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The Flower Kings - The Sum Of No Evil CD (album) cover

THE SUM OF NO EVIL

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 440 ratings

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CaincelaOreinim
4 stars The Flower Kings - The Sum Of No Evil Step-by-step impressions

Unsurprisingly, The 'Flokis' - as they're at times un/affectionately called - return with a new studio album often reduced to extol and criticism from head honcho Roine Stolt himself during its nascence. Hard to take the man's word for it as is usually the case; often don't we find creators or leaders (of bands mind you...then again...) need to not build up expectations? I certainly do. Anyway, onto the album itself. To me it's pretty standard material we've come to familiarize ourselves with over the years: lush albeit here and there dated keyboard patches, excellent guitar and rhythm sections, somewhat over-dramatized and maudlin lyrics/vocals, yet all not without their typically strong compositional eclat. Not much experimenting on this album: sadly, don't expect free-form jazz bits...although there are feels of such here and there courtesy of Zoltan and Jonas; plus, some World bits, most specifically, on Love Is The Answer.

Best tracks: Trading My Soul, Sum Of No Reason, Flight 999 (Brimstone Air)

The Songs Themselves:

One More Time: Very ELP-ish in some beginning bits, Zoltan's drumming was sorely missed on Paradox Hotel and it's nice to see him return to the fold. Big chorus but I can see how it could irk some, it reminds me a tad of the "bigger than America" chorus bit of The Truth Will Set You Free which I find particularly grating to an otherwise excellent 'opus' if you will. Lots of 6/8, lots of Retropolis-ish keyboard patches, nice frilly ending.

Love Is The Answer: The epic of the album...bits of World influence, Roine plays that electric Sitar guitar here and there...I forget its actual name. Opens with some nice vaguely Asian/Tuvan throat sounding keys and some fretless bass work, before launching into a kind of laid-back groove. Interesting metal - unless you just want to say distorted guitar - interpolation bit after the second chorus. I always liked their implementation of some aerophonic bits and a guest saxophonist comes in during a very Zappa-ish jazzy section. Excellent rhythm work as usual. A sort of minstrel middle section takes us into a synth-laden soaring keyboard solo. Traces of Yes can be found almost everywhere...but you knew that already. Homages to The Truth Will Set You Free lyrically and quite perspicuously. I'm uncertain if this song works necessarily with all its disparate parts, but it has great moments. Sax harmonic minor outro.

Trading My Soul: The dark ballad of the album a la Mommy Leave The Light On, Jealousy (?), bits of Garden Of Dreams and others I can't rightfully place. Lyrics are a bit much for me at times, as in the content is pretty drab, covered countless times, literal to the point of insult but again, this band is NOT listened to for lyrics. Nice melodies everywhere. This song actually reminds me a bit of Dream Theater's Disappear thematically and what with some underlying keyboard patches. Excellent bass and drum work (working the waltz aha) as usual.

The Sum Of No Reason: Much like with Adam and Eve, they seem to vacillate between which song should be the title track (originally Stolt wanted A&E to be called A/Love Supreme, I guess the Coltrane reference turned him/them off?)...and perhaps there was a similar bit here as I remember reading the album may have just been called Love. Another kind of heavy number with some interesting vibraphone keys in the quiet bits. Reminds me of bits in Circus Brimstone and Zappa during the heavy and instrumentally wirey sections. Shades of Pain of Salvation about 8 minutes in. Vocoder 'scarrry' sections a la Bavarian Skies aha...

Flight 999 (Brimstone Air): I suppose the 999 is an oh-so-clever clue-in of an air-line turned up-side down to reveal, gasp 666? These Swedes man...but I kid. The instrumental of the album...jazzy, circus-like, synth-laden (Lamb "Grand Parade" patches anyone?), drum-dominated, horse-ululating, wah-wahing, dynamically domineering. Excellent stuff.

Life In Motion: Very pedal-feel vamp track. Closer track, very Yes inspired and "Serious Dreamers"-esque triumphant sections.

And there you have it, scoffed at the five star rating mostly due to the lyrics and the 'been there done that' bits of their music.

CaincelaOreinim | 4/5 |

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