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Roine Stolt - The Flower King  CD (album) cover

THE FLOWER KING

Roine Stolt

 

Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 240 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
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4 stars The Flower King is actually a solo album from swedish prog rock legend Roine Stolt, but itīs regarded by most fans as being the first Flower Kings album as many of the musicians who would later be a part of that band plays on The Flower King. The songs from The Flower King is also a part of The Flower Kings repetoire when they play live an as such this is a Flower Kings album.

I know many people despise The Flower Kings and especially Roine Stolt for his retro approach to prog rock and his hippie christian outlook on the world and allthough the latter can also be a bit too much for me in some of the songs his seventies inspired prog rock is seldom heard more inspiring and competently played. The man is a genious in my eyes. All the best parts from seventies prog rock and hard rock is present in The Flower Kings music. Virtuosity, adventourism, hard rocking riffs and complex ( mostly very long) compositions are some of the features on The Flower Kings albums.

On this album The Flower Kings consist of Roine Stolt ( Kaipa, The Tangent, Transatlantic, Karmakanic) on Lead vocals, Guitar, Bass, keyboards and percussion, Hans Fröberg on vocals, Ulf Wallander on Soprano Saxophone, Hasse Brunisson ( Sammla Mammas Manna) on drums and percussion, Jaime Salazar on drums and percussion, Dexter Frank Jr. On keyboards and electronics and Don Azzaro on bass guitar and Moog Taurus. All musicians are outstanding and the combination of Roine Stolt and Hans Fröberg on vocals is really good. Roineīs voice reminds me of a mix of the talking singing style of Mark knopfler ( Dire Straits) and Ian Andersson ( Jethro Tull) while Hans voice reminds me of a more raw Jon Andersson ( Yes). Hans only sings on The Flower King and Scanning the Greenhouse but would contribute more and more to The Flower Kings music.

The album is almost 70 minutes long, so youīll get something for your money and in this case quantity doesnīt mean that the quality isnīt high throughout the album. The quality is actually very high and the only song I donīt find excellent is the short semi-ballad Close your eyes and the closing song Scanning the Greenhouse. The rest of the album consists of great prog rock songs with lots of especially guitar soloing. Roine Stolt is a great guitarist. He has lots of the anarchistic ideas in his playing that Zappa also had and virtuosity which sometimes remind me of Steve Vai. His solos which are a big part of this album are generally very melodic and he obviously puts lots of emotion into the solos. the music on The Flower King is arranged as it is on every Flower Kings album so donīt expect too much improvisation. There are so many great songs on the album and Iīll mention a few things about some of them.

The first song which is called The Flower King is a classic in The Flower Kings repetoire. Itīs the ultimate ode to Love and Happiness. The lyrics are a bit too cheesy for me but on the other hand itīs just such a nice positive song that I enjoy very much. My dark metal heart gets a bit soft. The rest of the songs are also truly magnificient and songs like Dissonata, The Magic Circus of Zeb, The Pilgrims Inn and The sounds of Violence are excellent and sometimes dark tracks which really shows the diversity in The Flower Kings music. Listen to the beginning of The Magic Circus of Zeb and tell me this doesnīt sound like Zappa. The song has lots of other influences too though and never ends in ripp-off. The 21 minute long epic Humanizzimo should also be mentioned. The start of Humanizzimo is one of my favorite moments in any Flower Kings song. Itīs just so beautiful. The last song Scanning the greenhouse is a variation over the first song and it isnīt very interesting IMO.

The production is very good even though itīs not the best sound on a Flower Kings album.

I really like this album very much and even though I donīt feel itīs a complete masterpiece itīs really a high quality prog rock album. Roine Stolt took the world by storm with this one and he hasnīt looked back since. 4 stars is well deserved for this excellent album. My only complain is that sometimes the atmosphere is a bit too happy and just a bit too easy listening for me, but it depends on my mood wether or not I am bothered by this.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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