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The Flower Kings - The Rainmaker CD (album) cover

THE RAINMAKER

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.47 | 342 ratings

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chessman
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I already knew that this album was one that caused quite a few splits amongst fans, and I didn't know what to expect from it. I had heard that it was heavier, and maybe poppier than their other albums. Well, seeing as I like the band anyway, full stop, I bought it. On first hearing it, I was not sure what to make of it. Certainly it seemed poppier, with shorter, more song based tunes, even though three of the tracks are still over 10 mins long. But, the more I listened, the more it got to me, and now I have to say it is one of my favourites. 'Last Minute On Earth' is an exellent starter. Beautiful singing from Hasse Froberg who, on this album, handles more of the lead vocals than usual. Both he and Roine take it in turns to sing lead, both on here, and on other tracks. And the mixture works well. There is superb guitar work on this track, very Holdsworthy in parts, whilst the ending is well worked and effective. 'World Without A Heart' is probably my least fave on the album, but it is, nevertheless, a decent offering. Predominantly vocal, quite short for a Flower Kings song, and not so heavy on the instrumentation, it is still very listenable. 'Road To Sanctuary' was a song that took some time to get into, but was worth the effort. Well crafted, with a nice change of pace near the end, it is typical Flower Kings. 'The Rainmaker', the first of three instrumentals, is probably the weakest. A slow, keyboard led build up, with hesitant, marching drums, it promises more than it delivers, as it doesn't seem to lead anywhere. I have to say, though, the guitar work near the end, and the atmospheric keyboards that follow it made me nod with satisfaction . 'City Of Angels' is the last of the epics, and is one of my favourites. Very catchy, with a memorable melody and, again, superb harmonies, this track sticks in the mind immediately. Brilliant. 'Elaine' is an underrated song. Another shortish, (for this group!) vocally dominated track, it has very thoughtful lyrics, regarding someone who doesn't quite fit in with the majority of people. A very sad, yet true statement. I like this one a lot. 'Thru The Walls' is not the best song here, but, again, is pleasant, if melancholy. 'Sword Of God' is tremendous. Hasse Froberg throws off his Jon Anderson voice here and manages to sound amazingly close to Paul Rogers during the verse. A quite heavy, memorable riff accompanies this rocky song, not very progressive, but classy. The next track, 'Blessing Of A Song' is the second instrumental, and is again catchy, with nice Bodin keyboards. The third instrumental, 'Red Alert' follows this, very short, yet again keyboard led and catchy. Superb. Now we come to the album closer. 'Serious Dreamers' is, maybe, my favourite track on the whole album! Back come the Jon Anderson harmonies in the catchy chorus, back comes the wonderful melody in the verse, and all this is accompanied by high class guitar work. This track is only a second or two under 10 mins, by the way, and is the perfect way to finish a stunning album. I always believe that the last track on an album should be one of the strongest, as it then ends the record on a high, and this certainly does that. I have to say that 'The Rainmaker' is probably my third favourite from The Flower Kings, and whilst it doesn't quite reach the heights of 'Flower Power' or 'Unfold The Future' in my eyes, and even though it is a little different to their other material, even down to the dark and gloomy, untypical cover, it is an essential for all collectors of Flower Kings material. The production is excellent too!
chessman | 4/5 |

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