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The Flower Kings - Paradox Hotel CD (album) cover

PARADOX HOTEL

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 523 ratings

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AtLossForWords
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I'm not going to suprise anyone by writing a five star review for The Flower Kings. (All you have to do is look right above the review.) It might be interesting to know why this Flower Kings album is five stars though.

Paradox Hotel is yet another double album in The Flower Kings discography (Stardust We Are, Flower Power, and Unfold the Future being the others). The album is long (slightly over 2 hours). It will be debated by fans forever whether or not the album justifies two discs, but it's there so it might as well be reviewed. Pardox Hotel is a more experimental album from The Flower Kings. While previous Flower Kings albums focus on individual instrumental skills of musicians like Roine Stolt, Tomas Bodin, and bass master Jonas Reingold; Paradox Hotel is more about all of these great musicians grooving togethor to create a strong rock album. The vocals on this album seem to be a bigger focus than usual as well. With the departure of Daniel Gildenlow, the vocal picture focuses even more on Hasse Froberg and Roine Stolt. This is an all but typical album from The Flower Kings that will suprise quite a few fans.

It would be wrong of me to begin a Flower Kings review without starting with Roine Stolt. Stolt's performance on this album is less prominent than others. This is not a bad thing though. Stolt's trademark bluesy solos are still prominent throughout the album, but this time other musicans are able to take the spotlight more than on previous albums. Stolt's composing is once again top notch. On Pardox Hotel, Stolt's playing is more built around chords and harmonies than screaming melodies. The melodic technique is still very much a part of Stot's playing, but his performance is a little more balanced on this album. Stolt's singing is once again brought more into the spotlight with the departure of Daniel Gildenlow. The harmonies between Stolt and Froberg are much better than on the previous two albums (Unfold the Future and Adam and Eve).

Hasse Froberg makes another great vocal performance on this album. Froberg was one of the few members of The Flower Kings that put in a five star effort on the previous album Adam and Eve. On Paradox Hotel, the five star effort still remains. Froberg's voice seems to be at it's pinnacle, but still isn't ready to drop. Froberg once again proves his unmatched power in the symphonic prog genre. Excellent performance from Froberg.

Tomas Bodin has done quite possibly his greatest Flower Kings performance. Not that Bodin's work has been subpar before, but on Pardox Hotel, Bodin has chosen a wiser selection of synths, and shows more skills as a pianist. From the opening epic track Monsters and Men to the album's closer Blue Planet, Bodin performs nothing short of keyboard perfection. It's likely that Bodin's latest solo album I AM has helped him mature musically. I never remember being so impressed with Bodin's performance on previous Flower Kings albums.

Jonas Reingold is one of my top three bassists of any musical genre. You can almost expect what I'm going to say here. Yeah, Reingold's performance is top notch. Like the rest of the band Reingold seems to play more of a supporting role this time. The wanky jazz runs are still in Reingold's performance, but they are more effectively used on this album. Rather than near randomization of these runs, Reingold places them in more musically effective places. Rather than the band going tacet and Reingold fills some space, Reingold is able to mix these arpeggios in with the rest of the band playing. An excellent but more tasteful approach by Reingold this time.

Now we come to new drumer Marcus Liliequist. Liliequist has gained favor of The Flower Kings fans by playing not only on Stolt's latest solo album Wallstreet Voodoo, but also Bodin's solo album I Am. Liliequist is the young one of the bunch (25), but he lacks no skill to play with these great musicans. Liliequist is dead on every beat and fill of this album, an improvement over former drummer and slight slacker Zoltan Csorsz.

The production as always is top notch. I don't have to tell Flower Kings fans that the drums are clear and articulate, the bass is prominent and clean, the guitars are bluesy with multiple distortion and clean tones, the vocals are clear and perfectly harmonized, but I do have to say the keyboard synths are much better than previous albums. Especially the piano synths, they sound incredibly authentic. Paradox Hotel is a definate winner, five stars.

AtLossForWords | 5/5 |

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