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The Flower Kings - Unfold The Future CD (album) cover

UNFOLD THE FUTURE

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 542 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars One long-playing epic is usually enough but two? And then: two discs with each over 65 minutes of music--138+ minutes in total--and, I'm sorry, you're just asking too much! (It's only taken me ten years to finish this review. Can you guess why?)

1. "The Truth Will Set You Free" (30:40) solid, well flowing, not too bombastic, just not as memorable as one would like. (53/60) - I. Lonely Road - II. Primal Instincts - III. From the Source - IV. Uphill - V. The Stars the Sun the Moon

2. "Monkey Business" (4:20) excellent fretless bass work from Jonas (8.75/10)

3. Black And White (7:40) piano and voice of Roine Stolt open in a delicate ballad-like style. In the second minute the addition of a Broadway-styled voice of Hasse Fröberg reveals a theatric style more akin to Andrew Lloyd-Weber than prog. Once the opening vocal section is over the band leaps into a quirk-and-weird-filled section of YES-like bombast which lasts from the third minute through to the end of the song. Jonas Reingold, by the way, is going absolutely wild with his machine gun spraying of bass notes. Nice rhythm guitar "lead" work from Roine Stolt, as well. (13.25/15)

4. "Christianopel" (8:30) an instrumental of mostly atmospheric jazz subtleties. Nice drumming. (17.5/20)

5. "Silent Inferno" (14:25) heavy YES-ishness from the get-go until the singing starts at the end of the third minute, then it turns gentle and pretty with nice work from Jonas and the keys. After the first exposition of singing it amps up slightly into a great section in second or third gear with some great melodies, chord progressions and soli (electric guitar). near the halfway point we return to a second vocal section. The second half is more groovin' with some great performances though not over the top. One of the better songs/epics I've heard from TFK. Definitely a top three for me. (28/30)

6. "The Navigator" (3:15) opens with a kind of classical music sound and structure. Roine's vocals enter over this quartet-like weave and, lo! and behold, nothing changes. Interesting. Unfortunately the instruments are all computer synthesizers. And different. (8.25/10)

7. "Vox Humana" (4:30) another softer song with simple, thin weave of mostly acoustic-sounding instruments over which Hasse sings. Innocuous and forgettable. (8/10)

CD 2 (65:15) 8. "Genie In A Bottle" (8:10) opens with a heavy, more staccato fuzzy sound as Roine sings. The second section is soft, drumless, and very pretty. Again, halfway through, things get soft and pretty, with some nice vocal harmonies interlaced with guitar and piano and a gently pulsing bass line. Ends with the bouncy motif and lots of weird synth and guitar sounds. (12.5/15)

9. "Fast Lane" (6:35) opens with a steady, fast-driving bass-and drum based groove with some nice harmonized vocals from guest Daniel Gildenlöw and Hasse Fröberg. (8.75/10)

10. "Grand Old World" (5:10) a pretty, dreamy song with sparse instrumental input aside from some excellent non-stop soprano sax play throughout. Another top three song for me. (9.5/10)

11. "Soul Vortex" (6:00) another slow 1970s-like jazz groove. It's been done. (8/10)

12. "Rollin The Dice" (4:15) opens with some George Benson jazz guitar riff before drifting off into radio signal sounds. By 0:30 a slow, heavier, funk-attempt establishes itself before two singers step up to the mic. Reminds me a bit of The Mars Volta (before there was TMV!) That's the Gildenlöw effect. Thick rolling bass sliding up and down the fretboard is a nice change of pace for TFK and Jonas. (8.5/10)

13. "The Devils Danceschool" (3:45) jazz straight out of the 1970s school of BILLY COBHAM, Mwandishi-era HERBIE HANCOCK, FREDDY HUBBARD, JACO PASTORIUS, and, of course, MILES. Well played! Great drumming by Zoltan Csörsz. The other top three for me (and quite a different exploration of musical direction for the TFK). (9.5/10)

14. "Man Overboard" (3:40) opens like some innocuous children's music--all keyboard-driven. Roine starts to sing in the second minute, leaves for a guitar solo in the third, returns for the second verse and second solo, then the song shifts into a weird TONY BANKS-like multiple keyboard exposition to the end. Weird. A throwaway. (7.75/10)

15. "Solitary Shell" (3:10) opens with solo piano and Roine singing. Synth strings and atmospheric electric guitar join in with chorus and second verse. (8/10)

16. "Devils Playground" (24:30) opening with a very cinematic sound, the music slowly builds a story instrumentally, as if we're unveiling something monumental. At the three minute mark we jump onto a fast moving train with some horns and hand percussives in the mix as keys and bass lead the way. We slow down at 4:30 for a nice vocal section. This is a nice section, great chord and melody lines. Hopping back on the train at 6:15, we turn off into a Yes-like bridge before stopping again for the vocal motif. A little different instrumentation but same melody lines. At 8:11 Daniel Gildenlöw's soaring voice joins in with a continuous line of vocalise and then we shift into a new, slightly heavier section for some "take it away" vocals. Nice lead guitar melody line. At 10:15 everything stops as we enter a hallway to a different room. Ominous heavy guitar chord progression and add-on instrumental chatter thrown in make it feel quite unsettling. This then segues into a bit of a SUPERTRAMP-like sounding section for some circus/fair distractions--led by horns and other odd incidentals. At 13:40 we're off to dreamland with some very gentle, spacey instrumental play. At 16:00 we've launched into another new movement. Organ with classic rock chord and rhythm structure for singing and electric guitar solo. Another transition at 18:55 leads into another eerie hallway before the band reforms in a mid-tempo funked up motif which becomes more jazz-oriented after the wah-guitar solo as sax and drums lead the new way. Wah-guitar riff returns until another stop and restart at 21:30. We recapitulate the nice section from the fifth through seventh minutes with Daniel G taking the vocal lead from Roine. Man, that guy can sing! Nice low-register guitar solo ensues, trading off with Jonas' bass, before jumping up to the mid- and upper registers for the climax. Great solo to take us into the spacey end (but could have been better). (43/50)

Total Time: 138:35

I like the forays into jazz world and the mixing it up with three lead vocalists but the keyboards are just too aged, the "orchestral" sounds too obviously keyboard generated. Otherwise this is very skilled songwriting and often virtuosic performances (especially from bass, drums, guitar and Daniel Gildenlöw).

Four stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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