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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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Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars "Inaccessible magnificence" is the best paradoxical description I can give to this album by The Flower Kings. I have a lot of critical things I can say about it, but in all honesty, it's no different from most of the output by this excellent band: Equal measure hits and misses, but when those hits are as stellar as they are here, that inconsistency is perfectly fine by me.

"One More Time" One of my favorite songs from The Flower Kings, it's consistent, full of textures, and somehow uplifting without at all resorting to sappiness. Jonas Reingold's fretless bass slips in between notes, and Roine Stolt's guitar parts are exquisitely crafted, and showcase his talent without being ostentatious in the least. The refrain is just a great home base for this piece as it skips and prances through so many different musical themes. My only criticism used to be that this song could have ended two minutes before it actually does, and it would have been much stronger for it, but now I appreciate it just as it is.

"Love is the Answer" The lengthiest track of the album begins with Stolt's shaky voice (which I usually enjoy more than Hasse Froberg's boisterous singing, but here its just too vulnerable sounding). This is the song that mentions the "cosmic Christmas tree," a lyrical faux pas that is nearly unforgivable. It's hard to appreciate this song because of its length, because it's just all over the galaxy. This is not to say it lacks any stellar musical moments. Reingold is his usually phenomenal self, laying down some funk throughout much of the music. Tomas Bodin cemented his place as one of my favorite keyboardists with his solo just over ten minutes in, as well as his work in other places. The two of them together right after the fifteen minute mark make for some intriguing music that just has to be heard. Stolt even gets in some good guitar bits, but overall, this is one of those pieces that is typical of the lack of restraint and sense of extravagance the music of The Flower Kings suffers from.

"Trading My Soul" This darker (and thankfully much shorter) song begins with Stolt's quavering vocals again. Froberg sounds better on the more enjoyable chorus. The guitar work at the end almost makes up for such an unmemorable track.

"The Sum of No Reason" Stolt begins this one vocally as well, but he sounds warm and more sure of himself. The music is fairly soft until about five minutes, where it becomes the heaviest, full of distorted guitar and strange synthesizer sounds. Overall, the song is dull, but not awful. The growling voices at the end are simply laughable. In fact, everything after the ten minute mark is pointless, and even Bodin's very good synthesizer work or Stolt's extended guitar soloing can not salvage the end of it.

"Flight 999 (Brimstone Air)" When the cock crows once, this band begins playing awesome music again. Bodin's organ largely works alongside Stolt's guitars. Some mind-bending panning effects occur than can probably only be noticeable with headphones. Sound effects abound, like children screaming on a rollercoaster or cutesy toy sounds, which only add to the devilish nature of the music. But regardless of the music, this is finally Zoltan Csórsz time: He who had sat back and let the other musicians run things, just lets it rip in a killer volley of drum attacks.

"Life in Motion" My second favorite track is almost as good as the first. The chords during the verses are simple, but excellently worked out in layers in sounds. Bodin once again proves his usefulness in various places. The lyrics are powerful to me, making me think of my "transitional" state as both a father and son. Like the first track, it breathes consistency and great musicianship. It's one of the band's best, particularly considering that lovely ending.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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