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The Flower Kings - Stardust We Are CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.93 | 549 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Well the right rate is "3 stars and 1/2", as I prefer the single CD format of "Retropolis", which alone contains the whole variety of musical ideas by Roine Stolte. Nevertheless this "Sturdust We Are" is probably their most complete, even though in the double CD format. However talking about its defects, I have to remark the following considerations:

First of all "The Eyes of the World" is a jazzy ELP-oriented piece of "classic prog music", dominated by a "RETRO-EPOQUE" old organ, thanks also to the rotary effect of the Leslie speakers... and this arrangement doesn't contribute to make the sound modern!! Besides the voice of Stolte is much similar to that one of John WETTON, but in the most crepuscular vein (listen to "Starless" from "Red" by KING CRIMSON, and you understand the reason why...); generally they try to alternate the melancholic atmospheres and those ones typical of their hardest tunes, often skillfully, always thinking of the CAMEL-like melodic guitar instrumentals (listen to "Ice", in the album "I can see your house from here" by CAMEL, and you understand a lot of things !!). This happens in the track "The Man Who Walked With Kings", whose retro-style of a soft pipe-organ introduces the main section, characterized by a stunning melodic guitar-solo, despite of being much in the vein of Andy Latimer!! Anyway in my opinion the best track of the album is the mini-suite "Circus Brimstone", whose profuseness of mellotron, in the chorus section, reminds us of "Hybris" by ANGLAGARD; but these latter however stand on another planet, that F.K. can't reach, always according to my opinion ... anyway by prosecuting to listen to this 1st disc till the end, you find the track "Compassion", the last song of the 1st disc, which is almost TANGERINE DREAM-oriented, above all in the last part, where you hear a kind of electronic space rock, quite unusual for them.

The second disc is a bit discontinuous, as from the presence of a couple of commercial tracks, even though in the instrumental "Don of the Universe" F.K. try to use a different range of instrumentation such as the sax and the sitar, which make this track more original.

Finally -regardless of a couple of forgettable tracks ("Different People and "Ghost of the Red Clouds") and some normal songs. I like to talk about the last suite (honestly too much long) - the title track - which is their best effort so far... certainly the duration - 25 minutes - doesn't help to maintain our concentration high, but the suite grows in dynamics, thanks also to the support of the second vocalist ( Hans Froberg), whose higher voice contributes to make the repetition of their themes less boring . Moreover the religious and spiritual lyrics are quite interesting !!

Recommended, along with "FLOWER KINGS" (in some circumstances only) and "Retropolis", their best albums (even though - unfortunately - their last productions begin to fall into the common places of such psychedelic prog music and metal prog too!!)

lor68 | 3/5 |


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