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The Flower Kings - Paradox Hotel CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 473 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Any Flower Kings fans afraid that this will be a stinker? Don't worry!! Here, you got Standard Flower Kings: it is just the Flower Kings making good music!

I was afraid too ... without the sax of Ulf, the voice of Daniel, and the wonderful jazzy drummer .. I didn't expect that much, and the album cover didn't help. I pre-ordered it anyways and then listened with an open mind without trying to make comparisons. The epic really turned me off at first listen, but then I liked the rest and I now enjoy the epic. This is, like Roine said, the Flowers' version of the Beatles' "White Album" ... it is like a summary of the band as a double album. I'm sure you'll like it a lot. Another interesting thing to note is that is sounds even more "retro" than retropolis! IT has moog synths, grand piano, the old Mellotron (!) in abundance, and a more raw and live sound.

Warning: Like all FK albums, it takes several listens to love it.

EPICS (Very challenging, but the patience is worth it):

After a pointless NASA recording of a takeoff, "Monsters and Men" starts. I know that when you first hear it, you will think that this is a complete mess! Actually, while I admit it is a bit weak compared to some of their previous epics, I've grown to love it. The problem with it is that it feels it has a lot of amazing moments usually connected lazily from one to another in the first listens and sometimes not given enough exploration of those themes. Unfortunately, it has a few bad parts at around the middle which I will never like. The good parts of it are excellent (hear the intro, and the majestic part at minute 16-18 to see what I mean). After 10+ listens, it appears more coherent, so I raised my score to: 7.5/10

"End at a high note" has the "And You and I" feel. It is very uplifting, has a gorgeous wordless vocal pas7.sage done in harmony repeated throughout the whole track and some good soloing in the somewhat uninspired rocking middle section. It is very poppy and catchy, so it tends to be a highlight at first listen 7.5/10

"Minor Giant Steps" has great ideas, including a gorgeous melodic line "I'm just a minor giant bird/soul". instrumentally, it is excellent. A bit difficult to get into, but excellent once you get it. If you like their extended epics full of solos, I'm sure you'll like this song a lot. 8.5/10

Short-Midlength tracks (the Strength in this CD):

Hit me with a Hit: Silly title and also sounds silly at first as a consequence of the vibraphone and the funky rhythm. The title is brilliant though once you find out that this song attacks the music industry (get it? hit!). It is actually a very good track with great guitar riffing, interesting funky rhythm, and a wonderful instrumental break that even features mellotron. The melodies are poppy and very likable. There is a reference to a DJ or hip hop in the middle. 8/10

Pioneers of Aviation: After a spacey intro, this is a good rock instrumental with electric guitar leads in the vein of Roine's "Flower King" solo album. Tomas Bodin plays a synth solo in the middle and a keyboard solo at the end. 6.5/10

Selfconsuming Fire is a highlight of the first disc and will make you forget about Bavarian Skies (if you don't like that track). Gorgeous acoustic guitars, nice melodies, great fretless bass playing, memorable pain of salvation style chorus (is Daniel doing the vocals here?), ol' school mellotron, and a mindblowing hard rock climax featuring a great guitar solo. It has very dark lyrics. Nothing wrong about this song at all. The highlight. 10/10

Mommy Leave The Light on is overall dark and mellow (About a dying child). The electric keyboard playing is haunting and creates an atmosphere similar to the first instrumental break of Suppers Ready. The song tends to drag though as well as the transition to the following track with the "Mommy Leave the Light on!" looped for a minute 5.5/10

Touch My Heaven: This is a haunting track with my favourite vocals from Hans. The choruses repeating each word twice in different notes is a neat effect, with the word "heaven" sounding strong in the first time, and extremely powerful in the second chorus. The guitar solo is brilliant and reminds you of David Gilmour at his best. 9/10

Man of The World isn't an impressive track, but it offers very good vocal harmonies in its choruses and a very good instrumental section as always near the end. It just feels like a part of the album, and the melodies are brilliant 8.5/10

The Way The Waters Are Moving: a moving FK ballad on piano about the Tsunami disaster. I love how the mellotron (or whatever keyboard) captures the sound of the crashing waves in the chorus 8.5/10

What if God is Alone?: A great tune indeed. The vocal harmonies are great as usual, and the emotion packed in this song is overwhelming. The slow buildup to the climax is professionally done, and the choruses are classic. My only gripe is how long it takes to get started. If the intro was cut off, this could be a great radio-friendly track in the vein of U2 8/10

Paradox Hotel: A very entertaining hard rocker. While the verses are not melodically strong, the music behind it is, and the choruses are really something! "It's a Living Hell! At Paradox Hotel! Come Live in Hell! At Paradox Hotel!" 7/10

Blue Planet: If you felt you missed melodies after Paradox Hotel, you got them here. I great closer to a great album. The chorus is magical! Here, you got everything you can think of from the Flower Kings, including an extended guitar solo leading the song with its melodic beauty for minutes. 9.5/10

Experiments (they often work with the exception of Bavarian Skies):

Lucy Had a Dream: Beatle-esque psychedelic tune with a great guitar intro which a melody later used as vocal melodies. The songs seamlessly turns into a trippy merry-go- round part. Strange, but it works extremely well. (also note that the sinister laugh is heard here as well) 8/10

Bavarian Skies: It has distorted Stolt vocals to attempt to sound like Hitler (his attempt may work, but I don't like the sound of the distorted voice too much, I thought he learned his mistake when he did this during the earlier "Monsters Within"). This song is in the vein of "Vampire's View", yet I not as strong. The vocal melodies are nowhere to be found (even the excellent operatic instrumentation doesn't save the vocals), and the symphonic part after Hitler says goodbye may be appropiate to the concept, but I don't like it. I still don't skip it because the instrumentation is very good. 5.5/10

Unorthodox Dancing Lesson: The verses Feature a tricky rhythm of 13/8 played professionally by the bass, drums, and rhythm guitar. It sounds a bit goofy at first, but you'll get used to the sound just like you did with Circus Brimstone from Stardust We Are. The choruses are a quick burst of heavy metal with a riff that sounds similar to Lark Tongue in Aspic pt2 from King Crimson. The best part of this song is the middle section. IT is some of the best avant garde I've heard with the guitar sounding like it's being tortured. It gets really dark and intense at its climax and then ends with the verse heard at the beginning. Great experiment! 8.5/10

Life Will Kill You: The Flower Kings playing Rock&Blues? Now that caught me by surprise, especially since the drummer composed the song. This is a good rockin' tune that you would enjoy if you like Roine's "Wallstreet Voodoo". This song could easily be on the radio if the band was better known. The only negative I can give is the goofy "rhythmic" electronic vocals heard in the first verse. However, you have the rocking organ, rocking guitar soloing. Rock on! 6.5/10

Get it Flower King lovers. This is one of their most cohesive albums. However, I wish that in their next album, that they would focus on being more innovative. The Flower King formula would probably become repetitive if this goes on. Adventurous albums like Unfold the Future, Flower Power, and Space Revolver will surely be welcome.

Zitro | 4/5 |


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