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


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.80 | 519 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars This album was instantly controversial for me. Because once in a while you come across those releases with flawless execution, very talented musicians and all the concepts you like or love in music, but still you're left with a slight, ominous, uncertain disliking for the album in question. You listen and listen, trying to identify what turns you off. It's a painful experience, especially since you like so much of it. But it has to be done.

The Flower Kings is the brainchild of Roine Stolt, gifted guitarist with tentacles reaching out in many directions on the modern prog scene and thus should be familiar for almost all of you. He's also a fellow Uppsalian (not a sect, just the Swedish city we're both living in, Uppsala). My first contact with the man was through the excellent SMPTe by Transatlantic, an acquaintance which also led me to bands like Spock's Beard, The Tangent and, ultimately, The Flower Kings.

So what are these Flower Kings like? Well, this release is a pleasing, relaxing effort. The bulk of the material is low-mid-tempo, bordering on sweet most of the time, with mostly positive lyrics and music. The atmospheres are often lush and warm, something that Thomas Bodin's characteristic and playful keyboard sound makes even stronger. Sounds like a description of a Yes album, and that comparison isn't at all totally uncalled for. This is complex music, and as with all things complex, it takes some time to get under its skin. Small tweaks and sound effects riddle the album and rewards the patient listener. Take your time with this album.

As for the musicians participating, I can't say a negative word. Roine Stolt delivers fabulous solos and his emotive, sometimes meandering (in the word's positive sense) playing is all over the songs. Jonas Reingold deserves another honourable mention for his outstanding bass playing. Twangy, fast and delicate takes turn.

What surprises with The Flower Kings is that, while standing with one foot in familiar prog territory, the other one is surprisingly stable in the contemporary melodic rock/metal scene. Parts with that origin is given more than a nod and a wink as they tend to occupy many parts of the songs on The Sum Of No Evil. Don't be surprised if the sweet atmosphere suddenly turns into heavy riffing and rougher singing. Or rather, be surprised, but sit back and enjoy these moments.

But why isn't this a 'masterpiece'? 1. The song lengths. While I don't mind long songs, the things one expect from a long song increases exponentially with its length. Somehow TFK don't really pull these things off, at least not on The Sum Of No Evil. There's a tendency for the longest songs to grow a little tedious, drawn out. Watered down, if you will. 2. The vocals. The low-mid-tempo, sweetness and the incredibly smooth vocals, even with occasional outbursts, paired with the long songs gets, just as in the previous statement, tedious.

Too much sugar.

But even with these negative points, there's nothing stopping the album from reaching at least 3,5 stars. And as it is something I'd recommend, I'll settle for a 4.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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