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The Flower Kings - Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003 CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

4.16 | 141 ratings

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5 stars This is one of the best live albums in prog arena! My version of this live record comprises 2 DVDs and 2 CDs in deluxe edition. The DVD set contains backstage filming of the tours the band made. The show was recorded and filmed at Upsala Stadsteater, February 10th, 2003. The first time I watched the DVD, it blew me away because the opening track is one of my favorite tracks by The Flower Kings "The Truth Will Set You Free" from "Unfold The Future" album. As far as line-up, the stage is crowded with talented musicians: Tomas Bodin (keyboards), Hasse Brunisson (percussion, vocals), Zoltan Czörsz (drumkit), Hans Fröberg (guitars, vocals), Pain of Salvation's Daniel Gildenlöw (guitars, vocals, keyboards, percussion), Jonas Reingold (bass, bass pedals) and the band's leader Roine Stolt (guitars, vocals).

Powerful Performance with Minimum Stage Act

The first time I heard the opening epic "The Truth Will Set You Free" (30:40), it did blow me away at first spin and I immediately fall in love with it. Yes, I was actually not sure with what the band would act on stage during the long introduction which sounds dry for a live act. But when the Hasse Fröberg ' vocal starts to roll into the music, oh my God . what a great harmony the boys in the band have composed this complex epic. In terms of style, this epic blends various elements such as jazz, rock and avant-garde in a very nice way. The result is a mixture of elements that seem like too pretentious. But, if you listen to it with an open mind, you will get the true essence of progressive music here. Not only excellent composition that this epic offers us but it gives a balanced portion of its musician's virtuosity. Jonas Reingold is very dynamic and inventive with his bass guitar playing; combined with dazzling drum work by Zoltan Czörsz. Roine Stolt also gives his excellent guitar fills throughout the epic. The epic also provides variations between high and low points, complex and quiet arrangements. It's a true masterpiece epic!

Next is another epic that can be considered as classic from "Flower Power" album titled "Garden of Dreams" which comprises 18 pieces. Because this is such a long track, the band has decided to split the performance into two major parts. This long epic is truly an excellent music, overall. At first listen when I got the album for the first time, the epic sounded like a collection of disjointed pieces. But with more spin I can get the true essence of the music which contains varied styles and rich in textures combining mostly symphonic styles with rock and sometimes jazz. Some guitar solos remind me to David Gilmour style. Bodin supports its keyboard work beautifully especially at the end of the solo with its pulsating sounds, unique to Bodin's style. "Don't let the d'Evil in" resembles a combination of symphonic and classic rock music. It has strong melody with great riffs and fills by Roine's guitar work. Daniel's appearance during the show is more on quiet posture even though he sometimes provides nice vocal fills and most of guitar rhythm. I think, he is underutilized in The Flower Kings scene.

"Humanizzimo" is a track taken from Roine Stolt's debut album "The Flower King". To me this song is like Yes' "Close To The Edge" or "The Gates of Delirium". Not because of the duration of this track is very close with Yes' but it's more on the structure and style. The opening part with soprano sax combined with stunning guitar is really a thread for me. This is the kind of music that kills me! Especially when the vocal starts to enter the music "Midnight, you take me down to the waters. Slowdown, I've seen too much and too soon .". Oh my God . this is really good. As an epic with seven parts this track offers a blend of styles with many tempo changes from one part to another. All parts form the overall music cohesively. It's a great epic.

"Circus Brimstone" is another great composition with opening part that reminds me to a blend of avant-garde and symphonic styles. Zoltan shows his energetic drumming. You might smell the King Crimson nuance around the opening part. The music then flows naturally with excellent combination of guitar, keyboard, drums and bass in dynamic way. The more I watch the DVD, the more I enjoy this track.

"Silent Inferno" (taken from "Unfold The Future") contains energetic music combining soaring keyboard work (solo and rhythm) at the beginning in relatively fast tempo style. It reminds me to the music of Return To Forever but this one has a floating style that makes it really good. The music only turns into quiet passage when the voice line enters the music.

The concluding track is an epic which comprises three parts. The first part opens with beautiful exploration of acoustic guitar combined with keyboards, bass, guitar and drums. Again I enjoy the performance of Roine, Hanse, Zoltan and Jonas who play their instruments brilliantly. Musically, there are some influences of King Crimson during first part. The song might sound too long during the first part especially watching the members of the band who do not seem to move their bodies at all. But when it enters minute 9 it turns out to be an interesting track to enjoy.

Musically, this DVD combo provides excellent music with practically no flaw during the performance. Unfortunately there is no such member of the band who provides the performance with energetic stage act. Zoltan and Hanse are probably the most dynamic compared to all. But it's okay .. this is not a power metal concert and the music of The Flower Kings is basically not the one that fits for headbanging. For me personally, this is a masterpiece of prog music DVD that should not be missed by any prog fan! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 5/5 |


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