Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Prog Folk

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gryphon Red Queen to Gryphon Three album cover
4.15 | 730 ratings | 77 reviews | 45% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Opening Move (9:42)
2. Second Spasm (8:15)
3. Lament (10:45)
4. Checkmate (9:50)

Total Time 38:32

Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Harvey / keyboards, recorders, crumhorn
- Brian Gulland / bassoon, crumhorn
- Graeme Taylor / guitars
- Philip Nestor / bass
- David Oberlé / drums & percussion, timpani

- Ernest Hart / organ
- Peter Redding / acoustic bass

Releases information

Artwork: Dan Pearce with Ann Sullivan & Vanessa East (art direction)

LP Transatlantic Records ‎- TRA 287 (1974, UK)

CD Canyon International - PCCY-00346 (1992, Japan)
CD Curio Records ‎- ITEM CD6 (1995, UK)
CD Talking Elephant Records ‎- TECD112 (2007, Europe) Remastered
CD Belle Antique ‎- BELLE-162575 (2016, Japan) Remastered by Kazuo Ogino

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy GRYPHON Red Queen to Gryphon Three Music

GRYPHON Red Queen to Gryphon Three ratings distribution

(730 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(45%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

GRYPHON Red Queen to Gryphon Three reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Gryphon's best record. Renaissance and classical influences are prominent in this entirely instrumental work. This is an absolute masterpiece, recommended to all lovers of instrumental prog (think of jethro tull's thick as a brick) crossed with renaissance music.
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars The definitive album from these lads, although I have a soft spot for the following Raindance. Start with this one (as there are no weak moments) and then proceed to later stuff if one is into Yes and the earlier stuff if one likes folk, pre-renaissance or medieval music. Some of the traditional/fundamentalist folkies must have really been disappointed with this one , but 25 years later , this seems like a logical successor to Midnight Mushrumps. Four tracks all around the 10 min area with diverse amount of rock instrument makes this almost a fusion album (not in jazz-rock terms , though) and greatly improved songwriting techniques are the main reasons for the vast improvement on their previous works.

Much recommended to anyone loving acoustic music , with a severely different feel than your average prog album.

Review by Menswear
5 stars Listener's discretion is advised.

If you thought that Gentle Giant were THE reference in multi-instrumentation frenzyness...Gryphon knocks 'em down for the count. Those guys are the crazyest perfectionists of the 70's. Such a level of song structure and complexity AND skillness has never been topped. Well, not in my humble knowledge. Nor Gentle Giant, Angalgard, Echolyn or even Yes cannot compete with the high craftyness of every song.

Every song is 10 minutes long and could be splitted into 40 littles songs easily. The pace is always changing, the tempo is jumping constantly from folk to soft rock. Folk prog has never been this challenging. Forget Jethro Tull or Amazing Blondel. This cannot be associated with anything you heard. Think very medieval and complex.

Complexity? Intelligence? Everest-like musicianship? Shouldn't you be mouth-watered by all those qualities? Yes, if sheperds in pantyhoses running happily on a green meadow is your cup of tea...go for it dude. By the way, Yes fans should be pleased. Did you know they did the first part of Yes on a full tour?

Without the shadow of a doubt those guys knew what they were doing and if not...send them to NASA 'cuz you got major brains in here.

A freaking monster record, thick, for mature ears.

Review by loserboy
4 stars Rich in their renaissance'ish classical vein, GRYPHON's "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" is a superb instrumental album offering some lovely tones and atmospheres. For me one of the most striking aspects of this album is the unusual use of instrumentation including basoons, krumhorns and recorders mixed with guitars, keyboards and perucssion. Comprised of 4 long tracks each being given the space to explore some excellent progressive rock grooves. This album has many delicate musical moments while still offering some nice complex elements mixed throughout as well. For the progressive rock historians out there it was the success of this album which gave GRYPHON the opportunity to warm up YES on their USA tour back in '74. This is highly original and highly intellectual music which I would warmly recommend.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Woah! 4 prog folk songs with tons of well played instruments! You can hear singular wing instruments like bassoon and krumhorns. The percussions are really impressive. It almost sounds medieval.

Extremely complex music! very accoustic! The keyboards are excellent but they do not take all the room: this allows accoustic instruments to be appreciated in full! No progressive groups has this unique style!


Review by Prognut
5 stars Their Masterpiece! and beesstt effort!!. Clearly, I agree...not a really weak point in the whole album.

Probably, without a doubt their most Symphonic. Less Folk overtones, and complex at times...I will placed them in this period, somewhere between the acustic side of Yes and the softer/more accessible side of GG.

IMHO, the best track "Lament" a 10+ minutes piece...that starts with wind instrumentation (like out of the vaults of GG), becoming progressively more acustic just to get back on track with the medieval feel that carry you over the entire album!!..Call me crazy, but I even hear some Mike Olfield mixed inn; however, bear in mind that this album was from, maybe MO had some Gryphon influence after all?!..:o).

A must for any prog lover, especially for those who are hunting for musical Gems for their collection.

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I bought the LP of "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" in 1975 and liked the music. The years went by, I moved many times, my LPs were lost or sold and I completely forgot about the band and the album. A year ago I remembered the band, looked them up on the Internet, listened to a clip from 'Lament', and memories of GRYPHON's pleasant, unusual music came flooding back. So I bought the CD.

"Red Queen To Gryphon Three" is an instrumental album consisting of four long pieces apparently inspired by a game of chess. All the band members are consummate musicians, and the playing is faultless. The twist is that the music has medieval/Renaissance and folk influences, with the band using bassoon, crumhorn and recorders alongside keyboards (piano, organ and synth), electric and acoustic guitars, drums and other percussion. It's quite a unique sound: primarily lilting, very melodious and, even during the parts using synth and other modern instruments, retaining a medieval feel. Lest you feel this medieval influence would be too much to bear, we're not talking Greensleeves here. It's definitely Progressive Rock, albeit using some unusual instruments and themes in places. For those who like electronic keyboards, there are several bursts of synth.

All four tracks are good, each comprised of a variety of melodies, tempos and moods. I like very much the piano and tune in 'Opening Move', but 'Lament' is probably my favourite: it has as its core theme a very melodious tune which, amongst other things, shows how pleasing the recorder can be when in the hands of an expert. Mind you, the second and fourth tracks are also showcases for Richard Harvey's recorder playing: country folk music-like in the former and sea shanty-like in the latter.

This music works in two ways for me: I can listen to it intently or I can listen to it as background music. There's plenty of complexity in the music, lots of changes in tune, mood, tempo and instruments to keep you interested, but without vocals I find it can still be quite relaxing in the background.

Now, the fact that I completely forgot about the existence of the band and the album for nearly 30 years could be taken to mean that this album only deserves a 3-star rating (Good, but non-essential). However I did buy the album again after all those years, think it is well worth having and still enjoy listening to it very much. So I think it deserves 4 stars (Excellent addition to any prog rock collection). If you like not-too-heavy symphonic Progressive Rock then you should find this album not only eminently listenable but also interesting. I'm not going to say GRYPHON sound like YES, but I think that if you like the music of YES you could very well like this album. As it happens, GRYPHON did support YES in several concerts - I can't think of a better fit.

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars And on the eighth day, God made Red Square To Gryphon Three.

OK, so I'm exaggerating. After all I don't even think Red Square To Gryphon Three is the greatest prog-rock album of all time (an honour that my rigid mind assigned to Genesis' Selling England By The Pound fifteen years ago). But I rate it among the greatest prog albums ever, and that alone represents a leap of miraculous proportions. When one considers its flawed predecessor Midnight Mushrumps, it's hard to believe just how majestic Red Queen To Gryphon Three is.

Augmented by bassist Philip Nestor, the original Gryphon quartet of Richard Harvey, Brian Gulland, Graeme Taylor and David Oberle plunged headfirst into hardcore progressive rock. Perhaps inspired by Rick Wakeman, the multi-talented Harvey swapped his krumhorn for a battery of keyboards and led his bandmates to the promised land. Based loosely on a game of chess, Red Queen To Gryphon Three is a wholly instrumental work divided into four pieces (ranging from 8 to 11 minutes long).

Opening Move is both otherworldly and regal, with a distinct sense of magic about it, as Harvey and co. show us instrumental chops that they always had but previously hadn't bothered with. Second Spasm harks back to Gryphon's Renaissance roots with some krumhorn (OK, so Harvey didn't give it up completely) and a lovely militaristic mid-section.

Lament? Well, Lament is something else. It has at its core two absolutely sumptous woodwind melodies. As beautiful as the first one is, it is the second, tragic bassoon melody that both won, and broke, my heart. Frankly, after the melody concludes I find myself just hanging on for dear life as Gryphon take flight, hoping against hope that I will hear it again. I don't.

The blistering concluding segment is of course titled Checkmate, and really that says it all. A mighty congregation of musicians firing on all cylinders, in a way that no other band seems to have done. ... 91% on the MPV scale

Review by soundsweird
4 stars I bought the LP when it was first released on Bell Records (a label that had been putting out poppy bubblegum acts!!). I knew nothing of the band, and thought that the cover art was pretty lame, but I was intrigued by the instrumentation listed on the back cover. My friends and I liked the album immediately, and I eventually tracked down the "Midnght Mushrumps" LP on import, as well as "Raindance" later. I do have a few "quibbles" with this album. It would've been nice if each track had been split up into the individual songs that make up each "medley", because it seems like each of the four tracks has parts that I really like and parts that I find just "okay". In some cases, there's even a space betweeen the songs that make up each track, so it could've been done. Also, there's the pesky issue that's been hanging over Gryphon since this album came out: some folks thought that they sounded so much like two particular progressive outfits that they nicknamed them "Gentle Jethro". I'm forced to agree, but these days there are so many prog bands that blatantly rip off the "old masters" that Gryphon seems positively original by comparison. Another minor complaint I have is with Richard Harvey's choices of synth sounds. All too often, he opts for the kinds of sounds that typify Styx and Kansas albums (in other words, cheesy). In addition, a vocal here and there would've helped this album's overall "interest level". Still, a solid effort. Three and a half stars, I guess.
Review by Tony Fisher
5 stars All of Gryphon's 5 albums are worth buying, yet all are flawed to some extent - except this one. This is consistently excellent folk/mediaeval prog. 4 movements, loosely based on a game of chess, with a wide mixture of instruments and demonstrating musicianship of the highest order with lots of complex time changes and mood swings. Harvey's keyboards are comparable in quality to anyone in the genre and he THE acknowledged master of the recorder, Graeme Taylor is a superb acoustic guitarist and shows talent on the electric at times and Brian Gulland is a magnificent bassoon and krumhorn player. It's instrumental, so gone are the quirky vocals of the first album. They had toured with Yes around this time and, when I saw them, they blew Yes off stage. That is a measure of the band. This is their best album and deserves to be rated as a masterpiece and, if they were better known, it would be top 20 material. Buy it and enjoy it.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Gryphon is a very unlucky "prog beast" since their fine repertoire did not assure them enough popularity to continue releasing their own music. Once you listen to Red Queen... you won't believe your ears, as I did! How did is possible a band like this not to have gained a more wide success? We all progressive aficionados know well the circumstances involving bands that, despite, their impressice capability and performances too soo were out of games and, at the same moment, other bands (I won't name them, though...) that did establish their own market place during many years to come!

That's life, after all. And Gryphon is not an exception.

By the way, the structure and the conception of such a concept album, completely instrumental arranged, is really awesome. It could deserve its own place on the PA's top ten. Two impressive and elaborated tracks each side. It is lesser folkish than the previous works and more keyboard drenched.

P.S. It was a very strange thing to find that "Opening Move" reminds me of Locanda delle Fate's album (1977)!

No other words to say about it: 5 stars!

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was very surprised over Gryphon's ability to mix complex, challenging and very progressive music with light folk rock when I first heard them a few years ago. I got introduced to them with their "Raindance" album from 1975, which was a good album, though very uneven. I decided to check this band out more and heard this one a couple of weeks after. This one was MUCH more complex and progressive, and I liked it from the very first listen!

This album have 4 songs, all clocks in at 8-10 minutes, but they're never boring. "Opening Move" and "Checkmate" are my favorites on the album, both very enjoyable tracks with some really great parts spread around. The other two tracks on this album is nearly as good, but not quite up to pair with the two other ones. Still very good!

It's highly interesting to hear such original and creative folk-prog like this. Slightly uneven, but highly recommended if you like folk-prog (or prog generally). Give this one a listen! My Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars All time prog classic number #14 is arguably one of the most original recordings in rock , impossible to imitate and a true monument to progressive music. Firstly, this is as close to classical music played with modern instruments that you may get, more so than Gentle Giant, the Moodies or the other usual prog suspects (Floyd, Genesis, Tull, Yes and KC). Secondly, a rock band led by a Bassoonist (Brian Gulland) and a krumhornist (Richard Harvey) is rather rare, to say the least. Thirdly, a concept based on a medieval chessgame is daringly original. Put all this together in the hands of obviously highly talented instrumentalists and you get this timeless album that knows no rivals. This is complex only in the intricacy of the arrangements and the interplay between the woodwinds, the keyboard parts and the discreet yet brilliant guitar playing from Graeme Taylor (no rock star bluesy solos here ,though) . This is teamplay at its pinnacle , drummer Oberle working with bassist Nestor propelling the music forward and swerving on a dime when needed. Awesome stuff even/especially 30 years later! This is part of the package I put together when asked "Vas iz diss Progmuzik ?" with the likes of Nova-Wings of Love, DiMeola's Elegant Gypsy, Focus' Hamburger Concerto and Ange's Au Dela du Delire together with the more obviously famous big names . I have seen disbelief painted on more than one face when subjected to this magnificence. Respect comes immediatly especially from the snobbier jazzcats and the elitist Mozartists. This album , with Wakeman's monster "the 6 Wives of Henry VIII" really put them into place, once and for all. (God, I love doing that!!!). And befitting its uniqueness, this can be listened to only as a complete opus , showcasing the class, the ingenuity and sheer musical bliss emanating from theses grooves. As close to perfect you can hope for. 5 welsh birds
Review by Chus
5 stars I'm really not as much in pseudo-mediaeval or pseudo-renaissance music as I used to; but this album is really a treat. First of all, the instrumentation is unique (bassoons and krumhorns are not commonly used in rock music, not even in prog). It seems that by now the band had taken influence from Yes and Genesis, and the first track indicates that. The absence of vocals really helps to digest the album, even as you might not remember most of it on first listen.

The chess game starts and you shall feel immersed into it; from "Opening Move", to the sweet tension in the players' concentration as portrayed in the initially cheerful "Second Spasm", to the more depressing yet beautiful "Lament", which builds the tension in the middle-end section until the coda suggests that the goal is about to be fulfilled in "Checkmate"; the tension still prolonges as the winner proceeds to overthrow the opponent's king.

All in all, there's no fault in this album; the musicianship is quite obvious, the arrangements are as complex as you might expect and yet it won't be the most you can say about this album and this band. Flawless... the "forgotten" masterpiece.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This album has been in my collection for couple of years ago - long after this album was ever released. I was not aware at all about the band during my first years with rock music. I purchased it because my prog friends recommended me. I was not quite impressed at all with the music the first time I spun the CD. For me, at that time, the music of this album was just like a collection of bits and pieces without any direction, melody-wise, in which direction the music leads to. I gave up the CD and put it on shelf and never get spun again until recently when it was about time to review this album.

Honestly, until I spun it again this morning, I still don't get the idea what the band is trying to do, musically. It sounds to me that the melody was not crafted beautifully. One thing for sure, conceptually this was created for depicting a chess match. Considering this intention, this might be enough to say that all emotions, conditions and situations pertaining to any chess match are described or represented here. The next question is why must it be something as dark as this? Chess can be expressed in much more dynamic way by gearing a music which blends multitude of feelings: a feeling of struggle to find the best strategy to win the game, the feeling of accomplishment in conquering the enemy and a feeling of sadness from being conquered by the enemy. The problem with me is the composition of its music that sounds like disjointed parts. Oh yes, I agree that chess match creates emotional challenges to the player as every time we are challenged to decide the best move and anticipating what and how the enemy would react with our move. This is what I clearly do not understand.

I just want to make my point clear here. Yes, this is one of legendary albums of the 70s. Yes, it's definitely a prog album and it's not the bad one. The trouble I have is that (I have to honest) it's very hard for me to digest the music and for sure it's not the kind of music that fits my taste. My standpoint here is based on my efforts to enjoy this album but failed to give good credits musically. It's so many disjointed parts that do not connect one another smoothly. So, I conclude that this is for those collectors who appreciate the uniqueness of this album. Therefore I give it a two stars rating for this. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by obiter
5 stars Sheer brilliance.

The krumhorns are the signature to the album. fabulous. I almost can't believe I'm saying that: krumhorns were excellent: if my 15 year old me could hear me say that he'd crease himself laughing: "you pretentious w****r" would almost certainly have been mentioned in passing. But, hey I'm not 15, and even 30 seems a distant memory (single ... no kids...), time moves on so I can know listen to music which was old back when I was 15, and appreciate it.

Side One: Opening Move(superb) and Second Spasm (excellent) Side Two: Lament is just beautiful. I really have to get a better stereo, and the LP is starting to look a bit warped these days.

As someone who was weaned on irish folk (as well as Bessie Smith/Ma Rainey/Billie Holliday) (and only later exposed to english folk at university) I view this album as the pinnacle of the folk/medieval /prog blend.

It is quite simply a must have album.

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars Get ready for the Renaissance ride of your life!

There is only one Gryphon, and although I don't need this kind of music very often, I certainly appreciate the creativity, musicianship, and energy that went into creating this unique piece. I'm not quite ready to grant this masterpiece status, because it often plays as a collection of melodies that sometimes seem to be rather haphazardly thrown together. There's no doubt that it sounds cool and is ALWAYS interesting, but a cohesiveness is sacrificed that I need for a true 5 star album.

Opening Move. Gryphon certainly draws the listener in, with a bouncy melody that leads to some truly incredible piano flourishes absolutely refreshing instrumentation. After changing melodies repeatedly for the first five minutes, they settle into a simple krummhorn tune that starts innocently and ends absolutely chaotically five minutes later. There really is no predicting these guys! Brilliant stuff!

Second Spasm. The craziness is maintained, but unfortunately the quality of the melodies is not. Here the music becomes so playful in places that it becomes a bit goofy to my ears (especially in the middle--the intro and outtro tunes are very good).

Lament. Gryphon wisely decide to include a thoughtful, poignant song, and they really pull it off well. The first five minutes are absolutely haunting and powerful mellow tunes, and the opening melody is revisited for a majestic finale. This is great songwriting and some welcome restraint from Gryphon.

Checkmate. Again the quality dips after preceeding greatness. Most of the song is too mellow and/or simplistically playful for my taste (though it's by no means bad). They attempt a classic Gryphon freakout for the finale, but they have done better elsewhere (on Opening Move and Heldenleben on the next album). It's just too anti-climactic for me.

I'm glad Gryphon put this out, and I'm proud to own it--I just don't think this has the substance throughout to be considered a masterpiece, though it definitely should be part of your prog collection.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Complex and beautiful, an amazing work.

Someone mentioned that this band was nicknamed "Gentle Jethro" because of their supposed mimicry of Tull and Giant. I'll get controversial right off the bat and admit that I'll take this album over any album by Tull or Giant for a number of reasons. I love the fact that I can have this classy, complex, and incredibly performed music free from what I consider the occasionally obnoxious vocals of those two legendary bands. But Red Queen is so much more than just a good instrumental album. It is one of the most musically articulate and painstakingly arranged feasts ever assembled. It merges progressive folk and symphonic rock with both renaissance longings but also crisp modern chops and attitude. With long well-planned compositions and virtuoso performances taking the place of vocal distractions Red Queen is the perfect album for allowing yourself to be carried away to. Never listen to this album while distracted by other people or tasks. This is music that requires your full attention and should really be heard on headphones with eyes closed and mind engaged in listening mode. There is simply too much happening and changing too quickly to do a proper track by track description of the songs. Suffice to say that each song builds and winds back and forth through moments of symphonic and folk prog grandeur, lush keyboard and piano passages, elegant guitars and percussion, and of course we cannot forget the krumhorns and bassoon! The production is just outstanding and the sound quality of the Japanese remaster is breathtaking. The wonderful album cover art only adds to the completeness of what many consider a masterpiece of 1970s prog.

In his outstanding review at ProgressiveWorld, Tom Karr notes "This is intelligent art rock, with the group producing a work that is absent most of the clichés of the genre. Their affinity for the electric sound they had only recently added is nothing short of amazing, and their sound is exciting and blends their previous acoustic focus well with their new synthesizers and electric is the best example of this odd, eclectic style of mid 70s British folk/prog.. Bands like The Strawbs and Steeleye Span produced some interesting blends of early English music and rock, but no one came anywhere close to the mastery of Gryphon, and Gryphon made their premiere musical statement with this release." [Tom Karr]

An essential prog classic that should easily be on ones "desert island" album list. Recommended to anyone who loves complex music that is lively in nature and presented with great flair and superb artistry. I suggest that even Rio/Avant fans of things like Miasma or Gatto Marte try this out for size, it has the unique instruments, complexity, and sense of adventure that would appeal to those fans.

Review by ghost_of_morphy
5 stars 1972 was a watershed year for progressive rock epics. Supper's Ready stretched the limits on what could be accomplished with concepts and lyrics while Close to the Edge set a standard of musicianship and composition so high that few groups attempted to reach a similar attainment. One group that did attempt to scale the heights was Gryphon, and the musicianship and composition on Red Queen to Gryphon Three rivals that found on close to the edge. Thank God they didn't attempt to throw in lyrics or a concept, or they'd probably have knocked Supper's Ready off of it's podium too.

Anyhow, I'm quite serious about this record rivalling Close to the Edge. Until 1972, prog rock bands were writing epics based on the venerable Mellotron model that Fripp had pioneered back with In the Court of the Crimson King. With Close to the Edge, Yes broke away from that (after having first updated the sound of the original Mellotron epic with things like Yours is No Disgrace and Heart of the Sunrise.) A new complexity was introduced, and a few acts bravely followed Yes into the breach, most notably by our friends being discussed here, Gryphon.

Red Queen to Gryphon Three contains four approximately ten minute compositions of considerable complexity, exotic instrumentation, and extremely skilled musicianship. Gryphon's background in medieval and renaissance music hasn't entirely dissappeared, but it has become subservient to their understanding of how to play prog. The music is well written, interesting, and quite capable of carrying the listener through the album without any extraneous vocals. Listening to this makes me wish that Mike Oldfield had had a formal music background before he began work on Tubular Bells.

OK, I've told you all of the good things. Great and complex prog rock here, with a bit of folk influence and a lot of instrumental fun. So what are the bad parts?


Seriously, none.

And that's why I have to give this five stars. Not only is it great music, but there are no real flaws that the music has to overcome. So, if you like the best of symphonic prog and haven't yet heard this, you are missing something extremely important.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. I have a real love / hate relationship with this album. Not being a fan of Folk or Classical music doesn't help when it comes to this record, and most of the flute led passages make me cringe. Having said that, the symphonic passages are excellent to say the least. I love the complexity and the way the instruments are arranged in the songs for the most part. Lets just say if this was Jazz flavoured like MOVING GELATINE PLATES or dark like UNIVERS ZERO my opinion would be much different. A matter of taste I suppose. There are two passages in each of the four songs that I wish wouldn't stop, but there are one or two passages in each song that I wish hadn't started except for in the song "Lament". Oh, and it has a chess theme. I hate chess. Surprised ? I didn't think so.

"Opening Move" is very impressive for the first minute with all the different sounds and the symphonic flavour. The piano that follows is excellent. The flute led passage with bassoon 4 minutes in I do not like at all. A fuller sound 7 1/2 minutes in. Overall a good opening track. "Second Spasm" is led by the flute (cringe) to begin with. Then we get a nice heavy sound a minute in. Some weird sounds honk then we get the krumhorn. Marching style drums follow. Classical keys 5 1/2 minutes in. The earlier heavier sound is back 7 1/2 minutes in. This is my least favourite song.

"Lament" opens with strummed guitar, bassoon and flute. Terrific sound. It changes 3 minutes in to a darker mood. Another change 5 1/2 minutes in to an uptempo horn led passage. The intro melody is back 7 1/2 minutes in. Nice. "Checkmate" is fantastic for the first two minutes then that flute leads the way. Bassoon with piano 4 1/2 minutes in as marching style drums come in before 6 minutes unfortunately. Piano takes over briefly. Very good section from 7 minutes to after 8 minutes. Flute is back 8 1/2 minutes in. Yikes.

A very highly rated album that wouldn't make my top 500. By the way i've played this to death lately thinking something would click, but as I said in the intro there are certain styles of music that I have difficulty enjoying, including this one.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Gryphon is surely a band that progressed in the sense that they developed their sound and approach with each subsequent album. They started out as a pure medieval Folk group playing traditional material on traditional instruments. Then they gradually started to incorporate some electric instruments into their music and attempted braver compositions. This third album is again an improvement over the second one. While the debut was basically pure medieval Folk music, this is much more eclectic and instrumentally more interesting. Keyboard instruments such as piano and Moog find their way into the music here, and augment the acoustic instruments. It is indeed an interesting and different wall of sound. However, I find some of the brass and wind instruments a bit annoying, to be honest. They make the music too cheerful and happy and, I would say, a bit shallow in some sense.

I hesitate to call this Prog rock. There is not much rock in it, even if much more so than the almost all acoustic debut, of course. The electric bass guitar is well played and sounds similar to many Symphonic Prog bands, but apart from that there is really nothing to put this in the same category as those bands. Unconventional? Surely! Progressive? In some sense, yes. But rock it is not, really. Though, the beginning of Checkmate sure sounds more than a bit like Gentle Giant.

While there is absolutely no doubt about their impressive instrumental prowess and their ability to spit out many fun musical ideas, they had a lot to learn about composition and arrangement. While much stronger compositionally than the Midnight Mushrumps track, the four compositions that make up Red Queen To Gryphon Three still have something of a Mike Oldfield structure; they jump from one theme to another, and then to another, and then to yet another - but they never really progress. They are full of interesting musical ideas, but they are still somewhat directionless. (Ein Klein) Heldenleben on their next album would further improve in this respect.

I can understand why many people like this, but I just cannot put this in the same division as other all instrumental albums like Rick Wakeman's Six Wives, Camel's Snowgoose or Return To Forever's Romantic Warrior. And it is absolutely not up there with Prog Folk masterpieces like Thick As A Brick and Hero And Heroine.

Not really my cup of tea, I'm afraid.

Review by MovingPictures07
5 stars This is one of the most overlooked masterpieces of progressive rock, a truly groundbreaking album of constantly intriguing and wonderful compositions, amazing musicianship, and perfect production.

1. Opening Move- Wow, what an opening move this is! The piano in the beginning is simply genius, and all the instruments fall into place with perfection. This song was responsible for my love with the bassoon. Every moment is magic and this song is so peaceful. Flawless. 10+/10

2. Second Spasm- All the instruments are amazingly played once again and the song is enjoyable. This one is not as serene and peaceful as the first song, but it still strikes me as being beautiful. I love the part about three minutes into the song where the bassoon and Krumhorns go solo. Outstanding! The folk feel is awesome. 10/10

3. Lament- Gryphon continues their brilliance, this time more in the vein of what the song title suggests. Who would have thought a lament could be so emotional yet uplifting simultaneously? The song structure is again meticulously crafted and all the instruments form a wonderful blend of medieval progressive music. The ending gets me every time. Fantastic. 10/10

4. Checkmate- The complex beauty ends on an interesting note with this last song, which tells you that it won't be a repeat of any of the previous songs simply from its ever-changing intro. At times this song has a march feel to it, signifying the last of the troops going out to battle (in the chess game). What else is there to say? They somehow manage to finish this album with another unique composition with wonderful composition and amazing instrumentation. 10/10

This is one of the most rewarding albums I own. Do yourself a favor and hear it for yourself!

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars If post-metal be music that used to be metal and post-rock be music that used to be rock, and I do state these definitions tongue in cheek, then surely Red Queen to Gryphon Three represents post folk. This is music partial to folk instrumentation that otherwise has nothing to do with folk music. I have listened numerous times to RQTGT over the years, and whether I am trying to discover good prog folk, good symphonic rock, or just good music, I have come up empty every time.

This is a decidedly over-produced album with plenty of juicy arrangements, good playing and promising segments, but, taken as a whole, as a voyage from A to Z, it seems to have become mired around D. Certain parts of each track grant small liberties to the prog folk that is trying desperately to emerge with a melody that might be remembered 5 seconds after it has played. The most of these parts occur on the original side 1 before they detour via fusion, and unfortunately Gryphon is not nearly as good a fusion band as a folk band. In fact the synthesizers in the more frenzied segments are pithy and utterly lacking in dynamics and warmth. This coldness is also at the heart of my problem with the album.

I admit that I like some folk with my prog folk and some melodic with my symphonic prog, so please consider that when comparing my review to the accolades generally presented on this page. For me, RQTGT is, and was from the first to the last time, a stale mate.

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed with this one after hearing Gryphon's first self titled album from 1973 which I think is far superior to this. 'Red Queen...' just prances about like a big girls blouse. I really like the mediaeval parts of their tunes but that's not nearly so prevalent on this one. To my ears it just meanders about all over the place. Maybe I'm in the wrong mood while listening to this just now. It's a nice enough listen. It's colourful and plenty of instruments get twanged, pressed, strummed and thumped. All very acoustic sounding. It has a very nice front cover too. But a good front cover does not a good album make.

Not bad, but I much prefer the two earlier albums. At least this still sounds original and distinctive, unlike a lot of prog bands I could mention. Good, but nothing more than good, and I really don't see what all the fuss is about.

Review by Negoba
4 stars Very Good Medieval Symphonic Prog

Gryphon's _Red Queen to Gryphon Three_ attracted me as it was one of the highest rated progressive folk albums on this site not by Jethro Tull. I picked up this album based on the sample here, and was a little surprised. Folk has a lot of definitions, and at first, this album didn't match mine at all. This is not acoustic strummy music, and it doesn't resemble 60's psychedelia either. What's more this album is all instrumental, so the deep lyric themes or storytelling one normally associates with American Folk are absent also.

So what does the uninitiated fan actually get? More than anything, this sounds like classic 70's symphonic prog, with the addition of the infamous krumhorn. More like Renaissance, Genesis, or Gentle Giant's medieval turns than Pentangle or Fairport Convention. The music is very classically inspired, with added rock instrumentation. Like GG, there can be rapid shifts between sections, though none of the dissonance. The performances are very good and the players skilled.

The album comes in four approximately ten minute sections.

Opening Move, is very classical in feel and composition. The horn plays a large part, and there is plenty of interplay and counterpoint between the various instruments. It comes to a climax with an increasingly chaotic cascade of sixteenths before a slow finish.

Second Spasm opens with pastoral whimsy with flute and guitar in a Celtic feel before classic prog sounding guitars take over the melodies. The themes repeat over with numerous variations and keyboard breaks, some humorous, others heavy.

Lament is more pastoral and sad in tone, again starting with strummy guitar and flute. Krumhorn takes the theme, and then the duo play in harmony. Three minutes in, a completely new movement starts in complex time, darker even than the beginning section, the horn at the low end of its range. At 5:28 another movement begins, much more rocking than anything we've seen before, with lots of cymbals and frolicking bass. This evolves into something actually resembling prog folk for a short while before the horns bring us back into symphonic territory, again reprising the main melodic themes.

Checkmate starts in fine classic prog keyboard fashion, very reminiscent of Gentle Giant. The flute gets an extended solo spot over only drums, and then we get a more composed section with classical counterpoint. It weaves from light to dark and ends with a series of solos including a Wakeman-esque key climax before the final reprise.

This listens like a piece of classical music. It requires attention, but the reward is certainly there. I've had this album for months now and only now feel like I can give it a fair review. It's pretty unassuming, and at first seemed somewhat unimpressive to me. But with time, I've grown to appreciate that it's a fairly unique true fusion of classical music with rock instruments. Though I would call this symphonic in the truest sense, it still would be an excellent part of any prog collection.

Review by friso
3 stars Gryphon's 'Red Queen to Gryphon Three' LP is a highly collectible relic from the age of progressive rock. It is arguably the band's most lively and well composed record, yet it suffers from the same problems as the others; it is just not that relatable. It has none of that folk country soul and I would be surprised if any-one could name a even a single band member of this group; for the performances - though very solid - are without any individuality. Gryphon is more like a well-oiled machine. The band isn't loved for no reason; the group has a unique sound with both authentic folk-instrumentation (and a bassoon) and electric instrumentation. The album has four ten minute long highly melodic (instrumental) compositions in which the band explores a wild pallet of sounds, some of which are quite intense. Their style is as complex as Gentle Giant at its best. The band implements influences from a variety of classical (medieval) styles of music, folk and symphonic prog. After years of trying to get through the record in one sitting, I must admit I can't enjoy it for more than the first eight minutes or so. There are plenty listeners here who do, so I would highly recommend giving it a few spins if you're interested in progressive folk or eclectic prog.
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is quite nice and very professional mixture of renaissance music and british folk. Played by professional musicians. Even with some warm (in English way) feeling.

So as a result we have enough static chamber music with some rock elements ( not too much).Fully instrumental album contains just four long compositions,complex enough to be placed under the "progresive rock" label.Music itself is pleasant, but not so bright to be attractive by itself too much.Nice acoustic atmosphere all around. Again, too long and too cold pieces to attract your attention for long.

You can be attracted by very balanced sound, high technigue of musicanship, nice melted baroque and English folk melodies, but ... not by album as piece of art. Possibly, very English album.

And I am affraid, folk-prog isn't my cup of tea.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Nothing is perfect, not even this album. However, some efforts has to earn masterpiece status, if only for how original their sound is (and still pleasant - am I right ? there's nothing ugly on this album, so this should be valued a lot). Cover perfectly describes the mood of this album, playful, colorful, fantasy-like and revoking medieval instruments (Crumhorn anybody?) with something I deeply admire, chess game. I though many times about name of this album, so twisting and interesting, really can occupy the mind for a while (I'll leave you with this statement). Multi-layered and multi-instrument using at once. Truly music, where you can close your eyes and feel the dreamy fantasy landscape, castles in the sky, sunny beaches, distant meadows (not fenced ones) and simply imagine all of this. You can do the same thing (sometimes) with post-rock too (most prominent genre), but that's not the same, as this is direct shortcut (repeating myself) to beautiful sounds. Just feel the harmony in it and you'll see.

5(+), but result may vary after some time, so expect editing, if necessary. I don't edit much, as I mostly review when I feel like I have heard enough. And with this music I'll never have enough. Hope their other albums are as good as this.

Review by JLocke
3 stars Red Queen to Gryphon Three was my first Gryphon album. Ignorant to what any of their other work might have sounded like, I put on my headphones and dove in to this record full-force. The emotional results I emerged with after the journey were a mixed batch.

Let's the obvious out of the way: This is not Prog Folk music. It sounds like very well-played, well-composed Symphonic Rock. Nothing wrong with that, but don't go into this expecting Jethro Tull. Even Thick as a Brick wasn't as full-fledged Symphonic as this. I would say Red Queen to Gryphon Three is more along the lines of CttE-era Yes. Just not nearly as exciting.

That doesn't mean I don't like it, though. It just means that it will take longer to grow on you than other, more prominent Prog works. Yes. it's beautiful, complex and brilliant from a compositional standpoint, but how much fun will you have listening to it? Well, that really depends on how open-minded you are in your musical taste. Since you're on a Prog Rock site, I would assume that means you are more game than most to jump in to uncharted waters, but that still doesn't guarantee you'll actually enjoy this album.

On the one hand, you have a clear dedication to the music, and these guys were surely working hard at making a complex, all- instrumental album, and they certainly succeeded at that. But on the other hand, you have to wonder if the band were actually concerned with the album itself being listenable for long periods of time. I would say not, since this type of music is as far from Pop music as you can get. They knew they were making something not that easy to digest, and maybe they didn't even care about that much. But if you want to draw in a large audience, you need to make sure your music's complexity doesn't overshadow the music itself, if that makes sense.

I have grown to appreciate this album a lot more than I initially did, and I do think it's worth coming back to, because a lot of beautiful musical moments do begin to shine through after a while, but I do have some issues here, as well. Much of the more negative criticisms already present on this page are very true. A lot of the passages DO feel slapped together without any true structure, which causes the album to feel disjointed at times. The more frenzied sections DO lack warmth, in my opinion. But those moments are few, and you can still appreciate the bigger picture without focusing on the small and minute. My personal problem, however, is that the small and minute aspects of music are sometimes the most important parts to me. It's a shame that such good musicianship can be so aimless at times.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: If you're already a fan of this approach to music, you will most likely enjoy the record in any case. But if you don't typically go for this stuff, you're going to have to ask yourself a very simple question: are you willing to allow this type of music to grow on you, or not? If you give it time, this album may reveal itself over time as being one of your more intelligent records. If you don't want to give it a chance to grow on you, then you'll probably not ever appreciate it. It's a really tough call to make. Because of that, I don't think I'm going to recommend this. It's only for those listeners who willingly choose to seek this type of stuff out, and won't really appeal to a large amount of people-- even in Prog circles! At least, not right now. Maybe generations from now, Red Queen to Gryphon Three will be hailed as a masterpiece, but for now I wholeheartedly believe that it belongs exactly where it currently is-- just enough below the radar for its specific audience to discover and enjoy it. Everybody else should approach it with caution.

Beautiful at certain moments, but hard to digest the rest of the time. 3.5 stars.

Review by progpositivity
5 stars "Red Queen to Gryphon Three" is Gryphon's finest hour, and a true masterpiece of unique Progressive Rock genius. Each of the album's four instrumental compositions employ a mathematical precision that rivals even the best of Gentle Giant's output. A casual listener might be forgiven for suspecting a Gentle Giant influence. Research reveals, however, that one can independently trace the influences of both bands back to the same Renaissance, Medieval and English Folk roots. Gryphon began when musically educated multi-instrumentalists Richard Harvey and Brian Gulland teamed up to explore elements of historical folk music. It wasn't long, however, before a guitarist (Graeme Taylor) and percussion (Dave Oberle) were added and the band began to blend rock music influences into the mix. Fresh off the heels of the success of their extended album-long suite "Midnight Mushrumps", which had its genesis as music for a Shakespeare production at Britain's National Theatre, "Red Queen to Gryphon" features 4 instrumental compositions of Progressive chamber rock music.

Gryphon got noticed by many progrock fans when they opened for Yes during their North American Tour in 1975. They also performed on Steve Howe's solo album "Beginnings".

Subsequent albums would become increasingly commercial, straying from the instrumentation, arrangements and compositional style that make this album, and the band, so unique and vital.

Review by J-Man
3 stars If You Like Medieval Prog GET THIS!!

Red Queen to Gryphon Three is a bit of an interesting case for me. Even though I'm usually not that interested in instrumental music, Gryphon's third album (often considered to be their masterpiece) was on very heavy rotation in my household slightly over a year ago. I absolutely loved the virtuosity of the musicians, the medieval tone, and the breathtaking beauty on some of the songs here.

Even though I can still appreciate most of the compositions and, of course, the fantastic musicianship, Red Queen to Gryphon Three has lost a bit of my interest and I rarely play it anymore. When I do hear the album, I'm usually entertained, but not quite blown away like I used to be. With that said, if you are a fan of medieval-sounding symphonic prog (like Anthony Phillips' The Geese and The Ghost or early Renaissance) and are alright with a 100% instrumental performance, this album will surely appeal to you. I am a fan of Anthony Phillips and Renaissance, and to some extent I am a fan of this album. As mentioned, I love a lot of aspects of Red Queen to Gryphon Tree, but a lot of the music simply fails to grab me, despite its obvious high quality.

As mentioned earlier, the music played here is medieval-sounding instrumental symphonic prog folk. If you like bands like Genesis, Renaissance, and Anthony Phillips mixed with the instrumental virtuosity of bands like Anglagard, this Gryphon album should appeal to you. Don't be fooled by the "prog folk" labeling this album often garners. This is pure symphonic prog with some folk and medieval influences, but it is first and foremost a symphonic album. Don't go in here expecting Jethro Tull or Comus (although the influence from these bands is evident at times).

The musicianship here is great. I assume that all of the musicians are classically trained, as there are evident influences from the renaissance and baroque eras of classical music. Brian Gulland's bassoon and Krumhörns is especially notable. The addition of generally unused instruments in prog rock really adds another dimension to Gryphon's music. And Brian sure as heck can play the bassoon!

The production is one of the best in the 70's. It's clean, dynamic, and the mixing is spot on. Nothing more I could ask from an organic seventies production.


Red Queen to Gryphon Three is a small classic in the seventies progressive rock scene, and is worth hearing at least once by any prog fan. Even though I don't enjoy this album as much as some other people do, it is hard to deny its quality and innovative nature. I'll give this album a confident 3.5 star rating. If I were to rate this album about a year ago, it would have been an easy 4. If you're interested in hearing what prog would've sounded like in 1300, this is definitely an album worth hearing.

Review by progrules
4 stars One of the earlier reviewers of this album stated that if you gave this album a chance your appreciation could increase as a result. And I have to admit that's exactly what happened with me here. Not too long ago I was not yet familiar with this band let alone album but somehow I had the feeling this piece of prog art could be pretty essential if you want to call yourself a progger.

And so I had to go for it, right ? After first few listening sessions I wasn't really blown away or even impressed I must admit but this is indeed an album that has to grow on you although in my case I will hardly ever go from being underwhelmed to overwhelmed because one or two spins usually gives me a fairly good idea of what my connection to any album is. And also in the case of Gryphon's magnum opus my appreciation hasn't increased from low to very high but at least it went up so that's positive.

Another challenge for me was to find out which of the four pieces I liked best but that proved a bit too hard honestly. At first I thought second spasm was my favorite part, later on I favoured Lament but my next thought was: why is it actually better than the opening move or Checkmate ? Actually I haven't got a clue and in the end I feel all four parts are pretty equal. All four are a combination of ancient (medieval if you wish) and modern music and to be honest I don't think prog folk is the most accurate subgenre for this album. For the Gentle Giant similarity rather tends to eclectic prog, let's say 65 % eclectic prog and 35% prog folk.

My already mentioned increasing appreciation has led from a 3,25 score to a 3,75 after many more listenings. So I will round up after all because this is above all true prog that should be checked out by serious followers of our genre. Not a downright masterpiece though (imho).

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars Giving the Renaissance Fair a dose of electricity.

RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE is wild, especially in the sense of what style it is. Any classic prog fan will be happy with the power, grandiosity and familiarity of the sound here as Gryphon courts Yes, Genesis, and Gentle Giant in influences, particularly the last one mentioned. But Gryphon are not about to clone anyone, for they have the bassoon and krumhorn at their will; in the bassoon's case, they chuck that instrument all over the album (not surprising since bassoonist Brian Gulland had a hand in writing all of the songs).

Not to flog a dead horse, but the compositions remind me of Gentle Giant with more Renaissance diversions, especially if you hear Phillip Nestor's bass figures. Again, the wind instruments put Gryphon in their own class, but Graeme Taylor's beautiful guitar characterisations are so poignant, yet uplifting that they are a quiet highlight.

The problem here is that the album tires by ''Lament''; the great run that ''Opening Move'' and ''Second Spasm'' take just sputter out leaving ''Checkmate'' as a rather familiar yet unfitting closing track. Gryphon's take on progressive rock is an odd one, but a take that symphonic lovers will enjoy and eclectic-minded fans can respectfully appreciate.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Gryphon are an example of true period specialists, virtuosi at their craft, and 1974's Red Queen is considered the pinnacle of this specialized form of prog folk. I happen to prefer the band's earlier release from the same year.

1. "Opening Move" (9:42) from the opening sounds of this song Gryphon lets you know that they're going to use more of the 20th Century options that electronics afford them. Even the kit drum play is far more rock/prog than anything on their previous album. Thick electric bass is prominent throughout despite use of horns and recorders. At the two minute mark the band falls away so that antique percussives and soprano recorder can have some time. Bass, electric guitar, organ, and drums soon join in. These are GENTLE GIANT proggers! Soprano recorder carries the lead into a slow dreamy section with slow strums from 12-string and piano before bassoon takes the lead with piano in lone accompaniment. At 5:10 an odd electronic keyboard enters before bassoon tries to take on a slowed-down variation of the opening melody. Snare, electric bass, piano and guitar take the next turn before high-pitched electronic keyboard spits out a few. A weave of drums, bass, synths, electric guitar and delay/echoed electric guitar enter before going totally synth-space cray-cray. The constructs are intricate and fast-changing as on the previous album but the electronic instruments and electronic effects are all new. I understand the desire to experiment and grow, but the "old" way was pretty cool. (18/20)

2. "Second Spasm" (8:15) opens with all acoustic, antiquated instruments (the OLD Gryphon!) guitar, recorders, harpsichord, bassoon and timpani and other percussives. At the 1:00 mark a chunky CHRIS SQUIRE-like bass and electric guitar enter with a fast-paced thread accompanied by drum kit and, later, clavinet. In the second verse of this movement some kind of synth is used to mirror and mimick the guitar and bass melody line. At the end of the third minute a rather silly crumhorn and kazoo section begins (including flatulence) before giving way to a very patriotic-sounding march section of rock instrumentation (electric guitar, piano, drums, bass, and, later, synths) all taking turns guarding the rhythm and melody. Then, at 5:10 a kind of muffled industrial gong "sounds" before another round of the antique instrument band plays takes their turn playing over harmonium and bass. Guitar and bassoon are the main leads until the chunky bass and "Wipe Out" drums drive them out, creating space for the synth and soprano flute to dominate the high end. (17.5/20)

3. "Lament" (10:45) carrying forward variations on two major melodic themes, this song is much more drawn out and sedate than the music of their previous album release from the same year, Midnight Mushrumps. So much so, that I find myself rather bored and put off--as if the band is purposely "dumbing down" their music in order to reach a broader audience. The music of this song is much more modernized, more simply woven and constructed, and more boring. Even the speeded up section in the sixth minute feels too contrived, too much a diversion intended purposely to dupe the listener into thinking that this is something new. (The guitar work is pretty cool, though.) (17.5/20)

4. "Checkmate" (9:50) opens with a very GG-sounding section--instruments, rhythms, constructs, and sound/instrument palette. Then bassoon enters and everything shifts to a softer, almost jazz march. The bass's counterpoint is so pinpoint to the lead melody-makers! Snare and soprano recorder take a turn in the third minute before guitar and bass join in the weave (the second movement's weave). Organ (Wurlitzer?) enters for a brief spell but then is pushed out by guitar, bass and recorder again. Another slowdown/standstill at 3:45 lets soprano recorder and echoed guitar strums bridge to a piano and bass crumhorn duet. Twinkle-synth enters briefly before horns take us into another march with pipe organ taking the lead (supported by strumming electric guitar). Piano and horn again as everything is happening, switching, very quickly, going from theme to them about every 20 to 40 seconds. So classical in its construction yet so eclectic and confusing in its instrumental representation. I'm almost tired from the constant handoffs and rotations of instruments. It's admirable but when are they going to present something hummable? The ninth minute! Synth and soprano flute on top, bass and horn and electric guitar beneath with guitar and piano (and saw-synth) in the middle. A masterpiece of Baroque classical music performed by a revolving door of modern and antique instruments. Each musician must have had three or four instruments beside them while playing in the round for this true "rondo"! (18/20)

Total Time: 38:32

The musicianship here is amazing (as always) but I'm not sure I like the new sound--the back and forth blending of old and new. Songs like the last one that are more purely classical I get but then there are the more obsequiating efforts of "Lament" and the show-off entertainent factor of the opener. I have to admit to feeling more drawn to Midnight Mushrumps for return listens.

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive folk rock music.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The third album from Gryphon shows them fully embracing the prog-rock style they hinted at on the previous album. While the debut was completely acoustic and based on Renaissance music, the second album added electric bass and some drums. Here they add electric keyboards and guitar, and the playing is much more "rock" oriented. Still lots of use of traditional instruments like Krumhorn, however. This is an instrumental concept album about chess, apparently. The music genrally changes a lot with some repeated sections. Great interplay between the instruments. You can hear some Gentle Giant and Yes influences here, Gryphon having toured with the latter at one point.

"Opening Move" has some great melodies. The piano playing here is really good. Love the fuzz guitar after 3 minutes. I like how the music builds up before 6 minutes. The tempo picks up later and things get more dissonant. Some backwards effects. Ends on a more symphonic note. "Second Spasm" starts out very folky and medieval sounding. Then goes into a rocking combination of Gentle Giant and Yes. Awesome bass sounds around 1 1/2 minutes. Later gets classical and then jazzy with no rhythm section. Afterwards an upbeat classical-rock section. Gets folky and medieval sounding again. Then the GG/Yes part is reprised.

You can listen to "Lament" here on PA. More great melodies in this song. The first three minutes are really nice with the mix of wind instruments, acoustic guitars and later glockenspiel or something similar. The music fades away and it gets replaced by a more moody section with drums. The music stops halfway and then goes into a folk-rock boogie. Changes to a few more different sections; earlier themes get reprised. Lots of drumming near the end and the synth plays some of the wind instruments melodies. "Checkmate" goes through a few sections, some of them Gentle Giant sounding. Before 2 minutes is some cool sounding electric percussion and a flute soloing. Goes through some more folky and classical sounding sections.

Gets very sad and classical in the middle before the music slowly cheers itself up. Then a great part with marching drums and organ. Gets more dissonant and jazzy for awhile. Love the cool sounding sequencers after 8 minutes. Earlier sections get reprised...I wish they had more original endings. The sound and production is great and the compositions are generally really good. Probably Gryphon at their most adventurous and consistent. Raindance will be similar to this but a bit more streamlined. Great album. 4 stars.

Review by baz91
5 stars It's a prog rock record with four songs, all ten minutes long. How bad can it be?

The answer in this case is, not bad at all. In fact, Gryphon's unique blend of folk and electric instruments, combined with some complex musicianship and intricate song structures that could put Gentle Giant to shame, happens to make this album damn near perfect.

First things first, this is an entirely instrumental record. There are no voices or lyrics of any kind here, but the music itself manages to carry the listener and their imagination for the duration of the album. In a sense, the 'no voices' policy gives this album a very 'pure' feel.

On the first listen, you're likely to think that each track sounds very similar, but over time, the tracks seperate out, and gain their own identity within the album. Opening Move is the natural choice for the beginning of the album, with it's majestic, anthemic sound. Second Spasm gives the group a chance to show off their folk rock skills. Lament is a longer, more thoughtful piece. Checkmate is a more mixed affair, with aggressive and restrained parts that flow together beautifully. If I have a single criticism, it's that Gryphon didn't do the trick of using the theme from Opening Move anywhere else in the album.

The album package itself is rather meagre, but the beautiful picture on the front is enough to satisfy. Apart from that, we are also greeted by pictures of our silent hosts, the band members themselves.

This album is a pure joy to listen to all the way through. There are no weak moments at all, so it's easy to put this album on from start to finish, and lap up the proggy goodness. The skill with which the group handle their instruments is uncanny. The tracks are all meticulously thought out, and each person plays his part perfectly. Needless to say, this is a must-have for any prog fan.

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the things I love most about Prog Rock is the sheer audacity of some of the bands and their ridiculous ideas. What we have here is an entirely instrumental concept album about a game of chess prominently featuring the Krumhorn, an obscure Renaissance reed instrument that sounds a bit like a bassoon. You'd be hard pressed to find a modern band willing to embark on such a silly undertaking, and yet it works brilliantly.

The record is divided into four lengthy tracks, each supposedly representing a phase of gameplay. "Opening Move" begins with a peaceful and pleasant melody, painting a picture of a friendly game played outdoors on a warm summer day. The tension gradually increases as the "friendly game" turns into a heated battle of minds. The next track, "Second Spasm," starts as a lively dance tune in 6/8 time played on recorders. The music is relentless fun and cheerful, while maintaining a fast pace indicative of the fierce competition imagined to be happening on the chess board.

Side two opens with the more reserved "Lament," in which our protagonist mopes about his diminishing prospects of victory, before launching into the triumphant finale, "Checkmate." Throughout, the band do a nice job of developing their motifs in an almost symphonic fashion. Rather than simply stringing a collection of unrelated themes together, they reuse melodies within the individual movements, playing them in a variety of different ways and always maintaining the listener's interest.

It's hard not to love this record. It's so wonderfully idiosyncratic, with its Renaissance feel augmented by the modern flavor of keyboards and bass guitar. The melodies are catchy and very happy sounding. It's an album that makes me smile every time I hear it. Whether you're a fan of Prog Rock, Renaissance music, or just looking for something fun and uplifting, you're likely to find something to enjoy on "Red Queen to Gryphon Three."

Review by Warthur
4 stars Emboldened by the positive reaction to the instrumental side-long suite on Midnight Mushrumps, Gryphon went all-instrumental for this concept album, which essentially presents a single cohesive composition structured around the ebb and flow of a game of chess. The loss of the vocals is something I suspect many listeners won't exactly be mourning, since I thought they were the weakest aspect of Mushrumps, and in their place comes complex and technically sophisticated prog compositions which challenge the listener. Comparing it to the title track from Mushrumps, there's not much between them - medieval compositional approaches and instrumentation (Krumhorn ahoy!) are still the name of the game, and the main difference between the two suites is that Red Queen is twice as long. I wouldn't put it in the absolute top rank of instrumental prog albums from the era - I'd say both Tubular Bells and Camel's The Snow Goose rank above it - but it is a fine album and probably the peak of Gryphon's career.
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This is definitely the album from "Gryphon" to start (and end) with. Their first two albums were too much filled with medieval / renaissance music to please my ears.

On this "Red Queen To Gryphon Three", the mood is much more truly prog folk. Long compositions, use of electric instruments combined with lots of specific folk ones allow for an enjoyable trip. I particularly like "Opening Move" which holds lots of keyboards, a powerful intro, and delicate (almost classic) piano.

At times this track sounds as a good ISP piece of music; while the complexity of the song writing also leans towards the eclectic genre. The whole is rather melodic and during almost ten minutes it is only a pleasure for the ears (even if you are not too much addicted to classic prog folk music). There is even a quite dark section featuring some Crimson filiations. It is an excellent song indeed and a highlight.

There are lighter moments available as well on this "Red Queen". The intro for the second track for instance. It sounds more in the vein of their previous releases, but quite soon the band shows again their new facet and the complex elements prevail again but it is less obvious during "Second Spam" to be honest. The pure folk and old traditional music are setting the mood even if the closing section is almost wild!

After this short frenzy, the listener is plunged into a sweet acoustic intro during "Lament" which is the longest track of this all instrumental album. The atmosphere is very much "Trespass" oriented and later acoustic albums from Steve or Anthony are not far away.

This long track sounds as a collage of several shorter parts and it lacks a bit in uniformity. Synths part towards the end is definitely a fine moment as well. It is another highlight which is available for your listening on this website.

Some jazz feel is noticeable while the closing number is being played. This is well organized though and rather symphonic (jazz I mean). As usual, different themes are filling "Checkmate" and inevitably the renaissance (the period ? not the band) atmosphere is conveyed by the use of some fine crumhorn as well as other wind instruments.

In all, this is a good album which should please symphonic or even eclectic lovers as well (but to a moderate degree ? let's say three stars). Prog folk fans are right while they raise their ratings to four or even five stars. I would say seven out of ten and I will upgrade this work to four stars as to salute this huge improvement.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Gryphon's one and only triumph "Red Queen to Gryphon Three" is a chess game that has four lengthy instrumentals beginning with 'Opening Move' and ending with 'Checkmate'. The idea itself is worthwhile noting for its innovation and the album cover depicts the old sage in a medieval setting, poring over his next move on the chessboard, while a joust takes place below in the castle grounds. The music echoes this feeling from the outset with 'Opening Move', with long meandering passages of medieval music and courtly majestic excursions. One may be reminded of Gentle Giant at times with the intricate time sigs and Rick Wakeman with its unusual instrumental pageantry. The Renaissance period is captured on this album with strong English folk nuances and an emphasis on woodwind solos.

'Second Spasm' features the pied piper sounds of woodwind specialist Richard Harvey, also a marvel on keyboards and Krumhörn. Brian Gulland accompanies on bassoon and Krumhörns and is joined by the incomparable Graeme Taylor on guitars. This track features medieval noodling throughout, that may turn off some listeners, especially the Krumhörn solos and it sounds very whimsical and court jesterish, like the soundtrack to an old comedy in the Renaissance period. The music is certainly upbeat and positive, conjuring images of castles, knights in armour rescuing damsels and kings and queens making a procession to their royal palaces. The marching procession on percussion by David Oberlé is noteworthy also. Other musicians include Philip Nestor on bass, Ernest Hart on organ and Peter Redding plays acoustic bass.

'Lament' opens side 2 of the vinyl and it begins softly with Harvey's woodwind and Taylor's gentle acoustic. It fades slowly as the next movement fades up, a more solemn atmosphere with Gulland's low bassoon tones and guitar. The mood change is appropriate after all the whimsy on side 1 and this melody reflects the sound of an impending calamity. Soon some manic hi hat work ushers in a brand new day, and the music is bright and in quick cadence. The keyboard solo that follows is mesmerising along with the odd meter and pulsing bassline.

It ends with 'Checkmate', a rousing, rollicking piece that may remind one of medieval dancing around the maypole. The strange music locks into a time sig that is all over the place, and then is released with a drum heralding in the march and a recorder solo trills beautifully along. The woodwind solos are virtuoso and this is perhaps a much more progressive track in terms of sigs and building up of intensity. The keyboard solo towards the end is stellar along with the recorder solos and dramatic percussion. It ends with a finale and excellent pageantry.

The chamber music of the album is a compelling focus of Gryphon and at only 4 tracks the album never outstays its welcome. It is certainly worthy of recognition, though may be difficult for some listeners with all the medieval flavours. One thing is for certain there is nothing else like it and Gryphon are recognised primarily for this work alone. It is little wonder that Richard Harvey went on to produce some successful movie soundtracks in his later years.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Baroque and folk ebb and flow. This is a much more eclectic than folk album, though, similar to the eccentric cheerfulness of Gentle Giant. The difficulty with this album is that it lacks coherency in the compositions, prancing and bobbing from one passage to the next without intelligible transitions. Red Queen to Gryphon Three is equal parts affable and harebrained- it is the unbalanced friend who will just as quickly laugh with you as laugh at you.

"Opening Move" The beginning of this quirky quartet starts off like a late 1970s Yes song, full of bombastic synthesizer and light guitar runs. It gives way to a Wakeman-like piano bit that launches back into that symphonic jauntiness. At that point, the bassoon lends Gryphon a more distinct sound. This is a very ambitious opus.

"Second Spasm" One would think one was entering a renaissance fair with the recorder and acoustic guitar dancing away. It morphs into something akin to a folky edition of "Sound Chaser." That section drops off unexpectedly for some sputtering reed instrumentation. The next passage is like a processional. After that, the music suddenly grows ominous, like a dark cloud has threatened the parade, but the minstrels soon carry on anyway.

"Lament" The most acoustic and accessible piece has quite a bit of acoustic guitar, bassoon, and easygoing drums and bass. The piece energizes halfway through, with tooting and upbeat rhythms.

"Checkmate" The final piece returns to the zany symphonic rock of the opening track. Soon, however, it takes on a military march feel with flighty recorder. The middle passage is reserved, but laden with organ and snare drum. The final segment takes throws everything at the listener in a gleeful symphonic folk fashion.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars Gryphon's earliest albums straddled the gulf between the 15th and 20th centuries with style and agility. But their popular 1974 LP, widely acclaimed on these pages (and just about everywhere else) found them losing that delicate balance, straying too far toward more lucrative but less distinctive musical territory better suited to veteran Symphonic Rockers like YES.

The classical underpinning was still secure, expressed in virtuoso bassoon and recorder turns from Brian Gulland and Richard Harvey. But the four long tracks (entirely instrumental, and dearly missing the dulcet voice of singer/drummer David Oberlé) seem more contrived than composed, all of them pieced together from unrelated themes and half-formed musical fragments, with little actual development or connection between them.

The Folk Rock simplicity of the original band was further compromised by modern instrumentation: more electric guitars (sounding as if played under duress), louder drums, and an over-reliance on souped-up synthesizer patches ā la Rick Wakeman. The latter gives the music real Prog Rock authority, but of course nowadays the sound of a mini-moog is even more anachronistic than those bleating medieval krumhorns.

The best moments of the album echo the band's earlier days: the rollicking courtly dance at the start of 'Second Spasm', and the bulk of 'Lament', featuring some gorgeous recorder runs over a suitably romantic acoustic guitar melody. It's a pity the former was too quickly sidetracked into yet another medley of random musical snippets, and the latter spoiled by an incredibly tacky whiz-bang synth solo at its climax.

From a purely Prog Rock vantage it's easy to understand the album's enduring popularity (although I suspect the colorful cover art has a lot to do with that). But let's face it, fellow Progheads: from a broader musical perspective 'RQ to G3' marked a willful diluting of the band's original vision, with more of the same (only worse) still to come.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Gryphon and implicit their third album from 1974 Red queen to gryphon tree is one of the most intresting albums ever recorded from prog/folk rock zone in the ;70s. This is a complicated pieces of work with no weak moments. From the excellent cover art who goes hand in hand with the music, progressive folk with medieval touches, sometimes remind me of Gentle Giant in their most fascinating moments, but without that rockier sound. Many unusul instruments here like bassoon, Krumh'rns who gives a very special atmosphere, very folk but very progressive. Also in some parts the album sounds like a music with minstrels and all stuff from the court of a king in middle age, so medieval, intresting in the end. Only 4 pieces here, all long with complicated moves, this album is not easy to listen and is a definetly a grower. The first part with the first two pieces are little better the the B side, with excellent parts, all album is instrumental so another thing to get a carful listning. Opening Move and Second spasm are killer pieces to my ears, such beauty in such complex music is a wonderful thing to get. So, definetly one of the best albums from mid '70s and I think their best album overall, fascinating release coming from this little known band. 4 stars easy and recommended big time.
Review by FragileKings
4 stars This album is what progressive rock was about back in its heyday. The drive to push rock music further afield and into other fields. What an exemplary album "Red Queen to Gryphon Three" is of that. Do I like it? Well, yes and... yeah, it's alright. But never mind that. Here are four musicians who really tried to create something original.

The album is loosely based on a game of chess. Sounds utterly boring, does it not? Thankfully, other than the track titles, there is no hint of chess being played and in fact it is rather difficult to continue imagining a game of chess being played to this music. It is lively, it is diverse, it is bold, it is entertaining. We have rock and renaissance, folk and classical. We have guitars and the whole rock band deal along with bassoons and krum horns and some other woodwind instruments. In "Second Spasm" we have something that sounds like a renaissance duck duo. "Lament" features some lovely pastoral passages. Each of the four compositions follows a different course, though you will notice that each piece weaves its own wild course through varying melodies and themes.

One thing that struck me was how blatantly obvious it became that the American prog band Yezda Urfa were inspired by Gryphon, particularly "Second Spasm". There are sections of the music with its speedy guitars and rapid fire rhythm (in odd meters of course) that sound like they came straight off "Sacred Baboon" except for that Gryphon did it first.

For another comparison, I find the music is as busy as that of Anglagard or Wobbler, who both introduce musical themes like runners coming across the finish line at a race. Gryphon, too, will give you some melody for 24 bars or maybe 32, and then that one is discarded and an entirely different melody and meter will abruptly take its place. Which means this is no slow and gently progressing set of instrumentals but rather a sometimes torpedic (is there such a word?) ride through a magical music landscape.

As for my personal opinion, I find the music on this album to be admirably bold and progressive and at times a tad over the hedge. I love some of the parts but not all. Too much renaissance bassoon and krum horn doesn't sound so cool in the car stereo, and the duck duo, though well executed, is not something to play when the wife is around. Once again I am reminded that listening to this kind of prog is sometimes a very private affair.

I would say it is a masterpiece and certainly essential if classic seventies prog in all its wondrous forms is your fancy. However, I am certain there are plenty of progheads out there who will find this a little too out there. I'll give it four stars.

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The third release from Gryphon brings their definitive release. "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" is a wholly instrumental offering, driven by intricate interplay between piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar and flute with other odd instruments thrown in to add their unique accents. The album is largely symphonic in nature, though the folk influence shines through strongly. In fact, this album is so symphonic that it actually follows the form of a classical symphony!

Each of the album's four compositions acts as a movement of the greater work, which is loosely based on the game of chess, hence the titles. The fanfare-like "Opening Move" gives way to the lively "Second Spasm" and the ballad "Lament" contrasts the rhythmically pulsing "Checkmate". None of the movements are weak and "Lament" stands out in particular as one of the stronger ones, with its beautiful pastoral guitar and flute duets and expansive, synth-led finale. While it may not offer quite the same drive as Gryphon's more rock-oriented contemporaries, the music throughout the entire album is very thoughtfully composed, well layered and intelligently written. This really is one that every fan of classic prog fan should at the very least check out. 4 stars.

Review by ALotOfBottle
5 stars Gryphon was an English folk rock outfit created by Royal Academy Of Music graduates. Red Queen to Gryphon Three is their third release generally regarded as their best work and beloved by connoisseurs of prog rock and especially folk prog. Red Queeni s a concept telling a "story" of a chess match. This work of Gryphon (unlike their previous record Midnight Mushrumps) is entirely instrumental.

The album consists of four tracks, two for each side. "Opening Move" showcases the band members' outstanding musicianship since the very beggining. Drenched with dreamy synthesizers and loads of traditional folk instruments, this track features henomenal Chopin-influenced piano passages at one point. "Second Spasm" opens with a wonderful, medieval shanty theme, which resolves into a more rock-orientated part dominated by keyboard with a dynamic bass-line. The main theme returns exhibiting many interesting folk instrument sounds. "Lament", like its predecessors, it goes through numerous movements, which have a wide dynamic variation. "Checkmate" is probably the most "experimental" of the pieces.

The pieces give the impression of being well-thought and intricately composed throughout. Although it uses folk instrumentation, the folk influence of Gryphon's two previous works is much lower. Instead, the band's music on Red Queen To Gryphon Three owes a great deal to European art music of the middle ages and renaissance. Furthermmore, the pieces are composed in a similar fashion to classical music with themes, variations on themes, and different segments.

All in all, Red Queen to Gryphon Three belongs in every folk rock fan's collection, but is also a much needed-addition to that of a fan of a clasically-influenced symphonic rock and progressive rock in general. It is a timeless album with a distinct, unique sound that no other band had or managed to recreate. It might not be the most accessible album and not an easy one to get to, but once you do, this should provide a fantastic listening experience. Very highly recommended! A masterpiece of progressive rock music.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars GRYPHON was one the more unique bands to have emerged from the classic prog era of the 1970s. While initially dazzling audiences on their self-titled debut with their neo-medieval folk revival that sounded like it was recorded in the days of Henry VIII and one of the few acts of the era who dabbled with the use of bassoon, crumhorns and recorders in a progressive context, the band began to add rock instrumentation on their second album "Midnight Mushrumps" which got them noticed in prog rock circles. While the debut was completely devoid of rock elements and completely emerged in unadulterated medieval folk, the sophomore album added elements of progressive rock which dabbled rather equally in both arenas but it wasn't until a tour with Yes, that this London based quintet would really open the floodgates on the progressive rock side of the equation and let out the most lauded album of their career RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE.

These were busy times for GRYPHON and this third offering was actually the second album in the year 1974 and shows the band maturing significantly over what had come before. Not only are the progressive aspects turned up to eleven but the album displays the full pomp and awe of the peak years of prog with a lofty concept album about playing the game of chess laid out in four tracks ranging from the eight to eleven minute timespan. RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE mastered the art of hybridization of musical genres as it successfully integrated the medieval folk of their previous two albums in the context of progressive rock intricacies such as brutal time signature workouts that also incorporated English folk, Baroque and progressive rock that were laid out in a typical classical musical formula where the moods alternate and recurring melodies wax and wane with unfaltering brilliant resolution.

Like a good chess game, the all-instrumental RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE evokes the mood of a strategic set of thought processes in competition as the medieval Renaissance, English folk and progressive rock aspects seem to make their moves and allows the other genre swings to adapt to the motifs offered only instead of simply copying each other in an identical fashion, the different styles stay in character and allow a unifying, yet distinct dramatic set of events to unfold. Understanding the Yes connection makes it easier to pick out some of the time signature bombast that GRYPHON unleash on this album as they not only chug along with off-kilter time signatures like a "Relayer" album on steroids during the heavier rock parts of RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE but they also find a way to create a harsh tension even in the most subdued and airy moments of the album.

The four tracks are titled in relation to the moods they set during this thirty-eight and a half minute soundtrack to the ancient game believe to have originated in India. "Opening Move" provides an airy introduction to the progressive medieval folk aspects and then begins to shape shift into the more progressive rock and as "Second Spasm" gets under way, the mood is more aggressive as if the battle has begun while a rather heavy rhythm section displays a new aspect of GRYPHON absent on their earlier works, namely a harder rock approach in their delivery. "Lament" is more contemplative as it seems unsure how to proceed with different musical moods alternating in an almost seemingly random manner much like the middle of a chess game can offer the frustrations of the complexities at hand. "Checkmate" is the dramatic ending that offers the most progressive rock track with Richard Harvey showing off some amazing classical piano and organ chops as well as Graeme Taylor's guitars following suit.

RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE is by far the best of GRYPHON's initial five album run. It is not only the most complex and most interesting but also ranks as one of the most distinct sounding examples of the entire classic prog era. Nobody else dared to include such wild instrumentation as recorders and crumhorns into their rock paradigm. The musicianship on this album is impeccable with the five main musicians and two session musicians in perfect unison as they create an intricate network of difficult music that in the end still comes off as lighthearted and totally uplifting. There's something about the Medieval Renaissance folk that just makes this very special. The tracks are dramatically paced with softer passages allowing the proper emotional developments to build while the more bombastic faster tempos allow a fully satisfying crescendo to bring it all to a close. This is indeed complex music despite that it's somewhat easy on the ears. This is one of prog's greatest moments as GRYPHON hit their stride but woefully the band would fall from grace after this one and become irrelevant in a very short time. For this one, however, they will be remembered for time immemorial.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
4 stars After their second album, Midnight Mushrumps, Gryphon had improved their sound dramatically from their lackluster first album, and they were very much, and clearly ready to take off their safety goggles and floaties, and dive deep into a more lush progressive sound with their third album, Red Queen To Gryphon Three.

This album is a lot more sophisticated than the last 2, having no vocals, and instead utilizes structural compositions to give the feeling of a game. This album doesn't just play a few notes, it plays a game. It's the chess of progressive rock, sophistication and smartness in all.

The first track, Opening Move utilizes this aspect very well, punching you head first into this album with a pretty high force I must say. No more of those songs with boring moments in between the keys and notes, instead we got a structural composition that knows what it wants out of you, the listener, and out of the band. They also don't try to do any funny business, everything is sound and nice to hear, and they never overstay their welcome. Already, this album has the best moments from Midnight Mushrumps and Gryphon and beautisized 10 times.

The second song, Second Spasm, keeps this ebb and flow continuously masterfully, however they practice a more chipper and livelier sound that isn't afraid to get excited and sometimes, a little weird. They also utilize the rock aspect a lot more than usual, having more elements of standard rock music rather than compared to their eclectic classical-ish sound, especially towards the end of the song.

Instead of building off from the previous track, Lament turns 360 degrees from a less bombastic piece to a more quiet and focused track. Like the album is still having fun, but is now serious, and ready to play it's game more thoroughly. Normally I'd find this rather boring, but with the more progressive and finely tuned structure this song brings, I cannot help but find it rather nice, but that's the first half, since the second goes straight back into the bombastic melody that the second song was most known for. A great shift in tone it is.

Lastly, the final track is Checkmate. This album is now fully in tune with how it is, no more messing around. This song tries many new things, each super well done. An epic sounding beginning, a quiet melody in the center, and a super crazy melody towards the end. This is when the band fully grasps the straws of a more progressive sound and played with them to the best of their abilities, and it worked out tremendously in their favor.

Now I have been giving this album a ton of praise, and for all the right reasons, but this album does fall a bit short. First off, while I didn't particularly care for the vocals of the last 2 albums, I do admit I do have a bit of nostalgia for them and seeing them nowhere near this album definitely makes me feel a bit lonesome. Again, I don't mind the lack of vocals, but it certainly feels a bit missed. And for some reason the production quality here isn't my favorite. The snare feels too loud, some of the keyboard playing is a bit muddy, and the lack of intention of the guitars makes it feel a tad weird, like it's in a weird zone where it's classical folk, but also rock as well, and sometimes it doesn't feel like a combination but rather a weird middle ground that feels a tad wobbly. Not something to be completely upset about, I am happier to hear this than what they did before, but either way I cannot help but notice.

Despite those shortcomings, I fully dig this album. This is where I feel Gryphon shines the most, and you can clearly tell the band was ready for a full oceanic swim, and they came out in tip top shape. I kinda cannot wait to hear their next release, I bet it'll be as good as this album, if not better.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Incredible album! By this point, Gryphon maintained the styles of their earlier album but contained better in longer more structured prog songs, without the somewhat silliness of their debut album. Every single song on the album is solid, and it deserves at least 4 stars out of 5, making it an ex ... (read more)

Report this review (#2951089) | Posted by CygnusX-1 | Wednesday, September 13, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Red Queen to Gryphon Three is Gryphon's magnum opus 3rd album. One of the all-time Folk Prog classics, the album is dominated by the unique medieval/renaissance sounds of Brian Gulland (Bassoon, Crumhorn) and Richard Harvey (Keyboards, Crumhorn, Recorder). The theme of the album is based on a chess ... (read more)

Report this review (#2881582) | Posted by AJ Junior | Friday, February 10, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Simply the most consistent work ever done by Gryphon. "Opening Move" is a great opening move! A formidable beginning, which suggests that the album will be carried out through Nordic melodies heavily influenced by Renaissance (mainly Ashes Are Burning). The instrumentation is as sublime as the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2600347) | Posted by Argentinfonico | Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A purely instrumental affair that should appeal to fans of classical music. The rock or pop elements I enjoy in Progressive Rock are simply not found on this album. It's like playing a well arranged version of literal classical music. While Gryphon was trying to obtain this sound, it is one that I d ... (read more)

Report this review (#2533338) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Friday, April 9, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The English lads got on the peak of their progressive driven folk as they equalled contemporary progressive rock with their folk renaissance past. Apart from the classical music instruments, the band mastered also the 70's instruments, especially multiple 70's synthesizers. Textures in the 4 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2433397) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, July 30, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars GRYPHON are a London-based Prog-Folk band who are best-known for their unique blend of medieval and Renaissance Folk music, combining classical themes and proggy elements. They released five albums during the Progressive Rock decade of the 1970's:- "Gryphon" (1973); "Midnight Mushrumps" (1974); ... (read more)

Report this review (#2288906) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Saturday, December 21, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Good things come in threes! In the case of Gryphon's third album, "Red Queen to Gryphon Three", great things come in threes, because this album is an essential masterpiece of progressive rock music that every prog rock fan should own. Why is it so essential? Because this album successfully achi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2078483) | Posted by Chaser | Sunday, November 25, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Truly Unique and Innovative, and Musical. This is Gryphon's masterpiece, the one that everyone should have in their collection. Indeed, this site almost needs a new category "progressive medieval" to classify it, or something, it is so unique. The basic medieval-influenced song structures are s ... (read more)

Report this review (#1824592) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, November 18, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A true gem of symphonic progressive, maybe one of my top 10 favorites of the genre, it's a shame how much Gryphon have become a quite forgotten band, because to me they belong to a very small group of bands that constitute the very best of symph prog, along with Genesis, Yes, Anglagard, ELP, Camel, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1353329) | Posted by Mista-Gordie | Sunday, January 25, 2015 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is a record that always make me feel a bit stupid, because I just dont get it. No matter how many times I hear it I cant see whats so interesting about it. To my ears it sounds like someone done a whole album from the song 'Cans and Brahms' (from Yes classic album 'Fragile'), which is a t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1161575) | Posted by BatBacon | Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've always been amazed at the extensive range of genres prog rock can encompass. Gryphon's Red Queen to Gryphon Three is one of the most eclectic albums in this regard, tackling genres such as Baroque, Renaissance, and Folk, all while retaining that progressive rock sound. Working with th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1137213) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I bought Red Queen to Gryphon Three when it first came out back in the 70s. I thought it was a masterpiece then and it has continued to be one of my favorite albums of any style not just progressive rock. It puts all other Gryphon albums in the shade going well beyond the typical folk rock genre ... (read more)

Report this review (#917904) | Posted by peterfrederics | Saturday, February 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My first review since joining this site, so I had to start somewhere familiar, comfortable and profoundly enjoyable! This album delivers in many aspects what I look for in Prog rock: 1. At least one good lengthy piece (This has four!) 2. An unusual array of instruments (If I can't tell what i ... (read more)

Report this review (#583561) | Posted by Canterzeuhl | Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is Gryphon's masterpiece and it's very original. It sounds different to the group's previous albums. All of the acoustic instruments are here in abundance, but the prevalence of synthesizers add more colour. Yet that doesn't detract from the pastoral feel. The strong renaissance style is retain ... (read more)

Report this review (#452169) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Thursday, May 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album blew me away the first time I heard it. Every time I listen to it again I say to myself.... This is awesome! I'm not sure if Gryphon is a known band in Britain, but here in Canada nobody knows them at all. I have been a fan of Jethro Tull for more than 20 years and all that time ... (read more)

Report this review (#186748) | Posted by digdug | Thursday, October 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The idea was very interesting - depicting of chess match... But unfortunately there is nothing interesting in that album, even for Jethro Tull fans. I like flute, but on this LP this instrument is used in awful way I think. It's boring. As the whole album. Even one of four compositions doesn't ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#185483) | Posted by PeteWarsaw | Monday, October 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This was my introduction to Gryphon. Long had I hunted this particular album. It wasn't a disappointment. I haven't heard too much of Gryphon, but I really like this album. The Krumhörn and the bassoon are both great. These guys are great players, of various instruments. The album is very enjoya ... (read more)

Report this review (#169166) | Posted by The Squirrel | Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A must have for all prog-heads. This album is a fantastic example of how amazing prog folk can be. A 38 minute instrumental album which I still listen to every once in a while. "Opening Move" starts off the album with upbeat and catchy folk tunes, which almost remind me of late 70's Jethro T ... (read more)

Report this review (#153020) | Posted by One-Eyed Joker | Wednesday, November 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is probably my favorite album of all time. The Gryphon boys, with their promising debut and oh-so-close to masterful Midnight Mushrumps, finally hit gold on their 3rd time around. There is no way this is anything less than blissful perfection, an amazing masterpiece of not only progressive ... (read more)

Report this review (#140412) | Posted by Pawned Heart | Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of the greatest prog folk albums, I garuntee you. It ranks up there with Thick as a Brick. I would concider it above Aqualung, easily, as well. With a wide array of instruments, a concept so original that it hurts, and great songwriting tagged with emotion, talent and technical skill, ... (read more)

Report this review (#105087) | Posted by Shakespeare | Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of GRYPHON "Red Queen to Gryphon Three"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.