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


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 534 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 4.5 Stars out of 5, rounded down due to inaccessibility.

Another stroke of genius. Vastly different from their darker and highly melodic Paradox Hotel and a nod to the jazz of Space Revolver, the happiness of Stardust we are, and the positive melody-writing of Adam and Eve. This album completely kicks out their tendencies to make an album-flow with short songs, intermissions and interludes. Instead, this is just a a set of long songs that stand on their own. Also, most of the acoustic delicacy and mainstream qualities and completely gone, which is both a positive and negative thing: it depends on your musical tastes. If you tend to enjoy more the easier-digested neo-prog and classic rock (not necessarily prog), this might be bad news. This album is very bombastic and has a big big sound and really does give you any breaks to catch your breath. It's constantly bombarding you with intense music, whether happy or dark. Oh yea, this album is most of the time extremely positive, so if you're into the depressing tone of Pink Floyd, and Porcupine tree, the sugary flower-power, peace-love for all tone in most of the disc might turn you off. Also, another warning is the inaccessible notion of "The Sum of No Evil"; it is very complex and sometimes choppy, which actually made me conclude that this was by far their worst effort in the first three listens. To sum up my next paragraphs and final impressions, this album contains some of the best moments of the Flower Kings which unfortunately may not always gel together or are consistently on the same lever to create a masterpiece like Space Revolver, and suffer from some bad lyrics (Cosmic Christmas Tree!?).

Luckily, the coherence and consistence is present in "One More Time", possibly the quintessential song of the Flower Kings' happy side. (The Devil's Playground being their dark side). This song features some of the most irresistibly sweet and catchy melodies I've heard since the seventies. With the first listen, it was an instant classic and the chorus is the one of the biggest sing-along choruses I've ever heard in melodic rock, period ... even if the lyrics are ridiculously cheesy. The melodies also extend to the melodies brought by the electric guitar and keyboard/synthesizers which sound very retro, bringing back memories of Steve Howe, Tony Banks, and Keith Emerson (Yes, he's got the old mini-moog!). Oh, did I say that Zoltan is back? You'll love his drumming all over his album. It's not as over the top as in Unfold the Future, it's just perfect. This is now the first song I will use to introduce my friends to progressive rock as it's accessible, poppy, musically rich, warm, inviting, and contains the ingredient of why the Flower Kings are sitting as kinds of this subgenre of Prog. also, I'll try it in my car during dates. ;) (A+)

"Love is the Only Answer" is the song that really has all the elements, pros and cons that I described in the first paragraph. It opens with extremely warm and melodic verses and another irresistible flower-power, "lets hug all each other" choruses which can't stop using the word 'love'. However ,don't get fooled, before you know it, you have Froberg and roine singing about monsters and evil with heavy metal and intense sinister musical arrangements: those parts are incredible! Then it gets happy, then it gets bitter and keeps alternating often. It's a roller coaster of emotions which is really hard to digest and at first listen it sounded like a new started every 3 minutes. Around minute 6 you will have a warm jazzy section and around minute 10 you have an over the top jazz-rock bombastic section with Zoltan pounding his drums like if he were not to play again. After that, around the middle, I should admit that I don't enjoy some of these parts very much as they lack great melodies. Around the last third, the happiness and melodies pick up again, the amazing melodies of the beginning resurface, and a long guitar solo serves as the climax, with a gorgeous saxophone leading the fade out. I think a bombastic "big" ending like the one in "Life In Motion" (more on that later) would have been a better choice, but the climax is still good enough and closes their best epic since Devil's Playground. (A-)

"Trading My Soul" is a much needed break from the "prog to the max" on the previous track and the "lets love, brothers!" tone of the first two songs. This one reminds me more of their melodic and darker "Paradox Hotel", except that they put many many small detals and layers all over the place, making it both dense yet remaining accessible due to the good melodies, standard song structure, and fantastic guitar solo. Again, subpar lyrics, what happened to the quality they brought in Unfold the Future/Paradox Hotel? (A-)

"The Sum of No Reason" also somewhat is described by the opening paragraph. The only difference is that this one is really coherent, but the quality is not really consistent. The first third alternates very melodic (yet darker) verses with quasi-metal and very intense moments. The middle is my favorite part by far (and the most inaccessible and choppy), with pure metal onslaughts, frantic singing that appear to be a reference to the ones in the middle of "Love is the Only Answer", and many different themes being introduces in short time intervals. A huge mass of vocal harmony is followed by the melodic beginning reintroduced with fantastic musical arrangements, and the middle of the song is concluded by vocal harmony writing that most bands would be jealous of its compositional brilliance and one of the best guitar solos in this album. The last third has some subpar (for this album) moments and some silly distorted vocals, but it's still good. (Between A and B)

"Flight 999 (Brimstone Air)" is the good cousin of their avant-garde and circus sounding "Circus Brimstone" from their "Stardust We Are" album. This one is goofier, funny, and completely over the top. The beginning alternates church organs themes with a funny-sounding synth which other reviewers described it as "a moog synthesizer being played through a theremin tube". Then, it gets goofy yet you could hear a sinister and plain scary distorted vocal going "Let me Die, Let me Die", and is followed by odd synthesizer chords and a punchy guitar riff. All of a sudden, the music stops except for some percussion and piano notes, which eventually grow into an out-of-this-world free-style drum solo, bizarre sci-fi and monster sounds (some taken from video games Doom and Quake), and busy avant garde arrangements. Bombastic, funny, and completely overblown and over the top: FUN! (A-)

"Life in Motion" is a very good track but not as great as any of the other songs in the album. The instrumentation is almost as great and carefully thought out as any of the other tracks, but half of the song lacks good vocal melodies. Actually, it's full of irritating vocal melodies in the verses with Froberg singing in a way that makes him appear to be suffering from influenza; the refrains are ordinary and dare I say predictable?. Luckily, after the big harmony "I'm the Forgiveeeeeer!", the song takes an upward swing and after the unnecessary silence, it's a progressive rock fan's best dream. It is Harmonically rich, gives a very powerful happiness force, and really has a very "the album is about to finish" climax like Yes' Relayer. The instrumentation sends shivers down my spine and Froberg sings his heart out with so much power that it releases all of the darkness and negative feelings away and you are left in a state of pure euphoria. (B or B+)

Get the album; listen to it ten times, even if you find it pretty bad the first time. It really grows on you.


_Vintage keyboards/synthesizers

_Balance between band members (the guitar is not as prominent as their first couple of albums)

_Complex and sophisticated song arrangements

_Beautiful melodies and harmonies



_Very much focused on traditional symphonic rock

_No filler whatsoever


_Hard to get used to it (not very enjoyable at first)

_Lack of acoustic piano/guitar which was a highlight in their previous album

_A few coherence problems and some parts being better than others

_Subpar Lyrics

Zitro | 4/5 |


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