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




Prog Folk

4.25 | 23 ratings

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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.

aapatsos | 4/5 |


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