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The Flower Kings - Adam & Eve CD (album) cover

ADAM & EVE

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.47 | 385 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After what was probably their greatest album to that date (Unfold the Future) and just before the release of arguably their best work (Paradox Hotel), The Flower Kings recorded what is, for me, their less successful effort. But, let's remember who we are talking about, so this isn't a bad album by any means; it's just that, when compared to the standards set by almost every other one of their opuses, this just isn't up to par.

Let's talk about the band members first: in Adam & Eve, the regular 5-man line-up (stolt, reingold, bodin, froberg and, at that time, Csorz) is enhanced by the contribution of vocals by Daniel Gildenlow from Pain of Salvation. Now, he already recorded a few songs with TFK for Unfold the Future, but in this album his presence leaves more of a mark than before, probably because now we are dealing only with a single cd album so he has, comparatively, more time and space to shine, whereas Unfold was a double album with many more songs, most of them performed in the vocals department by Stolt or Froberg (both of them, by the way, terrific singers). At first it could appear to be an odd mixture: TFK's symphonic, peace-and-love progrock with Gildenlow's introspective, obscure, violent metal. But, for a song at least, this coupling works and wonderfully at that; let's not forget Gildenlow is a truly talented singer, and a remarkable, even genius musician.

On with the songs:

Love Supreme, (9/10) a really classic TFK's song, much in the vein of Yes, with lots of beautiful melodies and a driving, coherent structure. A good track, if sometimes a little longer than needed.

Cosmic Circus, (8/10), well, yes, I know it's a little, simple, not pretentious track, but I just love it. The main melody/riff is so sparkling clear, so love-for-all-mankind that it makes the song a special one for me.

Babylon, (8/10) another small track (seems we have quite a few of these here, don't we), instrumental, not overly challenging but ultimately satisfying.

A Vampire's view (10/10), best song in the album, and the one that proves that the Gildenlow-FK pairing is not as odd as it may seem. What most amazes me is the complete harmony between the song's title and the music: it's full of somber, dark tones, it starts with Gildenlow singing (or more so, whispering) in such an obscure, dramatic voice that it really conveys the idea of a nosferatu singing form his own point of view. And the chorus, oh, one of those glorious Flower Kings choruses that is truly an exhaustion after the tension build in the verses, singed by Gildenlow at first in his most theatrical, suffering voice and then by the peaceful, soothing voice of Froberg. It's just a shame the chorus doesn't appear for a third time after the soloing but, hey, that would've made this one of TFK best songs ever, and that is not saying little. A truly remarkable piece...

Days gone By, (8/10) starts inmediatelly after the last track ended, this is really a tiny piano divertimento that is finished almost as soon as it begins...but even in its mere 1:10 minutes, it showcases the terrific art that Bodin possesses. In a way, a perfect ending for A Vampire's view...

Adam and Eve, (5/10) the album's lesser track, a boring, uninspired piece with no good melodies and no interesting details... it's a pity they chose to name the album after this mundane track...

Starlight Man, (8/10) another beautioful, peace-inducing song, which may not be the biggest display of technique or complex musicianship but at the same time produces such a smile for the listener after hearing it that it's difficult not to love.

My generation, (7/10), another dull song, a tad better than the title track but nothing to write home about.

Driver's seat (5/10), the other low point in this record, it's actually difficult for me to accept that I'm saying that about an 18+ minute FK epic, but it's true. Not even close to epics like Stardust we Are, The Truth will set you free or even this same album's first track, this song lacks variety, good melodies, but what it lacks the most is A CUT. Yes, I can hear a 30 minute track by this same band with no problems, but I just fall asleep during this 18 minute compendium of notes with no sense. This song is so unispired, it pales in comparison even to other bands efforts. A poor, poor effort.

The Blade of Cain, (7/10), the album's closer is not a bad track, an instrumental piece with some moments of light, but the problem is, after the last song, probably no one can bear to hear this, or better said, probably every one is sleeping.

So, as you can see, this album starts on the right track, and when it looks like reaching the same superior level as almost every other TFK opus, it crumbles horribly and fallas apart. The fact that Stolt doens't sing as much as in other albums and that most of the tracks are very short add to the impression that this was not the Swede master's best hour of inspiration. But, hey!, this band is so great it's still a pretty listenable collection of songs, and the best part....the Swedes got back in their game after this slip and gave us their best work, Paradox Hotel.

So take this as a bridge linking two masterpieces. But a bridge with a weak structure, one you better drive through at medium speed, or you could fall in the river of dissapointment.

The T | 3/5 |

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