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The Flower Kings - Paradox Hotel CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 525 ratings

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The Wizard
Prog Reviewer
1 stars I purchased Paradox Hotel expecting some well made symphonic prog that paid homage to the classic progressive rock acts of the 70's like Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson and Genesis. I understood that the music of The Flower Kings was nothing original, this was something that I didn't mind. As long as it was good music that entertained me I would be satisfied. Unfortunately Paradox Hotel does not offer that. The album is bland, uninspired, and just plain weak. It does nothing to really provoke any emotional reaction or even inspire any thought. They're basically doing a tribute act to prog act rock, but writing their own songs and ultimately failing to live up to the standards of the prog greats of the 70's.

The music won't make you feel or think or anything of the sort. It's just there, it exist and does nothing but exist. I never really found a moment in the album where I thought "that's a cool melody" or "that's a great composition". I tried to listen, take in what the album offered but all I could do was hear. There's really nothing to listen for. There's no thing offered by this album. Parts of it are catchy but they just get lost in endless noodling.

Some songs on this album would make wonderful pop songs, something Mr. Stolt should do instead. 'Hit Me with a Hit' and 'Minor Giant Steps' have vocals hooks and choruses that could make perfect pop songs. But they only last little but, to be drowned in twiddly pseudo-prog instrumental sections. It's basically a great song ruined by mindless noodling that poorly imitates King Crimson or Gentle Giant and atmospheric sections that lack any true atmosphere. The skills of the musicians is great. They play fast and complex stuff with ease. But does that really matter if the stuff your playing is poorly written and completely dry, then does that even matter? Good musician ship is about being able to use your skills to express yourself, and Stolt and his friends have nothing to express.

Maybe it's because of the flat production that everything on this album sounds so, well, lame. Maybe that's why the 'atmospheric' sections sound like the band endless meandering, and when they attempt to 'rock' it sounds so flat, lacking any youthful energy. Maybe that's why parts of the album sound like plain adult contemporary. Again, like musicianship, production should be used to express something. Too bad the band has nothing to express.

'Monsters and Men' is yet another passionless piece of music like everything else on the album, except there is no catchy pop song under the mindless twiddly parts. The whole thing is just a bunch of references to classic prog with no flow or real point. It's like they recorded something , decided the album needed an epic to be a true prog album, so they added various bullshit. Don't expect a satisfying grandiose epic; just something that tries and fails to be grandiose and doesn't even care about being satisfying. The only difference between Monsters and Men and the rest of album is that parts of this album have those tasty pop tunes hidden underneath, but unfortunately suffocated.

Paradox Hotel does not pay homage to the classic artist of, it's embarrassingly imitates them. The biggest problem with the album is not the endless references to classic prog we have all heard, it's that it's simply a bad album. It's flat and uninspired and shows a band that has forgot that songwriting comes first. Forget about Paradox Hotel and go buy a classic prog album instead. You'll actually get something out of it other than disappointment.

The Wizard | 1/5 |


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