Red Queen to Gryphon Three
is only available coupled with the Raindance
album on the same disc, but it has stood the test of time as an excellent progressive rock piece. The album centers around a game of chess, with each track around ten minutes in length. The symphonic structure of the movements intricately combine rich textured strings with medieval horns, reminiscent of 16th century England. The keyboards bridge together certain passages with just the right intensity so that they keep from modernizing the album's feel. While some progressive rock can seem over the top or contrived, Gryphon
mixes subtlety with diversity to formulate beautiful streamlined music. The use of the bassoon and krumhorn gives this album depth and a profound musical element not found in other bands of the same nature. The tempos and accents express moods that are structured for each piece precisely, such as the brainstorming arrangements in "Opening Move" and the victorious finale heard throughout "Checkmate," the last song on the album. The absence of vocals lets the music carry extra weight, enhancing the vision of the chessboard in the mind's eye.