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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 | 438 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

infandous
5 stars Well, what can I say? This is the best Flower Kings album in quite some time. After my first listen I found myself excited to hear it again. This hasn't really happened for me with a Flower Kings album since Space Revolver (I like all the albums since then, and love UTF, but they all took some time for me to really appreciate and none of them had that immediate impact that the earlier albums had had for me).

That said, it took several listens to really get a handle on the music. This is quite dense symphonic music with quite a bit of jazzy and complex playing throughout. Now I know Roine Stolt said they were tossing out the jazz, the pop, and the experimental stuff, but I think this album is almost a perfect combination of those 3 things along with pure symphonic prog. Probably the return (though it seems, for just this album) of Zoltan has a lot to do with this. He is, after all, a jazz drummer, and when he and Jonas get together the fusion chops tend to fly. But don't let this put you off if you were not a fan of UTF's jazzier excursions. There is no noodly improv on this album, everything is composed. And what compositions they are!

I wasn't sure about One More Time initially, as the vocal melodies didn't seem to leave an impression. But after about the 3rd listen, it started to sink in and I realized this was another FK classic. The instrumental parts I liked from the first listen, and they make this album on the whole. But these are some quite nice and interesting melodies that Roine has come up with this time. But just like any good prog album, it takes time to absorb these lengthy songs.

Love Is The Only Answer was another difficult one, as it doesn't have the kind of distinct sections and immediate vocal melodies of songs like Stardust We Are or even The Truth Will Set You Free. But give it time, and it will reveal itself to you as a great epic. Or, really, as just a really long song :-) It seems to be more that, than a "typical" prog epic type piece. Though having said that, it does have a fantastic majestic closing section on par with the best FK epics, like I Am The Sun or the previously mentioned ones. Did I mention Roine's fantastic guitar solos? They are all over this album, and they are better than ever. Again, great instrumental sections on this one.

Trading my Soul is the ballad like number, of the minor key variety. Not much to say about this one other than it is pretty effective and has another fabulous guitar solo at the end (too bad it fades out). Great vocals by Froberg.

The Sum Of No Reason is my favorite on the album, probably because of the somewhat darker nature of the song and the noticeable Zappa influence. Some really great vocal melodies on this one (though one of the main ones reminds me VERY much of a song by IZZ, though I can't recall the name right now), and the instrumental parts and solos are the best on the album! Check out the last couple minutes for some serious Zappaesque vocals and instrumental parts. Fantastic!

Flight 999 Brimstone Air is the only non-Stolt composition, being an Tomas Bodin instrumental. This is pretty much the Zoltan Csórsz show, and a great display of dexterous drumming it certainly is. Great instrumental track, probably Tomas' best contribution since Rumble Fish Twist. Simply Awesome.

Finally, we end with Life In Motion, a somewhat typical Flower Kings happy ending type of song. This one has the catchy melodies, the upbeat lyrics and even some more impressive instrumental sections to finish off the album in fine style.

This album has really restored the excitement I used to have for this band, and I can't say enough good things about it. While Roine said it was something of a return to the earlier days of the band (i.e. Stardust We Are, Flower Power), to me it seems more like a cross between The Rainmaker and Unfold The Future, leaving out the somewhat uninspired feel of the former and the improvisational excesses of the latter, and combining the best aspects of both albums (well, I didn't really mind the improvisational excesses myself, but some fans did). In any case, this is at top of my 2007 albums list.

A brief mention of the bonus tracks on the limited edition. They are decent, but not essential unless you are a hardcore fan (like me). I like them well enough, but probably won't listen to them anywhere near as much as the main album. I still have yet to watch the 2 short videos included, but I'm sure they are well done and interesting for a watching or two. Again, probably only for the dedicated fan.

Overall, this is a must for anyone who likes any of their albums. For someone who's never heard them, I'd still probably recommend something earlier (Retropolis, Stardust We Are, UTF) but this is certainly not a bad place to start. I really can't call this a masterpiece yet, as I think it is too early for such a call. But I also can't give it less than 5 stars because I like it so much. So 4.5 rounded up to 5 sounds right to me.

infandous | 5/5 |

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