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Gryphon - Raindance CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.28 | 202 ratings

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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 elements.

Let's be clear: this album is not as good as Midnight Mushrumps, and it would be a three star album were it not for one factor:

"(Ein Klein) Heldenleben"

This is the final track on the album and at 16 minutes it dominates the album and, what's more, it is a belting track that, on it's own, turns this album from an average 3 star album into a 4 star work.

I won't waste too much time on the tracks that precede "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben". They are good enough, although the album overall lacks the sense of cohesion of the two earlier albums, and the tracks feel a little thrown together with no real unifying theme.

Listeners hoping for the strong medieval influence present on the earlier albums will be disappointed, as the band opt instead for mostly pastoral style folk rock.

But then we get to the main event, (Ein Klein) Heldenleben, and it's definitely worth the wait!

This is pure prog rock and is executed superbly. Graeme Taylor's electric guitar simply soars on this track, and, combined with some of the most sensational flute work you are ever likely to hear from Richard Harvey, the track builds symphonically until it finally breaks out into a triumphant chorus of crumhorns and organ that turn into soaring electric guitar. A riotous feast of pure symphonic pleasure and a truly joyous track that elevates this album to heights it would not otherwise achieve.

This is Gryphon's third best album, behind Red Queen to Gryphon Three and Midnight Mushrumps, but (Ein Klein) Heldenleben makes the entrance fee worth paying.

Chaser | 4/5 |


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