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The Flower Kings - Islands CD (album) cover

ISLANDS

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.91 | 165 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ComaEcliptic
5 stars The Flower Kings come off the back of releasing their increasing mediocre record from 2019 entitled "Waiting For Miracles". Did they come back with a better album in 2020? With the same lineup from 2018, Zach Kamins replacing longtime keyboardist Tomas Bodin, and Mirkko DeMaio taking over the drums. Have The Flower Kings come back with a better album than their previous? I think this is an easy answer, absolutely. They brought back their sound but with a mellow tone, and a bunch of jazz fusion. They have Rob Townsend of Steve Hackett to come in and do all the wind instruments on this album. What does this album have? It has 21 tracks, 95 minutes in total. Shall we go through these tracks now?

SIDE ONE

Racing With The Blinders On, opens the album, being a fairly fast paced jazz influenced Genesis/Yes type track with soaring keyboard licks and smooth guitar work from Zach and Roine. Overall a really compelling way to open up the album, on the plus side two, slappin bass from Jonas! 5/5

From The Ground, Yes... sounds like Yes and I love it. The keyboard work on this one, great keyboard solo, very Yessy but keep in tone to their original sound. Spectacular track. 5/5

Black Swan, very original track but definitely a Flower Kings track through and through. I really love the vocals on this track, really good. 5/5

Morning News, you can't get more of a Beatles track if you tried, this sounds like it was written by John, Paul, and George. Very mellow song, very soft and acoustic, love it. 5/5

Broken, this was the first song to be released to promote this album and it was a smash. The lyrics were very real, the music itself was banging, and it showcased that the band can still write damn good prog. 5/5

Goodbye Outrage, I am not too much a fan of this track but still, pretty nice, a 2 minute song written by both Zach and Roine but ultimately not my favourite. 3/5

Journeyman, Jazz Fusion to a tee. I absolutely love this track, the keyboard work is ridiculous well done, the drumming, just the bands overall playing is fantastic. Well done to Zach Kamins to writing a really good Tomas Bodin style interlude. 5/5

Tangerine, another track that I'm not thrilled about but still very enjoyable. More psychedelic and jazz influenced but the harmonies are the best part of this track. Cool. 4/5

Solaris, the longest song on this album and it might be the best song on this album. I'd gladly take this track over Miracles for America or Vertigo off the previous record. It has the large scale vocals, a choir and sting opening to give this track a huge sound like back in the good old days of FlowerPower. The vocals are absolutely incredible on this track in particular, the mellow middle section leads back into a huge vocal base. This song is just perfect, well done on all fronts, playing, and otherwise. 10/10

Heart Of The Valley, is back to being Yes. I love this track too. Its very vocal based again, like the majority of this album. Good track to lead off of Solaris. 5/5

Man in a Two Piece Suit, a little too much bluesy guitar riffing for me but still really good. 4/5

SIDE TWO

All I Need is Love, sounds to me like soft rock of the 70s. Very pleasant, nice opener to the second disc. 5/5

A New Species, I heard a lot of different material in here. This is an instrumental with a lot of cool playing, and one section that sounds a bunch like Dream Theater... never thought I'd ever say that about a Flower Kings track but still cool. 5/5

Northern Lights, Vocal based as this album is, another gorgeous track from the band. 5/5

Hidden Angels, another jazz fusion interlude. Another amazing track by Zach. 5/5

Serpentine, Sax and fast paced. Rob Townsend's feature track, really well done sax soloing, fast paced song, great vocals again. 5/5

Looking For Answers, Church Organs... thats all I have to say. 5/5

Telescope, not my favourite material either, its calm and soothing but just not the best thing on this album. 4/5

Fools Gold, probably my least favourite song on this album, I just don't like bluesy noodling on this one personally. 3/5

Between Hope and Fear, this is probably my second favourite song on this entire album. I love Roine's idea to use a high pass filter on high voice to make it sound like he was coming through a radio or something of the sort. Really really love this track. Amazing. 5/5

Islands, the title track, another amazing instrumental to close this album. To be honest, I kinda wish Between Hope and Fear ended this album? Still a good choice, nice, gorgeous. 5/5

So! 2020 Flower Kings, a huge improvement over the previous, and Roger Dean artwork? Just for the gorgeous artwork this album deserves 5 stars, just kidding but... the art fits the album. Time for the final score.

Side One : 51/55 Side Two : 47/50 Side One Percentage : 97.272% Side Two Percentage : 94%

Total Grade : 98/105 Percentage Total : 93.33%

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music.

ComaEcliptic | 5/5 |

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