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Roine Stolt - The Flower King  CD (album) cover

THE FLOWER KING

Roine Stolt

 

Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 196 ratings

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Zitro
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 4 1/2 stars

A solo album from the guitar virtuoso Roine Stolt set my expectations high, and when I listened to this album, The music exceeded my expectations and is my favourite Flower Kings album for now!. This is a guitar-driven prog album with a sound very similar to the Flower Kings. The album sounds much less influenced by 70s prog bands than the early Flower King studio albums. As a consequence, the music here is very fresh to one's ears. Also, because this is a solo album, you hear more guitars than usual. What surprises me is that Tomas Bodin is not in here and Roine plays all the keyboards himself!! The vocals are not abundant in this recording because Roine is such a gifted musician and arranger that he needs no vocals to portray emotions in his music. His vocals are solid, but not really necessary.

The album begins with The Flower King which alone defines what the band Flower Kings sounds like and what it is about. It sets the whole theme of the band. The music is happy, playful, and professionally done. The song begins with a guitar solo and a pop structure follows. The music on the background is beautiful and has guitar melodies as a counterpoint to Roine's cathcy vocals. The chorus is even better! "We believe in the light, we believe in love, every precious little thing. We believe you can still, Surrender! You can ... serve the Flower Kings" The lyrics are wonderful and the vocal melodies that sing this line are some of the best Roine has produced. The song itself has a similar structure to 'Back to the World of Adventures' and 'In the eyes of the world' in which they begin with a pop song, continue on an extended instrumental section full of soloing (the soloing here is some of the best and serves as a roller coaster of happy emotions), and ends with a reprise of the melodies of the pop side of the song. This song is majestic, and one of Roine's best.

That song, while it may be the strongest track of the album, is not everything The Flower King has to offer. All the remaining tracks are very strong in quality too. 'Dissonata' is a very strong song that begins with vocals and follows with guitar melodic playing. This song has a similar song structure to The Flower King. 'The Magic Circus of Zeb' is a wonderful symphonic instrumental full of guitars and a good keyboard solo in the middle. Some guitar solos are just too wonderful to my ears. Brilliant! 'Close Your Eyes' is a short relaxing tune with vocals and of course bluesy guitar playing. 'The Pilgrin's Inn' is another highlight of the album, being an instrumental full of melodic guitars and keyboards. Ths song goes through many different moods, sometimes beautiful, sometimes a little aggressive and sometimes dreamy. The Sound of Violence is a semi-heavy instrumental with excellent use of the guitars. Humanizzimo is the most challenging track of the album and is 20 minutes long, althrough it is not as hard to get into as songs like 'The truth will set you free' and 'Devil's playground'. The first 4 minutes are instantly likeable with that wonderful keyboard line and those easy vocal melodies. Then, it transforms into a accelerated section (my least favourite part of the song), later a short melodic one that sounds like the Flower Kings that is followed by a brilliant instrumental one. After the melodic vocals appear again, the big highlight of the album is next (even though it is much better played on the DVD). This highlight I am talking about is the powerful section with those vocal hooks ("This is the night") and the extraordinary beauty coming from the instruments (especially that church organ and saxophone). The song finishes strongly in a powerful climax with saxophone clashes and a guitar going berserk. Spectacular!!!! The album ends in the best way possible : a reprise of the most beautiful melodies from the title track.

1. The flower king (9.5/10) 2. Dissonata (8/10) 3. The magic circus of Zeb (8/10) 4. Close your eyes (7.5/10) 5. The Pilgrims Inn (8.5/10) 6. The sounds of violence (8/10) 7. Humanizzimo: (9.5/10) 8. Scanning the greenhouse (8/10)

This album should be owned by anyone interested in good music!! It is also the best way to begin the musical journey of the Flower Kings because it is the easiest to get into and because Roine is at his absolute best in here.

A masterpiece.

Grade : A-

Zitro | 5/5 |

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