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The Flower Kings - Paradox Hotel CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.71 | 482 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars As a long time fan of this band I was a little nervous about this album. The previous album, Adam & Eve, left me pretty much cold (I've come to appreciate it and even like much of it, but it is still probably my least favorite by the band). So I was not sure if they had reached their peak on Unfold The Future and were heading on the downhill slide that so many prog bands end up on eventually. It turns out, I had nothing to worry about. This album worked for me on the first listen, and just gets better every time I hear it.

It is nothing if not consistent. Every track has something I enjoy, with only a couple seeming somewhat ordinary. The opening epic seemed kind of dull to me on the first listen or two, but after hearing it on headphones, I can say it is a very good epic. It flows beautifully and has some outstanding keyboard playing from Tomas Bodin. In fact, his playing on the rest of the album is some of the best I've heard from him with the Flower Kings. The first CD strikes me as being a bit stronger than the second, but they are both excellent overall. The two instrumentals are some of the FK's best, and quite possibly my two favorite songs on the album. Stolt's playing is at its best throughout this album as well.

My only real (small) disappointment is that new drummer Marcus seems to be a less stand out drummer than either Zoltan or Salazar were/are. And Jonas seems to be far more subdued than on previous albums. Still, on close listening it is obvious that both play some incredible stuff throughout the album.

The reason this does not take away from the album for me is because this album sees the band focusing on songs and ensemble playing, rather than flashy displays of technical skill (something that worked well on UTF, but can disrupt the continuity of songs). The melodic content of this album is stunning. The fact that the tracks were recorded live in the studio by the core band probably has a lot to do with the fantastic consistency of this album. Not a bad song in my opinion (though Bavarian Skies is certainly very unusual and I'm not sure I'd call it a good song.......but not a bad one either if that makes any sense). Flower Kings fans should get this one if they don't already have it, and everyone else should give it a listen for sure (though newbies should probably start elsewhere).

While not my favorite FK album (though time may change that......but I doubt it), a solid, excellent offering that has fully restored my faith in this great band. 4 solid stars.

infandous | 4/5 |


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