Between 1973 and 1977 Gryphon released five record and the last was Treason. The band was founded in 1973, but disbanded in 1977. There was an one-off reunion in 2009, and they reformed in 2015. Three years on and Gryphon releases a new record called Reinvention with three forming member including Brian Gulland on board. What a comeback after 41 years absence!
Gryphon was founded by Richard Harvey (recorder, keys) and Brian Gulland (bassoon, krumhorn) after a stint at the Royal Acadamy of Music in 1973. They shared a vision of blending traditional English folk, Baroque instrumentation and Renaissance music in a modern format. The compositions resemble those of Gentle Giant, but give greater emphasis to the authentic textures and sounds of the Renaissance period.
The 2010s has been a great decade for classic prog rock acts of the 70s riding the new wave of popularity that the genre has been experiencing. These bands emerge seemingly from out of nowhere after finding a few classic heyday members who round up a bunch of newbies for the team and then secretly head into the studios unbeknownst to the world and then ultimately deliver a slice of good old fashioned classic prog tailored for the 21st century.
Camel re-recorded their classic The Snow Goose, Maxophone, Osanna, Comus and Bubu made a comeback after woefully brief careers in the 70s and even Soft Machine has completely rebooted with some of the band’s former glory day members coming to the forefront in 2018. Add Gryphon to that list!
Unlike some bands that own a particular band name and return with a whole new cast of members, Gryphon returns with three of the classic team. Brian Gulland is back with his famous bassoon, bass crumhorn, recorders, and harmonium playing, Graeme Taylor likewise makes a reprise on guitars and vocals and Dave Oberlé has returned on drums and vocals as well.
While the band had traditionally been a quintet even on their most ambitious effort Red Queen To Gryphon Three, Reinvention finds three new members joining the medieval folk ranks with Graham Preset on violin, mandolin and keyboards, Andy Finds on flute, soprano crumhorn, soprano sax and clarinet, as well as Rory McFarlane on bass. Just like Treason, the band has opted to reform as a sextet and all the better for it as the newly updated musical journey benefits from the expanded musical mojo from these seasoned veterans.
With five fairly different albums in their 70s heyday which took Gryphon through three distinct musical styles and two albums that provided the bridge between. The opening tune on Reinvention is Pipe Up Downsland Derry Dell Danko starts off with dueling recorders and engages in an engaging menagerie of progressive folk acoustic guitar. The track prances around like a proper pony at a medieval wedding ceremony and there is also much more of a presence of acoustic classical guitar glory.
The new record is clearly inspired by Renaissance folk, but engages the most modern 21st production technology making it a crystal clear listening experience yet implements a clear progressive rock compositional prowess that the 70s excelled in which makes this one sound as eternal as its predecessors. Gryphon obviously spent years crafting this new assemblage of material and it shows. Every track is well crafted as it emphasizes the medieval folk values from their past teased out into progressive rock fantasy worlds. The musical flow is impeccable as the medieval melodies are as infectious as ever and