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




Prog Folk

4.14 | 566 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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 à 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.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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