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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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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Scratches that Prog Itch but No Surprises

Over the last decade and a half, The Flower Kings have been banner-wavers of retro-prog, wearing their love of Genesis and Yes like a gaudy medal. Given their high esteem on this site, I decided to give their music a try and picked their most recent studio effort SUM OF NO EVIL. This album is clearly symphonic prog with occasional heavy guitars and slick production being the only qualities that really distinguish it from classic 70's sounds. In addition, the band is overtly Christian, and many of the lyrics assume a Christian perspective. While I'm not one to automatically be put off by religious themes, some of the lyrics on this album are pretty smarmy. Most are tolerable, but some are laughably lame. On my first few listens to this album (which was actually over a year ago) the lyrics put me off quite a bit. But I recently gave the album another try, and the instrumental musicianship was able to shine through enough for me to begin to really enjoy the album.

Bandleader Roine Stolt sings and plays guitar. His voice is pleasant and competent, but not especially striking. I actually prefer it to Neal Morse. His guitar playing is expressive and varied, never showy. His sound is a modern variation on the Hackett / Gilmour / Latimer tradition, avoiding any trappings of metal / shred. While all of the players are quite talented, I find keyboard player Tomas Bodin's work to be the most impressive. He delivers all the classic sounds with energy and dexterity, and the parts that make my ears perk up and pay heed are almost always his. Other posters have already pointed out the tasty bass playing, and the drumming is similarly well done.

Four of the six songs span beyond ten minutes, with one sniffing at half an hour. I'm not sure why this has become a modern prog signature, but I find this excessive length rarely necessary. I don't often feel like the songs are coherent wholes. The separate instrumental sections easily could have been redistributed among multiple tracks. The longest "Love is the Only Answer" contains some completely inane vocal parts but also some of the darkest and most evocative instrumental sections of the album. And I'm not sure that they have any real relationship to each other.

When I first purchased this album, I thought that I'd never buy another from TFK. It took awhile to sink in and appreciate it. I'm currently combing through samples trying to decide one more to add to my collection. This one is settling in at a comfortable 3/5 stars. Good prog, a few flaws, nothing new, but tasty.

Negoba | 3/5 |


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