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The Flower Kings - Desolation Rose CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 533 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Following the masterful "Banks of Eden" was never going to be an easy task but somehow The Flower Kings pull off yet another well produced album chock full of melodic prog with exceptional musicianship. "Desolation Rose" flies by with one catchy song after another and no epics to speak of this time round, though the lengthy 'Tower ONE' is almost 14 minutes and has many twists and turns within, like ascending the tower itself.

The tracks that made me really sit up and take notice are the brilliant riff heavy 'Dark Fascist Skies' with its incredible infectious hook and wonderful dark texture. The band really take off when allowed to explore genres in the instrumental sections. Shimmering Hammond and soaring lead guitar are the sections to revel in such as on the opening track, 'The Resurrected Judas' and 'Sleeping Bones'. The guitar riff on this track is similar to sounds heard on other TFK albums but that familiar feel is welcome. 'White Tuxedos' is more experimental with a deep resonating voice over and some odd time sigs; a genuine curio and surprisingly off the wall on this album.

I prefer the heavy side of the band, though they can perform dreamy ballads very well such as 'Blood of Eden' a type of sequel to 'Banks of Eden' in a sense. 'Silent Graveyards' is quite silent in the opening section, and not as morbid as one might expect. I really like the way it builds with its repeated mantra and the hope that it instills with upbeat keyboards.

The second CD is a wonderful addition to the album proper with its own share of excellence. The Yes like 'Runaway Train' is a great start with rollicking time sig changes and a tremendous guitar lick. 'Interstellar Visitations' is back to more lengthy prog at 8:23, with a ton of inventive musicianship and is an instrumental showcase for Stolte and Reingold. It is very spacey and like vintage Pink Floyd complete with amazing slide guitar solo similar to 'One of These Days'.

Shorter tracks 'Lazy Monkey' (2:23) 'Psalm 2013' (2:08) and 'The Wailing Wall' (3:18) follow in succession. 'Lazy Monkey' is quirky and features nice little sig switches like a demented circus. 'Psalm 2013' is atmospheric haunting melodies and ethereal chimes with gentle keys, distant thunder, and flute passages. 'The Wailing Wall' has violining upswept guitar lines and dreamy keyboards. The album has gone instrumental and spacey at this point which surprised me after all the singing previous. Again the organ and guitar have a Pink Floyd sound and are exceptionally performed.

Next is 'Badbeats' that returns to the distorted guitar crashes and swirling synths, then the sound switches to a Gentle Giant vibe with a very unusual signature. Again there are no vocals making it sound a bit incomplete as this is the third in a row sans vocals. 'Burning Spears' follows with a quiet King Crimson like intro, and some off kilter percussion, and spacey guitars. It does indeed sound like a King Crimson improvisation, and again an instrumental with its own sense of adventure. 'The Final Era' ends things with a drum roll intro and glorious lead guitar embellishments in a final instrumental track.

Overall this is a fabulous album that is well worth hearing. I closed off the year with this and it is a great way to see 2013 out. It is an uplifting album with infectious tracks that grow on the ear and the bonus CD is delightful made up of mostly instrumentals. I recommend it for any of TFK fanbase and anyone who enjoys Symphonic Prog without too much heaviness.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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