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Roine Stolt - The Flower King CD (album) cover


Roine Stolt


Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 288 ratings

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2 stars Its a strange situation cos its defenitely the predecessor of the upcoming Flower Kings's albums, and they are the musical ancestors if this one, so I should have listened to it with ears that never ever experienced their music before...that I simply could not. Why? Cos its the same as most of them. The question presents itself: what the hell were they doing in the last 15 years? Just repeating the same old story? The answer is unlickily yes in 85% of the cases.

Problem one: I can generally describe the music with the words like pointless, aimless, directionless solos combined with loosy and crappy song structures, songs without musical concept, good ideas used not enough and boring ones exploited to deadly lengths and each longer song gets after a while long and long and long and boring and boring and boring. If you try to play a bass guitar or a toy keyboard tuned to accord, you can just prepare similar solos. My 8-year-old niece definitely can! :-) The flute and the sax save the day where they are used at all...

Problem two: Besides the pointless solos RS er....borrows musical ideas from old prog monsters. Beginning riffs and keyboard background jumped here from Topographic Tales, in the second song copying riffs from Larks' Tongues, beginning of number 5 is Genesis, same song at 7:30 turns to Mike Oldfield's Ommadawn, which I could like so much, but the MO part is too shooort!, number 6 beginning with ELP keyboard solo, even the lyrics has foreign :-) references (in song 7 like Raven, Broadway, waiting room, Do they recall Lamb to you, too?). Actually I dont mind if someone borrows from others without explicit cross references, but RS creates a unique mish-mash out of them, that in the end he created his own sounding and style which then became The Flower Kings.

Problem three: the lyrics. Since Im a Christian I prefer positive and meaningful thoughts to dark and obscured ones, but the lyrical concept is a real disaster. Here we have the simpliest American window Christian sentences ("healing in a house where angels sing") mixed with the figure of the Flower King (who is he? God? or impersonation of some transcendent upper power? Its a kind of blasphemy...) and all of it in such a sloppy manner that really could provoke sickening reactions from me but Im luckily Hungarian so I need to concentrate on the lyrics to receive it into my mind, and if I dont its easier to go through the 70 minutes of positive thoughts.

Dont get me wrong, its not SUCH a bad album, it has its moments and there are fresh ideas and complex structures and excellent musicianship, but these would be enough for a decent 30-minute-long LP. 70% of the solos should be thrown away to avoid this American arena rock feeling and the lyrics could be substituted with some more intelligent, not so direct and a bit obscured story about the famous Flower King. This is only for the collectors. But keep up your courage! Much better FK's albums to come soon! :-)

Tandary | 2/5 |


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