily fixed with a bit of re-arranging. The only track I don't like here is the cover version of the Beatles' "Mother Nature's Son" - it feels too out of place, and there is no better order for me that includes it. Other than that, I think all the music here is good, and Heldenleden is really excellent and worth the price of the album alone. All together, this gets 8.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.

Walkscore | 4/5 |


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