Gryphon
Red Queen To Gryphon Three


3.5
great

Review

by sonictheplumber STAFF USER (107 Reviews)
December 29th, 2010 | 19 replies | 5,886 views


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is some geeky shit. Proggers and nerds only.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Gryphon aren't one of the more well-known bands of the prog era, and listening to their 1974 album, Red Queen To Gryphon Three, it's easy to see why. While other proggers like Jethro Tull and Yes were weirder than all hell, they still had perfectly catchy and accessible singles to draw in average listeners. Gryphon don't. This album, clocking in at 38 minutes, is an instrumental folk-prog album with classical and medieval themes (reminiscent of a 1990s Super Nintendo RPG or basically any Legend of Zelda game) and it's also a concept album about a game of chess. It consists of four lengthy songs, each one supposed to be about chess, and it makes for a fun and interesting listen.

First off, this is uplifting music. Many people don't put much thought into chess; but these nerds obviously did. They sound like a band playing at a Renaissance festival, and they sound damn good doing it. Every tempo change, every note, is perfectly in sync with a good game of chess. It especially helps that we have song titles to show us which part of the game we are in. "Opening Move" has a fresh atmosphere, and then "Second Spasm" gets us a bit more serious. "Lament" is that part between the middle and end of the game in which both players seem to be stuck, with each move being seemingly useless. It is the darkest song on the album. But then we have "Checkmate", in which somebody playing the game wins. So, matching the mood of chess, this is an upbeat and lively tune. See what I'm saying?

But depsite me doing my damndest to show you that these four tracks have differences, it's really hard to tell. The whole album is good, make no mistake. But without the song titles in front of me, I would not be able to tell any of these songs apart. While fans of the genre will enjoy the medieval/classical vibe, the virtuosity of the musicians (with bassist Philip Nestor and keyboardist Richard Harvey being the show-stealers), and of course the classically geeky concept, the four songs do not have much variety. While a great prog instrumental should be memorable, like "La Villa Strangiato" or "The Great Gig in the Sky", these four tracks run together and I come away only remembering bits and pieces of mindblowing musicianship. Perhaps vocals and lyrics would have helped.

So if you are a prog geek, go ahead and track this bitch down. It's complex, the musicianship is amazing, the concept is geeky, and the whole thing runs together like one thirty-eight minute song with many parts of greatness throughout. Nintendo would certainly be doing some good if they hired Gryphon to do the next Zelda soundtrack.



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jethro42
December 29th 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A Zelda soundtrack, why not haha. I don't enjoy very much the band/album. Too many disjointed parts that don't connect one another. They try to hard to go God knows where. Musicianship is solid though, and musically it's a hard to digest blend of Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull and a bit of Yes (Gryphon are nowhere near as prominent as those), and is strongly influenced by classical music. In the same vein, I'd choose Anglagard, Yezda Urfa, Et Cetera or Dogma before it.

Jethro42
December 29th 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's great as background music. Your rating is pretty fair, but I can't be objective enough to rate it myself. And yes, I dig the cover art.

Jethro42
December 29th 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha damn straight. Tell me what you think about that:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z45skC1VtB4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IiXW9Mr2xo

Jethro42
December 29th 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm looking forward to know what you think. I'm pretty sure it's up your alley.

Jethro42
December 29th 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another adventurous kind of prog from Sweden called Anglagard. They only released 2 LPs and 1 live before unfortunately breaking up.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2010



7140 Comments


Solid review Sonic, have a pos.

demigod!
April 24th 2011



43852 Comments


this sounds nerdy as fuck

You should rec me some lesser-known 70's prog jethro

Digging: Black Flag - My War

KILL
March 5th 2012



70586 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gota check this

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

Betacra
March 7th 2012



305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album doesn't get enough love.

Havey
July 12th 2012



9617 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

rules

Digging: Cecil Taylor - Dark to Themselves

MeatSalad
March 14th 2013



14190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Decent stuff

Digging: Love - Forever Changes

Jethro42
March 15th 2013



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

After giving another full spin to that album, I find myself being able to give to it a 3.7/5. But hey, only the staff can play with that button, so my score has to be a 4/5.

Jethro42
March 15th 2013



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I also have to say that it take some time to sink in, so at the first glance, it sounds more like a good to decent album at a maximum. Just give the album a chance, cos it's a grower.

MeatSalad
March 25th 2013



14190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, agreed. gotta get past the initial wall of pure, thick and creamy cheese

Havey
June 7th 2013



9617 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

gotta revisit

CaptainDooRight
October 26th 2013



28332 Comments


bro 5 this u don't u derstamd

Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones

demigod!
October 26th 2013



43852 Comments


gotta play chess to this

sonictheplumber
October 26th 2013



4263 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

its sweet

CaptainDooRight
October 26th 2013



28332 Comments


chess mattress ov trvth



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