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The Flower Kings - Unfold The Future CD (album) cover

UNFOLD THE FUTURE

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.88 | 411 ratings

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hdfisch
Prog Reviewer
4 stars For me this is the best album TFK ever did, for sure it's as well their most complex one and many listeners who prefer their symphonic and melodic side might have problems with its rather high portion of jazz fusion elements. I've got to say I like both sides of them. Of course there are songs in the style we use to know and love: long epic and playful symphonic prog songs like The Truth Will Set You Free or Silent Inferno. In addition to such compositions there are now and then some jamming improv-alike or funny ZAPPA-reminiscent stuff like in Devil's Danceschool. But these are not the only changes on this album. There is a new voice, Pain of Salvation's Daniel Gildenlöw, here still as a guest musician and a new drummer, Zoltan Csörz forming together with Jonas Reingold one of the best rhythm sections existing. Best songs of the album are without any doubt the three long tracks already mentioned. But the rest of the double album is anything else than just filling material.

CD 1

The opener The Truth Will Set You Free is a fantastic composition, full of tension and very versatile with enough ideas to fill a whole album. Finest prog with some YES- reminiscence and a slight touch of jazz. Every single musician is giving his very best, whether it's Zoltan Csorsz with his powerful and versatile drum play, Jonas Reingold with virtuoso bass play and great soloing, Tomas Bodin 's fantastic keys and a very good solo around 25:00 of mastermind Roine Stolt virtuoso as usual with his unique guitar sound and laid-back cool vocals. Monkey Business is a quite straight rock song, but very nice and just placed at the right position after such a long composition. Black And White, another highlight starts mellow with piano and vocals and develops into a fantastic driving instrumental track with great rhythm section. Then there is an interlude with spacey synthesizer tunes and percussion followed by another very rhythmic final part. Christianopel is an interesting track as well, very quiet in the beginning and developing slowly into a grooving improv-alike jazzy piece. Silent inferno is starting lush and rocking with grooving bass line, driving guitar riffing, powerful drum play and odd keyboard tunes. Then relaxed vocal sections are alternating with ones full of intricate play ofguitar, organ, Mellotron and cymbals. In the final part there are Latin jazz alike sounding grooving bass lines with a drum solo and a fantastic finish. Navigator is a mellow and playful song and Vox Humana is a very catchy and happy one,which is actually not very special, but far away from being a complete failure.

CD 2

Second CD opens with Genie in a bottle which is starting slowly, then shifting to a faster rhythm. After a quiet interlude there is a section with great harmonies and tunes and finally we can listen to Tomas Bodin on Hammond. Fast lane as the title implies, is an up-tempo driving song with intricate playing and versatile drumming in the middle section and great vocals by Hasse Froberg and even greater ones by Daniel Gildenlow. In Grand old world, which takes up the theme of The Truth Will Set You Free in a quite atmospheric vein, we can listen to great sax interludes by Ulf Wallander, fantastic percussion and some arpeggiated guitar play. A very nice and cool song. Soul Vortex is a well done jazz improv-alike piece, it's just amazing to listen to these guys, all musicians are playing together just perfectly and there is no indulgent soloing at all. Rollin' The Dice is starting with quite strange reverse vocal samples and continuing with a very powerful bass line and aggressive vocals by Froberg. Again we get an excellent rhythm section here. The vocal interludes by Daniel are giving the song even an extra special touch. A great song as well. The Devil's Danceschool is another ingenious and amazing free jazz piece composed by Reingold and Csörsz together. Really great the weird soprano sax play, bass and drums once again at their very best. Then with Man Overboard there's an extreme shift towards mellow symphonic tunes. Fantastic keyboards on this one, a very nice track and full of atmosphere. After Solitary Shell another nice and very mellow one, we have the absolute highlight of the second CD, the 24 minutes long piece Devil's Playground. It's opening with fantastic keyboards building up an incredible tension. Thereafter comes the breakout with great bass, wild synths tunes and fantastic percussion. We get to hear plenty of intricate rhythms and odd bars with breaks. Then there's a relaxing part with vocals, but without creating any boredom. Climax of this track is a free-jazz sax solo with an amazing bass and drums play. I'm very happy that my edition is the limited one containing the bonus Too Late For Tomatoes. An extra seven minutes of brilliant music, very much reminiscent to the great fusion band Brand X.

SUMMARY:

UNFOLD THE FUTURE is a great and versatile piece of work and for me without any doubts their very best one. Highly recommended to any lover of symphonic jazz fusion.

(Edited 7/29/2006)

hdfisch | 4/5 |

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