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THE SUM OF NO EVIL

The Flower Kings

Symphonic Prog


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The Flower Kings The Sum Of No Evil album cover
3.80 | 420 ratings | 49 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. One More Time (13:10)
2. Love Is The Only Answer (25:50)
3. Trading My Soul (7:25)
4. The Sum Of No Reason (13:25)
5. Flight 999 (Brimstone Air) (5:00)
6. Life In Motion (13:30)

Total Time: 78:20

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Roine Stolt - guitar, vocals
Tomas Bodin - keyboards
Jonas Reingold - bass
Hasse Fröberg - guitar, vocal
Zoltan Csórsz - drums

Releases information

CD InsideOut Records (2007)
The Limited 2CD Edition consists of:

cd1:
1. One More Time (13:04)
2. Love Is The Only Answer (24:28)
3. Trading My Soul (6:25)
4. The Sum Of No Reason (13:25)
5. Flight 999 Brimstone Air (5:00)
6. Life In Motion (12:33)
Total time: 74:59

cd2(Xtras):
1.The River (5:40)
2. Turn The Stone (5:05)
3. Regal Divers (demo) (6:02)
Total time: 16:52
Videofilms from the studio (multimedia section for PC):
1. Love Is The Only Answer (10:47)
2. Bonusviews (10:12)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to J-Man for the last updates
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THE FLOWER KINGS The Sum Of No Evil ratings distribution


3.80
(420 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
24%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
43%
Good, but non-essential (24%)
24%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

THE FLOWER KINGS The Sum Of No Evil reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This great new work of our Swedish friends actually scores 4.5 stars but since I consider some of their other albums even higher I give it 4. The first two songs are the best, as usually complicated and brilliant in their composition. I will have to listen to them some more to give it a definite review but that's nothing new in symphonic prog. The other great song is The sum of no reason also a long one and almost of the same quality as the first two. The other three are slightly less though still pretty good.

Unbelievable that one year after their double album Paradox Hotel they were able to produce another masterpiece !!

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#138747) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 Stars out of 5, rounded down due to inaccessibility.

Another stroke of genius. Vastly different from their darker and highly melodic Paradox Hotel and a nod to the jazz of Space Revolver, the happiness of Stardust we are, and the positive melody-writing of Adam and Eve. This album completely kicks out their tendencies to make an album-flow with short songs, intermissions and interludes. Instead, this is just a a set of long songs that stand on their own. Also, most of the acoustic delicacy and mainstream qualities and completely gone, which is both a positive and negative thing: it depends on your musical tastes. If you tend to enjoy more the easier-digested neo-prog and classic rock (not necessarily prog), this might be bad news. This album is very bombastic and has a big big sound and really does give you any breaks to catch your breath. It's constantly bombarding you with intense music, whether happy or dark. Oh yea, this album is most of the time extremely positive, so if you're into the depressing tone of Pink Floyd, and Porcupine tree, the sugary flower-power, peace-love for all tone in most of the disc might turn you off. Also, another warning is the inaccessible notion of "The Sum of No Evil"; it is very complex and sometimes choppy, which actually made me conclude that this was by far their worst effort in the first three listens. To sum up my next paragraphs and final impressions, this album contains some of the best moments of the Flower Kings which unfortunately may not always gel together or are consistently on the same lever to create a masterpiece like Space Revolver, and suffer from some bad lyrics (Cosmic Christmas Tree!?).

Luckily, the coherence and consistence is present in "One More Time", possibly the quintessential song of the Flower Kings' happy side. (The Devil's Playground being their dark side). This song features some of the most irresistibly sweet and catchy melodies I've heard since the seventies. With the first listen, it was an instant classic and the chorus is the one of the biggest sing-along choruses I've ever heard in melodic rock, period ... even if the lyrics are ridiculously cheesy. The melodies also extend to the melodies brought by the electric guitar and keyboard/synthesizers which sound very retro, bringing back memories of Steve Howe, Tony Banks, and Keith Emerson (Yes, he's got the old mini-moog!). Oh, did I say that Zoltan is back? You'll love his drumming all over his album. It's not as over the top as in Unfold the Future, it's just perfect. This is now the first song I will use to introduce my friends to progressive rock as it's accessible, poppy, musically rich, warm, inviting, and contains the ingredient of why the Flower Kings are sitting as kinds of this subgenre of Prog. also, I'll try it in my car during dates. ;) (A+)

"Love is the Only Answer" is the song that really has all the elements, pros and cons that I described in the first paragraph. It opens with extremely warm and melodic verses and another irresistible flower-power, "lets hug all each other" choruses which can't stop using the word 'love'. However ,don't get fooled, before you know it, you have Froberg and roine singing about monsters and evil with heavy metal and intense sinister musical arrangements: those parts are incredible! Then it gets happy, then it gets bitter and keeps alternating often. It's a roller coaster of emotions which is really hard to digest and at first listen it sounded like a new started every 3 minutes. Around minute 6 you will have a warm jazzy section and around minute 10 you have an over the top jazz-rock bombastic section with Zoltan pounding his drums like if he were not to play again. After that, around the middle, I should admit that I don't enjoy some of these parts very much as they lack great melodies. Around the last third, the happiness and melodies pick up again, the amazing melodies of the beginning resurface, and a long guitar solo serves as the climax, with a gorgeous saxophone leading the fade out. I think a bombastic "big" ending like the one in "Life In Motion" (more on that later) would have been a better choice, but the climax is still good enough and closes their best epic since Devil's Playground. (A-)

"Trading My Soul" is a much needed break from the "prog to the max" on the previous track and the "lets love, brothers!" tone of the first two songs. This one reminds me more of their melodic and darker "Paradox Hotel", except that they put many many small detals and layers all over the place, making it both dense yet remaining accessible due to the good melodies, standard song structure, and fantastic guitar solo. Again, subpar lyrics, what happened to the quality they brought in Unfold the Future/Paradox Hotel? (A-)

"The Sum of No Reason" also somewhat is described by the opening paragraph. The only difference is that this one is really coherent, but the quality is not really consistent. The first third alternates very melodic (yet darker) verses with quasi-metal and very intense moments. The middle is my favorite part by far (and the most inaccessible and choppy), with pure metal onslaughts, frantic singing that appear to be a reference to the ones in the middle of "Love is the Only Answer", and many different themes being introduces in short time intervals. A huge mass of vocal harmony is followed by the melodic beginning reintroduced with fantastic musical arrangements, and the middle of the song is concluded by vocal harmony writing that most bands would be jealous of its compositional brilliance and one of the best guitar solos in this album. The last third has some subpar (for this album) moments and some silly distorted vocals, but it's still good. (Between A and B)

"Flight 999 (Brimstone Air)" is the good cousin of their avant-garde and circus sounding "Circus Brimstone" from their "Stardust We Are" album. This one is goofier, funny, and completely over the top. The beginning alternates church organs themes with a funny-sounding synth which other reviewers described it as "a moog synthesizer being played through a theremin tube". Then, it gets goofy yet you could hear a sinister and plain scary distorted vocal going "Let me Die, Let me Die", and is followed by odd synthesizer chords and a punchy guitar riff. All of a sudden, the music stops except for some percussion and piano notes, which eventually grow into an out-of-this-world free-style drum solo, bizarre sci-fi and monster sounds (some taken from video games Doom and Quake), and busy avant garde arrangements. Bombastic, funny, and completely overblown and over the top: FUN! (A-)

"Life in Motion" is a very good track but not as great as any of the other songs in the album. The instrumentation is almost as great and carefully thought out as any of the other tracks, but half of the song lacks good vocal melodies. Actually, it's full of irritating vocal melodies in the verses with Froberg singing in a way that makes him appear to be suffering from influenza; the refrains are ordinary and dare I say predictable?. Luckily, after the big harmony "I'm the Forgiveeeeeer!", the song takes an upward swing and after the unnecessary silence, it's a progressive rock fan's best dream. It is Harmonically rich, gives a very powerful happiness force, and really has a very "the album is about to finish" climax like Yes' Relayer. The instrumentation sends shivers down my spine and Froberg sings his heart out with so much power that it releases all of the darkness and negative feelings away and you are left in a state of pure euphoria. (B or B+)

Get the album; listen to it ten times, even if you find it pretty bad the first time. It really grows on you.

Pros:

_Vintage keyboards/synthesizers

_Balance between band members (the guitar is not as prominent as their first couple of albums)

_Complex and sophisticated song arrangements

_Beautiful melodies and harmonies

_Happiness

_Musicianship/Zoltan

_Very much focused on traditional symphonic rock

_No filler whatsoever

Cons:

_Hard to get used to it (not very enjoyable at first)

_Lack of acoustic piano/guitar which was a highlight in their previous album

_A few coherence problems and some parts being better than others

_Subpar Lyrics

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#142543) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, October 07, 2007

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A nice release by Swedish veterans Flower Kings here.

On this release they seem to be taking the first steps to move on from what I have felt being signature aspects of their sound - the lighter, jazzy melodic happy songs - and are venturing into slightly darker, more epic and blues/hard-rock inspired territories.

Old fans will still find lots of elements they will be familiar with though, lots of melodic playing, soloing, instrumental and vocal harmonies, and jazzy touches. But less of the "happy prog" I've always associated with this band.

None of the tracks really stand out as instant classics in my opinion; but a good, solid release.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#143420) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Complex, tight and dynamic ! (even though it lacks melody)

This package of "The Sum of No Evil" CD came to me altogether with David Gilmour's latest DVD "Remember That Night" and I decided to enjoy the CD first, because it's simpler: just play and listen; no need to watch. The Flower Kings is probably the most productive progressive band in the world who regularly releases an album every year - sometimes in a double CD format like their previous album "Paradox Hotel". In fact, when this album was ready for "pre-order" I was not aware at all until my colleague prog head reminded me. My initial reaction was: "Ha? Another album again?" Yes, I felt like the band releasing "Paradox Hotel" just couple of months ago and now another album is released.

Just before I spun the CD, I thought that the music would be harder than "Paradox Hotel" in terms of accessibility to my ears. It was not, really, because this album is as accessible as "Unfold The Future", "Retropolis" or "The Rainmaker" and it's not as hard as when I experienced with "Paradox Hotel". As usual, the music composed and delivered by The Flower Kings is complex, unpredictable, tight, dynamics, but it lacks "catchy" melody. Enjoying this CD is quite a challenge for me but I have accumulated experience in dealing with the music of The Flower Kings. So what I did in my adventure to comprehend the music, I tried to enjoy segment by segment arrangement especially on how all instruments build together nice and tight composition irrespective of the melody line. With this kind of attitude, I can digest this music faster so that I finally can enjoy - in its entirety - the whole album. Of course, it's not as easy as digesting Genesis' "Firth of Fifth" or "Fly on A Windshield" but I did survive with my adventure. The more I sun the CD, the more I wanted to repeat the CD starting back from the opening track.

One thing that made me really happy just before I spun the CD for the first time was knowing the fact that Zoltan Csórsz's back to The Flower Kings. Of course, I do not have any major issue with the "Paradox Hotel" drummer but the return of Zoltan does mean a lot to me. He is one of the best prog rock drummers I have known so far. The album kicks off wonderfully with "One More Time" (13:10) in relatively complex arrangement where guitar, keyboard and bass guitar work in excellent harmonies, supported by dynamic drumming by Zoltan. The keyboard sometimes sounds like a mellotron. Through this song I can sense a perfect combination of singing style between Hasse Fröberg and Roine Stolt.

"Love Is The Answer" (25:50) is the longest track and it combines many mood and style as the music unfolds. The guitar and keyboard solo are performed intertwiningly during the passages of the music and they have successfully made the music is quite densed in arrangements. Jonas Reingold plays excellent bass guitar work, while Hasse Fröberg and Roine Stolt contribute to build an excellent vocal line. There are parts where the vocal line reaches high register notes - like Robert Plant's voice and style. "Trading My Soul" (7:25) is mellow in nature and it has catchier melody line even though it's not as melodic as most people expect, I believe. In a way, this song reminds me to the first solo album by Roine Stolt.

"The Sum Of No Reason" (13:25) brings the music back into uplifting mode with high energy. In some segments the music is slowing down for taking a breath. It's really an excellent track. "Flight 999 (Brimstone Air)" (5:00) - is this track somehow related to "Circus Brimstone" track of Unfold The future album. This track is reserved for Zoltan to demonstrate his skills in drumming because it has relatively long "excellent" drumwork. "Life In Motion" (13:30) concludes the album beautifully.

Overall, this is a "true" progressive rock album that you should not miss. The return of Zoltan has made the music much more dynamic, especially when it's combined with Jonas Reingold's bass guitar work. Highly Recommended. Keep on progging' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#145541) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars I've been looking forward to the release of this Flower Kings cd since reading on their website from Roine Stolt that this album would be a return to a more Symphonic style of Prog. I'm pleased to say it is and after the disappointment of their last two releases, Adam & Eve and Paradox Hotel, we get a much more traditional style of Flower Kings record. After the shorter song format of their last album we get back to longer pieces with Love is the Answer clocking in at twenty five minutes, three tracks are around thirteen minutes and two shorter tracks.

I've held back a while from reviewing this album because I suspected it may be a grower. Fortunately I was right as on first listen it all went over my head and didn't really feel like anything had really stuck. But it's worth perseverance as after a few listens it's secrets started to reveal themselves and I'm now of the opinion that it's their best effort since at least Unfold the Future. The band are on fine form and special mention should go to Zoltan Czorsz for his excellent Drumming throughout. It's a shame he's no longer part of the band on a full time basis.

It's difficult to pick out favourite tracks as the quality is there throughout the album but thirteen minute opener, One More Time is as good a song for the band to state their return to a more Symphonic approach as any and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Longest track Love is the Answer is next and has all the twists and turns you would expect from a Flower Kings Epic. Strong melodies throughout and great instrumental interplay too.

As usual, Stolt shares vocal duties with Hasse Froberg who I think most people would agree is the better singer of the two. A lot of people think Stolt is a bit of an acquired taste and maybe he is but to fair he's not a bad vocalist at all. What can't be disputed though are his skills on the Guitar and is an excellent solo player in particular playing carefully chosen and well placed notes making his solos very melodic most of the time.

The more straight forward and shorter Trading my Soul is probably the weakest song here, not bad at all really but it's up against some stiff competition being followed by the superb The Sum of No Reason. Instrumental Flight 999 (Brimstone Air) is fun (not what the title might suggest) and Czorsz's Drumming is all over the place; excellent stuff! The album closes in fine style with another thirteen minute epic, Life in Motion. This track contains Froberg's strongest vocal of the entire record and a beautiful Guitar solo from Stolt is also worth noting.

After this superb release hopefully The Flower Kings are back on track again and stick to what they do best for their next release. A very strong four star rating and one of the albums of the year so far.

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Posted Saturday, October 20, 2007

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Way back in the days of old (I may be ancient but I have the musical heart of a teenager) groups like Yes or Mahavishnu Orchestra would put out a new album and it would take even their diehard fans weeks to wrap their brains around it and eventually come to fathom its soul. It's been a long time since that's happened but, with my acquisition of "The Sum of No Evil," I have experienced that phenomenon again. I knew of The Flower Kings from this site but until I heard Roine Stolt's exceptional guitar work with Transatlantic I was never inclined to delve into their catalogue of music. I figured I'd start with their newest release and then work backwards if I liked what I heard.

After the first run-through I didn't even know if I liked it or not, much less whether it was good. My initial thought was that their stuff was complicated just for complication's sake. Wrong. I stuck with it, peeling back the layers one by one and now I consider it to be a fine example of modern-day symphonic progressive rock. Without intimating in any way, shape or form that they are some kind of a derivative copy-cat band, imagine combining the orchestral sensibilities of Yes and Genesis with the eclectic notions of Frank Zappa and the jazz/rock fusion leanings of Return to Forever and you'll have an inkling of what this album incorporates. This is some kind of amazing, my friends.

They start things off with what may be the best cut on the album, the fantastic "One More Time." Within seconds you are greeted with a memorable theme roaring straight at you in state-of-the-art high fidelity as these guys strap you into a roller coaster ride that is full of twists and turns. Before you know it you're cruising through a jazzy section that features incredible dynamics and an arrangement of varied musical ideas that almost defies description. One look at the album art will tell you that there's a nostalgic 60s aura floating about but in most cases that spirit is confined to the lyric content so try not to roll your eyes when you hear lines like "play that song just one more time/and we'll bring back memories/of kingdoms in the sun." Once you get on board with the framework it's presented in it doesn't seem so corny after all. Again, I urge the listener to be patient and give all of this time to sink in. The melodies are intricate and unconventional but as you grasp the totality of what they are doing you start to discern the forest from the trees. Trust me.

"Love is the Only Answer" is the longest epic here and the hardest thing for me to get used to at the outset was the rougher vocal style of Roine in contrast to Froberg's smooth singing. It's different, that's for sure, but in no way is it bad. Early on I would urge you to notice the fine bass guitar tones and stylizations of Jonas Reingold throughout the proceedings. After a heavy section Ulf Wallander's soprano saxophone is a wonderful surprise. Stolt has an admirable Frank Zappa attitude towards guitar leads and it makes the jazz/rock interlude he plays over a magical moment. Things get quieter, then the drums lead you into a synthesizer sequence from Tomas Bodin that would rival anything by Rick Wakeman. Without Tomas' exceptional contributions from beginning to end this album wouldn't be anything close to being as great as it is. He is a master. An aggressive vocal section ensues where lightning-fast Zappa-ish lines zip hither and yon before Roine steps forward and delivers a blazing, passionate guitar lead that will curl your hair. The fluid soprano sax flourish at the end just goes to show that you'll never get a chance to become bored with this album because you never know what's coming next.

"Trading My Soul" is a drop-dead gorgeous ballad. Bodin's cavernous keyboards give the song a huge atmosphere that fits perfectly in this tune about a death dream. Stolt's raspy vocal is well-suited for lines like "not the end, but I sense it is near/I'm in limbo between earth and sky/I can see all your houses from here/but don't you tell me that this is dying," he pleads. But it is Roine's emotional guitar solo that will pin you to the wall. It is riveting and not to be missed.

"The Sum of No Reason" is next and it's refreshing to hear Froberg's velvety vocals again. Here the group seems to channel a King Crimson vibe (always a good thing) as they assume an edgier stance and sprinkle tight, stabbing accents all around. Again, it's nearly impossible to put into words how awesome what this band is doing sometimes but you'll encounter passages that just make you shake your head in wonder and this track has several of them. It "takes a lot of strength to stay insane," he sings but I can assure you that this is far from crazy. It borders on genius.

Bodin's instrumental, "Flight 999 Brimstone Air" offers a bit of levity at this point with its cosmic Star Trek-styled theme but there's nothing frivolous about the drum performance of Zoltan Csorsz at all. He is spectacular throughout the CD and here he gets to shine. He demonstrates that he belongs in the upper echelon of prog percussionists without a doubt. The whole piece culminates in a big time, over-the-top concert ending.

Rolling jungle drums provide the intro to "Life in Motion," an epic cut that brings to mind the glory days of Yes. That's not a compliment I bestow lightly, I assure you, but this group deserves the honor. I won't go into more adjective-filled details but I can tell you that it's brilliant. It embodies all the superb qualities of the band's individual musicians and the song structure is challenging yet rewarding when it sinks into your psyche after repeated listens. The tune climbs higher and higher in intensity until they reach the peak with the heart-felt chorus of "it's like coming home, coming home again/the further we go, the closer we come/there's one chance for everyone/one love/one heart/one chance." It's hard not to feel inspired once the gigantic finale fades away into the distance.

If their older material is as impressive as this release then I've got some investing to do, I can tell you that. I had no idea these Swedes were this fantastic. According to the liner notes they recorded it in one month. Good grief! I'll wrap this review up by saying this album is almost as good as it gets in symphonic prog and if that's your bag then you should have this in your collection. It will blow you away. 4.1 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well, first of all, SUM OF NO EVIL it's a The Flower King's album, and as such, don't expect to hear anything but traditional TFK music, classical symphonic-prog played with the biggest passion, by some of the best musicians in the "business" (as people call the music world). If you come here waiting to listen to post-rock elements or incredibly revolutionary structures and harmonies and rhythms, well, you'll be disappointed, and it won't be TFK's fault, but yours, as the Swede band has proved with 9 previous albums that THIS is what they are, and THIS is what you can expect. But if you purchase THE SUM OF NO EVIL looking for lush, great melodies, huge songs with instrumental parts every second, a peace-and-love message delivered through true fountains of musical colors, then you're in for a great ride, as the album lives up to the expectations, if maybe doesn't manage to surpass them.

As opposed to PARADOX HOTEL which was probably one of the most accessible TFK's albums to date, THE SUM OF NO EVIL takes more listening sessions to start to get it, to start to love it. There are only 6 songs, four of those last more than 12 minutes and one of them more than 20. Not only that but some avoid traditional structures and playing the melodic-chorus card. There's a lot of instrumental moments scattered through the album, with enough jazz, fusion and typical "prog-rock show-off" to satisfy even the most demanding classical prog-fan.

As always, the band proves that each and every one of them is at the peak of their respective instruments' level of playing: Bodin with his generous, playful keyboards; Reingold with masterful jazzy bass lines that showcase him as one of this generation's greatest; Csorsz with incredible, amazing drumming that leaves the listener wondering why he's not included in best- of lists; Froberg with his ever-improving voice, vocals that really speak of love and peace, soaring towards the skies. But of course, the absolute master is the mastermind, Roine Stolt, whose guitar playing is nothing short of beautiful, his singing precise for his purposes, and his composing-skills in the same level as the best musicians in all prog (in all ROCK). The man has a vision, has stuck with his vision since he start back when he played for Kaipa, and constantly delivers huge opuses full of music, of colors, of living noises. That he manages to record 70+ min. albums almost every year (oftentimes DOUBLE albums) is only further proof of his passion for music, and his mastery of the art.

A REALLY brief mention about the songs:

One More Time (9.5/10) A masterful song with great melodies, a sticky chorus (try it twice at least) which is one of the best moments in the album.

Love Is The Answer (10/10) The big monster, the 25-min epic, the best song in the album (and among the best monster-epics in all TFK). It takes a while to start to get familiar with it. Remember: repetition, memory play probably the biggest part in our appreciation and love for music. Give this gigantic kaleidoscope a few tries, and you'll discover the art behind the sounds, the beauty behind the solos. A masterpiece.

Trading My Soul (8.5/10) A great track with a distinct flavor. Fails to grab my affection after a few listens, but it's very good.

The Sum Of No Reason (9.5/10) Another brilliant long track. It's clear by now that 10+ minute songs are what TFK do best, and they show it. The lyrics are rather unusual for TFK, as they don't speak of love but criticize, point out issues (religion, etc.) Stolt has done it before, he does it again.

Flight 999 (Brimstone Air) (9/10) An instrumental piece that paints the picture of a flying.van? You can hear the influence of Rimsky-Korsakov's classic "Flight of the Bumble-Bee" from THE TSAR ZALTAN here, and we would think we're hearing a little fly wondering around, yet the picture in the cover makes us think: is it a flying. van? No problem, anyway we fly with it.

Life In Motion (9/10) A great closing to a great album, near the end the song, which was not too optimistic, becomes overly optimistic, and we're conquered, again, by the light that Stolt and his team can produce in all of us who desire to listen.

All in all, an album deserving a 4 out of 5.

Recommended for: every lover of symphonic prog and classic prog. Every music fan who really wants to hear music being BORN.

.The Flower Kings are the sum of all virtues a band can have.

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Posted Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This latest "TFK" album does not hold any surprise IMO. Same intricate pieces of music as usual, some deadly guitar soli, a jazzy mood at times, some beautiful vocal harmonies of course, an ultra long album (including ultra long songs) like always, peaceful and tranquil vocals.

The central piece of this album is the archetype of all these features. "Love Is The Only Answer" owes them all. I particularly like the emotional guitar play. But to be honest, it is similar to many "TFK" songs. It could have sit on "Back in the World of Adventures" (their first release in 1995) as well.

I like this album more than several other ones from the band ("Flowerpower ", "Space Revolver"). But "The Sum Of No Evil" does not shine by its inventiveness nor creativity. All these songs sounds heavily as déjŕ vu, although it is a rather pleasant moment. Probably one of the most symphonic album from the band.

This is the side that has always pleased me more with "TFK". While they sound so sweet (almost mellow). Poignant guitar and melancholic vocals : I couldn't ask for more. Especially that the whole of this album shows this tendancy.

Unlike previous albums, there won't be too much waste in here (but this is ONLY a single album, right) ? The opener "One More Time" is probably the song that I like the least. The most beautiful being the short (according "TFK" standards of course) "Trading My Soul".

The title track is the most difficult one to get into. Lots of off-beat rhythm, jazzy mood, typical keys sound like we've heard dozens. Nothing new under the sun. To cut a long story short, it is impossible that this song won't be appealing to any fans of the band (including myself).

On the contrary, the chaotic instrumental "Flight 999" can only please "TFK" maniacs (to which I do not belong). These five minutes are too irritating for my ears.

Fortunately, the closing " Life In Motion" reverts to the best "TFK" I want to know. Fully symphonic (even if this particular one is a total "Yes" rip-off). But we are used to this, aren't we ?

IMO, this "TFK" album is a return to their symphonic roots. And I like it very much. If it were their debut album, I would have rated it substantially higher (nine out of ten probably). But after so many albums of the same, seven out of ten sounds reasonable (or 3.5 stars when this rating will be available). Till then, three stars.

I'm looking forward to go and see them live next week Tuesday (November 13th). Since they will play most of this album, it can only be a good concert.

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Posted Friday, November 09, 2007

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Zoltan is back! One of the key components of The Flower Kings' glorious rhythm section on their masterpiece Unfold the Future, drummer Zoltan Cszorz, recorded drums for the band's latest out put, The Sum of No Evil. Ulf Wallander is also back to play some sax as well! A typical TFK output, a full disc of music including a 24-minute epic and three tracks over 10, the group runs their signature hippy-happy goopy prog rock. After several albums of experiementing with new sounds and styles, the band returns to their roots with this one. While not introducing anything new to their sound, though they did record this whole album using strictly "vintage" instruments, the group lays down a really solid record. It's more consistent than their past two albums, Adam & Eve and Paradox Hotel, and it manages a few moments of equivalent greatness as the high points of those records as well. While the lyrics are probably the cheesiest and most pedestrian lyrics they've ever written, even at times embarassing, the music is consistently good or better. The opener, "One More Time" has several fantastic instrumental passages and the epic, "Love Is the Only Answer" lays waste to their last epic, "Monsters & Men," which is still a pretty good song. This epic has the instrumental goodness, both powerful sections and quirky ones, and a majority if the best vocal passages on the entire disc. While it's most peppy, the band used one of the shorter pieces, "Trading My Soul," for a slow, dark song. It's nothing special until Roine tears it up for the last couple of minutes. Then we move into "The Sum of No Reason," which along with the epic is a highlight of the album. It's got some metal, the rest of the great vocal passages, and more creative passages. The other short piece, "Flight 999 (Brimstone Air)" is a really quirky and really fun instrumental piece. The closer, "Life in Motion," is the weakest of the longer tracks, but it gets pretty good toward the end, again, thanks to the guitar genius.

This band, despite sounding terribly goopy or cheesy, gets me every time. They really are a great band. Most of their albums aren't without serious drawbacks, but often the good outweighs the bad. The Sum of No Evil is another such case. It manages to be another solid record, but with this return to a traditional sound and a poor set of lyrics, one has to wonder how much fuel the band has left to run that musical hippy fish bus. We'll just have to wait and see what comes next.

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Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Sorry but this is hardly bearable!

I mean everytime I take TFK’s album I know what to expect: top-notch musicianship, catchy melodies, YES-like “jolly” mood (this is what I dislike about them most!) and 20-min long epics…I had some hopes for this one after so many positive reviews, but not. The same thing over and over again, just a little more YESy this time. Can anyone advise Roine to sacrifice the idea of song’s length for its own sake? Shorter tracks sometimes work better, you know. Unfortunately, this is kind of problem I have with ALL albums from TFK. They’re TOO Prog-leaned, too Retro-wannabee-sounding, too similar and too long after all. A good example of how timing ruins the music (which is sometimes very good and even quite original in moments). I give up here and promise not to return to TFK in nearest feature. Otherwise I’ll lost my faith in contemporary Symphonic Prog forever.

PS: but packaging is astonishing to say the least! Ed did a great job!

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Posted Monday, November 26, 2007

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars *Cracks fingers in a devious manner* okay, here we go.

When this album came out earlier this year it was followed by much praise and worship. I read some reviews, checked out some reviews on their other albums and decided if had the chance I'd pick it up. That opportunity happened a couple weeks ago when I found this album staring at me from from the store shelves. Excited, I bought the album hastily and threw it into the cd player. At first listen I was blown away, I thought I'd discovered the next CTTE.

However, a few listens later and that feeling has more than worn off. This happened when I realized a couple things. First, this is not a very original album. Every sound and atmosphere has been used before by some other band, and better. The soundscapes owe a lot to the like of Yes or Dream Theater, which really isn't bad. But this doesn't just sound like the influences, it IS the influences. They've basically just taken some music that Yes could have recorded and added some (poor) vocals over top of it. Second, The songs are (and this is very unlike me to say) TOO LONG. There's not nearly enough ideas here to evolve a song such as JUST ONE MORE TIME or LOVE IS THE ONLY ANSWER. The latter of which (the 24-minute "epic") turns out sounding like a very very long short song. Now, granted, these songs do have some very good speed changes and instrumentalism, but it's often misplaced or not developed well enough.

This is not to say the album is bad, after all I did give it a "good" rating, 3 stars. While they may not do very original material, what they do, they do well. The music is solid, the playing is tight, and there is a lot of genuinely good music to be had on here. Often on this album the band is at their best when they're acting strange, making quirky music. FLIGHT 999 BRIMSTONE AIR and THE SUM F NO REASON are both very good songs and are standouts on the album. What they should have done is stuck primarily with this kind of music and made the Yes-esque music the lesser part.

Now... I must attack the vocals. As stated before, one of the only things that sets this band apart from what theyre trying to copy is the vocals. While sometimes well delivered, many other times the vocals sound WAY too strange. This is likely because the band is Swedish, and kudos for being multilingual (me being a good ol' English canadian only capable of speaking one language), but shouldn't the producer have said "try that take again, your voice did something weird there". However, I do respect them for making the most of what they have.

Okie-dokie, conclusion time. While this is likely the best place to get introduced to this band I wouldn't really recommend it. It's definately some solid Symphonic-Prog that's a very enjoyable listen, but if you're looking for something very fresh and new sounding while still prog this is definately not the album for you. 3 stars, good album, definately no masterpiece, but good.

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Posted Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well - it seems - it's the same old story, talking about the music development of the album, which is a solid composition by Roine & c. but it doesn't "grow" after listening to it for several times...don't get me wrong, the accurate arrangements by Roine, as well as their continual good inspiration (resumed into a bunch of classic prog references, above all referred to Steve Howe and Yes of the Golden Age) make this recent album another interesting "progressive prototype" of the seventies!! Nevertheless this is the right point, We are in the 21st century and if you want to focus on their music ideas or start an intelligent discussion about it, perplexed you could remain: as a matter of fact in the course of 2007 I've appreciated some works from the USA, such as the last effort by Glass Hammer for example and besides always loved some experimental works in the recent years, like those ones produced and well arranged by a few European bands in the vein of F. Zappa (I think of After CRYING for instance or Isildurs Bane).. but the experimental or the modern works consist of various attempts to make a renewal of the old classic prog models, being anyway filtered through the experience of a "modern" musician. This is the achievement ( regarding every point of view) as well as the main settlement of the bands mentioned above - and I can' t say the same thing about F.K....I think of some works by Echolyn (whose masterwork "Suffocating the Bloom" has not been ever brought to the same level by any modern ensemble in the nineties) and of a few other fusion prog bands in the vein of Niacin for instance...Tomas Bodin likes to emulate the style of Zappa during some keyboards performances (do you remember Eddie Jobson?!...), but his compositions are controversial, such as in the instrumental "Flight 999 Brimstone Air", where He tries to overdo. Then if you think of a tune like "Trading My Soul", the puzzle is complete. My suspect is that their long-date fans want to hearken to everything which s similar to a classic prog work rather than being more involved in the research of a revolutionary band nowadays!!

This is my opinion, but probably many other prog listeners will choose the present work anyway...

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Posted Saturday, December 08, 2007

Review by The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Their second best work so far (after Unfold the future)? Yes, i would agree with that. In their career so far they have some up with three masterpiece albums: Unfold the Future, Flower Power and The Sum of No Evil; all of these deserve five stars, and here's why:

They have managed to create a perfect hybrid between many genres over the years, and TSONE is no exception. This time they have somehow created a cross between Yes and Dream Theatre, with the incredible melodic side of Yes and the heaviness and complexity of Dream Theatre, and it went down very well indeed with me!

Here's my usual track-by-track analysis:

1. One More Time - Starts with a very nice Leccy Piano melody, and breaks into the song with a bang! Some typical Stolt guitaring here that I've grown to love and a rather large nod to the legacy of Yes. A great opener - 9/10 2. Love Is The Answer - The best track on the album. Purely symponic, but this contains some great influence from the heavier side of prog. Fantastic all-round musicianship, especially from Thomas Bodin, and most of all some marvellous Floydesqe progression in place. The fashionable second track by the Kings - 10/10 3. Trading My Soul - Incredibly nostalgic of Genesis. Starts of with Bodin and Stolt singing semi-acapella, kicking in with drums and bass, very much reminding me of Blood on the Rooftops. Easier listening of all the tracks, and very contrasting to the first two - 9/10 4. The Sum Of No Reason - Some more amazing progression in this one. Another nod to the heavier side of progressive metal, probably picked up from the time Stolt spent with Portnoy in the great project Transatlantic. The second masterpiece of the album, many rhythm changes and should be very enjoyable to all prog fans - 10/10 5. Flight 999 (Brimstone Air) - Absolutely insane. Some of the best jazz drumming I've heard in a long time, reminds me of Too Late for Tomatoes off the Unfold the Future album. enjoyable for people who like quite surreal music and strange keyboard sounds and effects. The weaker track on the album, still good however - 8/10 6. Life In Motion - An excellent finale. The clues in the title: it pretty much sums up the whole album, taking influence from both classical and jazz, also good lyrically. the third masterpiece of the album, and probably second best - 10/10

Overall score = 93% = 4.6

5 stars, undoubtedly, essential.

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Posted Sunday, January 13, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Definitly this is one of their best work since Space Revolver. and a much better efford then the previous one, the rather insipid and uninspired Paraddox Hotel. I was hoping for something good since I headr their ex drummer Zoltan Csörsz was back, together with founder member Hasse Brunniusson. But actually The Sum Of No Evil has exceeded my expctations (which, by the way, were not that high).

From the first notes of One More Time you can feel the difference from most of their recent releases. This album abounds on what they have been lacking so much: conviction. The band now plays with such a joy and energy you really cannot help but remember of their great works during the 1990´s. The symphonic sound (with great influences of Yes and King Crimson) is back in all its glory and Roine Stolt is again playing those trademark guitar solos that made him one of prog´s most celebrated latter-day heroes. His songwriting is again in full force. Ok, this is no Retropolis, neither Back To The World..., but, boy, does it comes close to their spirit! the overall sound is complex, melodic, creative and very well crafted.

It seems the muse is back: Roine and Hasse Frömberg vocals are soaring with passion and sincerity. Tomas Bodin´s keyboards are as sharp and creative as they used to be (lots of Hammond back again with some inspired mellotrons too). First two tracks are the best ones in a long time, but the rest, although not as strong, are very good too. And, surprise!, no filler at all. I really wish those guys keep delivering such strong stuff from now on.

Conclusion: their best after a long time. 4 stars at least (it´s hard to beat their strongest albums, I know). If you´re losing any hope you´d ever see another great album by this band (like me) give The Sum Of No Evil a shot. You won´t regret it. Highly recommended.

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Posted Friday, January 25, 2008

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars I have a strange take on the Flower Kings, a sort of schizoid thing I just can't shake. On one hand, I buy TFK albums due to one simple reason: first & foremost Jonas Reingold's magic bass guitar just floors me every time. Second, I am very fond of Tomas Bodin as a keyboard player but also I love his attitude on life, love and the human condition. Third, I missed my fellow Hungarian Zoltán but now that he's back, we all can proudly reassert: Best current progressive rhythm section bar none and as masterful as the old and sacred Squire/Bruford tandem! The truth is I am not always completely enthralled by Roine Stolt's vocals and Hasse Froberg's even less. The guitar playing is marvelous though and the man certainly can pump out mountains worth of material, for the most part quite good. Having seen them live, I can tell you that you scratch your head wondering how they can remember all those endless twists and turns. They say the truth will set you free, so I will say it: The Flower Kings are probably the only progressive band whose "Greatest Hits" would be the disc of the century! Each one of their studio albums has a couple of tracks that just get under your skin. So what's up with the latest offering, you ask? Even though there is really little to fix when nothing is broken The Sum of No Evil is a notch above Paradox and Adam & Eve , mainly due to the fact that the reasons espoused above (Jonas, you are a joy to listen to!) and that the material is pared from some of the by now famous Flower King fat.

"One More Time" encapsulates the regal blossom fans have come to expect: 13 minutes of complexly twisted prog with exhilarating Fenderbass work, sequenced to perfection by Zoltan's manic drumming , Tomas positively zipping on Mini-Moog synthesizer, Roine tossing in a few meandering leads that shiver and shudder , hey , how can you dislike this ? I mean, it's progressive rock in its most classic form, dance/pop this cannot ever be and commercial, yeah. right! The most obvious criticism is that it's like the Beatles tune "It's All too Much", a supremely rich musical dessert that is too fattening. Two comments: get off your butts and you won't complain and if you do like I do, just listen to the four strings a rumbling and all will be clearer. "Love is the Only Answer" is not a 24 minute Todd Rungren/Utopia remake (without "Only", wink) but au contraire, a typical Swedish whopper juicily dripping from all sides that has, incredibly, some actually scintillating vocals (Is it love?) and bombastic fury alternating with more sedate inspiration courtesy of that underused marvel called Ulf Wallander on saxophone, such a great instrument. To paraphrase Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (a very ancient "proggy" musical):"Why can't the proggers learn the Sax?" and use it more often, for that matter! Stolt pitches in some interesting textures and revisiting his "sitar" sound that was always well received and dosed adroitly, especially in unison with the Moog. This should be a showstopper in a live setting (one's appreciation for the band expands exponentially when witnessed on stage). Wah-wah guitar scatting with some vocals, sibilant synths engaged in playful dialogue with a soprano sax? Have these meatballs gone jazzy on us? It must be that manic Hun's influence at work, thankfully taking this group back to the aerie heights of Progdom, once achieved with epic monuments like "The Truth Will Set You Free" and the seminal "Stardust We Are". The track ends on an intricate Stolt drive through the 6 electric strings on his axe. And it sacks with a sax! "Trading My Soul" is a TFK ballad, a touching lament with a big long bluesy solo that has plenty of atmosphere (a little wink to Camel in the last lyric: "I Can See your Houses from Here") and some sustained anguish notes from Roine. Very nice, guv'! "The Sum of No Reason" shows off a heavier riff-a-rama side, which is actually quite welcome, a little fire up their asses suits these guys immensely, interspaced with some fabulously delicate marimba work from Hasse Bruniusson. This is a tremendous piece of raging music, very impressive in that it exudes a slight Zappa influence that leaves a pleasant glow in the ear. "Flight 999 Brimstone Air" is already considered as a TFK instrumental of the finest vintage, resplendent in both tone and adventure, a sterling display of virtuoso craftsmanship that seeks out very odd experimental horizons chock full of Bodin atmospherics (last attempted on "Unfold the Future"), here conducted by the incredibly athletic and nimble sticks of the Mad Magyar. The superb disc terminates its run with "Life In Motion", where the mellotron takes the stage and underlines the obvious capacity for the Kings to consistently "outyes"

Yes, showing again that the students have surpassed their teachers. Nice artwork by the modern Roger Dean, the crafty Ed Unitsky whose art also adorns Guy Manning and the Tangent recordings. Four and ˝ Bodins

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Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars This album was instantly controversial for me. Because once in a while you come across those releases with flawless execution, very talented musicians and all the concepts you like or love in music, but still you're left with a slight, ominous, uncertain disliking for the album in question. You listen and listen, trying to identify what turns you off. It's a painful experience, especially since you like so much of it. But it has to be done.

The Flower Kings is the brainchild of Roine Stolt, gifted guitarist with tentacles reaching out in many directions on the modern prog scene and thus should be familiar for almost all of you. He's also a fellow Uppsalian (not a sect, just the Swedish city we're both living in, Uppsala). My first contact with the man was through the excellent SMPTe by Transatlantic, an acquaintance which also led me to bands like Spock's Beard, The Tangent and, ultimately, The Flower Kings.

So what are these Flower Kings like? Well, this release is a pleasing, relaxing effort. The bulk of the material is low-mid-tempo, bordering on sweet most of the time, with mostly positive lyrics and music. The atmospheres are often lush and warm, something that Thomas Bodin's characteristic and playful keyboard sound makes even stronger. Sounds like a description of a Yes album, and that comparison isn't at all totally uncalled for. This is complex music, and as with all things complex, it takes some time to get under its skin. Small tweaks and sound effects riddle the album and rewards the patient listener. Take your time with this album.

As for the musicians participating, I can't say a negative word. Roine Stolt delivers fabulous solos and his emotive, sometimes meandering (in the word's positive sense) playing is all over the songs. Jonas Reingold deserves another honourable mention for his outstanding bass playing. Twangy, fast and delicate takes turn.

What surprises with The Flower Kings is that, while standing with one foot in familiar prog territory, the other one is surprisingly stable in the contemporary melodic rock/metal scene. Parts with that origin is given more than a nod and a wink as they tend to occupy many parts of the songs on The Sum Of No Evil. Don't be surprised if the sweet atmosphere suddenly turns into heavy riffing and rougher singing. Or rather, be surprised, but sit back and enjoy these moments.

But why isn't this a 'masterpiece'? 1. The song lengths. While I don't mind long songs, the things one expect from a long song increases exponentially with its length. Somehow TFK don't really pull these things off, at least not on The Sum Of No Evil. There's a tendency for the longest songs to grow a little tedious, drawn out. Watered down, if you will. 2. The vocals. The low-mid-tempo, sweetness and the incredibly smooth vocals, even with occasional outbursts, paired with the long songs gets, just as in the previous statement, tedious.

Too much sugar.

But even with these negative points, there's nothing stopping the album from reaching at least 3,5 stars. And as it is something I'd recommend, I'll settle for a 4.

//LinusW

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Posted Friday, April 04, 2008

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Post and Math Rock Team
5 stars Lets admit these guys have written some good stuff in the past but this to me is by far their best! One More Time is a nice way to start the album with a catchy chorus, but Love Is The Only Answer is the second best of the four epics with some amazing guitar parts by the Swedish guitar god Roine Stolt. Trading My Soul is a sad song, "It's not the end but I sense it is near," but it is an awesome vocal performance by Roine who isn't known for his vocals. The Sum of No Reason is the best track on the album to me. It starts off pretty slow but turns into some roaring synths and guitars after a while giving it almost the Thick as a Brick kind of feel as it changes tempo. Flight 666 is a nice instrumental break and although my least favorite, Life In Motion is a very good song. Roine's voice takes a while to get comfortable with because it's so odd but eventually it sticks to you. Another masterpiece guys!

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Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars "Inaccessible magnificence" is the best paradoxical description I can give to this album by The Flower Kings. I have a lot of critical things I can say about it, but in all honesty, it's no different from most of the output by this excellent band: Equal measure hits and misses, but when those hits are as stellar as they are here, that inconsistency is perfectly fine by me.

"One More Time" One of my favorite songs from The Flower Kings, it's consistent, full of textures, and somehow uplifting without at all resorting to sappiness. Jonas Reingold's fretless bass slips in between notes, and Roine Stolt's guitar parts are exquisitely crafted, and showcase his talent without being ostentatious in the least. The refrain is just a great home base for this piece as it skips and prances through so many different musical themes. My only criticism used to be that this song could have ended two minutes before it actually does, and it would have been much stronger for it, but now I appreciate it just as it is.

"Love is the Answer" The lengthiest track of the album begins with Stolt's shaky voice (which I usually enjoy more than Hasse Froberg's boisterous singing, but here its just too vulnerable sounding). This is the song that mentions the "cosmic Christmas tree," a lyrical faux pas that is nearly unforgivable. It's hard to appreciate this song because of its length, because it's just all over the galaxy. This is not to say it lacks any stellar musical moments. Reingold is his usually phenomenal self, laying down some funk throughout much of the music. Tomas Bodin cemented his place as one of my favorite keyboardists with his solo just over ten minutes in, as well as his work in other places. The two of them together right after the fifteen minute mark make for some intriguing music that just has to be heard. Stolt even gets in some good guitar bits, but overall, this is one of those pieces that is typical of the lack of restraint and sense of extravagance the music of The Flower Kings suffers from.

"Trading My Soul" This darker (and thankfully much shorter) song begins with Stolt's quavering vocals again. Froberg sounds better on the more enjoyable chorus. The guitar work at the end almost makes up for such an unmemorable track.

"The Sum of No Reason" Stolt begins this one vocally as well, but he sounds warm and more sure of himself. The music is fairly soft until about five minutes, where it becomes the heaviest, full of distorted guitar and strange synthesizer sounds. Overall, the song is dull, but not awful. The growling voices at the end are simply laughable. In fact, everything after the ten minute mark is pointless, and even Bodin's very good synthesizer work or Stolt's extended guitar soloing can not salvage the end of it.

"Flight 999 (Brimstone Air)" When the cock crows once, this band begins playing awesome music again. Bodin's organ largely works alongside Stolt's guitars. Some mind-bending panning effects occur than can probably only be noticeable with headphones. Sound effects abound, like children screaming on a rollercoaster or cutesy toy sounds, which only add to the devilish nature of the music. But regardless of the music, this is finally Zoltan Csórsz time: He who had sat back and let the other musicians run things, just lets it rip in a killer volley of drum attacks.

"Life in Motion" My second favorite track is almost as good as the first. The chords during the verses are simple, but excellently worked out in layers in sounds. Bodin once again proves his usefulness in various places. The lyrics are powerful to me, making me think of my "transitional" state as both a father and son. Like the first track, it breathes consistency and great musicianship. It's one of the band's best, particularly considering that lovely ending.

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Posted Friday, May 01, 2009

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars Not having heard a newer TFK album since Space Revolver (dating from 02), I decided it was high time to revisit the group's now extensive oeuvre,, or at least a tiny parcel of it. Avoiding the controversial Adam & Eve album, I opted for their latest Sum Of No Evil, which dates from late 07, which means that we're bound to be presented at least a double disc of "fresh" studio material of theirs anytime soon.

Anyway, pasty the Nemo/hippy artwork, SONE is a typical TFK album that's kept their line- up intact (or almost) and their sound palettes (vintage AND modern) alike, always fiddling with a tightrope between retro-prog and neo-prog. And of course we get the same type of (uselessly?) complex tunes, impeccable musicianship with excellent virtuosity, a positive- minded Yes-like music attitude (if you're a fan of Univers Zero, better go elsewhere), that dabbles between the symphonic to the slightly jazzy realm., and tons of hours spent out of labour of love for this album. We'll find the odd excellent chord progression (although you'll also find some very clumsy liaisons as well), but usually the effect is ruined because we're going from a Yes plan to a ELP line, even sometimes pulling some soundscapes from Anglagard's two albums. Elsewhere, the shameless Yes plundering gets almost sickening in the endlessly repeated chorus line of the album-closing Life In Motion: "It's like coming coming home again" over a lapsteel guitar ala Howe. And it's pretty hard to tell which song you're except for the Thomas Bodin-penned Flight 999, the only track that is sonically different, but even then it sort of sticks out like a sore thumb.

But at the same time, we also get the usual never-ending borrowed soundscapes from Yes, Genesis, (I mean, there IS worse influences for your music) we get the needlessly overlong songs and general useless meandering to prolong an over-exploited theme (sometimes going as far as flogging a dead horse). What's even worse is that these flaws/qualities (depending on how you look at it) are done ON PURPOSE, to show us what "prog" is, to show us they can do it, better than anyone else. Don't get me wrong, TFK does what it does well, if not extremely well, but I doubt of the sincerity of their artistics and aesthetics. The group goes out of its way to write in such a "prog" manner, because they know they can dish it out to more or less discerning fans who've been buying the same Flower Kings album over and over, but this time with mayonnaise instead of ketchup poured all over it. It (SONE) is completely redundant and I can only come back to tell you that you own one TFK album, you own them all. Dare I even say that if you don't own any TFK, you're quite a bit better off in terms of shelfspace, let alone in life quality.

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Posted Friday, August 07, 2009

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I guess i'm in the minority her but of their 10 studio albums this wouldn't make the top 5 for me. That's not such a bad thing considering all the great music they've made over the years I suppose. According to the band the music on this album was a going back to their roots, it would be more Symphonic with less Rock and Jazz sections.That may be the reason I can't get into this like I can "Adam & Eve" or "Unfold The Future", it just seems like it's lacking something that my favourite top five from them have.

"One More Time" opens with piano that is promptly blown away by a full sound. It settles quickly as vocals arrive. We get a variety of keyboards on this track from Bodin including mellotron. Of course that growly bass from Reingold is always a treat. The tempo and mood shifts throughout this 13 minute opening track.This one drags a lot for me. "Love Is The Only Answer" is the 24 1/2 minute epic. Reserved vocals and a pastoral into before it kicks in around 2 1/2 minutes. Some intricate guitar before 6 minutes as it calms down. It picks up with piano and guitar leading the way. Check out the drumming 10 minutes in with synths and chunky bass in tow. I like the guitar after 21 1/2 minutes with the organ runs. Sax ends it.

"Trading My Soul" kicks in after a minute as contrasts continue. Some mellotron and a tasteful guitar solo after 4 1/2 minutes. "The Sum Of No Reason" is my favourite. It's laid back to start until after 1 1/2 minutes.This is the heaviest section so far and it's contrasted with the lighter sections throughout this song. "Flight 999 Brimstone Air" is kind of cool after the rooster crows as we get a very GENESIS-like section, then it changes to an uptempo passage. A calm 2 minutes in then it builds, I like the drumming. "Life In Motion" has a nice heavy rhythm before 2 minutes. It's much lighter before 6 minutes then we get a dead calm 8 minutes in. Some bluesy guitar follows.

So another good album but one that seems to drag a lot for me.

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Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It's no secret that I am a huge fan of The Flower Kings. They are some of the most talented musicians around, and are one of my favorite modern progressive rock acts. And on no other album (except for maybe a few others) will you understand their greatness so easily. This is the ultimate modern prog rock album. There is incredible songwriting, production, musicianship, arrangements, and singing. So what else could this possibly be if not a 5 star masterpiece? The skills of the band are undeniable here, and few prog bands can pull off an album as good as this.

So what makes this album better than many other Flower Kings albums?

The simple answer that there is absolutely NO filler. There isn't a weak track, or even a weak moment. One of the problems I have with many albums by The Flower Kings is that there usually are songs worth skipping. They will make a double album, with material that could have easily fit on one awesome disc. Or they will make an 80-minute single disc with filler, when they could have made an album with 50-minutes of genius. That is far from the case here. This is a 78-minute long album, but every minute deserves to be here without a doubt. This whole album just screams masterpiece from beginning to end, so I can't give it anything less than a 5 star rating.

The Music:

"One More Time"- This is a classic Flower Kings song, and is a great way to start off the album. It starts out with a cool opening and it has a beautiful chorus used throughout the song. It has some great instrumental parts, particularly highlighting the synthesizer.

"Love Is The Only Answer"- The Flower Kings are known for their excellent 20+ minute epics, and this ranks up there as one of the best. The lyrics aren't great, but the music is so good it makes up for every aspect of it. It has a perfect blend of emotions and has a classic sound trademarked by The Flower Kings.

"Trading My Soul"- After two longer epics, this is a shorter song to serve as a breaking point between another epic. This is an excellent song anyway, though fairly simple. It creates great chord changes between the dark and moody verses and emotional choruses. This is a very good song with some great hooks.

"The Sum of No Reason"- This is another epic song on this album, and this is probably the darkest one, though it does have some lighter moments. This is a good song with the occasional metal leaning. This song is often overshadowed by some of the other songs here, but this is still a very good song.

"Flight 999 (Brimstone Air)"- This is the only instrumental song here, and it is somewhat in between a jam session and an actual song. It has a cool drum solo that progresses very well.

"Life In Motion"- This is one of the best songs on the album, and is definitely a highlight track. The last minutes on this song get me every time, and there isn't a bad second on this song. The Flower Kings couldn't have possibly ended the album better than this.

The simple conclusion is that this is essential, and should be in any progressive rock fan's collection. This is a masterpiece of modern prog, and represents The Flower Kings excellently. This is a great starting point to listen to The Flower Kings, and it won't disappoint any long time fan. It's a shame these guys are so underrated. Their music is really excellent.

5 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars I find this album, The Sum Of No Evil to be the most overtly Yes-influenced of all of their albums to date. You are thinking "No sh*t, Evolver, they even named a song Live Is The Only Answer, but they forgot to mention that hate is the root of cancer." And you are right. While the music evokes Yes at many stages, including Close To The Edge, and Relayer, the vocals, especially the harmony arrangements, seem to harken back to the first two Yes albums. Which does not make it a bad listen. On the contrary, this is a great album, full of masterfully written and played epics.

While, Love Is The Only Answer is the longest song here, it is hardly the best. It's a bit too diverse and lacking in focus for my tastes, and despite my usual desire for longer pieces, I find myself tiring of this one at about the fifteen minute mark. The best song here is the title track. Heavy and dark, with the usual Flower Kings moments of lightness, this is one of the band's best.

And while the bonus disk is nice to have for completionists, the songs are not up to par with the main disk, but not bad.

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Posted Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover and E&O Teams
4 stars Oh, my first TFK album (and also one of the first ones that got me more than 2 years ago into Prog, it's getting more and more distant as months go by), since my TFK rush when I listened almost everything by them and loved instantly most of it, I didn't listen them so much (only occasionally here and there). So let's give them fair deal now.

The main thing that differ "The Sum of No Evil" is its big percentage of epics. Theoretically, about 80%, practically, 100%. Because even there are two short songs, even these are epical. I heard somewhere that TFK are dubbed "Epic band" and it's probably true. So, this is a good thing, as complain I've heard most on their music is that there are great adventurous, pompous tracks combined with weak fillers. There are no such fillers, so just big pieces (well and two short pieces with a heart of gold ... or was it hooker with a heart of gold?). Musically, it's typical TFK. Melodic, sometimes going across the borders to Heavy (Hard Rock in appearance, but Prog in sound).

5(+), because this is what I feel as good, new (even vintage a little, and really just a little, bit) Prog. Sadly, it's their last release as of 2010 and I (and most of fans) are frantically waiting for new release).

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Posted Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars The Flower Kings sound that was present on their best albums such as Space Revolver and Unfold The Future (mostly jazz-fusion inspired symphonic progressive rock) is gone, this time reverting back to the overly optimistic cheese prog. One good thing about this album is that it isn't as long as some of their albums, which occasionally stretch well over 100 minutes in length, but is still way too long for what the package consists of. The vocals here are definitely in a worse fashion than before, and I really am unsure why, but the bassist shines exceptionally bright among all of the bad and is my only true enjoyment through the length of this album.

Fans of optimistic symphonic prog and bass aficionados would find this album decently captivating, but I unfortunately find no joy in happiness.

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Posted Monday, April 11, 2011

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Scratches that Prog Itch but No Surprises

Over the last decade and a half, The Flower Kings have been banner-wavers of retro-prog, wearing their love of Genesis and Yes like a gaudy medal. Given their high esteem on this site, I decided to give their music a try and picked their most recent studio effort SUM OF NO EVIL. This album is clearly symphonic prog with occasional heavy guitars and slick production being the only qualities that really distinguish it from classic 70's sounds. In addition, the band is overtly Christian, and many of the lyrics assume a Christian perspective. While I'm not one to automatically be put off by religious themes, some of the lyrics on this album are pretty smarmy. Most are tolerable, but some are laughably lame. On my first few listens to this album (which was actually over a year ago) the lyrics put me off quite a bit. But I recently gave the album another try, and the instrumental musicianship was able to shine through enough for me to begin to really enjoy the album.

Bandleader Roine Stolt sings and plays guitar. His voice is pleasant and competent, but not especially striking. I actually prefer it to Neal Morse. His guitar playing is expressive and varied, never showy. His sound is a modern variation on the Hackett / Gilmour / Latimer tradition, avoiding any trappings of metal / shred. While all of the players are quite talented, I find keyboard player Tomas Bodin's work to be the most impressive. He delivers all the classic sounds with energy and dexterity, and the parts that make my ears perk up and pay heed are almost always his. Other posters have already pointed out the tasty bass playing, and the drumming is similarly well done.

Four of the six songs span beyond ten minutes, with one sniffing at half an hour. I'm not sure why this has become a modern prog signature, but I find this excessive length rarely necessary. I don't often feel like the songs are coherent wholes. The separate instrumental sections easily could have been redistributed among multiple tracks. The longest "Love is the Only Answer" contains some completely inane vocal parts but also some of the darkest and most evocative instrumental sections of the album. And I'm not sure that they have any real relationship to each other.

When I first purchased this album, I thought that I'd never buy another from TFK. It took awhile to sink in and appreciate it. I'm currently combing through samples trying to decide one more to add to my collection. This one is settling in at a comfortable 3/5 stars. Good prog, a few flaws, nothing new, but tasty.

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Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars With The sum of no evil from 2007 The Flowers Kings bring nothing new under the sun, but also doesn't dissepoints very much. Musicaly is well put on the portative and every note is where they belong but as I said this is no diffrent in musical arrangements then any other previous TFK albums. They had that vintage sound that I like on symphonic prog bands with top notch skillful musicianship but the music offered is happy, jolly symphonic prog, pleasent most of the time but aimless IMO, really. Long pieces with pompous instrumental passages but that's it, no impressive or original arrangements, only ok. Not better then previous albums not weaker either, to me all TFK albums has same level.

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Posted Saturday, February 02, 2013

Latest members reviews

5 stars Over their 20 year existence, Swedish progressive rockers "The Flower Kings" have drawn many comparisons to the band Yes. That comparison is not unwarranted and this album will do little to dispel that notion. One thing worth noting is that this band compares VERY favorably to Yes. But before ... (read more)

Report this review (#1131478) | Posted by Fenrispuppy | Friday, February 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Personally, I am surprised this album has not scored higher. Different strokes - I am less a fan of Roine's chunkier power-prog, and usually very moved and fascinated by the more quintessential FK melodicism, chromaticism, and harmonic richness. As far as I am concerned, this is the most melo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1130982) | Posted by toddbashee | Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I rarely comment on established acts especially if my take is in line with everybody else's. But an exception for Sum of No Evil since its my favorite FK (NOT a good abbreviation) album. It's FK condensed. I know its strange to say this about a 78-minute album, but you have to remember they rele ... (read more)

Report this review (#1103006) | Posted by Progrussia | Monday, December 30, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After a few subpar releases, the flower kings are back in form with the sum of no evil. This album is very close in style and sound to their early releases Back in the World of Adventures and Retropolis, but there is a hint of their more recent albums as well. Musically this is everything you' ... (read more)

Report this review (#911584) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, February 08, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With the return of Zoltan, TFK went for another very good work here, as we continue to be in safe area listening to this one, when comparing to the previous CD's. And... that might prevent a lot of fans here to go for 5/5, since we know their style... There are certain amounts of originality, m ... (read more)

Report this review (#382693) | Posted by Progdaybay | Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The next phase in my Amazing journey of discovery into the world of prog, this was my first Flower King's Album. I'v only had it for a few days, and have only listened to it 3 or 4 times, but i have to say, i am deeply impressed with this album, and will be going out as soon as I can to find m ... (read more)

Report this review (#302699) | Posted by Faces and Traces | Thursday, October 07, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Flower Kings have released their best yet. With "Unfold the Future" and "Paradox Hotel" they changed their direction to a little less 70's Yes type prog that they are usually associated with. With "The Sum of no Evil" however, they basically just went back to how they were in the beggining ... (read more)

Report this review (#291705) | Posted by KingX | Friday, July 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Who would have thought that after 10 albums, these guys would have saved their most perfect material after over 10 years. This albums is just flawless, every song is amazing, so much melody, harmony, ecclectic...basically everything Iove about prog. This was my first ever encounter with Flow ... (read more)

Report this review (#289407) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, July 06, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars As a diehard fan of The Flower Kings, I don't mind saying that this is by far their most disappointing release to date. Following up a masterpiece like "Paradox Hotel" with this was a big letdown. I see that a lot of fans are pretty keen on it, and I can understand why, as it is prog to the ... (read more)

Report this review (#266934) | Posted by Biff Tannen | Thursday, February 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Flower Kings are one of the first modern progressive rock bands I ever heard, and they remain one of my favorites today. To me, this album sums up everything I love about The Flower Kings. Typically, The Flower Kings release double albums, and I find there to be several weaker songs on the ... (read more)

Report this review (#228048) | Posted by natewait | Thursday, July 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Right, I have collected all the FK CD's - now after listening to this enough times to give it FIVE Stars - Yep this CD is a 4.8 rounded up to the FIVE. Why? Well there is the epic "Love is the only answer" - An awesome composition and with a monster guitar solo of such quality it's worth 4 st ... (read more)

Report this review (#227865) | Posted by M27Barney | Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars For my money the best FLOWER KINGS' album to date and boy do you ever get a lot of music for your money, but this is not always a good thing. You see the FLOWER KINGS have a problem I seem to see a lot with modern prog bands: the need to make epics when epics are not called for. They, along wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#186947) | Posted by manofmystery | Sunday, October 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Way to go Fish-Van! It's time's like these that I regret giving other albums four stars when I was on the fence of wither it deserved three or four. Then an album like this comes along and you know instantly that it deserves no less then four stars. To date, this is 'The Flower Kings' best al ... (read more)

Report this review (#181883) | Posted by mothershabooboo | Saturday, September 06, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Musically, this is extremely impressive prog....the compositions are imaginative, filled with great melodies and riffs, and there are plenty of the dynamic shifts that we prog fans like...the musicianship is top-notch as well, especially the fantastic guitar solos. The Flower Kings are clearly i ... (read more)

Report this review (#178774) | Posted by peskypesky | Monday, August 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one good progressive album, to me it's even the best of the year. The only thing about this album is the lack of songs not written by Roine Stolt. I like what he does, but a little diversity is always welcome. Anyway, this album still deserves 5 stars because of the incredible quality of ... (read more)

Report this review (#154763) | Posted by proglil49 | Saturday, December 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What surprises me everytime, is that this band can produce such fantastic albums in less than 1 and a half year from previous ones!! May be I shouldnt be surprised anymore.. Concerning this new album, my opinion is that it is a very good one, with high prog music quality, which probably needs m ... (read more)

Report this review (#142718) | Posted by luc4fun | Monday, October 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars IT'S LIKE COMING HOME -- COMING HOME AGAIN! Well, the Flower Kings are back into their true form. They're dispelled the avante-gare inspirations of Paradox Hotel and are returning to an album very much like the Space Revolver or Unfold the Future albums. I'm a big fan of this, but I was hoping ... (read more)

Report this review (#142128) | Posted by Inverted | Thursday, October 04, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For me this is by far the best symphonic prog album of the year, period. After Paradox Hotel I lost my trust in The Flower Kings (that doesn´t mean that PH is a bad album, but I think it was a little bit unisnpired and repetitive), but this happens to be again a great great album, full of big mo ... (read more)

Report this review (#142120) | Posted by insmascaro | Thursday, October 04, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, what can I say? This is the best Flower Kings album in quite some time. After my first listen I found myself excited to hear it again. This hasn't really happened for me with a Flower Kings album since Space Revolver (I like all the albums since then, and love UTF, but they all took some ... (read more)

Report this review (#142106) | Posted by infandous | Thursday, October 04, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have to say that this is really a great album! I like them since ever, and I just saw them life at the Symforce Festival in Tilburg. Really impressive. The sound, the atmosphere, the jamming. They also played "Life in Motion" for the first time, and they convinced me that it's probably the best ... (read more)

Report this review (#140426) | Posted by Willow | Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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