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The Flower Kings

Symphonic Prog

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The Flower Kings The Road Back Home album cover
3.27 | 83 ratings | 9 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (77:49)

1. Cosmic Lover (6:14)
2. A Kings Prayer (5:35)
3. Stupid Girl (4:41)
4. Cosmic Circus (3:12)
5. Babylon (2:01)
6. Paradox Hotel (5:40)
7. World Without a Heart (3:50)
8. Church of Your Heart (6:11)
9. Vox Humana (4:22)
10. What If God Is Alone (6:43)
11. Starlight Man (3:29)
12. Grand Old World (5:02)
13. The Road Back Home (8:53)
14. Cinema Show (Genesis Cover) (11:57)

CD 2 (75:53)

15. Ghost of the Red Cloud (4:41)
16. Painter (6:48)
17. I Am the Sun, Part 2 (4:23)
18. Different People (5:15)
19. Little Deceiver (Unreleased Track) (3:56)
20. Chicken Farmer Song (5:06)
21. The Rhythm of the Sea (4:40)
22. Touch My Heaven (5:46)
23. Life Will Kill You (6:37)
24. Monkey Business (4:22)
25. Compassion (4:45)
26. The Flower King (10:54)
27. Stardust We Are (8:41)

Total Time: 153:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Roine Stolt / guitars, vocals, keyboards, bass, percussion
- Hasse Fröberg / vocals, guitars
- Tomas Bodin / keyboards, vocals
- Michael Stolt / bass, vocals
- Jonas Reingold / bass
- Jaime Salazar / drums
- Zoltan Csörsz / drums
- Marcus Liliequist / drums, vocals
- Hasse Bruniusson / percussion
- Daniel Gildenlöw / vocals

- Ulf Wallander / soprano saxophone
- Hĺkan Almkvist / sitar, tabla

Releases information

Subtitled "A compilation for the collector or the newbie"

This is a compilation CD with re-mixed/worked versions plus 1 unreleased track.

2xCD Inside Out Music - IOMCD 276 (2007, Germany)
2xCD Inside Out Music - IOMCD 276 (2007, US)
2xCD Belle Antique - MAR 071282-3 (2007, Japan)
2xCD Inside Out Music - IOMCD 276 (2010, Germany)

Thanks to Pirkka for the addition
and to ProjeKct for the last updates
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Buy THE FLOWER KINGS The Road Back Home Music

THE FLOWER KINGS The Road Back Home ratings distribution

(83 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE FLOWER KINGS The Road Back Home reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Why buy a Flower Kings compilation if you already own all their official previous releases? Well my incentive was the chance to get their version of "Cinema Show", previously only available on a fan club release, one unreleased track "Little Deceiver" from "The Rainmaker" sessions and the chance to hear already available material re-mixed with in places new Guitar solo's, backing vocals and the odd lead Vocal.

This compilation consists of the bands shorter more commercial songs (although a few clock in around 8 minutes) and herein lies the problem. I love The Flower Kings for their long complex pieces which are in plentyfull supply over most of their albums, which intersperced with the likes of the contents of this compilation make for well rounded albums. On their own these shorter tracks, although in the main very good don't stand up quite so well.

So what about the re-mixes? To be honest in general they sound fine but I couldn't honestly put my hand on my heart and say they have been improved and in certain cases I wish they'd been left alone. This is imediately apparent on opener "Cosmic Lover" which seems to have lost a certain amout of the power of the original excellent mix, particularly in the Drums and Bass department which is rather ironic considering in the liner notes Roine states his intention was to clean up the track and let the bass and Drums do the talking.

On a more postitive note their version of "Cinema show" is very good and well worth hearing although generally speaking I'm not a lover of bands doing cover versions as they rarely are the equal of the originals but here The Flower Kings make a good stab at it.

"Little Deceiver", the one unreleased track present passes by unobtrusively and is fairly non-essential, as said previously, from "The Rainmaker" sessions which was one of the weaker releases from the band in my opinion.

Not wanting to sound too negative about one of my favourite bands though there are plenty of great songs on this 2cd set some of my favourites being "Chickenfarmer song" and "Church of your Heart". Although not a lover of "Paradox Hotel" it is well represented here by the inclusion of the upbeat "Life Will Kill You".

Overall then, a good compilation that completists will want to own. As for the uninitiated it will give a good taster of the band but is not trully representative of what the band are all about so for that reason I would choose to start elsewhere.

Review by Zitro
3 stars 2.5 stars

Despite the fact that the songs are remastered and re-edited to make them sound refreshing, this is not a really good compilation due to the song selection. What's the problem? It puts a big emphasis on the more accessible, shorter songs while forgetting some of their best ones of those accessible songs.

The best/The Classics: Grand Old World, Stardust We Are, Cosmic Circus, I Am The Sun

The above average ones: King's Prayer, Babylon, Church of Your Heart, What if God is Alone?, The Road Back Home, Painter, ChickenFarm Song, The Rhythm of the Sea, Touch My Heaven, Compassion, The Flower King

The average ones: Paradox Hotel, World Without a Heart, Vox Humana, Ghost of the Red Cloud, Life Will Kill You

Below average ones: Starlight Man, Stupid Girl, Cosmic Lover, Different People, Monkey Business.

That is the problem: it avoids the epics which are really the Flower Kings' strength and the compilation includes songs that are subpar for them and considered by some to be "filler". Why would they avoid to put instantly likable songs like "Go West Judas" or "Melting Pot". However, the good thing about this compilation is that many of these average Flower Kings songs have been improved a lot.

I have never reviewed a compilation, let alone one which edits the songs, so in order to write this review, I will separate these songs into 5 groups: "much better than original", "somewhat better than original", "about the same as original", "worse than original", "no noticeable differences".

Much Better Than Original : Stupid Girl not only is it much shorter and skips that irritating zappa-like melody at the end, but it sounds much better, more smooth, and has a better guitar solo. Vox Humana is full of texture this time and wonderful on headphones. The synthesizers and harmonies sound better as well. Different People sounds less messy/muddy and more psychedelic as it was intended to be. I love the vocal harmonies at the end. Compassion not only is the pointless last 3 minutes cut off but the song sounds bigger and more symphonic than before.

Better Than Original : My Cosmic Lover because the production sounds a lot better and clearer. I don't like how the bass is lower in the mix though but no big deal. Paradox Hotel because it's shorter. World Without a Heart because it's remastered and because of the added vocal harmonies near the end. Church of Your Heart because it's shorter without losing anything important. Grand Old World has better arrangements in the background. The Road Back Home benefits from Hasse replacing Roine at spots (It wasn't Roine's best moment). Some synths are replaced by better-sounding moogs. Ghost of The Red Cloud has better sound quality, especially the guitar shines here.

As enjoyable as original : Starlight Man has better sound quality and instrumentation but the vocal harmonies on the refrains lack the "wall of sound" that I loved in the original version. I Am The Sun pt2 is criminally cut to four minutes, but I learned that I stands on its own pretty well as a simple pop song though I don't like the ending much. Rhythm of the Sea has its pointless avant-garde at the beginning cut off. The new church organ and "iiiii" vocals during the chorus are unnecessary though. Touch My Heaven nice new solo! The Flower King wow this song is changed! It is a complete remake of that anthemic tune. The choruses have more power and the keyboards sound better with Thomas. Unfortunately, the beginning of the instrumental section is not excellent and the satrianish guitar riff there is missing.

No noticeable Difference : What if God is Alone, Chicken Farm Song, Life Will Kill You, Monkey Business,

Worse Than Original : A King's Prayer because the string arrangements before the guitar solo was changed for the worse and the guitar solo is weaker and is faded out. Cosmic Circus is slightly worse IMO because the vocal harmony is slightly less powerful and the guitar follows the synth melody. No big deal, the song is still amazing. Stardust We Are Roine, What have you done!? Not only you cut off the first 15 minutes of it, making this lose some of its power as a climax but the tempo is slowed and sometimes the volume is surprisingly low. This version just sounds emotionless and tired. The magic of the song is gone.

Well, about the 2 songs that I didn't talk about yet: Little Deceiver and Cinema Show (Genesis). Little Deceive is a leftover track from Rainmaker, their least inspired album for many listeners. It is a very average folky ballad and weaker than anything on Rainmaker. The first half of Cinema Show was brilliantly covered and the Flower Kings add some nice touches to that amazing track. Unfortunately, they get too loud during the instrumental section and the production is a bit muddy. That ruins what could have been a great cover song.

To conclude: this album might be fine for newcomers who are not very familiar to progressive rock and just want this as the only Flower King album to own. For people interested in the band, it's just better to get one of their highly acclaimed studio albums. For fans, some songs are better and it's cool to use these tracks instead of the original ones when playing an album. If you want to listen to Cinema Show, listen to Genesis' version and Little Deceiver is forgettable.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's probably not just for newbie .

I am, for sure, an "album person". That's to say .. I prefer to spin an album in its entirety instead of making a collection of excellent tracks. This is probably due to my experience with having enjoyed long duration tracks like Genesis "Supper's Ready" or Yes' "Gates of Delirium" which gives me limited room to make a compilation. This has been working fine for me for quite a long time. For bands with song duration greater than 10 minutes, I do not expect to have any compilation - that's why I do NOT own this compilation by The Flower Kings, because the band has many excellent tracks with long duration and I rarely find their best in short duration. So, you know now why I do not own it. My friend loaned me this compilation.

To my surprise, this compilation delivers "value" to me because it has background story (in its 20-page colorful booklet) for each track presented in the compilation. This is really great and it satisfies my purpose because I always curious about the detailed information about how the song was composed so that it helps appreciate the music better. I hate any CD with very limited information on band history as well as song history.

Roine Stolt wrote the opening welcome in the booklet where he mentioned about why and how the compilation was made, plus an introduction of 10 years + the lifespan of The Flower Kings. I do enjoy the opening welcome and, of course, detailed information about the song and under which album the song was album. This is something that other compilation seldom do and it's a deep fallacy. The major reason for me to own an album is basically the information pertinent to the music, even though I can actually find from the net.

Let me just take an example on how the booklet info plays important role for me. When I read the background od "Cinema Show" it's clear that this song was something that the band members very proud of. The reason they recorded this song was due to a request from the American label to make a Tribute to Genesis CD where the band (Stolt) chose Cinema Show. They were doubtful to be able to perform the song, especially on guitar layers. But the result, for me personally (Gatot) is superb! This is one of the best cover song I have ever heard despite Kevin Gilbert's "Back In NYC" (another Genesis cover song). I am not exaggerating to say that this version by The Flower Kings is different than original version by Genesis and for me it's bit better than original one. It's really wonderful how the band plays this song with great flow. It sounds like floating and richer in textures. I do not intend to demean Genesis but I 'm proud having this version by The Flower Kings.

Having known this, I do not think that this compilation is worth for newbie, but it's also for Collectors who want to know better the music of The Flower Kings, especially in the song making story. Recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by progrules
3 stars I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this double disk compilation. It certainly wasn't a smart move because when I bought it I already had all their albums and this is obviously an introduction compilation.

And it was even double foolish it appeared because most of the versions on this doubler are shorter (instead of for instance longer live versions or special extended versions) and that's a pity because though it's always a great enjoyment to listen to a TFK song, it's really annoying if they suddenly cut off the song making it one or two minutes shorter.

In the end the only two tracks that are worth while for a die hard fan like me are The Cinema Show (Genesis cover of course) and Little Deceiver, an completely new song.

So that leaves the final conclusion and that is that this is a perfect introduction compilation for Flower Kings newbees. It gives a perfect overview of their carreer with exception of their latest release Sum of no Evil. Highly recommended for those newbees I was talking about and as I always say: if you don't check out The Flower Kings, it's your loss ! All in all I give three stars which is a combination of 4 for mentioned starters and 2 for me.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars A friend gave me this album probably thinking it was something original and not a compilation. As a double set I was wondering if the songs were at least in their original length since The Flower Kings best stuff were always their epics but, alas, this is not what I saw: many are simply missing and the ones included are heaviy edited to a fraction of their size. I guess it is ok to have some of their shorter, more concise songs put together for the newbies. But since the songs are remixed, some with extra instrumentation and vocals added, plus two new tracks, it should be atractive enough even for a long time fan who has all their studio albums (like myself).

Well, I liked their version of Cinema Show and the unissued track is so so (Well, coming from The Rainmaker, this is not really a surprise). Those remixing and add ons are not particularly effective in most cases (why not remix the original albums?). Even if I like the song selection in general - and some of the new recordings - this is hardly TFK's best. So I have mixed feelings and don't really know to whom it should be rcommended. To the newbies I think Sacnning The Greenhouse is a far better collection (with all its inherited faults, as almost all compilations are prone of). STG at least gives a good overview of their early , best remembered, period. Still The Flower Kings is, like all great prog bands, the kind of group you should listen to each of their albums as a whole.

So in the end I guess only hardcore fans, collectors and completionists will really think The Road Back Home is worth its price. My final rating is 2,5 stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars This disk is labelled "A compilation for the collector or the newbie". They got it half right. It is for the collector because it does contain some alternate takes and mixes, one unreleased track, and at least one rare song. But there is no way I would recommend this collection for a newbie.

While I enjoy many of these songs in their original form on the original albums, here, they get quite tedious and boring to my ears. It is because these are some of the most "accessable" tracks from The Flower Kings' albums, and therefore, some of the least progressive and exciting.

While there are some good prog moments on this set, they are few and far between. And those of you looking for the Genesis cover, Cinema Show, for most of the track, it sounds like it could have been on one of those dreadful Phil Collins led atrocities. It does liven up about two thirds of the way through, but for me, it does not save the song.

The liner notes, bad English and all, are entertaining.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Hmm, a compilation album. I never bought the previous one, Scanning The Greenhouse, because I figured what's the point? I have all the studio and live material, what can a compilation possibly offer me? Well, for one thing, great liner notes giving insights and details about each song, includin ... (read more)

Report this review (#147275) | Posted by infandous | Friday, October 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm usually not a big fan of compilations- To tell you the honest truth- I picked this one up on accident. I thought it was their new studio album :) But what I found are some very nice surprises on this excellent CD. The band did a great job picking tracks from throughout their career and the flo ... (read more)

Report this review (#139425) | Posted by Drew | Thursday, September 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Don't ignore this "best of" just because it appears to be superfluous. I admit that I initially hesitated on this purchase. I mentally listed all the reasons that I did not need this latest Flower Kings compilation: 1.) I have practically everything they've put out over the past ten years. ... (read more)

Report this review (#131525) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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