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The Flower Kings

Symphonic Prog

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The Flower Kings Unfold the Future album cover
3.88 | 623 ratings | 59 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (74:09)
1. The Truth Will Set You Free (31:02) :
- i. Lonely Road
- ii. Primal Instincts
- iii. From the Source
- iv. Uphill
- v. The Stars, the Sun, the Moon
2. Monkey Business (4:24)
3. Black and White (7:40)
4. Christianopel (8:17)
5. Silent Inferno (14:22)
6. The Navigator (3:39)
7. Vox Humana (4:45)

CD 2 (66:59)
8. Genie in a Bottle (8:10)
9. Fast Lane (6:34)
10. Grand Old World (5:26)
11. Soul Vortex (4:38)
12. Rollin' the Dice (5:00)
13. The Devil's Danceschool (5:08)
14. Man Overboard (3:45)
15. Solitary Shell (2:51)
16. Devil's Playground (25:27)

Total Time 141:08

Bonus track on 2002 SE:
17. Too Late for Tomatos (10:24)

Line-up / Musicians

- Roine Stolt / guitar, vocals, keyboards
- Jonas Reingold / bass
- Zoltan Csörsz / drums
- Hasse Bruniusson / orchestral percussion
- Tomas Bodin / piano, keyboards
- Hasse Fröberg / vocals

- Daniel Gildenlöw / vocals (lead 9,12,16)
- Ulf Wallander / soprano and tenor saxophones
- Anders Bergcrantz / trumpet

Releases information

Artwork: Thomas Ewerhard

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 112 (2002, Germany)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMLTDCD 112 (2002, Germany) SE with a bonus track
CD Inside Out Music ‎- 0502322 (2010, Germany)

3LP + 2CD Inside Out Music - IOMLP 112 (2017, Germany, remastered and partly remixed)
On the 2017 reissue, three tracks have new mixes: "The Truth Will Set You Free" (30:54), "Black and White" (7:07) and "Devil's Playground" (19:22). All tracks have been remastered.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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THE FLOWER KINGS Unfold the Future ratings distribution

(623 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

THE FLOWER KINGS Unfold the Future reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In the late 70's, progressive rock was accused of being pompus, pretentious and bloated. Tales of Topographic Oceans, wtih four epics on two LP's was held aloft as proof positive that progressive rock had gone wildly awry. Mr. Roine Stolt, in Kaipa's early stages, was obviously oblivious to these accusations. He wallows in the excessiveness.

Unfold the Future, Roine's eighth studio effort as front man for the Flower Kings, relishes excessiveness to the point of verging on cumbersome. Nothing appears to have been left on the cutting room floor and I believe if you checked, the studio's bathroom sink would be misssing.

Unfold the future has a lot to offer, maybe too much. It's a great album with a lot of variations, hard rock, smooth jazz, frenzied jams, strong melodies... eclectic. TFK's strong suit is the epic. Long multi-sectioned songs, with more time changes then a swiss watch factory. The biggest problem I have with Unfold the Future, or any TFK album for that matter, is the lyrics. What should be heart-felt comes off as sappy or juvenile. Jon Anderson seems to serve as the blueprint from which the Kings find inspiration with overtly spiritual, often mystic words that leave me thinking "bad poetry" as opposed to enlightened.

Instrumentally, these guys are an incredible group of musicians. Reingold and Csorsz are rock solid and among progs best rhythm sections. Roine Stolt is a chamleonic guitarist, shape shifting in the guise of so many other guitar heroes style. Tomas Bodin is an inventive keyboardist and he too has the ability to mimic other keyboard wizard's style. My favorite tunes on this release are the instrumentals. Some would call those pieces the padding, I, however, find those works the most sincere.

Almost any prog fan could find something worthwhile on this disc. Pieces you would want to come back to or compile for single sleeker, more solid package. TFK do excess very well.

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars Another double Cd of aimless music.Not any worse than their previous and this is what scares me along the important mass of "pigeons"(no insult intended) that must be blinded by stardust , as they don't see (or refuse to see) the point(-lessness ) of this.Cliché, cliché, cliché.

At the time of rewriting this review (for fear of the Admins coming down on me like a ton of brick) or face its disappearance, I am very hard pressed to find something positive about this album. apart that it is a typical TFK album, with the usual amount of hard work (and this should be seen as something positive for all fans of the group) , I still find their concept and tracks rather impenetrable.

Actually, truth must be spoken here: It is not I who cannot penetrate these relatively easily accessible tracks, it is the relatively accessible tracks that have a hard time penetrating the shell of my indifference. That fact alone should make you understand the poor rating.

Review by loserboy
4 stars The FLOWER KINGS have been releasing some fairly epic lengthed albums (2 CD) over the past few release ("Flower Power", "Stardust We Are"...) with "Unfold The Future" adding another double CD to their repetoire. Lineup includes the usual suspects Roine STOLT - vocals, guitars, keyboards, Hasse Fröberg - vocals, Jonas Reingold - Fender bass, fretless bass, Zoltan Csörsz - drums and Tomas Bodin - Grand piano, keyboards. This is a highly innovative and carefully crafted album with a melting pot of ideas and styles. For this prog rock fan the opening track "The Truth Will Set You Free" takes the cake and makes the whole CD an essential pick up (I think the Classic Rock Society voted this track "the track of the year" also !). The big difference on this album is the addition of young Hungarian talent Zoltan Csorz' who has added a new Jazz injection into the band. The end result is still classic symphonic prog with an added twist of fusion. As you would expect the overall sound is quite polished with some superb musicianship and band interplay.
Review by Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars As I've said in some previous reviews, I like some of the FLOWER KINGS's material but am not automatically in awe of everything they do. As much as I have praised "Space Revolver", I am quite disappointed with "Unfold the Future".

This double CD will likely please those of you who enjoy fine musicianship with plenty of guitar noodling. If you like your prog well structured, however, and don't particularly appreciate improv, you may find listening to "Unfold the Future" frustrating. Granted, there are some fine moments on these two disks, but I feel the band could have combined it into one. Great intros and spectacular finales on a 20-minute track are fine with me, it's the 18-minute of jamming squeezed in between that doesn't agree with me. But I repeat: some of you will like this stuff. And not only do I respect your opinion but I'm happy for you if you can get off on it (I honestly wish I could). As they say, to each his own...

Review by diddy
4 stars "Unfold the future" one of the most conflicting albums I know. On the one hand it features awesome epics and instrumental tunes wich are really interesting but on the other hand this album features boring filler material wich is really unnecessary. I really like the Flower Kings but I'm awere of the problem with filler material. Roine Stolt tends to release brim-full double albums wich seems to be a good thing at first sight. But it's not! Many songs are really poor and boring... But the guys from sweden also manage it to compose truly awesome longtracks and instruementals.

"Unfold the future" has a strong jazzy approach. It sounds different from other releases because the saxophone really has a lot to do on this one. Also the general sound shows that jazz is a part of this album. I think that it's something that really becomes the Flower Kings. Something I really like about the Flower Kings are the instrumental parts wich are better than ever. I think that Jonas Reingold is one of the best bass players out there. Just listen to this album and you will know what I mean. His playing is not a simple rythm thing, it's an enrichment for the sound. His sound is unique, I know no other bass player I could identify as fast as Jonas. Zoltan Csörsz is one of the most talented drummers I know. He still is very young but is already well known in the scene. But the rest of the band also playes at a very high level. The first disc features the 30 minute epic "The truth will set you free" wich is one of the best Flower Kings songs so far, it's also a must for every show. The Flower Kings really have some great epics but this one is even better. The instrumental parts are really terrific. "Silent Inferno" is the second epic on this album. Again, a beautiful song, I love the middle section with the great bass solo. This song is also one of the best Flower Kings songs. The rest of the disc. Well, I don't like most of it, boring and not interesting. "Christianopel" is a jazzy instrumental, very interesting but the rest is what I call filler material. I don't like this kind of songs but Roine Stolt always has some of them on the albums. They don't bother me and I can listen to them but I think the difference between other Flower kings songs is so big, it's a wide gap between these songs and "The truth will set you free". The second site features my all time Flower Kings favorite "Devil's Playground". Again 26 minutes of outstanding music. The instrumental parts are longer in here and some of them, especially the saxophone dominated one, are quite queer and odd, very cool and interesting. Here the jazzy approach seems to reach it's climax. "Genie in a bottle" and "Devil's danceschool" are worth to be mentioned, the rest again is the stuff I don't like. I have the limited edition wich features a 10 minute instrumental called "Too late for tomatoes". I really like it and think it would have been a great track for the album. It's one of the best FK songs BTW.

So what should be the rating for this album? I think a single disc with "The truth will set you free", "Silent Inferno", "Devil's Playground" and the bonus track "Too late for tomatoes" on it would be a monster of an album, 5 Stars and nothing less. But there are these boting and uninteresting schmaltzy songs...Due to the possibility of skipping songs I substract one star so that 4 stars remain. I think that "Unfold the future" is, apart from the boring songs, their best album so far. The constellation I mentioned would maybe be one of the best albums I know in general. So if you want to board the Flower Kings try this album but I say it again and again, beware of the boring songs and stick to the awesome, mostly epic, ones I mentioned.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars An acquired taste

A sprawling 2 CD set from Roine and the gang. You really do get value for money from the Flower Kings in terms of the volume, but what of the music?

The scene is set by the 30 minute opening tack, "The truth will set you free". For a track to justify such a length, it needs to be exceptional. For me, this track does not attain that accolade, even if it is well constructed and performed. The moves from almost commercial vocal sections to and from semi-improvised jazz based ones can be a bit jarring at times, but overall, the piece holds up pretty well.

There are some tracks which I will never get. "Christianopel", and "The devil's danceschool" for example, which reminded me of some of Radiohead's most challenging and indulgent pieces. Here the band do not appear to have even agreed between themselves how the track should be structured. At the other extreme we have the almost power pop of "Fast lane" and the melodic beauty of "Solitary shell". The album closes with the 25 minute "The devil's playground", a veritable concoction of prog clichés, a bit of ELP here, a bit of Yes there, a pompous fanfare here, a sudden quickening of the pace there. A good track, but it all sounds a bit too familiar.

The Flower Kings can be really hard work. I find with every album I listen to by them that first impressions are invariably more adverse than favourable. I don't think I'll ever enjoy any of their albums in its entirety, but in many ways the diversity is what makes them alluring.

With the Flower Kings persistence is the key though. They can initially seem like a daunting challenge but each listen does reveal new things to enjoy. Like Guinness, their music is an acquired taste.

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If there are to be a Prog-Olympic Roine Stolt gets definetily a gold medal for constantly good compositions.I don't think there is anyone else nowadys releasing such good material in such abundance.Every good musician "borrows" from his ancestors and overcomes it by creating his own style. RS has studied Genesis, Yes and the Beatles. UTF is a Yes inspired record, and Yes should be ashamed, because this is the record Yes wasn't able to record for over 20 years now. The guitar work, the harmony singing, the keys.... Very good homework, indeed!!My favourite tracks are the truth will set you free(which works like a Leitmotiv for the entire record) and Monkey business.
Review by Muzikman
5 stars There are not too many groups that garner attention and gather the anticipation of a new release like Sweden's progressive rock superstars The FLOWER KINGS. With that, the responsibility they carry on their shoulders attaches a huge accountability to everything they do. In a marvelous and humble way, they always come up with an outstanding effort every time they go into the studio to record. In addition, they have come out of several sessions with enough material to fill two CDs, which is once again the case with "Unfold The Future".

They continue to amaze me with every album. I ask myself each time- "Can this band actually become better?" I answer that question with a resounding and affirmative "yes." They sound hauntingly similar to Yes, then follow with a track that puts them in a league all their own, quickly turning things around to sound like a stand alone great prog-rock band with a first class lead singer that has a definitive Swedish accent. They are indeed the purveyors of some of the most sophisticated and pure music here on the planet earth. With each listen of this album, and believe me there were several, I hear more intricacies and developments in their music that I did not hear on the previous listen. From my point of view as a critic and someone that studiously pays attention to every note, that carries a tremendous amount of weight. So where do I start with my rundown on this set with over two hours of prog-rock bliss? It is not an easy task mind you, but I will pick out what I though were the brightest spots on the recording.

Disc one starts things off with a classic FK oeuvre called "The Truth Will Set You Free." It is 30 minutes of progressive nirvana. "Monkey Business" is a rockin' romp in the musical jungle, putting a decidedly straight-ahead rock slant on their sound. My absolute favorite is the ever-changing "Silent Inferno." The time signatures in the song are extraordinary, and it is the band in their most essential element. They are obviously talented enough to flip-flop between genres and seamlessly blend several styles into one song by adding a tasteful saxophone here and an airy keyboard layer there. I normally rant and rave about Roine STOLT's guitar playing, and yes, it is always superb, but this time out I must say that this is a total and complete effort from every member of this group, it always is, I noticed it more than ever with this album though. The maturity of each group member, and how that aspect helps to evolve the band's overall sound, becomes more important as the recording plays deep into the first disc then continues with the second. The advent of successful solo albums by the members of the group also gives them more depth and variety than ever before.

Side two opens with a delightful "Genie In The Bottle" and "Rollin The Dice" is equally engaging with snappy hooks and dreamy vocals. The solos that each band member has the opportunity to produce is another factor that makes this release so much more intriguing and introspective than previous albums. I have enjoyed everything that this group has ever done, it seems now that they have moved up yet another notch and taken it all to the next level in their select dominion of prog-rock. I dare say that there are only a few groups with this kind of power and presence, I think you know who they are fellow prog-heads. This group has been one of the very few consistently great ones over the past 7 years. So, I ask you now, who will fall from your good graces this year? Moreover, who will stay right there in front of you to keep your focus? I can tell you that this group is not giving an inch on their position, with this album they have a firmer grip on their place in musical history reserved for only legends.

Review by hdfisch
4 stars For me this is the best album TFK ever did, for sure it's as well their most complex one and many listeners who prefer their symphonic and melodic side might have problems with its rather high portion of jazz fusion elements. I've got to say I like both sides of them. Of course there are songs in the style we use to know and love: long epic and playful symphonic prog songs like The Truth Will Set You Free or Silent Inferno. In addition to such compositions there are now and then some jamming improv-alike or funny ZAPPA-reminiscent stuff like in Devil's Danceschool. But these are not the only changes on this album. There is a new voice, Pain of Salvation's Daniel Gildenlöw, here still as a guest musician and a new drummer, Zoltan Csörz forming together with Jonas Reingold one of the best rhythm sections existing. Best songs of the album are without any doubt the three long tracks already mentioned. But the rest of the double album is anything else than just filling material.

CD 1

The opener The Truth Will Set You Free is a fantastic composition, full of tension and very versatile with enough ideas to fill a whole album. Finest prog with some YES- reminiscence and a slight touch of jazz. Every single musician is giving his very best, whether it's Zoltan Csorsz with his powerful and versatile drum play, Jonas Reingold with virtuoso bass play and great soloing, Tomas Bodin 's fantastic keys and a very good solo around 25:00 of mastermind Roine Stolt virtuoso as usual with his unique guitar sound and laid-back cool vocals. Monkey Business is a quite straight rock song, but very nice and just placed at the right position after such a long composition. Black And White, another highlight starts mellow with piano and vocals and develops into a fantastic driving instrumental track with great rhythm section. Then there is an interlude with spacey synthesizer tunes and percussion followed by another very rhythmic final part. Christianopel is an interesting track as well, very quiet in the beginning and developing slowly into a grooving improv-alike jazzy piece. Silent inferno is starting lush and rocking with grooving bass line, driving guitar riffing, powerful drum play and odd keyboard tunes. Then relaxed vocal sections are alternating with ones full of intricate play ofguitar, organ, Mellotron and cymbals. In the final part there are Latin jazz alike sounding grooving bass lines with a drum solo and a fantastic finish. Navigator is a mellow and playful song and Vox Humana is a very catchy and happy one,which is actually not very special, but far away from being a complete failure.

CD 2

Second CD opens with Genie in a bottle which is starting slowly, then shifting to a faster rhythm. After a quiet interlude there is a section with great harmonies and tunes and finally we can listen to Tomas Bodin on Hammond. Fast lane as the title implies, is an up-tempo driving song with intricate playing and versatile drumming in the middle section and great vocals by Hasse Froberg and even greater ones by Daniel Gildenlow. In Grand old world, which takes up the theme of The Truth Will Set You Free in a quite atmospheric vein, we can listen to great sax interludes by Ulf Wallander, fantastic percussion and some arpeggiated guitar play. A very nice and cool song. Soul Vortex is a well done jazz improv-alike piece, it's just amazing to listen to these guys, all musicians are playing together just perfectly and there is no indulgent soloing at all. Rollin' The Dice is starting with quite strange reverse vocal samples and continuing with a very powerful bass line and aggressive vocals by Froberg. Again we get an excellent rhythm section here. The vocal interludes by Daniel are giving the song even an extra special touch. A great song as well. The Devil's Danceschool is another ingenious and amazing free jazz piece composed by Reingold and Csörsz together. Really great the weird soprano sax play, bass and drums once again at their very best. Then with Man Overboard there's an extreme shift towards mellow symphonic tunes. Fantastic keyboards on this one, a very nice track and full of atmosphere. After Solitary Shell another nice and very mellow one, we have the absolute highlight of the second CD, the 24 minutes long piece Devil's Playground. It's opening with fantastic keyboards building up an incredible tension. Thereafter comes the breakout with great bass, wild synths tunes and fantastic percussion. We get to hear plenty of intricate rhythms and odd bars with breaks. Then there's a relaxing part with vocals, but without creating any boredom. Climax of this track is a free-jazz sax solo with an amazing bass and drums play. I'm very happy that my edition is the limited one containing the bonus Too Late For Tomatoes. An extra seven minutes of brilliant music, very much reminiscent to the great fusion band Brand X.


UNFOLD THE FUTURE is a great and versatile piece of work and for me without any doubts their very best one. Highly recommended to any lover of symphonic jazz fusion.

(Edited 7/29/2006)

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator

Oh yeah . what do you expect more from a progressive music album if the musicians offer you with a music which has a balanced between complexity and harmony yet it's adventurous in nature? Well, this is the case with this album. Even though this album was released too soon after their previous release "The Rainmaker" (2001) this follow-up album still have the same excellent quality as its predecessor.

Disc One (72:00)

The first time I heard the opening epic "The Truth Will Set You Free" (30:40), it did blow me away at first spin and I immediately fall in love with it. Yes, I was actually confused with the long introduction but when the Hasse Fröberg ' vocal starts to roll into the music, oh my God . what a great harmony the boys in the band have composed this complex epic. In terms of style, this epic blends various elements such as jazz, rock and avant-garde in a very nice way. The result is a mixture of elements that seem like too pretentious. But, if you listen to it with an open mind, you will get the true essence of progressive music here. Not only excellent composition that this epic offers us but it gives a balanced portion of its musician's virtuosity. Jonas is still very dynamic and inventive with his bass guitar playing; combined with dazzling drum work by Zoltan. Roine Stolt also still gives his excellent guitar fills throughout the epic. The epic also provides variations between high and low points, complex and quiet arrangements. It's a true masterpiece epic! [By the way, I remember vividly that on the same 17 Aug (Indonesian Independence Day) last year, I started the day with Gentle Giant's "The Power and The Glory" and writing a review about the album which contained a song that talks about independence: "Proclamation". And this morning, I started my day with "The Truth Will Set You Free" - oh .. what an accidental coincidence.]

"Monkey Business" (4:20) brings the music in the similar vein as "Rainmaker" style providing excellent combination of rhythm section (bass guitar, keyboard and drums) with melodic singing. "I am not a monkey anymore. I've built a new house .". While the guitar fills the music nicely especially its nice riffs during singing verses. The next track "Black And White" (7:40) starts mellow during intro part and the music moves into complex one at approx minute 1:40 showing chock full of solid bass lines by Jonas. "Christianopel" (8:30) is a wonderful track that blends avant-garde and jazz into an excellent composition. Well, at first listen I was impatient about this track because the first half is occupied with an ambient music like typical avant-garde - exploratory in nature. But it helps to set the atmosphere for the later half of the track which comprises wonderful improvisation of guitar, keyboard, drums and bass. It's really cool man .! (with a prerequisite that you can enjoy jazz music, I think. If you like the kinds like Pat Metheny, Al Di Meola, John McLauhglin you can enjoy this track, I'm sure). Next is "Silent Inferno" (14:25) that contains energetic music combining soaring keyboard work (solo and rhythm) at the beginning in relatively fast tempo style. It reminds me to the music of Return To Forever but this one has a floating style that makes it really good. The music only turns into quiet passage when the voice line enters the music. Disc One is concluded with "The Navigator" (3:15) and "Vox Humana".

Disc Two (64:35)

Disc Two starts beautifully with "Genie In A Bottle" (8:10) in medium upbeat tempo combining powerful vocal, guitar rhythm, and solid bass lines plus piano work during quiet passages. " Fast Lane" (6:35) sees the band playing the music in different style with accentuated singing style in relatively fast tempo. "Grand Old World" (5:10) is an improvisational song in nature, combining vocals, vibes, sax, keyboard, percussion and guitar in jazz-avant-garde fashion. "Soul Vortex" (6:00) continues the vein of its previous track and this time Zoltan is given his chance to improvise his drumming augmented with guitar, bass and keyboard. It's an excellent composition. I like the guitar solo in this track and also the dynamic drumming - of course. "Rollin The Dice" (4:15) brings the music back to The Flower Kings style and this time with soaring keyboard that sounds like a Hammond with duo vocals. "The Devils Danceschool" (3:45) is to me like a jamming song combining multi instruments: bass guitar, drums, trumpet, keyboards all of them are performed in discrete style - no continuous flow of music. It's like every musician performs his own solo at the same time. At one point they gather into a cohesive whole as a track. It's very exploratory in nature.

"Man Overboard" is a melodic mellow track with powerful lyrics: "Some work hard to pay their dues, whereas some just waste it and blow the fuse .." which features excellent guitar fills combined with piano. "Solitary Shell" (3:10) begins mellow with simple piano touch that features voice line. It's like a melodic ballad track. The album concludes with another long track "Devils Playground" (24:30) which has the same quality with the album opening track in terms of composition (structure and songwriting), musicianship and overall performance. The track starts ambient for the first three minutes but then the music blasts off energetically with great keyboard work and effects just before the vocal enters. It's another excellent track. If you listen this track with an open mind, I bet you will get full satisfaction! (prerequisite: you can enjoy jazz music).


What do you want me to explore further with the above very detailed write-up featuring [almost] track by track review? Or, it's probably you get bored and feel tired with the review as it's too long. My big apology and many thanks that you read it until this point. I cannot help it. Imagine how these genius musicians had worked together to craft this wonderful composition together? Think about it. And I think, they deserve a novel-long review. My review is too short compared to what it's supposed to be. But that's capability issue. This is the only thing I can write. And . my conclusion is that this album is a true masterpiece progressive rock album. It has everything required in progressive music: tight composition (arrangements, structure, songwriting), great musicianship, great production (including sonic quality which really satisfies my ears and I can enjoy the music in LOUD volume with balanced sound. Fantastic!) and overall performance is great. Beware! This album contains 60% jazz, 20% avant-garde and 20% rock music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Jakarta, 17 August 2005 - Indonesian 60th Independence Day. MERDEKA!!! (ehm . I'm now thinking of playing Disc Two "Gettysburg" of Iced Earth Glorious Burden album. And after that Keenan Nasution's "Negriku Cintaku". What a heroic day man!)

Review by Zitro
4 stars Edit : from 3 2/3 stars to 4 1/3 stars ... This is a great album, especially when I just skip the tracks I do not enjoy a lot. I have realized the album grew on me after my 10th listen. Some of the songs might not be great but they don't bother me much thanks to the great coherence and recurring themes on both discs. As a result,this album is almost as good as Stardust We Are.

This is in my opinion the band at its artistic peak. In this double-album, you hear extremely creative, virtuosic, and experimental music. This album has also the best rhythms (bass+guitar) from the Flower Kings. MY problem with it is that the album have some filler (or weak material). Putting that aside, this is an excellent album with 2 major epics in it.

CD1 : The first CD begins with a terrific 30+ minute epic. The song has everything a prog fan craves : coherence, melodies, instrumental sections, a great overture (You have to hear the first 5 minutes, they are phenomenal!!), and 70s feel. However, the big chorus irks me a bit and the song just feels too long for me, but I know most enjoy it more. Monkey business is hard rocker. Christianopel is an avant-garde strange jam that is not very interesting unless you are a fan of King Crimson. Black and White is an amazing short epic. The musicianship in this track is very good, and its bass guitar lines are mindblowing. If you could compare this track to another flower kings song, I think Rumble Fish Twist could be it. Silent Inferno is not silent at all; it is a very heavy symphonic track that goes through many different tempos, moods, and genres of music. Also, it's vocal melodies plus that strange dreamy guitar riff at minute 3 are magical. The navigator and Vox Humana are soft melodic pieces. Vox Humana contains some of the best melodies of the first epic of the album.

1. The Truth Will Set You Free (8/10) 2. Monkey Business (5/10) 3. Black And White (9/10) 4. Christianopel (5.5/10) 5. Silent Inferno (9/10) 6. The Navigator (6/10) 7. Vox Humana (6.5/10)

CD 2 : The album begins with a great uptempo hard rock track which contains a pretty mellow section. Fast Lane is forgettable fast-paced rock. Grand old World plays the same marimba riff from the epic and uses atmospheric musical arrangements to create a [b] beautiful [/b] laid back track. Soul Vortex is an instrumental jam with eerie keyboards and percussion. Rolling the dice is a rock song with some excellent guitar riffs and Daniel shines here. The Devil's Danceschool is a structureless jam that has great saxophone playing and impressive rhythms (the bass guitar goes wild before the song finishes) Man Overboard is good in terms of melodies, lyrical content, and emotion. Solitary Shell is another melodic short song with gorgeous piano playing.

How would the album finish? With another BIG epic of course!! While this epic may sound a bit playful in the middle, the song itself is very dark, and heavy at moments. It begins with a great spacey overture which leads to loud guitar riffs and moog synthesizers. After that, the listener can relax for a little bit with the gorgous vocal harmonies (the verses), and get floored again with the powerful guitar driven chorus. After the last chorus, the music halts. The listener knows that something will happen and it does. A very distorted and loud electric guitar that seems unusual for this band appears and plays such a sinister riff that would blow away any heavy-metal riff. As for now, it stands as my one of my favorite guitar riffs of all times. I did not listen to the lyrics of this song, but I can hear that a playful happy mood is trying to break off the devilish guitars, it does not succeed and the loud guitar dominates for yet another minute. The playful playing tries again and dominates for two minutes. After the playful music fades, the rocking side of the Flowers play for over 4 minutes until the saxophone solo ends. The rest of the music brings back the gorgeous vocal harmonies from the beginning of the track and ends with a worthy finale with the best chorus ever done by the Flower Kings as well as one of their best guitar solos.

Too Late for Tomatoes is a bonus track. It is a jazzy jam with outstanding playing from the band.

1. Genie In A Bottle (8.5/10) 2. Fast Lane (4.5/10) 3. Grand Old World (10/10) 4. Soul Vortex (6/10) 5. Rollin The Dice (8.5/10) 6. The Devils Danceschool (7.5/10) 7. Man Overboard (8/10) 8. Solitary Shell (6/10) 9. Devils Playground (10/10) 10. Too Late For Tomatos* (8.5/10)

My Rating : B+

Review by chessman
5 stars Where do I begin here? Amazing, incredible, wonderful. All words that apply to this future classic album by the current top prog band, probably in the world. How many other prog albums have not one, not two but three epics on them, one lasting over 30 mins, one nearly 25 mins, and one, 'only' just under 15 mins? And all of them sheer class. Not a weak track to be found on either disc. The first epic, 'The Truth Will Set You Free' opens the first disc, and shows the band at their Yes-influenced best. Plenty of Howe-like guitar work, and Anderson-style vocals. Magnificent. 'Silent Inferno' is the second epic on this disc. Different, and darker, with nice guitar again against a backdrop of atmospheric keyboard work. Tremendous. All the other tracks are of the same high standard, the jazz influenced 'Christianopel' maybe the highlight. As I said, no weak tracks, 'The Navigator' being, comparatively, the most ordinary song here. 'Black And White' is, again, excellent. 'Vox Humana' shows off more of the Yes influence. A stunning disc. is disc two weaker? Not at all! 'Genie In A Bottle' kicks it off superbly. Then we have various tracks with various moods, 'Fast Lane' almost sounding, vocally, like a Cream song! 'Soul Vortex' carries on where 'Christianopel' left off. Tremendous. 'Rolling The Dice' is different again, darkly humorous with heavier guitar work. 'Devil's Danceschool' is another, almost jazzy piece, again enjoyable, trumpet led and brash. 'Solitary Shell' is this disc's most ordinary track, but still not a bad one. And then comes the third epic, 'Devil's Playground', with its various mood swings, instrumental changes and breaks, and a pompous yet magnificent chorus, with nice mellotron, overlaid with subtle guitar. Brilliant. Oh yes, I have the limited edition, with the bonus track, 'Too Late For Tomatoes' a track I consider the third one in the 'Christianopel/Soul Vortex' mode. Stupendous. Make no mistake, this album will indeed be a classic in twenty or thirty year's time. Their best one? Well, it is certainly the band at its creative peak. An album I undoubtedly place in my top 10 desert island discs. And yet, for all its astonishing diversity and brilliance, I still, oh, ever so slightly, prefer 'Flower Power'. Both are amazing. If you don't own them yet, what are you waiting for?
Review by AtLossForWords
5 stars The first Flower Kings album I owned was Unfold the Future. This is one of the most impressive releases in Progressive history. Fans of Progressive Music who have not heard this album are desparately missing out.

The album is made by the creativity and variation in work of Guitarist/Vocalist/Composer Roine Stolt. Stolt manages to encompass influences from genres like Jazz, Symphony Progressive Rock, Baroque Classical, and even the occaisional Prog Metal.

The epics include the thirty minute opus The Truth Will Set You Free and the twenty- five minute epic Devil's Playground. It's amazing how many influences Stolt puts in these tracks alone not to mention the rest of this two disc and two hour album. The epics are amazing, but the album is really special because of the song to song quality in shorter tracks like Vox Humanna and Changing Lanes.

Stolt is not the only musical genius on this album, The Flower Kings surely wouldn't be the progressive force they are without the tasteful playing of bassist Jonas Reingold, who is truly a premeire progressive musician who has excellent command of his insturment. Drummer Zoltan Csorz adds to the rythymic complexity with his variant and delicate drumming. Keyboardist Tomas Bodin has an excellent sense of melody matched only by his guitar compain Stolt. Top all of this off with the beautiful voices of Hasse Froberg and Daniel Gildenlow, and the taste wind playing by the sax and trumpet players, and this is a true Progressive masterpiece.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Even Though Unfold The Future was released between two of the least interesting TFK albums (The Rainman and Adam & Eve), this double studio CD is one of their very best and, of time of writing, the only one in this new millenium to be par to their early classic effords. A real great feat for a band who seemed a little lost after Flower Power.

CD 1 is almost perfect. It starts with the now classic epic The Truth Will Set You Free. 30 minutes of pure Flower King's trademark sound. Very inspiring song that is so good it is worth the price of the CD alone (and the main reason I bought it, since I did not know anything else from it beforehand) . But there is more, of course. The flow of songs is fantastic and all of them are above average at least. CD 1 is, easily, up to their last classic, Space Revolver. Newcomer Zoltan Csörsz proves himself as a fantastic drummer.

Cd 2, in my opinion, is not that great. And yet, it can't be dismissed as crap or full of leftovers. In fact some songs are very good, but, as expected in a such a long work in a short period of time, there are some fillers and some excessive experimentations that border self indulgency (The Devil's Danceschool) and pretentioness. Still, nothing's really bad. It's more jazzy and experimental than CD 1 and if you're into this kind of music, go for it.

Conclusion: a magnificent work, one of the greatest TFK CDs ever. It caught me by surprise at a time I was beginning to think that their glory days remained in the 90's.Maybe not as accessible as the first 3, but stil a great find and was I happy to invest such a valuable money in this expensive import. I'd gladly to do it over again. I rated it 4,5 stars. Highly recommended to any prog fan.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars TFK is a rather prolific band. If you except 1999, they have released at least one (single, double + live albums) work every year. Even in case of a single album, TFK will always manage to fill the CD at full capacity; offering to devoted fans the maximum amount of music but overwhelming the others with lenghtly and sometimes boring stuff.

The best example was their last studio effort "The Rainmaker". As such it was a good album (for a "neutral" fan as I am), but the double (and limited) CD edition was a complete waste.

With "Unfold The Future", TFK repeats the same mistakes. They could have provided us with a great album if only they had decided to produced a standard CD one (even extended to sixty minutes).

This album holds one of my favourite track ever from the band. Their longest one (because I have never considered their suite "Garden Of Dreams" as one track. It is a collection of lots of small parts with little links between each other). IMO, "The Truth Will Set You Free" is brilliant. This masterpiece of prog is of course the central number of this release and it would have been rather intelligent to create an album around this great song and limit its lenght to a one CD version only.

Even if it is completey in the "Yes" style, one has indeed to recognize that the last great number of this fabulous band (Yes, of course) dates from 1977 ("Awaken"). So, there is no damage as far as I am concerned to recreate this atmosphere of YesEpics. I just love it. It is a five star track.

As long as being very much "Yes" oriented, TFK won't forget his other major source of inspiration : Crimson of course. But not the best of it.

When one listens to "Christianopel", "Soul Vortex" and "The Devil's Danceschool" their jazzy and fully jam-oriented mood only leaves me one word fto describe them : boooooring. The same feeling applies to "Monkey Business", "Black and White" (a song with no head nor tail and leading nowhere), "The Navigator" (a dull and childish pastoral song). They do not deserve no more than one star.

In the two stars range, I would rank "Grand Old World". The song starts promisingly but ends up in an improv style which is far too much sax oriented to my taste.

Something special takes place at times with "Rollin' The dice". Although the general atmosphere is generally jazz-oriented, the vocal parts will sound as if Bowie was in charge (not during the whole number, only during the best passages - three short ones). Rather strange, unexpected and probably not intended.

"Man Overboard" is not too bad but cannot really break the two stars level. The bonus track "Too Late for Tomatos" and its Santana mood (guitar + percussion) is also a nice moment of this rather lenghtly effort. It starts brilliantly but the middle jazzy section is really too much for me. The final part is completely improv and chaos. What a pity that this track does not clock at four minutes only !

Some good numbers as well sit on this album (three stars) :

"Silent Inferno" starts very weak with a long and dull instrumental part, but as soon as the vocals pick up, it turned as a traditional TFK song : nice vocal melody, great guitar breaks and complex bass and drumming. After all, a good and classic TFK song. A bit too much jazzy towards the end to my ears, but this jazz mood will be felt throughout the whole album.

"Vox Humana" is a pleasant and subtle song. The "Truth" theme comes back in this song and its melody is very pleasant.

I was quite hesitant for "Genie In A Bottle" but we have most of the recipe of a usual TFK song again. The overall mood is again jazzier, but some nice vocal and guitar parts will raise the level of this song (start and finish somewhat remininscent of "Watcher"...). "Fast Lane" also belongs here for almost the same reason (except that there is no trace of Genesis here. We remain fully in the "Yes" orientation, but again with a jazzy touch).

I like the short "Solitary Shell". Full of emotion and melody. A nice little piece of music.

This work holds really the best and the worse of TFK. This effort is the most jazzy TFK one so far as well. It is due to the addition of two guest musicians of which one holds the sax and another one the percussion.

The second epic song of the album "Devil's Playground" contains as well all the contradictions of TFK : brilliant at times and boring at others. One thing is for sure : this track should never have lasted for over twenty-five minutes. A ten minutes version would have perfectly been sufficient, but again the TFK taste to prolonged uselessly the experience is quite prejudicial. The second part of the song (if you except the short passage with "The Truth" theme) is rather difficult to get into. Loose, hectic, direction- less (except the very end of the song which is pure symphony).

As a single album, I could have rated it with everything between one and four stars depending on the track listing. As such (double CD), three stars is really the max I can rate this album. But this is entirely due to "The Truth Will Set You Free".

I honestly believe that TFK makes major mistakes in releasing exaggeratedly long albums. Maybe they should stik to a single album and eventually release "Limited Editions" with a second "bonus" CD.

Review by Moatilliatta
4 stars This is the culmination of everything The Flower Kings have been doing since their inception. Starting and ending with two of the bands finest epics, or, dare I say, the two best epics they've ever made: "The Truth Will Set You Free," and "Devil's Playground." One thing this band has and always will be criticized for is having filler material, especially on their double disc outputs. While this is certainly true for Stardust We Are, Flower Power and eventually Paradox Hotel, I can honestly say that this one has none. Every single song is at least on par with what they're capable of. No silly, simple, or embrassing pop songs on this one. This is their most experimental and jam-packed release. Zoltan's arrival must be what made everything click. You may need to give it a few listens, and you may not get to listen to it often due to it's length, but each listen will be extremely gratifying and worthwhile.
Review by progrules
4 stars This is going to be another hard decision for the final judgement over this double album. With most of their releases it's somewhere between 4 and 5, the epics usually worth 5 stars the shorter far less making me round down to 4. It's probably the same with this one but I will do it track by track again.

1. The Truth will set you free. Tremendous epic, as usual with many different passsages within the song. 5 stars. 2. Monkey Business. Quite nice shorter track. 3,75 stars. 3. Black & White. Somewhat longer but not better. 3,5 stars. 4. Christianopel. Lesser effort on this album. 2,5 stars. 5. Silent inferno. One of those epics I love the most. 5 stars. 6. The Navigator. Unimpressive short track. 2,5 stars. 7. Vox Humana. Quite special this, nice atmosphere from this track. 4 stars. 1. Genie in a bottle. Typical TFK is what I can say about this. 4 stars. 2. Fast Lane. Quiet longer song but not bad. 3,5 stars. 3. Grand old world. A bit balladlike, quite nice. 3,5 stars. 4. Soul Vortex. I don't quite recall: was this the instrumental ? 3,75 stars. 5. Rolling the dice. The downside of TFK which I'm not too fond of. 2 stars. 6. Devil's danceschool. Same actually. 2 stars. 7. Man overboard. Not much to say about this, same as 8. Solitary shell. Both 2,5 stars. 9. Devil's Playground. Had to get used to this one for quite some time. But it kept growing on me. 5 stars. 10. Too late for tomatoes. Another instrumental with nice guitar play by Roine Stolt. Strange ending. 4 stars.

So if we compare this to Flower Power and Paradox Hotel, two other doublers I gave 5 stars I could do the same with this one. But what's missing in spite of the three 5 star tracks is the ultimate classic that were present on the other two albums (Garden of Dreams and Monsters and men). So it's a close call but I'll leave it at 4.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. This is the best FLOWER KING record I have heard so far, and one of the better double albums I have ever had the pleasure of listening to as well.The first thing I noticed after the first spin was how different it was from past releases.The Jazz flavour is prominant, and the band just seems so confident like they can do no wrong. Hence they have no problem going out on a limb and trying new things.The addition of new drummer Zoltan Czorsz, and the relatively new bass player Jonas Reingold forms a powerful rhythm section. Daniel Gildenlow's presence from PAIN OF SALVATION can't be under estimated. Having one of Sweden's greatest talents on board can only add to the confidence and enthusiasm the band must have had going into the recording studio. Roine himself just finished 2 successful records with TRANSATLANTIC. The sky was the limit for this band in 2002. I would encourage anyone who has not read Man Overboard's review of this album to please read it. He got his name from one of the song titles on this record, and his words are a testament to the power of music. Incredible.

"The Truth Will Set You Free" has some extremely meaningful lyrics penned by Stolt. The sound builds. Check out the bass and drums when the sound becomes full. Mellotron 1 1/2 minutes in. Hasse comes in vocally at 4 minutes. The bass is so prominant. The chorus reminds me of YES. More mellotron 16 minutes in. Roine's warm vocals enter the song a minute later as it has calmed down. The calm breaks after a moving passage 19 minutes in. The chorus is back after 20 minutes. A great section before 24 minutes. Check out the drumming ! An excellent keyboard solo from Bodin a minute later. Roine's vocals and a calm are back to end the song. What an epic ! "Monkey Business" has Roine on vocals until Hasse takes over 1 1/2 minutes in. Bodin gives a nod to Stevie Wonder a couple of times. Some aggressive guitar before 4 minutes. Some powerful organ in the ending. "Black And White" features some reserved vocals(Roine) and piano. Slide guitar comes in. Hasse arrives vocally 1 1/2 minutes in. The tempo picks up with some throbbing bass. Xylophone 4 minutes in. I love the drumming after 6 minutes as it rumbles along. "Christianopel" is an instrumental. Lots of atmosphere for over 3 minutes.I really like this. We get a keyboard melody 3 1/2 minutes in with cymbals arriving. So many intricate sounds throughout this one. Excellent track. "Silent Inferno" opens powerfully. A nice heavy rhythm follows. Guitar is ripping it up.This is an inferno alright. But silent ? No way ! Vocals before 3 minutes and with them a calm. I like the sound 5 minutes in and the 1 1/2 guitar solo that follows. Beautiful. It becomes fairly mellow with drums beating away 8 minutes in. A jazzy, uptempo sound 11 minutes in. It gets heavy 12 1/2 minutes in. This is fantastic ! What an ending ! "The Navigator" has an almost classical flavour to it with Roine's words that are designed to help guide us through life. "Vox Humana" features Hasse on vocals with piano. Acoustic guitar comes in. Again the lyrics are so positive and meaningful. I just want to hug someone. Haha.

Disc 2 starts with "Genie In A Bottle", it opens with some good drumming. In between the drum fills we get some beautiful sounding mellotron with piano. Roine is on vocals although Hasse come in around 2 minutes. Roine is back vocally. It becomes almost silent 4 minutes in and then we hear Roine's soft vocals. Some nice guitar 6 1/2 minutes in with organ almost a minute later. "Fast Lane" has this methodical drum beat throughout. The vocals, guitar and organ shine. Daniel is on vocals here. I like this one. Some crazy guitar to end it. "Grand Old World" opens with xylophone before some sax melodies and vocals(Roine) arrive. Light drums. Some beautiful sax melodies 3 minutes in. What a song ! "Soul Vortex" is a jazzy instrumental with some great percussion. Very catchy with intricate sounds that come and go. I love it. "Rollin' The Dice" is a Bodin song(as was "Fast Lane"). Lyrically it's a conversation between the devil and 2 other people, his servant and a young man. Cool track actually. The vocals are quite theatrical at times.The drumming is killer ! "The Devil's Danceschool" is an instrumental composed by Reingold and Csorsz. You can see how these two have influenced THE FLOWER KINGS sound now can't you ? This is mind blowing stuff man. The bass ! The drumming ! The brass ! Jazz at it's best. "Man Overboard" opens with flute, piano and other sounds before vocals and solid drumming come in after a minute. Check out the Latimer-like guitar that comes and goes. Nice. Great track. "Solitary Shell" features piano, strings and reserved vocals.A nice ballad. Devil's Playground is the almost 25 minute closer. Almost as long as this review. This one is obviously a ride that twists and turns throughout. I'll be merciful and not take you on this ride as this review is long enough, but i will say the mellotron before 10 minutes is a highlight, and the guitar during the last few minutes is so emotional, heartbreaking really. An amazing, jaw dropping track.

The fact that this album sits between two of their lowest rated albums makes this rose smell and look even more beautiful, although it doesn't need any help in that regard.

Review by Chicapah
2 stars To be a loyal fan of a particular artist or group one must be willing to follow them into whatever unexpected territory they lead you. That's what The Flower Kings have done to me with "Unfold the Future" and that event leads to my theory #1: Sometimes a band will take me where I just don't care to go. That's part of the problem I have with this double CD set. They've always had a tendency to dip their toes into the jazz side of the pond (and it's an important ingredient of their charm) but it's the symphonic prog emphasis in their sound that I adore. Here their jazz rock/fusion mentality takes over and it makes for a less-than-enthralling affair for me.

The intro to "The Truth Will Set You Free" is intriguing but once the singing starts their focus starts to blur a bit. Try as I may, I can't get into the spirit of the centerpiece of this epic, the "heart bigger than America" chorus. I just don't think it's strong enough to support a 30-minute epic. The first instrumental interlude is intricate, skillful and very dynamic with underrated bassist Jonas Reingold turning in a masterful performance (as he does throughout the album) but when they arrive at the harmony-laden third movement the momentum staggers. The later instrumental portions, led by the admirable Zoltan Csorsz on drums, fly crazily all over the place with nothing substantial to latch onto. They wrap it up neatly at the end and the "big sound" is there yet I come away feeling that their muse let them down this time. But the next cut, the incredibly funky "Monkey Business," goes a long way in making up for it with Roine Stolt's beefy guitar tone filling in the gaps. It's a fun tune with some very tongue-in-cheek lyrics but towards the end they make things overly complex when they should have left well enough alone.

Which brings up my theory #2: The FKing boys had gotten bored with their normal creations and made a concerted effort to shake things up whenever they spied an opening as they put this one together. I enter "Black and White" as evidence. The song starts with a solemn, stately vocal before they transition to a lively, up-tempo instrumental segment led by Jonas' fleet fingers. It's followed by a strange detour into weirdness for a while till they return to the faster pace once again, ending with a ferocious flurry from Hasse Brunisson's fiery percussion. Sorry, I fail to see the point. "Christianopel" begins with almost four minutes of random noises until a beat finally appears and then the meandering interplay between the band members goes nowhere interesting. Look, I can dig avant garde jazz as well as the next progger but if I'm in the mood to hear it I know where to go in my music collection and it's not the shelf where The Flower Kings sit.

"Silent Inferno" is an undeniably colorful kaleidoscope of prog rock and it fits right into my theory #3: What I love about these guys is not necessarily the same thing that the bulk of their fans love. The tune's driving ž pattern is exciting enough, the vocal melody is decent, the bass tone is monstrous and Stolt's guitar mannerisms remind me of Alan Holdsworth on this cut but they also throw in some odd accents that don't work. They even introduce Latin rhythms where Zoltan shines that nonetheless seem very out of place to me. It leaves me scratching my noggin rather than engaging me. "The Navigator" is next, a light tune with the simplest structure on the album. "Vox Humana" is a pretty ballad but just not what I'm craving at this juncture.

Disc 2 starts with a bang as "Genie in a Bottle" comes roaring through with a rockin' 5/4 beat that cleverly evolves into the best melodic sequence of the whole project, then they go back to the infectious opening riff and offer up a scorching guitar solo from Roine. It's the highlight for me and instilled hope that they were about to dazzle me as they always do but, alas, it wasn't to be. "Fast Lane" is a return to the jazz angle, featuring an unmemorable melody and abrupt changes around every corner. The rock & roll vocal seems inappropriate, as well. "Grand Old World" has a keyboard- generated Kalimba effect and it's a sweet vehicle for Ulf Wallander to display his virtuosity on soprano sax as the number maintains a gentle groove throughout. The instrumental "Soul Vortex" is nothing more than a fade in and out of a jazzy studio jam session followed by "Rollin' the Dice," a hard rock song in 6/4 where the group seems to be attempting to juxtapose a metallic, "scary voice" with something you'd expect from a Broadway musical. To say it's unusual is an understatement. "The Devil's Danceschool" is more wild, free-form modern jazz that showcases guest Anders Bergcrantz and his electronically-altered trumpet. Despite Csorsz's amazing drumming this ditty does very little for me.

By now I had to consider my theory #4: Like someone who has discovered a new, delicious treat I had overdosed by indulging too much too soon into this band's catalogue and had suffered burnout. (No, I went back and listened to their stellar "Space Revolver" just yesterday and it's still awesome so I seriously doubt the validity of theory #4.) Tomas Bodin provides some nice keyboards at the start of "Man Overboard" and the diffuse, jazzy melody is reminiscent of Bill Bruford's early solo work. The piano-driven ballad "Solitary Shell" also demonstrates Bodin's artistry as his orchestral score gives the tune a deep gloss and resonance. This brings us to the closing epic, "Devil's Playground." On their slightly hit-and-miss "Stardust We Are" double CD I found that the grandeur and brilliance of the title track dramatically elevated the album above the realm of the mediocre and I hoped that this cut would do the same but, unfortunately, it doesn't. After a promising symphonic prog beginning they reintroduce a harsh, King Crimson-ish theme from earlier in the proceedings that detracts from the thrilling "This is how you raise the Cain/this is what you teach your children" chorus. There are various twists and turns along the way with everything from heavy rock riffs to extended forays into avant garde jazz coming and going but by the time they've taken me back to the stirring chorus I've lost interest and it makes the uplifting finale a wasted effort.

A fellow reviewer on this site that I respect very much warned me that "Unfold the Future" was an "experiment" so the fact that I'm disappointed by it is nobody's fault but mine, I guess. Don't misinterpret, however. The quality musicianship and engineering are up to their usual lofty standards and shouldn't be undervalued. My final analysis is this, though, and it's not a theory but a fact: You can be the best musician the world has ever known but you are still only as good as the songs you perform. And that shortcoming is what makes this album below average. Maybe Stolt had exhausted his current inventory of symphonic prog melodies while composing with his pals in Transatlantic and this exploration into the land of jazz rock/fusion was the only alternative. I don't profess to knowing but I do know this: The high marks other reviewers have bestowed upon it convince me that it appeals to the majority of their fans and that should not be ignored but, despite repeated efforts to get into it, I just don't share their enthusiasm. 2.4 stars.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Who says ''overblown'' went out of style?

In late 2007 I grabbed myself a copy of Sum of No Evil when it was fresh and new, and when I had only heard about The Flower Kings. At first I loved the disc and declared it to friends as ''the next bloody Close To The Edge!'', but soon, like high-school love turning into awkward uncomfortable greetings at lockers, I had grown out of the disc when I discovered some things that didn't sit well with me with repeated listens. I still liked about half the album, but that really didn't help much being that I'm someone who needs to like the album as a whole. So for a long while I didn't buy any Flower Kings, especially considering that the price tag for these guys is sickeningly steep here in the great white north of Canada. However, I finally got over my fears one day when I discovered that album in a record shop many hundreds of miles from home. It cost me about as much as a tank of gas (which in this day and age might as well be my right arm, I might add), but I decided that this was going to be all or nothing - if this album didn't impress me, The Flower Kings [TFK] were going to be a lost cause on me.

I was in for a great surprise. Reading over my review for Sum of No Evil there's a lot of problems that I had with that album that simply don't exist here. All in all this is a superbly executed album that has a lot of excellent hooks, solos and melodies to keep the listener interested, even after repeated spins. The songs aren't forced, the singing is top notch and the level of creativity is actually incredibly respectable. A lot of ''retro'' nay-sayers may not exactly have a soft spot for the style of music, but those who enjoy symphonic progressive music will really get a kick out of this album, especially if you also like jazz experimentation. While I haven't heard all of TFK's discography it's been said that this is their most jazz-oriented album, and I'd have to agree. There's many a jazz melody to pick up on, whether it be the rhythm section or the use of saxophone, and it never seems forced - which is quite nice.

The album is, however, disgustingly long. This is not a bad thing, really - but a lot of prog fans are the type to sit down and listen to any album from start to finish without exception (I'm one of these people), but you really can't do that with this disc unless you take a week before hand to schedule it into your calender. This double disc set runs at around 72-minutes per disc, making for a good two and a half hours of music - which is great if you're a fan, but casual listeners may be scared off a little. The easiest thing to do to solve this, however, is simply listen to one disc on one day and save the other disc for the next. This seems to work well in bringing down the ''wall of sound'' effect that listening to it straight through would have.

The album has a good mix of tunes ranging from full blown epic to quick and dirty rocker. In true prog fashion the album is bookended by dual epics, (one at the start of the first disc and one at the end of the second) which both flow incredibly well and never, ever feel too long (one problem that I had with Love is the Only Answer - it felt far too long). The Truth Will Set You Free is an upbeat 31-minute megalodon that features all the bombastic and virtuosoistic playing that the boys are known for, while The Devil's Playground takes a more heavy and experimental approach, attacking the audience with bouts of sonic blasts and silence. While those are the two feature pieces there's other great songs to be had as well. Monkey Business is a hard rocking tune with some rebellious lyrics, while Fast Lane features some odd vocal passages and heavy moments. Slow songs include the wonderful Black and White, which is accented by a wonderful tempo change, and the calm Grand Old World. The heavily orchestrated Man Overboard makes great use of Roine's unique voice while some of the instrumentals on the album such as the excellent The Devil's Danceschool make use of his ability to write and play. The new remasters of the album also feature the lengthy instrumental, Too Late For Tomatoes, which is one of the rare cases where I recommend that you get the remaster if only for that reason - this jazzed-up 10-minute instrumental is a blast!

Old school fun for any progger looking for some over-the-top fun. A good place to start with the Kings, being that it has some absolutely essential moments. On the whole the album gets a solid 4 stars out of 5 - an excellent album, although not quite an essential masterpiece. Highly recommended to people who want to know what these guys are about, although anti-''retro'' proggers may just want to sit this one out.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I totally hate it when people label the Flower Kings epics as, "directionless," because no matter how much it goes into different shifts of music it is always good! The Truth Will Set You Free is ann example, the reason it's so long is because of all of the instrumental time they covered and should cover for instrumentally this band is totally awesome. To me it is directionless in no way, just long. This is also the second best track on the album! The total best is Devil's Playground. A lot darker lyrically and musically than most Flower Kings song it makes the top five list in my favorite Flower Kings songs. Other tracks to look for are Silent Inferno which brings back memories of Yes, Grand Old World (don't know why I like it but first time I listened to it I felt something special so you might too), and Devils Danceschool which is a very impressive instrumental. It only gets four stars because lets admit it, there is a lot of fillers in this album.
Review by b_olariu
3 stars Good album but totaly non essential

You wonder why?, because the album is full of aimless music without any had or tail, not bad of course because is made by profesional musicans, but after I finished the album I didn't get almost anything from it. Unfold the future is released in 2002 as double album with more than 2 hours of music. It's pretentious , it's boring in places, it's fantastic and intriguing in other places, but overall is nothing really close to a masterpiece as is said on some reviews. The music is complex with nice arrangements, remind me of golden period of symphonic music of the '70's when was pompous, complex, nice and well balanced. Mrs Stolt is one of the main prog musicians in last 15 years but doesn't impress me much both as vocalist or as guitarist or keyboard player. I understand and respect his qualities as musician , but to tell you the truth I know and litenes to hundred more intristing musicinsa over the years. Returning to the music it seams to me an amalgamation of symphonic elements where are added jazz fusion arrangements on some pieces, some pop tunes with progressive touches, so a soup but a tastey one in places, but not overall. I will not says who are the best pieces, I will said the weakest ones, the most boring and aimless totaly:Christianopel , Man Overboard and couple more, the rest are ok but nothing really groundbreaking. Usualy I don't like albums that doesn't had had and tail, the progressive rock is here on every piece but to much noodleings here. I will give 2.5 rounded to 3 because some parts are good and very well playd, the hungarian drummer is very good. An ok album, an ok band but nothing over the top as is said almost everywhere about them.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars More is less, less is more, and too much is and always has been too much.

Unfold the Future is WAY too much. It's not a concept album, and it's not a coherent album. Every idea, whim and fancy the Flower Kings had probably found its way on this album. Maybe it resulted in some otherwise unexplored ideas that ultimately worked, but it also resulted in tons of filler.

Don't get me wrong: the presence of some duds and dead moments doesn't make the good music on Unfold the Future any less good, but the forgettable moments do impact the quality of the album as a whole.

Fortunately, the epics are the highlights, and they contain some great moments--particularly the introductions/overtures, grand finales, controlled jams and other symphonic moments. The Flower Kings can produce big, massive and beautiful symphonic sounds like few others, but the impact of these sections is often lessened by filler or down moments. For example, the Flower Kings have a tendency to follow a wonderful intro by dying the music down to simple vocals on the main verse accompanied only by minimal piano or guitar. Maybe it's Stolt's voice (fair, to be sure, but cannot carry the day by itself), the lack of countermelody, or something else, but they just aren't very interesting during these moments.

If not for these limitations, some of their epics might be absolute classics, because Jonas' huge bass, Stolt's wailing guitar, and Bodin's largely tasteful choices in keys work very well together. All this is strengthened in the epic moments by some very strong vocal harmonies as well. These guys really do have a lot of musical ability.

The non-epics? Well, if you can't say anything nice, then....well...I probably just don't have much to say.

As the Flower Kings' future unfolds, I'll be looking for more great prog and less filler. However, this album does indeed have some great prog, which always counts for something!

Review by colorofmoney91
3 stars Unfold the Future is a Flower Kings album like any other: unbearably long, super cheesy, random with eclecticism, pseudo-retro symphonic progressive rock. Definitely my style, but many seem to enjoy it quite a big.

The music here is a little more "chill" on the cheesy elements than before, and also manages to pack in a few jazz elements into the mix, which the band does quite well (especially the bassist). The length of their albums always seem unjustified to me. Space Revolver was the best album that they had released prior to this album, and this album follows the same format except that there is more of it. The compositions are less optimistic that usual, which is good. Flower Kings albums have a tendency to be overly happy, which always came across as sounding like creepy hippie-inspired progressive epics. There is a lot of improvised jamming going on in these songs, which is nice because the members are undeniably great musicians. The real big problem is that although there are some great moments on this album, nothing really seems to stick out at all.

This is an album suited for jazz-fusion fans, and if you liked Space Revolver then you'll probably enjoy this album as well.

Review by Starhammer
2 stars Double trouble...

The seventh studio release from The Flower Kings and the first to features vocals from Daniel Gildenlow before his days as full band member.

The Good: The Truth Will Set You Free and Silent Inferno.

The Bad: After Stardust We Are and Flower Power this was the band's third attempt at double album and just like its predecessors is monstrously long, clocking in at nearly 2.5 hours. Even if you listen to the discs individually they still play for longer than most studio albums and as a result would need some serious consistency to hold the attention of the listener. In that respect Unfold the Future fails spectacularly and whilst it does have some great moment for sure, the vast majority is populated with what can only be described as progressive waffle. I have huge respect for Roine Stolt as both a composer and musician but whereas most bands will try and test material before binning the weaker stuff, The Flower Kings just seem to record everything that comes into their heads and let the listener trawl through the debris.

The Verdict: Quantity over quality.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars Given that Spock's Beard have just released a double CD in 'Snow', it is really not a surprise to see that Neal's Transatlantic bandmate has also come up with a double album lasting over two hours. I have recently been playing Roine Stolt's tremendous solo album again and it was interesting to be able to compare the two. In many ways it is a shame that I did as although this is a huge undertaking, encompassing many differing musical styles, I kept wishing that Roine had kept a bit closer to the musical template he had originally set out for himself.

What do I mean? This is in many ways a very progressive album, in that it is deliberately taking musical strands of various types and weaving them together. My personal complaint is that these are sometimes taken to extremes so that the music is too much one way or another. The opening number, "The Truth Will Set You Free", is a great number and at thirty minutes somehow still doesn't sound too long. What it does sound like as if it belongs on 'Close To The Edge' as it sounds at times so close to classic Yes that I wondered if The Flower Kings had gone for a break and Jon and the boys had played some of it for them. It is great music but it doesn't really sound like the band themselves.

Add to that some songs that are so jazz that they are totally removed from prog. It can be argued that this isn't a bad thing, but I am not a great lover of jazz although I do play some from time to time, so if I wanted a jazz album I would have bought one and some of these songs are so self-indulgent that one wonders who the audience is. But, when they get it spot on, then there are few that can touch them. The result is an album that in many ways is a disappointment, yet does contain moments of brilliance, so perhaps a severe editing would have been the right thing to do. Masterpiece or overblown, that opinion has to be your own

Originally appeared in Feedback #70, Oct 02

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars One long-playing epic is usually enough but two? And then: two discs with each over 65 minutes of music--138+ minutes in total--and, I'm sorry, you're just asking too much! (It's only taken me ten years to finish this review. Can you guess why?)

1. "The Truth Will Set You Free" (30:40) solid, well flowing, not too bombastic, just not as memorable as one would like. (53/60) - I. Lonely Road - II. Primal Instincts - III. From the Source - IV. Uphill - V. The Stars the Sun the Moon

2. "Monkey Business" (4:20) excellent fretless bass work from Jonas (8.75/10)

3. Black And White (7:40) piano and voice of Roine Stolt open in a delicate ballad-like style. In the second minute the addition of a Broadway-styled voice of Hasse Fröberg reveals a theatric style more akin to Andrew Lloyd-Weber than prog. Once the opening vocal section is over the band leaps into a quirk-and-weird-filled section of YES-like bombast which lasts from the third minute through to the end of the song. Jonas Reingold, by the way, is going absolutely wild with his machine gun spraying of bass notes. Nice rhythm guitar "lead" work from Roine Stolt, as well. (13.25/15)

4. "Christianopel" (8:30) an instrumental of mostly atmospheric jazz subtleties. Nice drumming. (17.5/20)

5. "Silent Inferno" (14:25) heavy YES-ishness from the get-go until the singing starts at the end of the third minute, then it turns gentle and pretty with nice work from Jonas and the keys. After the first exposition of singing it amps up slightly into a great section in second or third gear with some great melodies, chord progressions and soli (electric guitar). near the halfway point we return to a second vocal section. The second half is more groovin' with some great performances though not over the top. One of the better songs/epics I've heard from TFK. Definitely a top three for me. (28/30)

6. "The Navigator" (3:15) opens with a kind of classical music sound and structure. Roine's vocals enter over this quartet-like weave and, lo! and behold, nothing changes. Interesting. Unfortunately the instruments are all computer synthesizers. And different. (8.25/10)

7. "Vox Humana" (4:30) another softer song with simple, thin weave of mostly acoustic-sounding instruments over which Hasse sings. Innocuous and forgettable. (8/10)

CD 2 (65:15) 8. "Genie In A Bottle" (8:10) opens with a heavy, more staccato fuzzy sound as Roine sings. The second section is soft, drumless, and very pretty. Again, halfway through, things get soft and pretty, with some nice vocal harmonies interlaced with guitar and piano and a gently pulsing bass line. Ends with the bouncy motif and lots of weird synth and guitar sounds. (12.5/15)

9. "Fast Lane" (6:35) opens with a steady, fast-driving bass-and drum based groove with some nice harmonized vocals from guest Daniel Gildenlöw and Hasse Fröberg. (8.75/10)

10. "Grand Old World" (5:10) a pretty, dreamy song with sparse instrumental input aside from some excellent non-stop soprano sax play throughout. Another top three song for me. (9.5/10)

11. "Soul Vortex" (6:00) another slow 1970s-like jazz groove. It's been done. (8/10)

12. "Rollin The Dice" (4:15) opens with some George Benson jazz guitar riff before drifting off into radio signal sounds. By 0:30 a slow, heavier, funk-attempt establishes itself before two singers step up to the mic. Reminds me a bit of The Mars Volta (before there was TMV!) That's the Gildenlöw effect. Thick rolling bass sliding up and down the fretboard is a nice change of pace for TFK and Jonas. (8.5/10)

13. "The Devils Danceschool" (3:45) jazz straight out of the 1970s school of BILLY COBHAM, Mwandishi-era HERBIE HANCOCK, FREDDY HUBBARD, JACO PASTORIUS, and, of course, MILES. Well played! Great drumming by Zoltan Csörsz. The other top three for me (and quite a different exploration of musical direction for the TFK). (9.5/10)

14. "Man Overboard" (3:40) opens like some innocuous children's music--all keyboard-driven. Roine starts to sing in the second minute, leaves for a guitar solo in the third, returns for the second verse and second solo, then the song shifts into a weird TONY BANKS-like multiple keyboard exposition to the end. Weird. A throwaway. (7.75/10)

15. "Solitary Shell" (3:10) opens with solo piano and Roine singing. Synth strings and atmospheric electric guitar join in with chorus and second verse. (8/10)

16. "Devils Playground" (24:30) opening with a very cinematic sound, the music slowly builds a story instrumentally, as if we're unveiling something monumental. At the three minute mark we jump onto a fast moving train with some horns and hand percussives in the mix as keys and bass lead the way. We slow down at 4:30 for a nice vocal section. This is a nice section, great chord and melody lines. Hopping back on the train at 6:15, we turn off into a Yes-like bridge before stopping again for the vocal motif. A little different instrumentation but same melody lines. At 8:11 Daniel Gildenlöw's soaring voice joins in with a continuous line of vocalise and then we shift into a new, slightly heavier section for some "take it away" vocals. Nice lead guitar melody line. At 10:15 everything stops as we enter a hallway to a different room. Ominous heavy guitar chord progression and add-on instrumental chatter thrown in make it feel quite unsettling. This then segues into a bit of a SUPERTRAMP-like sounding section for some circus/fair distractions--led by horns and other odd incidentals. At 13:40 we're off to dreamland with some very gentle, spacey instrumental play. At 16:00 we've launched into another new movement. Organ with classic rock chord and rhythm structure for singing and electric guitar solo. Another transition at 18:55 leads into another eerie hallway before the band reforms in a mid-tempo funked up motif which becomes more jazz-oriented after the wah-guitar solo as sax and drums lead the new way. Wah-guitar riff returns until another stop and restart at 21:30. We recapitulate the nice section from the fifth through seventh minutes with Daniel G taking the vocal lead from Roine. Man, that guy can sing! Nice low-register guitar solo ensues, trading off with Jonas' bass, before jumping up to the mid- and upper registers for the climax. Great solo to take us into the spacey end (but could have been better). (43/50)

Total Time: 138:35

I like the forays into jazz world and the mixing it up with three lead vocalists but the keyboards are just too aged, the "orchestral" sounds too obviously keyboard generated. Otherwise this is very skilled songwriting and often virtuosic performances (especially from bass, drums, guitar and Daniel Gildenlöw).

Four stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

Review by friso
4 stars This is an 'Unfold the Future' listening guide, for this album is a mixed bag that can ultimately be very rewarding! It took me so long to get my head around this one.

The Flower Kings showcase an unmistakable love for Genesis, Kansas, Gentle Giant, King Crimson and above all Yes. Whereas of these bands I hold little love for Yes (exceptions is the Yes Album) and Kansas, the different passages can have quite different impacts on me (as usually an idea is clearly rooted in one of these progband's traditions). The band switches between 'schools' within songs, sometimes 'citing' one band after another. Though this can be fun, it is distracting from the familiarization process, which was already under threat due to the album its immense length. Also the band looses itself often in just showing of its musical capabilities.

The album has a distinct sound. Clear as can be, detailed, but also quite bare and a bit airy and un-ankered. Some of that is also in the playing of The Flower Kings. I myself own the 3lp version which sounds good, but only at higher volumes due to the lack of (even some) modern mixing and compression. The tracklist on the 3lp is significantly different than on the 2cd. I can't help but thinking the band is using the six different twenty minute sides to help with 'sorting out' this almost 140 minute album of very diverse material.

The first LP opens with the 30 minute epic 'The Truth Will Set You Free'. This epic is very well described by my opening paragraph. It has some amazing moments of symphonic bliss and technical interplay, but other passages leave me quite cold. Moreover, I guess the core ideas behind this track could have come to fruition in twenty minutes as well. 'Monkey Business' is an awful Kansas inspired track. Flimsy, all over the place and tacky. 'Black and White' is significantly better and has some strong solo sections. The short imaginative ballad 'The Navigator' is a highlight for me, it has a simple yet gorgeous atmosphere.

Side three opens with 'Silent Inferno', which has one of most solid opening sections this album has to offer. The verses are a bit light-hearted, but the imaginative solo sections make up for it. Somehow the Kansas influences (keyboard use) are quite nice on this one. Some clear cut references to Voyage of the Acolyte and singing that reminds me a bit of UK-era John Wetton. The Al Di Miola / Return to Forever section is well performed, but totally out of place here. 'Vox Humana' is nice melodic balled with an original sound pallet, a bit like 'The Navigator'. 'Grand Old World' is a world jazz infused slow ballad.

The first three sides together form (in my experience) the first album. Because of its diversity, its many high-lights (and some lows as well) I would rate it a 3,5 star album. The fourth side then sounds like a collection of 'spare' songs, in my humble opinion. Though all of these tracks have some stronger passages, they add nothing to this body of work. Moreover, there are so many moments here that are either boring or plain annoying. I would recommend skipping this vinyl side all together, because the final LP (3) is the real hidden treasure here! The fusion piece 'The Devil's Danceschool' is quite nice though.

The third LP I would 'interpret' as the second album, in a quite different flavor. More based on King Crimson influence majestic prog and jazz- rock. The structure of its first side is based (and an extension) of King Crimson's 'Moonchild'; opening with a magical atmospheric balled and then evolving in a free imaginative improvisation on 'Solitary Shell'. The concept here really lifts of with 'Chistianopel', which reminds me of the better moments of Pat Matheny's 'The Way Up' album. Brilliant atmospheric, virtuoso fusion well suited for the progressive rock audience. It also evolves beautiful out of the free improvisation of the track before it. I wonder why the band didn't create an 'epic' out of these cuts that works so well together. Without a doubt this is the artistic high-point of this record. The second side of this 'album' is filled with 'Devil's Playground'. To me this sounds as the more artistic, more balanced and catchier brother of the opening track 'The Truth Will Set You Free'. On its own, I might have given this third LP a 4,5 stars as an album.

After months of returning to this body of work I find myself in the position of being a highly critical admirer of The Flower Kings. Surely there's enough material here to make for a four star album. By learning to know how to listen to it you can make this a very enjoyable purchase. Especially the third LP is quite an amazing ride and a brilliant reenactment of seventies prog. But boy, somebody should slap these guys faces for making it soo damn hard to enjoy their amazing music.

Review by The Crow
5 stars After confusing the fans with the irregular "The Rainmaker", The Flower Kings regained faith with another double CD, the first since "Flower Power", which in my opinion is the pinnacle of their discography.

"Unfold the Future" is very jazzy, the production is strong, the guitars are sharp, the keyboard shines throughout the whole record and it also contains lots of crazy percussions and strange sounds making this release to be very special and distinctive in the long Roine Stolt's career.

And the bass? "Unfold the Future" is also the best Jonas Reingold's work to date. His bass lines are just a dream, marvelous, almost perfect. I love it!

And it also has the collaboration of Pain of Salvation's Daniel Gildenlow on vocals, a guarantee of quality!

Sadly, like every other The Flower King's double album, this one also contains a pair of fillers like the forgettable jazz improvisation Christianopel, and maybe also The Devil's Danceschool, too convoluted for my taste.

But the rest of the songs just show a band and a bunch of musicians on their prime, in a time when The Flower Kings still tried to be a project larger than life, and not just another prog-rock band.

Best Tracks: The Truth Will Set You Free (their best epic, period!), Black and White (fierce, jazzy and crazy track), Silent Inferno (the bass playing is just wonderful here), Genie in a Bottle (great progressive hard rock), Fast Lane (Daniel Gildenlow singing is unbelievable) and The Devil's Playground (the second epic. Darker, jazzier and with another great Gildenlow's performance)

My Rating: *****

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
4 stars The Flower Kings is a really interesting band for me. They are like that family member you would love to formerly meet, however due to time constraints, you can't. However today, I was getting tired of not being able to listen to this supposedly great Prog band. I really wanted to see what the hubbub was about, and so I decided to indulge in them a bit. So I did some research. What was their best album. A lot of varied results. Some said it was Adam and Eve, some said it was Flowerpower. It was rather interesting, however a lot of them commonly had this album fairly high up on their lists. It intrigued me enough to fully see through what this band was all about, and honestly, it's very good.

Where I think this album truly shines is the variety on it. What I love about Prog is that bands can have a lot of room to do new things and try anything out with each song. The Flower Kings use this room to it's fullest. A lot of times I find myself loving each song for different reasons, like each come from a different album or heck a different band all together. I can definitely hear some influences of bands like Genesis, Focus, and especially a lot of influences from King Crimson. Despite these influences, they still feel like their own songs. I especially love the song The Truth Will Set You Free at the start of the album. It feels like a suite you'd hear from the bands of the 70s, which gives it a magical, and old timey feel that persists through the album. Like you entered a time machine and went back in time to a more classic era of Prog.

However there are also tracks that sound more modern, which I really dig. Again, variety. Not only does it feel like a wonderful 70s album in certain areas, it also feels like a hard hitting 90s-2000s album in other areas as well. It feels like the perfect combination of the new and the old, and it gives it a certain charm that some bands can't seem to master. It's clear the band already is aware of their craft in the album and tries to push it to better grounds.

Now despite my praises of this album, I must say there are some things that aren't satisfactory. For one, the album is pretty long, way longer than I say it should be. While all the songs are really good, I feel like if they took some songs off the album and released them as bonus tracks for a anniversary release or as singles than the album would be way better than it already is. Not only that but while I do praise the album for it's variety, I do admit that it might be a turn off for some people. Obviously it is a bit more of an acquired taste, so I obviously do not mind the certain changes of sound with each song, but I know people who do mind that sorta thing. It's less of a critic and more of a be aware sort of thing, stuff like that.

Overall I really, really love this album. It has some amazing songs and flows tremendously in between each and every track, however I do feel it's a tad too long, and the variety might not be for everyone. This album is very well done, so bravo Flower Kings, bravo.

Review by Warthur
2 stars Weighing in at over 140 minutes, Unfold the Future is the longest of The Flower Kings' albums, and the third of their two- hour-plus monstrosities alongside Stardust We Are, Flower Power, and the subsequent Paradox Hotel. Later 2CD releases from them have either explicitly designated the second disc as bonus tracks or not used the entire running span of the CDs - the Kings perhaps belatedly have realised that 90 or so minutes of very high-quality music is more satisfying than over 2 hours of music which is a mixture of great moments and weaker ones.

Certainly, after two somewhat tighter releases (Space Revolver and The Rainmaker), one might have reason to worry that Roine Stolt and his buddies had once again decided to just stop editing and throw every musical idea they had into the album until they had once again filled two CDs to bursting point. Certainly, the somewhat repetitive opening epic The Truth Will Set You Free gives reason to be concerned; there's various fun musical sections in there, but they keep looping around to an underwhelming chorus and it feels like the song's cannibalised a bunch of different compositions solely for the sake of padding it out so this album can have its super-long epic.

Unfortunately, things don't pick up once it's over. Roine seems to have decided to include more lyrics and vocals - a problem since they seem particularly weak this time around - but, more fatally, the music as a whole seems rather directionless and meandering. It's pretty enough, but it feels like an exercise in Flower Kings-by-numbers, jamming away with one eye on the clock until the two CDs are filled to try and pander to the expectations established by Stardust We Are and Flower Power. I miss The Rainmaker, and the additional focus that album had, already - and, for that matter, I miss the band's sense of fun, since the more whimsical moments their pre-Rainmaker work was notable for seem to be absent from this.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Let's face it, these guys are an extremely productive bunch of musicians! 140 minutes of music in a double album and this was not even the first time they did that! (Nor the last as a matter of fact!) You have to admire the Flower Kings only for their productivity if not anything else. But as we ... (read more)

Report this review (#2853966) | Posted by istef | Tuesday, November 22, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Unfold the Future is the seventh studio album by Swedish progressive rock band The Flower Kings. Behind the not exactly beautiful artwork we can find 2 CDs, so this is the third of their 4 double albums. The first disc is about 74 minutes long, the second one is a bit shorter, it clocks at abo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1724002) | Posted by Norbert | Saturday, May 20, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Their First Masterpiece. It is with their first album with new (at the time) star drummer Zoltan Csorsz that TFK produced their first masterpiece. This is up there with the best of the 70s progressive rock albums, a remarkable achievement given this two-CD album is almost 140 minutes long, and TF ... (read more)

Report this review (#1703405) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, March 18, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's late and according to my forecoming schedule I should sleep but first this review has to be written. The Flower King's seventh studio record is not a record to throw away when you write the history of progressive rock. It could be a masterpiece that will become immortal. When 2001's "The ... (read more)

Report this review (#1181897) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Sunday, June 1, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Around 100 minutes of great music. Unfold The Future contains unique and classic pieces in the discography of the band led by Stolt. Mainly The Truth Will Set You Free, whose title quotes the words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John chapter 8, verse 32: "You will know the truth, and the t ... (read more)

Report this review (#940345) | Posted by sinslice | Saturday, April 6, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This double CD is quite long and contains so various music that opinions are way different to get to a nice consensus. It is the best example (or counter-example) of these observations. Simply, the epics here are much great and extraordinary. The tracks "Devil's Playground" and "Silent Inferno" ... (read more)

Report this review (#376011) | Posted by Progdaybay | Friday, January 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow, 2 and a half hours long, fook me. Yes, this is alt of material to digest, which does make the album slightly poorer than their other releases, but this album does contain some absolutely fabulous moments. With a more jazzier direction, and Daneil Gildenlow (another icon of this centuries ... (read more)

Report this review (#289406) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, July 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The two Epics save the day. Yep, most of the tracks on this double CD are not up-to the usual Flokis high standard. This would definately be a TWO stars BUT Too late for tomatoes ((gets a bit silly at the end) but good fret work makes this a good track), Fast Lane - (not long enough) and Sile ... (read more)

Report this review (#229758) | Posted by M27Barney | Monday, August 3, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I feel sorry for those who don't get this album. Personally, I think this is the best album they ever recorded (not my favorite mind you, but definitely their best.....there is a difference). Because of the sheer mass of music here, it is understandable that some might have problems with this. ... (read more)

Report this review (#215186) | Posted by infandous | Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Unfolding the Future This was my introduction into 'The Flower Kings' and I must say I'm glad I started here. The two epical songs sandwiching a host of great songs was a grand idea. Although, like most double albums there are low points that I usually over-look, which weaken the overall deli ... (read more)

Report this review (#179680) | Posted by mothershabooboo | Saturday, August 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I marked 5 stars, the window warned me realy to contemplate whether to mark something as a masterpiece of progmusic. To The window and to all of you who doubts about my judgement, there is nothing to ponder about, because this is the Masterpiece!!! I can not refer to this piece in the way ... (read more)

Report this review (#160408) | Posted by L´étranger | Friday, February 1, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My first acquintance with the Flower Kings was overwelming. This album is a real true masterpiece because of the variety of styles, virtuos musicians en characteristic voices. And what a start: "The truth will set you free" can compete with the best progrock-epics of all times. Maybe better than ... (read more)

Report this review (#151714) | Posted by Erwyn | Monday, November 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Flower Kings are one of the greatest bands ever. I love their type of music, and this album, for me, is undoubtedly where it peaks. The music here is lusher, more layered than on previous TFK albums, which is immediately obvious at the start of the wonderful "The Truth Will Set You Free" (one ... (read more)

Report this review (#150242) | Posted by King Crimson776 | Sunday, November 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was the first album I purchased of FK, and on first listen, and with most of FK I was thinking "What have I bought here??" and I wasnt at all happy. After the 3rd listen I was hooked, and thought it was the best album of my 800 odd CD collection. I will not give a track by track review ... (read more)

Report this review (#97507) | Posted by Frippertron | Tuesday, November 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I feel sorry for those who don't get this album. Personally, I think this is the best album they ever recorded (not my favorite mind you, but definetly their best.....there is a difference). Because of the sheer mass of music here, it is understandable that some might have problems with this. ... (read more)

Report this review (#92484) | Posted by | Thursday, September 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars On this album TFK took some risk with an evolution towards a more jazz-rock/fusion sound. The problem for me is the lack of good songwriting. The jazz-rock jamming they develope sounds good but it's so aimless and extense that I get bored of it easily. I prefer more structured tracks. The fir ... (read more)

Report this review (#77677) | Posted by eddietrooper | Tuesday, May 9, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I find this album a little bit embarassing! I have a question in my possible that in more than 2 hours of music there is nothing interesting? Everithing is just like everything they have done before, that is similar to too many other bands...i just can say that are always the same cl ... (read more)

Report this review (#72330) | Posted by MorgothSunshine | Sunday, March 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I walked through the aisles, hoping for my eye to be caught by the sexy young mistress that I'd take home that night. The rain poured down outside upon that unfamiliar land that was Austin, TX, but the chances I took that night were all inside this building. I'd just moved to Austin a few month ... (read more)

Report this review (#41738) | Posted by Man Overboard | Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Need I say it again? A new Flower Kings album is always, always a good thing. Even better when it's a double album! And with songs that last fourteen minutes, twenty-They start off Unfold the Future with a bang. "The Truth Will Set You Free" is a thirty minute extravaganza, setting the pace fo ... (read more)

Report this review (#40104) | Posted by | Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am conscientious of many things and references that become about this disc, in fact I only found a site where it is appraised to him like which it is, a great work, is something decepciónate not to find more references, this worked for me is very representative in the personnel, since this CD was ... (read more)

Report this review (#39873) | Posted by Shelket | Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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