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Roine Stolt - The Flower King CD (album) cover

THE FLOWER KING

Roine Stolt

 

Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 288 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Those who enjoy The Flower Kings ought not pass this sterling album with Roine Stolt at the helm. Excepting the distinct bass work from Jonas Reingold, this album has all the ingredients fans of The Flower Kings would love even though it predates their proper debut by a year. There's nothing more to say really- an excellent symphonic progressive rock album by one of the genre's most respected guitarists.

'The Flower King' Soothing lead guitar sweetly sings in before a sound breaks through that is distinctively The Flower Kings: And that refrain has to be the most definitive archetype for them- happy, uplifting, and even a little bit silly. Stolt demonstrates his proficiency with blues guitar, eventually stepping aside for a symphonic synthesizer solo. Overall, it is a wondrous piece of music and the crown of the album.

'Dissonata' A bit on the darker side of The Flower Kings, this second tune has a bit of cabaret camp that tries to masquerade as serious and sinister. The melodic theme and its variations in the middle passage are well-executed and a welcome evolution.

'The Magic Circus of Zeb' A mostly peppy and colorful instrumental, this piece evokes the spectacles of a circus without ever becoming hackneyed in the course of doing so. It features soulful guitar work.

'Close Your Eyes' The Flower Kings are, for me, notorious for filler tracks. This is one of those. It is a slow, plodding bit of new age with decent vocals and good guitar.

'The Pilgrims Inn' The musicians return to the uplifting sound from before but add some baroque flourishes. It is full of both electric and acoustic guitar exhibitions.

'The Sounds of Violence' As the title implies, this one hangs on the heavier and darker music Stolt and company are capable of. The last bit consists of bass and electric guitar soloing quietly around one another.

'Humanizzimo' The twenty-minute piece starts with the most subdued music on the album, consisting of Mellotron flute. About a quarter of the way through, the music becomes a tad too giddy for my liking. My take on this is similar to my judgment of many epics from The Flower King (and there are many): Sonically pleasant but rarely engaging. I enjoy this song in parts, but as a whole it tries to accomplish too much.

'Scanning the Greenhouse' The final three minutes and forty-five seconds of this album offer some more guitar soloing before launching into a fine vocal passage that culminates in a reprisal of that elevating refrain from 'The Flower King.'

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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