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The Flower Kings

Symphonic Prog

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The Flower Kings Back in the World of Adventures album cover
4.04 | 700 ratings | 56 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. World of Adventures (13:37)
2. Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope (7:49)
3. Go West Judas (7:47)
4. Train to Nowhere (3:50)
5. Oblivion Road (3:48) *
6. Theme for a Hero (8:33) *
7. Temple of the Snakes (1:24)
8. My Cosmic Lover (6:47) *
9. The Wonder Wheel (4:17) *
10. Big Puzzle (13:35)

Total Time 71:27

* not on 1996 LP edition

Line-up / Musicians

- Roine Stolt / lead vocals, guitars, keyboards, composer
- Tomas Bodin / piano, Hammond organ, Mellotron, synths, flute, effects, mixing
- Michael Stolt / bass, vocals
- Jaime Salazar / drums
- Hasse Bruniusson / drums (10), percussion

- Ulf Wallander / soprano saxophone (5,8,10)

Releases information

Artwork: Roine Stolt

CD Foxtrot Records ‎- FOX CD 015 (1995, Sweden)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 051 (1999, Europe)

LP Record Heaven ‎- RHPD 6 (1996, Sweden) Only six tracks, omitting #5,6,8,9 from CD

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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THE FLOWER KINGS Back in the World of Adventures ratings distribution

(700 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

THE FLOWER KINGS Back in the World of Adventures reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars As far as I am concerned this is their better outing so if you look at my rating the rest will not fare better. I discovered this at the time of release , and it was already much heralded by prog fanzines around the world so I went along with although not really convinced.
Review by loserboy
5 stars Roine Stolt is clearly at his finest on this record creating some heafty tasty guitar parts. Roine also has teamed up with some amazing musicians which certainly add lots of powder to the release. Songs are exceptionally well put together and have a very strong spirtual feeling to them. This is superbly well recorded and sounds quite nice on a good stereo system. Roine sings on many of the tracks which as usual carries a strong John Wetton -like sound to it. Superb musicianshp and is highly recommended.
Review by The Prognaut
4 stars After shaking the prog rock world with his Prime Opera "The Flower King", Roine STOLT remarked a point of departure on the musical scene by putting together a band named after his first solo recording and pulling off the incredible release of "Back in the World of Adventures".

In the purest symphonic tradition, the sound of THE FLOWER KINGS has evidentially the YES, GENESIS and CAMEL influences, even the psychedelic ones and the old prog school of KING CRIMSON. All of this musical tendencies where the Swedish band is founded on, are brightly blended with a jazzy touch that gives a very personal taste of THE FLOWER KINGS.

The musical execution is superb and all the musicians handle their instruments just perfectly. Nowadays, Roine STOLT's guitar could easily be catalogued as one of the best surrounding the prog scene. The legendary guitarist from seventies band KAIPA, twangs the strings of his instrument arbitrarily in a very peculiar and exquisite way, being occasionally reminded of Master Steve HOWE. His voice full of passion, suits perfectly the kind of music the band plays, obtaining the most enjoyable atmospheres. Tomas BODIN is yet another monster on keyboards. High voltages of Hammond organs and mellotrons take us through extremely delicious passages and conquering music. The rhythmic section is masterfully taken over by Roine's brother, Michael STOLT, on bass and by the Chilean native, Jaime SALAZAR. For the perfect ending, comes along the talented multi-instrumentalist Hasse BRUNIUSSON, who collaborated in the 70's with the mythical band SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA.

This great band's music jumps elegantly from extremely violent moments with STOLT's effective riffs, to beautiful fragments of peace and quietness. My favorite pieces are "World Of Adventure", "Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope", "Theme for a Hero" and "Big Puzzle". From beautiful and lyrical vocals to exuberant instrumental passages, the shape and composition of "Back In The World Of Adventures" is insuperable. Enjoyable from beginning to end.

With this CD, the legend of one of the best nineties progressive rock exponents had begun, and was meant to be one of the most considerable conversation subjects of that decade and of this millennium.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's holiday season in my country. All offices closed their business for a full one week. It's a celebration time after a full fasting month. I drove the miles in Jakarta as well as Bandung (100 miles away from Jakarta) with a stack of CDs in my car: The Flower Kings (5 albums), Kamelot, Nightwish, Symphony X, IQ and some local bands such as Gigi, God Bless. Coincidently my prog colleague, Tatan was listening to TFK first album. He sent me a short message on my cell phone: "The first album of TFK is really great!". What a coincidence! I received his message while I was listening to "My Cosmic Lover" in my car, driving around Bandung city. Life is so beautiful with prog music and prog friends. BTW, Tatan is a also a die hard collector of Led Zeppelin. He owns approx 150 original bootleg CDs of LZ. He is a true collector! He also has a state of the art, high end, stereo set in his music room.

Having collected a bunch of TFK albums, I think I should start reviewing their old albums. This is my opinion about their first album. (Am not sure whether or not this is their first as I got confused with Roine Stolt "The Flower Kings" that I have so far assumed as their first album).

"World Of Adventure" kicks off with a sort of ambient, spacey keyboard and piano sounds. It then flows nicely with choirs line followed with full music when all instruments play at the same time. The guitar part at the beginning is played in rhythm style with soft riffs. Keyboard flows nicely altogether with bass line. The music flows from moderate to faster tempo with some transitions. In the middle of the track I can sense clearly the sound of GENESIS's "The Fountain of Salmacis" of Nursery Crime album. This happens with the keyboard sound at approximately minute 7:58.

"Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope" is a sort of continuous instrumental music performed in moderate tempo with symphonic touch especially the keyboard sounds. The solo guitar is really stunning, accentuated with excellent keyboard sound. The music turns to slow in the middle of the track with some spacey style (reminds me to Ozric Tentacles') until it fades away with soft keyboard sound. The bass line is nice during this part. It then continues with acoustic guitar work until it ends. It's an anti climax.

"Go West Judas" is my all-time favorite TFK track. Performed in relatively fast tempo with rocking style and great voice line. This is the track that truly represents the kind of TFK sound: continuous music with stunning guitar (by Roine Stolt) and great bass line (by Michael Stolt) that flows naturally throughout the track. Oh boy . I love the guitar solo during interlude. Mr. Roine Stolt, you are really a great prog guitar maestro!! The drumming stools by Jaime Salazar is also excellent. This song is very strong in songwriting and has a tight structure. Brilliant work!

"Train To Nowhere" starts mellow with powerful voice line of Roine Stolt with soft keyboard and some howling guitar sound. It's an excellent intro. It is then combined with keyboard sound. The music turns high but still in a mellow style. The guitar work is really excellent. It flows seamlessly to fifth track "Oblivion Road" which is heavily influenced by jazz - especially on the way keyboard is played and the bass line. This is a nice instrumental track with guest appearance of Ulf Wallander on Soprano Sax. It's a kind of treat for us because this is really jazz tunes. The only difference is probably on the howling guitar sound performed in this track.

The 6th track "Theme For A Hero" starts with a keyboard work and flows smoothly in full music style with guitar and keyboard as dominant instruments. At approx minute 2:00 I can sense a sound of GENESIS' "Hairless Heart" of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" album. Luckily there is some piano sound that enriches the music.

"My Cosmic Lover" is another favorite of mine. It has a continuous structure, performed in a rocking style with dazzling bass line and powerful voice line. It's a straight forward music with great guitar work.

"The Wonder Wheel" is an instrumental piece exploring the Hackettian guitar style accompanied by a keyboard sound. It reminds me to Steve Hackett solo album. It's a mellow track with stunning guitar backed up by sort of programmed sound.

"Big Puzzle" is actually a great track where it has some memorable segments. Unfortunately this track is lacking in structure. For my taste, this track does not bring the ultimate climax at the end of the track. Even though, the intro part with piano and guitar work are really stunning. The guitar sound is fascinating especially just before the great voice line come into play. It starts mellow and it's really cool at the beginning. It reminds me to the early King Crimson style especially on Fripp's guitar style. The music turns to faster tempo at approx min 2:30 demonstrating guitar and keyboard. It's really nice on this part. I especially like when keyboard takes part as solo on approx min 3:30. Uugghh . what a wonderful piece this part is!!!! This ends until approx min 7:00. The rest is just a mellow music with no climax. If you compare this with YES "Close to the Edge" it is very clear that there is a climax at the end of the track. This does not happen with "Big Puzzle". It fades away .. with no memorable climax. So, it lacks structural integrity. And, unfortunately it happens at the concluding track.

Overall, I give this album with 4/5 rating. As a debut album, this is a good start! I recommend you to own the CD. GW, Indonesia.

Review by hdfisch
3 stars The second TFK-album Back in the world of adventures and the first one under the band's name represents a logical development of the predecessor The Flower King. Their music became more filigree and more complex without losing any accessibilty. Nevertheless it's a kind of music that is growing on you with every repeated listening and one gets never tired of it. Although their roots in 70's are still quite obvious it does not sound dated or extremely derivative since they manage to bring in their own typical flavour, the typical TFK-style we (the fans) all love so much. Of course this album is not their masterpiece, their best things were still to come at this point. Nevertheless it's a very solid record, admittedly with some weaker moments being more on the poppy side of Prog like My Cosmic Lovers, but even such songs are presented by them at a high level of quality and they never sound really bad in fact. Knowing that most of their albums can be judged mainly as a whole piece of art , I'll still try to review this album track by track and as objective as possible (although it will be difficult for me).

The title song is starting very much Yes-alike with several voices in overdubs and developing into a fascinating Progrock song with several mood shifts. Really great opener!!! The following instrumental track Atomic Prince is a classical inspired piece with guitar and mellotron and leads over without break to Kaleidoscope with pure acoustic guitar sounding a bit like some of Steve Howe's solo works. Go West Judas is a very rocking song with driving rhythm section and heavy guitar play. An excellent one with great guitar as usually by Roine Stolt. Train to nowhere is a nice ballade, maybe a bit too simple and airplay friendly whereas with Oblivion road they are showing us their more jazzy side once again. Like in two more songs ("My Cosmic Lover" and "Big Puzzle")where guest musician Ulf Wallander is presenting his awesome soprano sax interludes. Theme for a hero being very much dominated by guitar in the beginning develops to a great song during its course with guitar and keyboards as main instrument in alternation. Drumwork by Jaime Salazar is excellent as well and Michael Stolt's bass is a bit reminiscent of Chris Squire. Temple Of The Snakes is a very short instrumental with atmospheric keyboards, actually more an introduction to the mentioned a bit pop-ish "My Cosmic Lover" which has some trippy "Flower Power-feeling". Maybe not very relevant for Prog, but still enjoyable even for a Prog-listener. Even here all instruments sound fantastic, a very round and perfect song in fact and immediately rousing. The Wooden Wheel is another atmospheric instrumental, nice but not exciting as well, but I would not call it a filler, since its function is more like a transition to the second long epic track The Big Puzzle. This one is starting more restrained with slowly rising tempo, alternating solos of keyboards and guitar and a rather lush finish.


Back in the world of adventures is a rather good and solid album, very enjoyable to listen, but still not as great as the following ones. I'd say it deserves 3 1/2 stars!

Review by chessman
3 stars This is a solid and decent debut, although, with Roine Stolt's history in rock, it is hardly a debut! Of course, it is simply the debut as regards the Flower Kings as a group. For me, this is nowhere near their best work, it is too much rock and not enough prog. And also, despite being named amongst the musicians given above, this is the one album on which Hasse Froberg DOESN'T appear, so there are none of the glorious Jon Anderson- like harmonies that are an integral part of the current Flower Kings. the opener, "Back In The World Of Adventures", is a good track to start with. The guitar is a little too loud and formalised for me, but the melody is nice and the interplay between the musicians is typical Flower Kings. Next up is the instrumental, "Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope", which is very impressive. Indeed, the best tracks on this album are the instrumentals, for me. It has a strong, fast paced melody, before quietening down and ending with a Hackett- like acoustic piece - very nice! Now comes another rocking track, "Go West Judas". I disliked this one when I first heard it, but it has since grown on me, partly because Tomas Bodin's keyboards are too the fore here, especially at the end of the song. Not really progressive but a decent effort. "Train To Nowhere" is one of those quieter songs that Roine sings in a rather depressing voice. Not bad but no better than average. This is quickly followed by what could be called part two of the song, the instrumental "Oblivion Road". This is better, nice and quiet with lots of things going on in the background. Track 6 is, for me, one of the highlights of the album - "Theme For A Hero". Another instrumental, it is upbeat and cheerful without being over sentimental, and the guitar work here is excellent, A nice mix of acoustic and electric. This leads to the 7th track, "Temple Of The Snakes", which is a short piece, and almost seems to belong at the end of the previous track. Nice and moody this, and, indeed, conjured up, for me, visions of a temple, somewhere in the mysterious East! Track 8 is one of my least favourites, "My Cosmic Lover". This is too pyschedelic for me, and not particularly original, although I couldn't call it bad. The lyrics are derivative though and took me back to the late sixties in a way. Probably the effect they were supposed to have, I would imagine! The penultimate track is "The Wonder Wheel". Another instrumental, not as good as the others, but again, shortish, (for the Flower Kings!) and moody. Finally comes track 10, the magnificent "Big Puzzle". Another track, like the opener, over 13 minutes long. Starting off almost hesitantly, without a particularly strong melody, it changes, half way through, to present a very strong melody, with excellent, unobtrusive guitar behind Roine's vocals. A good song and a fine way to finish this album. For me, it cannot compare to "Flower Power", or "Unfold The Future", but it is a good effort. Although the next album, "Retropolis", was disappointing for me, it did herald the arrival of Mr Froberg, and the last piece of the jigsaw was from then on in place. Early Flower Kings fans will like this more than later fans.
Review by Zitro
4 stars 4.3 stars

An masterful debut from one of my favourite modern progressive rock bands. The Flower Kings are a progressive rock band with a clear 70s feel, yet are not copycats from the Prog Giants. Sure, they are influenced by them, but that doesn't make then uncreative. One of the elements that make me happiest about this album is the mood/tone of it. The Flower Kings's title represents their sound : pacific, beautiful, and uplifting. Roine Stolt(guitar, vocals) is the man behind the band, and he always composes the big majority of the music from the band. His guitar playing is art itself, and may remind listeners of Steve Howe. The Keyboard playing is essential to the band, the bass is loud and thundering, and the percussion is of high quality.

Two obvious highlights are the opener and closer of this album. 'World of Adventures' is a magical track full of joy ... and virtuosity! This song can really lift my mood whenever I feel down with its beauty. 'Big Puzzle' is a phenomenal epic and I am glad it is here to download. I may be biased because this is the first song I heard from The Flower Kings and the song that has drawn me into them. This song is full of brilliant melodies, and magical moments (one moment is similar to Close To The Edge's ambient section).

The Other two highlights of the album are the heavy 'Go West Judas' with heavy electric guitar riffs, screaming vocal lines, and church organ playing; and of course the goosebumps-inducing 8 minutes of beauty called "Theme For A Hero".

The rest of the tracks are good songs of various styles, from ambient jazz (oblivion Road), to mellow pop (Train to Nowhere), to ELP influenced material (Atomic Prince) to straightforward melodic rock/pop (My Cosmic Lover)

1. World Of Adventure (9/10) 2. Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope (6.5/10) 3. Go West Judas (9/10) 4. Train To Nowhere (7.5/10) 5. Oblivion Road (5.5/10) 6. Theme For A Hero (8.5/10) 8. My Cosmic Lover (6/10) 9. The Wonder Wheel (7/10) 10. Big Puzzle (9.5/10)

My Rating : B+

Review by Moatilliatta
3 stars Here we have The Flower Kings' debut under the name (Roine Stolt's The Flower King is widely recognized as the group's first album). Of the ten songs, five are instrumentals, and two 13+ minute pieces are placed on each end. Much of this material could haven easily fit in with the 70's progressive movement. Roine bears a distinguishable accent and a voice full of strength and passion, as he unveils his visions of peace and harmony. The songs with vocals have an advantage, but the instrumentals, for the most part, keep up well. The instrumentals range from jams to sonic excursions. It may have been better off if one or two of the instrumentals were substituted with more vocalized pieces; a couple of the instrumentals really don't add much to the album, and could even be seen as filler. At the same time, they do add a little extra flavor. Well rounded for sure.

Though all of the songs fit in with each other, and it is surely not a daunting task to listen to this straight through, each piece can be appreciated as their own entity. The highlights are the end pieces: "World of Adventures" and "Big Puzzle," as well as "Go West Judas," and "Theme for a Hero."

With an accessible sound, but still having a few of their own quirks, and a good, positive message, this album is a great start for the band, and a worthy addition to any prog collection.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars The Flower Kings second CD (yes, I´m one of those who consider Roine Stolt´s The Flower King the group´s first release) is an absolute delight to hear! A wonderful piece of modern prog that really won my heart (and ears). Although I stil think Retropolis is their best ever, Back to The World Of Adventures is a very close second. The music is an incredible mix of many 70´s influenced sounds played through a modern band to give a very unique sound. Kind fo Yes meets King Crimson meets Frank Zappa, with touches of Pink Floyd and Genesis here and there. Still, their music is original and no wonder they are truly one of the kings (no pun intended) of progressive music in the new millenium.

Actually they are still goind strong, but their new releases never achieved the impact of the initial albums like this one. All tracks are good and unlike so many of their latter day effords, there is no real filler material here, and we´re talking about a 70+ CD! I think Theme For A Hero is one of their very best songs (and their best ever instrumental track). The musicians, if you didin´t realize it yet, are superb. Stolt´s songwriting is at his peak and the prodution is very good. Back In The World Of Adventures is the first album to feature the classic TFK line up, minus vocalist Hand Fromberg. This CD is the only Kings release to feature Stolt as the sole singer in the entire disc.

If you enjoy symphonic progressive music, this is a must have. Like all TFK output it may take a few spins to really get into this colorful rainbow of sounds. But once you get it, you´re hooked. A modern day classic prog record.. Highly recommended.

Review by NJprogfan
4 stars Fantastic 2nd album by the guys, (the 1st was actually Ronnie's 1st solo album) marred only by Stolt's fixation on Fripp and Howe. Firstly, the arrangements are top notch. There's nary a stolen melody, (which hampers the following album) or much rambling, (which pads alot of their newer discs). Here you'll find some top notch symphonic prog with tons of King Crimson noodling, especially the last two songs. "World Of Adventure" and "My Cosmic Lover" have some killer riffs and themes. It's only Stolt's occasional mispronounciation of some words that make you want to cringe, but for the most part he does a credible job. Bodin has some nice keyboard runs here and there, but he's not given enough to do, yet. It's the track, "Theme For A Hero" an instrumental, that Bodin and the band play that typical bright, airy, uptempo Flower King's song we all know and love. It's my absolute favorite instrumental track by the band ever. Phenomenal melodies and chords that stay with you for days on end. Heaven! For the most part, this album is just the tip of the iceberg for the band. After a step back literally, ('Retropolis') they soar into the stratosphere hitting on all cylinders with a sputter here and there. This album is their launching pad! A jet fueled 4 star effort and a must have starting point if you want to know what they are all about.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The Flower Kings is a very prolific Swedish band from a even more prolific leader : Roine Stolt. He is participating in so many projects running at the same time (even more than Clive Nolan from Pendragon & Arena amongst many others as well) that I wonder how he can manage all this. Anyway, TFK (to make it shorter) plays a rather sophisticated music filled with lots of inspired guitar and nice keyboard sounds.

The first time I listened to "World Of Adventures" (the track) , I was really impressed. I was brought back to where Yes had left me (GFTO in 1977). I could find a similar atmosphere at least on this title track. This is truely a wonderful number. It synthetizes very well all the TFK world. Magnificent. Listen to the end of this beautiful song and tell me that it does not make you think of "Awaken". OK, sounding as Yes, does not mean per se that you are a good band; but in this case, they are.

It is always difficult to decide the track listing of an album. Once you open with such a grandiose number, expectations are high for the other numbers. And this is the problem with their first album. We won't get anything coming close to it.

Of course, "Atomic Prince Kaleidoscope" is very pleasant, full of these guitar sounds I will love so much in their music. Very melodic, this instrumental is actually a very good following piece. It will almost sound Crimsonesque (ITCOTCK, era) during a very light and quiet moment; almost bucolic. A very peaceful track. I think this is just beautiful music.

"Go West Judas" is a much harder number. TFK will alternate the most emotional sounds with a dark and repetitive riff as KC produced so many. Another good track, I must say. The mellow ballad "Train To Nowhere" sounds as beautiful as the opening track, but only for a very, very short time (near the end). If this part wouldn't have been included, I would have said that it was a rather dull.

The album won't gain in quality with the instrumental "Oblivion Road". A jazzy improv sounding as...yes, KC. Would you believe ? Too much experimental to my ears. "Theme for a Hero" is again more symphonic. At times, the grandeur of the band is back for this other instrumental piece. More keyboard oriented. TFK will produce an enormous amount of such tracks throughout their career. I guess I just like this...

Still, TFK will also alternate the best and the worse on this albums, but on future ones as well. .. After the useless interlude of "Temple of the Snakes", we'll get the disco - Oriental "My Cosmic Lover". A new genre, I guess. Press skip. "The Wonder Wheel" ends the trilogy of rather poor and unintersting songs.

We are, fortunately, brought back to the good side with "Big Puzzle". A soft jazzy mood with good percussion, adds an original flavour to this track. At times, this number sounds as a good old Santana one ("Oye Como Va"). Lots of off-beat rhythms for this long and almost instrumental piece. At times spacey as well. A complex number, with no real structure.

My favourite moments here will be the vocal parts. I really like Roine's voice, can't help that. The finale is remarkable and this is how I prefer this band. They can provide with lots of enthusiasm but at the same time, I also have difficulties with some numbers.

If you enjoy Yes and King Crimson, you should really give a try to TFK. This album is of course not their best one but you'll find here all the musical approachs that they will investigate later on. As such, this debut album is interesting.

TFK might sound nostalgic. But I am a nostalgic person. So, for me there is nothing wrong here. Three stars.

Review by Fight Club
4 stars Here is another band I've been listening to a whole lot lately. They do the whole symphonic prog thing, but take it to another level. This isn't your typical serious prog, highly focused on making tight compositions. It's FUN! Really it is! The music is really catchy and energetic. It really gets me in a good mood with all the hopping synth lines. However, the composition is also excellent. Roine Stolt's guitar work is all over the place. He's quite a talented guitar player, but he's also got a lot of feeling. The same goes to all the band members. Composition is a top priority here, but it doesn't detract from the music. Melody always seems to come first.

That doesn't mean classic prog fans will be appalled by it though. They take all the aspects of the classics such as Gentle Giant and Yes, but expand upon them. It's got syncopation, time signature and tempo changes, complex harmonies, and all. So musicians can really appreciate it, but so can people who just wanna hear a good tune. This band is recommended!

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Anothe band formed in mid-90's as a part of the progressive rock revival,THE FLOWER KINGS are led by overproductive Swedish musician Roine Stolt.Actually the story of THE FLOWER KINGS begun in mid-90's,when Stolt gathered some musicians in order to promote his personal (excellent) work ''The flower king''.This touring project received so much enthusiasm and love by the public that Stolt decided to form a normal band under this name.THE FLOWER KINGS released their debut in 1995,called ''Back in the world of adventures''.Not unlike SPOCK'S BEARD,the Swedish band tried to bring the 70's prog sound back in publicity,mixing a variety of vintage influences and styles with the modern technologies' sound.The result is very attractive and the album contains a combination of short and long tracks with echoes from KAIPA (Stolt's first ever band),CAMEL,GENESIS and KING CRIMSON,heavy jazzy doses and some spacey keyboards.Overall,this is fantastic work with strong melodies,nice instrumental passages and great diversity that you simply should add in your collection.Highly recommended!
Review by The Crow
4 stars I love the debut of this band... Ok, maybe the true debut of The Flower Kings were Roine Stolt's "The Flower King", but this is the first with the name of this fantastic band.

And the sings of identety of the band were here yet... The soft passages in the vein of Yes, the experimentation in the tradition of King Crimson, the jazz influences, some commercial and rockier tracks... And the unmistakeable personality of Roine Stolt, with his omnipresent, versatile and elegant guitar, and his soft and special voice. The best The Flower Kings's band were still to come, but the musicians here make it really well... Jaimer Salazar was a good drummer, and Michael Stolt is not Jonas Reingold (that's just impossible...), but he plays pretty good... And of course, the great keyboards of this fantastic music called Tomas Bodin are here. Really good work.

The style of the album is really variated, like every album The Flower Kings have made... Some tracks are just easy to listen, and really enjoyable, like Theme for a Hero, Train to Nowhere and My cosmic Lover... The experimentation comes with Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope, Temple of the Snakes and The Wonder Wheel... Go West Judas is the typical Flower King's rock track, with good progressive parts. And of course, the best songs of the album are also the longer: World of Adventures and Big Puzzle, two great tracks wich give a clue of the long and wonderful epics The Flower Kings will make in the future.

Conclusion: not perfect, but a really good album... A must for every The Flower King's fan, and if you don't know this band, this isn't a bad place to start... Because the album is short and easy to listen. Beginning with longer albums like "Stardust You Are" or "Ulfold the Future" can be a little hard if you don't know this band. And the facts that will make this group famous are here... Maybe not so brilliant like later albums, but it's still a wonderful landing in the scene.

Review by progrules
4 stars This album is their debut but not at all the first one I bought of this band. In fact it was thanks to the stream of Big Puzzle on progarchives that I decided to buy this. It proved to be one of the best tracks of the album but that's logical I think. The other great tracks to me are World of adventure, Go west Judas and Theme for a hero and also Atomic prince/Kaleidoscope is very much worthwhile. The other tracks are less significant to me.

Overall a good album but not really the best by TFK. Still 4 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars The FLOWER KINGS debut record continues down the same path as Roine Stolt's "The Flower King" record with a few alerations. It's kind of cool that the actual cd has the picture of "The Flower King" on it from the cover of that previous album. The lineup has changed somewhat with Tomas Bodin taking over the keyboard, while Michael Stolt is the new bass player. Hasse Froberg is not on this one, but will resume singing on the next one "Retropolis". Salazar and Bruniusson shared the drum duties on "The Flower King" but Salazar is the drummer here with Bruniusson on percussion, except for the final track "Big Puzzle" where he gets behind the kit.

A subtle intro to "World Of Adventures" before we get some harmonies and a full sound. Roine starts to sing 3 minutes in as the soundscape becomes warm and uplifting. Some scorching guitar after 5 1/2 minutes. A nice upbeat section follows before we get some more great guitar from Roine. Check out Bodin 7 1/2 minutes in. Some blistering guitar 10 minutes in followed up by mellotron. This song is an adventure all right. "Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope" opens with a keyboard melody that is joined by the drums and then the guitar. The guitar 2 1/2 minutes in is fantastic ! The keys sound like THE DOORS 4 minutes in.The second part of the song is pastoral with birds chirping and gently played guitar. "Go West Judas" has a nice heavy sound to it as vocals come in. Just a great solid sound especially after 6 minutes. More incredible guitar as well.

"Train To Nowhere" is mellow with reserved vocals. This is an emotional song that is dedicated to the memory of Raoul Wallenberg. The organ sounds really good as the guitar plays on. The guitar beautifully soars followed by waves of mellotron as the song blends into "Oblivion Road". This one is a little experimental with mellotron as sax, organ and piano come and go. As close to spacey as they will get. I like it. "Theme For A Hero" has so many mood and tempo changes throughout. Just a gorgeous sound 4 minutes in. The piano, guitar and bass shine after 6 minutes. Great symphonic track ! "Temple Of The Snakes" is experimental with mellotron that blends into "My Cosmic Lover". Actually the snake-like vocals to begin it connect it with "Temple Of The Snakes" as well. The drumming is so crisp but i'm not a big fan of the vocals that sing "My cosmic lover", it sounds eighties to me. "The Wonder Wheel" is an instrumental and one of my favs. It's dark and atmospheric with some angular guitar. The final song is called "Big Puzzle". It opens with reserved vocals, flute and piano. Simply beautiful ! Sax melodies are also featured. Roine lays down some guitar solos. Bodin starts to get active on the organ. The lyrics are fanciful and I like them a lot. A change 7 1/2 minutes in as the song seems to stop and restart with Roine singing. It goes on for a few minutes until we get such an uplifting passage with soaring guitar. As i'm listening to this right now my son just said to me "The guitar sounds really good." Nice. The perfect end to an incredible album.

What I like about this record better than "The Flower King" are tracks like "Oblivion Road" , "Temple Of The Snakes" and "The Wonder Wheel" as they offer some variety and darkness and therefore some balance that the previous record didn't offer.

Review by Chicapah
4 stars It seems to me the group known as The Flower Kings started the day that Roine Stolt wisely enlisted the multifaceted services of the highly-talented keyboard man Tomas Bodin. Therefore this album is their official debut. And what an astounding debut it is! It's one of those CDs that just keeps on getting better and better with every spin and no band ever put together a better introductory showcase of their talents than these guys did with this recording. There's not a weak link in the chain of musicians involved and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this album to those who have yet to investigate the symphonic prog offerings of this Swedish juggernaut.

The album's namesake, "The World of Adventures," drifts in like a sneaky, dark shadow before spotlights illuminate the room in the form of Roine's sledgehammer guitar and dense, stacked vocals cleverly fashioned into a tongue-in-cheek 50s Sci-fi kind of nostalgic motif. Stolt's aptitude for melody becomes evident very quickly as the memorable verse/chorus that includes the tell-tale line of "we're children of the Woodstock nation/lost in peace and contemplation" rings out in three-part harmony. There's an effortless flow running through this song that incorporates the big bass tone of Michael Stolt, screaming guitar rides from Roine and the incredible soundscapes being created by Bodin. It's a fun tune and the grandiose finale doesn't disappoint. "Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope" follows and they're complimentary instrumentals that are masterful. The former features a very enlightening synthesizer theme and fluid Alan Holdsworth-ish guitarisms layered over Jaime Salazar's crisp drumming. The number emphasizes the band's skillful manipulations of dynamics in their arrangements and Tomas' Mellotron and flute towards the end creates a gorgeous effect that inspires visual images of snowflakes falling through naked trees. The latter air is a serene acoustic guitar gem that shows just how versatile Roine Stolt is. Short but very, very sweet.

My favorite prog time signature is 7/8 so it's no shock that I'm crazy about "Go West Judas," a true hard rocker that has a driving guitar/bass riff based on that foundation. Once again Salazar shows his prowess on the drum kit, Stolt delivers a blistering guitar solo that will rip your head right off your shoulders and the sharp-edged, acrid lyrics never let up in their pointed incriminations. After that roiling stampede one could use a break and the softer ballad, "Train to Nowhere," is the perfect stress- reliever. Roine delivers a heartfelt, emotional vocal here backed by thick harmonies and Bodin's understated mix of Mellotron, piano and organ gliding underneath would be a shame to overlook. What follows is a trio of instrumentals beginning with the jazzy "Oblivion Road" that introduces the velvet tones of a soprano sax to the proceedings performed by future member Ulf Wallander as he soars gracefully over a very subtle jam session. At times this group can get a little "out there" when they step into the jazz rock/fusion realm but this time they resist the urge to overindulge and the result is just right.

"Theme for a Hero," with its Chris Squire-like bass riff charging out of the gate, is yet another example of why I consider these guys to be one of the "masters of melody." There's a stream of musical ideas steadily rushing by here like a river in spring that never ceases to thrill me. It's just one of many highlights on the album. Next, Tomas gets his own moment to shine on the impressive "Temple of the Snakes," a blink-and-you'll-miss-it piece involving nothing but synthesizers that leads seamlessly into one of the best examples of FROG (funky prog) music in existence, the dance-inducing "My Cosmic Lover." This is one smokin' hot cut with the rhythm section of Jaime and Michael laying down an unforgettable groove that won't quit. Roine turns in one of his strongest vocals on the disc and, just when you think it's getting to be predictable, Wallander wanders in with more flash from his soprano sax. If you were putting together a collection of prog dance tunes for a party this one just might have to be the opener. But don't worry, purists, disco it ain't.

"The Wonder Wheel" is a bit of a curve ball. Its beautiful but sad, melancholy mood is an unexpected musical gift that slowly builds to a passionate crescendo over a haunting, ominous drum beat. I glossed over this track the first couple of listens but eventually slowed down long enough to finally appreciate its delicate nuances. Another extended cut, "The Big Puzzle," brings up the rear with a bluesy atmosphere wherein Roine sings cryptic lamentations like "don't know where we're coming from/don't know where we're going to/another trick of evolution/into the cosmic revolution" before the band nudges the tempo upward for a lengthy instrumental segment where they tactfully go through near-constant changes without resorting to repeating the same themes over and over. There's a supercharged guitar ride that's not to be missed and a surprisingly peaceful coda that make this song, while not a classic, a worthwhile journey to go on.

I rate this album right up there with the engaging "The Sum of All Evil" and the inconsistent but at times absolutely brilliant "Stardust We Are" and that is saying a lot, my friends. Just a few of the many things I love about The Flower Kings is their boldness, variety and versatility and this CD is a fine example of those traits. I can't think of a better introduction for the adventurous newcomer to their brand of symphonic prog and it's an obvious must-have for all their fans. Not quite a masterpiece, but damned close to it. 4.4 stars.

Review by ghost_of_morphy
5 stars If you took all that was great from '70's symphonic prog (minus the jazz influenced parts) and distilled it down to one album, you would have the essence of the first (or second, depending on how you count) release by The Flower Kings, Back In The World Of Adventures.

It's great. When I first started listening to this, I heard echoes of every great prog moment from the '70's. And yet the band is original in it's own way. This is the kind of prog I want to hear made today.

Let me tell you this to show you how much I love this album. On my way to work, when I need inspiration, I will play World of Adventure folllowed by either My Cosmic Lover or Go West Judas. On my way home, when I need to wind down, I will play Big Puzzle followed by just about any other track (except for World of Adventure which I played earlier.) I promise you that this album is so good that I have a listening routine down for it.

I'd tell you about the high and low points of this album, but it's nearly all high points. I don't like Temple of Snakes very much, and Wonder Wheel is just average. Theme for a Hero is the most inspiring instrumental, closely followed by Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope. The two epics, World of Adventure and Big Puzzle, are both excellent, and I tend to prefer one over another depending upon my mood. Of the shorter songs, Go West Judas leans toward heavy rock, My Cosmic Lover leans towards pop and Train to Nowhere references the singer / songwriter tradition. All of them are excellent.

Anyhow, I can't praise this album enough. It's one of the highlights of symphonic progressive rock post 1990, at once totally true to it's roots and also exploring new ground. 5 stars all the way.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Back in the World of Adventures" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock act The Flower Kings. The album was released through Foxtrot Records in September 1995. The Flower Kings was formed in 1994 by lead vocalist/guitarist Roine Stolt and the musicians who had toured in support of Stolt´s fourth solo album "The Flower King (1994)".

Stylistically The Flower Kings play early 70s influenced symphonic progressive rock in the vein of Yes and Genesis with the occasional nod towards 70s hard rock like Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. It´s mostly the former mentioned who come to mind, because of the structural complexity and adventurous nature of the compositions, but also because of the often heavy busy bass playing, the virtuoso synth/keyboard playing, and the multi-harmony vocals. The Flower Kings are much more than just a Yes clone though, and the music on "Back in the World of Adventures" is highly eclectic and more avant garde oriented rock artists like King Crimson and Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention can also be added to the influences along with various jazz/rock and blues traits.

Roine Stolt sings most of the vocals on the album (Hasse Fröberg provides additional lead vocals), and he has a pleasant and soothing voice and vocal style. He is not an exceptional vocalist who can sing all registers or anything like that, but his performance here is still strong and his voice suits the material well. The rest of the lineup also consists of skilled musicians, and it´s not surprising to see a seasoned veteran like percussionist Hans Bruniusson (Samla Mammas Manna) credited for playing on the album. Keyboard player Tomas Bodin is exceptionally skilled too, and the strong playing rhythm section of bassist Michael Stolt and drummer Jaime Salazar deliver both an organic, technically skilled, and adventurous backbone to the music. Fröberg is not heard as much on this album as he would be on the subsequent releases, but he still adds his touch here and there, which is also the role of saxophonist Ulf Wallander. The saxophone parts are not dominant on the album, but when they appear they add a lot to the soundscape.

The 70:28 minutes long album features many great tracks and the eclectic influences also makes the album quite the varied listen. Much of the music is instrumental, but there are also tracks which feature vocal sections, like "World of Adventure", "Go West Judas", "Train To Nowhere", and the psychadelic, happy, and almost funky "My Cosmic Lover", so there is generally a good balance between the instrumental sectsions and the parts featuring vocals. Some of the highlights of the album are "World of Adventure", "Go West Judas" (which is a track featuring a darker atmosphere than most of the other material on the album), "Train To Nowhere" (a beautiful ballad type track with a strong and memorable vocal melody and a clever arrangement), and the epic closer "Big Puzzle", but the two longer instrumentals on the album "Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope" and "Theme For A Hero" are also strong compositions.

"Back in the World of Adventures" features a detailed, powerful, and organic sounding production job, which suits the material perfectly, and upon conclusion it´s through and through a high quality progressive rock release and a great debut album by The Flower Kings. Some would argue that this should be considered the sophomore studio album by the band, as it more or less features the same lineup and a similar music style as Stolt´s "The Flower King (1994)" album, but the fact is that this is the first album released under The Flower Kings monicker.

Review by Roj
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What a way for a band to introduce themselves to the world. This is a wonderful album, and one which sums up the essence of what makes The Flower Kings so special. The music, whilst influenced by the 70s prog giants sounds fresh, modern and dynamic, and the quality of the musicianship here is evident from the opening notes.

There's a great feeling of positivity about the music, something the band have carried on throughout their career. This though is symphonic prog of the very highest order.

World Of Adventures - A truly stunning piece of music to mark TFK's debut. It's choc-full of spine tingling moments from the incredible opening instrumental sequence through to the multi layered vocals that bring this to a goosebump-laden climax. This is a symphonic mini epic with more twists and turns than the Cresta Run. Laced with mellotron, the themes are magical and Stolt's guitar work is outstanding.

Kaleidoscope/Atomic Prince - One of TFK's finest instrumentals, a two-part piece of grandeur and majesty befitting the title. The opening part is mid-paced, the latter almost ambient. The combination of Stolt and Bodin is pure heaven.

Go West Judas - TFK keep 'em coming, another absolute stunner. This is a bit darker, and stands out because of this. The astonishing solo by Stolt here is one of his very best.

Train To Nowhere - Time for a breather! A quieter one, and probably weakest on the disc.

Oblivion Road - A very nice atmospheric, jazzy instrumental. A very moody piece, I love this. The sax is superb. A sign of things to come on Unfold The Future.

Theme For A Hero - Another instrumental, but my, what an instrumental. In my view this is pretty much as good as symphonic prog gets. Great themes, superb solos, and an amazing closing sequence. For me this is goosebump city throughout. An all-time TFK fave of mine.

Temple Of The Snakes - A nice keyboard instrumental, that's all I'm afraid!

My Cosmic Lover - One that splits the fans, it's usually a bit love or hate. A dance influenced poppy number, but quite hypnotic, and whilst I have to be in the mood to really enjoy this I certainly don't dislike it.

The Wonder Wheel - Another instrumental, another really good one too. Very atmospheric, and a great prelude to...

Big Puzzle - Another fantastic mini-epic to conclude. This starts slowly but soon picks up pace. The themes are great, the guitar work (as usual) is great and there's even a nice neo prog-influenced keyboard sequence towards the end too. A great finish to this fantastic debut.

There's six or seven tracks here that I would describe as absolutely top-notch and nothing that I dislike. A truly great debut album, and whilst it's not my favourite by the band, it's not far away. This is a criminally overlooked album, and how a disc of this quality has an average rating of less than 4 stars on PA simply beggars belief. In my view it is a masterpiece. This is a 5 star album without any doubt and is one that all symphonic prog fans simply must have.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the weak 80's when most people believed Symphonic was gone forever, came Par Lindh with the foundation of the Swedish Art Rock Society which impulse a Symphonic Renaissance in the cold Nordic country that soon expanded to the rest of the world.

Bands as ANGLAGARD and PAR LINDH PROJECT were immediately recognized as modern classics by middle age Prog fans who had listened their YES, GENESIS or ELP albums during a decade, but THE FLOWER KINGS found some resistance by people who claimed they were not Symphonic, but a late Neo Prog band who rook advantage of the Swedish musical bonanza. Even today is common to read reviews describing them as "B" class Retro Prog bands, a term that I find inadequate and extremely unfair for a band that is making NEW music in the genre they love, but this should be discussed on other forums, because we are here to review albums and "Back in the World of Adventures" is the starting point for a prolific and amazing career.

The album is opened in the best possible way with "World of Adventure", a 13 minutes epic with everything a Progressive Rock fan can ask, musicality, elaborate structure and interesting changes. After a short melodic intro, the band jumps into a CRIMSONIAN passage, in which they explore the sound that was started by Fripp & Co. and re-discovered by ANGLAGARD, but this time more melodic and a bit softer.

We can also listen some echoes from early GENESIS (Can Utility & The Coastliners) until the song morphs into a sort of ballad with Roine Stolt adding his particular voice, who's range is more or less in the central point between Peter Gabriel and Greg Lake, but don't expect THE FLOWER KINGS to stay there' the song keeps changing with a plethora of styles and moods, including elaborate sections, lush keyboard passages and some dark moments. Great starter for an album and a career.

"Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope" begins with a pompous almost martial keyboard and drums intro, but then is the turn for Roine to show his skills with a heavy and partially distorted guitar that demonstrates how unique is the sound of this band. The use of Mellotron is different to what the pioneers did, but still we can breathe the air of the 70's in this excellent piece with some Medieval reminiscences.

"Go West Judas" is one of the most radical expressions by a band clearly ascribed to Symphonic sub-genre; the vocals plus the aggressive interplay between guitar and keys take them to the border of Heavy Metal. but with the usual strong melody and a melancholic touch. They show us they can also rock when they want.

"Train to Nowhere" has a sentimental introduction where Roine's raspy vocals ft perfectly, soon he's joined by a distorted guitar and a soft piano in the background, and then joins all the band on an "in crescendo passage" to create a delightful power ballad in the vein of early Metal artists....The short and dark almost Gregorian chorus at the end is breathtaking.

As it names implies "Oblivion Road" is sad and full of remembrances, this time the band moves closer to Jazz territory, but without leaving behind the Symphonic elements, Tomas Bodin gives a fantastic piano performance and the Mellotron is the cherry on the top of the pie that adds mystery and suspense.

"Theme for a Hero" continues in this soft melancholic vein, even when the use of the guitar is much more aggressive, again THE FLOWER KINGS cross Symphonic and Jazzy passages with radical changes that keep the attention of the listener, just can't understand what is the problem that people find in this band.

"Temple of the Snakes" is an extremely short interlude the works almost as a mystic introduction for the frenetic "My Cosmic Lover", un which the band allows themselves to wander freely through long and strong instrumental passages with Roine Stolt singing in a softer and almost oneiric style, not as good as the previous because they seem to have some problems with the dissonances, but the idea is good and they will improve this aspect in their career.

"The Wonder Wheel" is a mysterious and dark song with clear similarities in composition and performance to STEVE HACKETT solo material, full of sound effects and Avant elements, is an extremely interesting song.

The album is closed with the 13:33 minutes "Big Puzzle" with it's stunning piano and guitar interplay, somehow reminds me of KING CRIMSON'S "In the Wake of Poseidon", but only at the start, because they later flow with the clarity and style of GABRIEL'S GENESIS, specially for the use of keyboards, a complete epic that ends he album with class.

Unlike most Prog bands that started weak and grew in quality or began their career with good material and then lost the magic, THE FLOWER KINGS are a band that from their first to last album maintained a good level without strong variations in quality.

Good debut, worth 4 stars for me.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Back In The World Of Adventures was a great debut for this fantastic band. It served as an introduction to their brand of positive progressive rock. It is an amalgamation of many popular prog bands, most obviously Yes, Genesis and classic King Crimson, all wrapped up in Roine Stolt and The Flower Kings' own style.

The epics here are beautiful, but I happen to favor the first, World Of Adventure. It's quite possibly the best introduction to a band since 21st Century Schizoid Man. The album isn't perfect. Parts of Theme For a Hero venture into elevator music territory, but when songs get too light, the band seems to know it and doesn't stay in that territory.

This is a fine listen, and worth a solid four stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Having been pleased with the results of the recording sessions for his solo album The Flower King, Roine Stolt decided to take the musicians who had contributed to them and forge them into a new band. The Flower Kings' debut album finds them drawing on a wider range of progressive rock traditions from the past than many other bands who, rightly or wrongly, have earned the retro-prog moniker over time.

True, the music of the likes of classic-era Yes and Genesis are a particular focus, particularly when it comes to the cosmic atmosphere of the former and Steve Hackett's weeping guitar from the latter. But occasionally the band will surprise me with an extended passage in a jazz-influenced vein, in which I can occasionally here a hint of the mellower end of the Canterbury scene - the early Caravan sound in particular. On top of that, the blend of all of these influences the band come up with isn't particularly nostalgic this time around - instead presenting a bold vision of what the future of symphonic prog could be, and slipping in a few influences here and there from contemporary material.

In the past I wasn't so keen on the Flower Kings, seeing them as a group who leaned too heavily on revisiting past glories of the prog scene, but I can clearly see from this album I've done them a disservice and I'd be well-advised to give them a closer look. Certainly, this album seems to be an excellent gateway to their music.

Review by darkshade
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is the first official Flower Kings album, though I think Roine Stolt's solo album the year before this "The Flower King" is the true first album. Nonetheless, this album is on the same level as Roine's solo album, maybe better. This album contains some TFK classics, starting off with the first track "World Of Adventures". This is one of the best symphonic prog songs Ive ever heard. There's a lot of themes, but many are reprised. What I like about most about the song, and most of the album, is the energy level. Many Flower Kings albums rise and fall in energy, but this one stays upbeat almost the whole time.

The only thing missing on this album, is Hasse Froberg's vocals. I like Roine's vocals just fine, but he's the only one singing lead vocals, and I like that this band features 2 (sometimes 3) lead vocalists. What's cool is that, like the other early TFK albums, is there is more instrumental moments so this isn't really a problem.

The rest of the band is quite inspired here. Roine's solos are heartfelt, Tomas provides a great atmosphere that was lacking on "The Flower King", and the rhythm section of Michael Stolt on bass and Jamie Salazar on drums is solid. I prefer Jonas Reingold on later albums, but Michael Stolt is no slouche, he plays some of the best bass lines Ive heard from the early era of the band.

This album is upbeat symphonic prog, and great to listen to on a warm sunny day, but with enough rockin moments to keep it from getting cheesy, which is something this band is accused of being sometimes; but I think those moments are very rare in my opinion.

If you like Yes, and felt like their best years ended around 1980, listen to this band. They sort of pick up where they left off, but with more eclectic influences, like from other prog and rock bands, and a little jazz influence, though it's very small. This album is too good to miss, and should be in everyone's prog collection. And for the casual fan, this one is essential for understanding what 90s Flower Kings were all about.

Review by Kempokid
3 stars The Flower Kings are a band that took me absolutely ages to get around to listening to, despite multiple recommendations from different sources. There were 2 reasons for this, one is that I'm just nowhere near as big on symphonic prog as a lot of others seem to be, and two, the bigger one, how am I supposed to take a band at all seriously when they call themselves the Flower Kings? After listening to this album a few times, I still felt apprehensive about listening further, as I honestly don't enjoy this album as much as a lot of other people seem to, a lot of it coming down to the reason of filler, in this case an excessive amount of it. The sound of the band is retro prog borrowing greatly from Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson, the general upbeat sound and extended instrumental passages of Yes, the often bright, upbeat and beautiful nature of Genesis, and then occasionally the heavier, darker riffs of King Crimson, while also throwing in some more modern touches, particularly in the more pop oriented songs.

The album kicks off with what is by far my favourite song here, which isn't a good thing given the fact that this album is on the longer side, meaning that past this point, there won't be anytrhing quite as impressive to be found. That said, World Of Adventures is a stunning track, starting off with the heavy use of flute and synth, invoking the atmosphere of a forest clearing, before unleashing a surprisingly punchy riff that reminds me of the heavier section of PFM's Appena Un Po, and definitely surprised me first listen, as I expected something upbeat to a cheesy and painful extent, this moment of heaviness immediately quelling some of my fears about how this would turn out. Once this part dies down, it reveals a series of absolutely beautiful melodies that I could see on a Yes album, but with vocals that I personally prefer, not being a big fan of Jon Anderson's singing. The extremely long middle part of the song is what should be done with an extended instrumental section, never devolving into pointless soloing, instead taking the listener on a journey, capturing a wonderful sense of uplifting energy that never dulls for a second, making apt use of its full runtime. Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope embraces the sound of Emerson Lake and Palmer with the sound of the keyboards and the fact that this is essentially one large instrumental break, the first of many on this album, and by far the best, swapping between a core motif and impressive solos, each cycle increasing the intensity, never going overboard, simply sounding excellent throughout the majority of it. The one issue I have is that the soft, middle section is incredibly tedious and makes the song feel too long. Go West Judas is the one of the two other songs on this album which I would consider to be really great, being a heavier song that has an absolutely wonderful riff that continues over to the bassline. The hints of mellotron and guitar chords played during the chorus provides extra power and intensity to the song.

It's unfortunate that after this point, the album weakens significantly, with the slower songs being consistently bad, and the instrumental songs being generally uneventful and mediocre. Train To Nowhere begins this trend by trying to be an emotional ballad, but failing to have any aspect of it leave any impact other than boredom, sounding cheesy rather than heartfelt. Oblivion Road and to a lesser extent, Theme For A Hero are entirely instrumental songs that do very little, Oblivion Road having its sole highlight being some half decent saxophone, but without any form of crescendo, everything being extremely subdued, it just ends up being extremely dull. Theme For A Hero rehashes elements that were done better in World Of Adventures, having a similar uplifting atmosphere, but without the strong melody and overall beauty that it had, leaving it feeling like a far inferior version of it. I'd be more willing to forgive a couple of bad tracks, if not for the fact that the worst was still to come, with My Cosmic Lover being absolutely abysmal. I find this song to be so awful that it becomes genuinely embarrassing to listen to, with the main instrumental melody sounding like a bad song from one of the GBA Spyro games, not something you should ever aspire to sound like. The song then somehow becomes worse once the vocals kick in, with enough cheese to feed a small village for a month. The album does manage to save itself slightly by the end with its second, albeit inferior epic, Big Puzzle, taking on a much slower, prettier approach, complete with smooth saxophone and far less energy in vocal delivery. The main reason this song manages to be great falls back to the same reason that the opener was, absolutely sublime instrumental passages, far overshadowing anything with the vocals involved, being dynamic, memorable, and just downright a joy to listen to, and manages to close off the album in a stunning way.

I feel like if this album cut everything from Go West Judas until Big Puzzle, the end result would be a far superior one, as this would eliminate the massive amount of filler that plagues the album, songs that range from mediocre to absolutely atrocious. This is by far the largest complaint I have about the album, as when it's good, it's really good, being able to make instrumental sections incredibly engaging without having to resort to virtuosity, which is something that I tend to find a lot of weaker modern prog bands do, ultimately being their downfall. In this case though, I can definitely see why this band has its fans, and do see a lot of potential in this debut, showing a real knack for making epics without a moment that feels wasted, and having a tone that's happy and uplifting without becoming too saccharine, it's just a shame that there's over half an hour worth of boredom that brings this down, although it's less of an issue than it otherwise would be, given how great the high points are.

Best songs: World of Adventures, Go West Judas, Big Puzzle

Weakest songs: Train to Nowhere, My Cosmic Lover

Verdict: If you like retro prog, or are at least accepting of it, then you'll probably enjoy at least the highlights of this album, as they take everything great about classic prog, and occasionally manages to improve upon it, as I've felt much more connection to the instrumental sections of the best songs here than I have with many others, including some of the greats of classic prog, shame that I can't stand half of this.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Back when Roine Stolt & Co. were still defining their sound, style, and image, they released this album of admirably rendered Neo Prog compositions. The 1995 CD release contained 10 songs maxing out at 72 minutes while the vinyl LP released the following year only had five songs due to the inclusion of the album's two stellar epics, "World of Adventure" and "Big Puzzle" (each running over 13:30 in length).

1. "World Of Adventure" (13:37) exposing several themes right from the start, this has a feel of a truly symphonic epic. (27/30) = 9.0

2. "Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope" (7:02) What starts royal/regally with the main theme being present by a synth horn, it becomes Reggae when crisp drums and bass enter. Then lead guitar introduces second melody line. Interesting--and very well recorded and engineered. The whole thing becomes a kind of round of soft keys restating the opening theme in between Roine Stolt's magnificent electric guitar work--with the "Kaleidoscope" part being a kind of New Age keyboard trip through a fairy forest ending with an exquisite little acoustic guitar piece. This may be the first time listening to Roine Stolt's guitar playing in which I'm thinking he may be a virtuoso of that instrument--in both its electric and acoustic forms. (14/15)

3. "Go West Judas" (7:40) a cheesy song built around a cheesy riff/motif telling a cheesy story. Great electric guitar work. Great bass playing. (13/15)

4. "Train To Nowhere" (3:45) plaintive vocal over "strings" and computer piano. PINK FLOYD melody borrowed and then a switch to a Hammond-base for the finish of the chorus. Verse two sees drums, bass, and other incidentals to expand the soundscape. (8.5/10)

5. "Oblivion Road" (3:45) * a deep dive into some serious blues-jazz as bass, drums, piano and sax float us down a river instrumental. Sustained electric guitar and spacey Hammond organ join in for Santana-like incidentals. Cool but ? why? (9/10)

6. "Theme For A Hero" (8:27) * another familiar melody theme supported by chunky bass (mixed well forward--which is kind of cool) and plastic sounding drums. MIDI-keys take over the melody making in the second minute. The slow pacing allows for lots of spaciousness and, therefore, lots of room to hear individual sounds and contributions--which is nice. As the music moves beyond the MIDI-keys we fall into another bluesy New Agey Smooth Jazz song. Nice--and, yes, proggy, but, like so much of TFK, there is something regurgitant about this music--like we've heard it before, it's just being rehashed and/or recycled in a slightly different form here. When Roine's guitar takes the lead in the fifth minute it's like Robert Fripp has exerted his will over the music. Nice step up. "One More Red Nightmare Part 6"! The drum play is impressive though I don't like the sounds as engineered for the final mix. (17.5/20) 7. "Temple Of The Snakes (1:38) nice synth interlude--with its main melody theme once again feeling as if "borrowed" from somewhere else. (4.75/5)

8. "My Cosmic Lover" (6:40) * another weird stew--as if many old and familiar riffs, sounds and motifs have been tossed into a mystery salad or soup. Great, engaging bass play. Weirdly religious subject matter. I'll give TFK credit for creating something fairly unique here; the salad is a hit (if a not very memorable one)! (8.75/10)

9. "The Wonder Wheel" (4:12) * a cinematic instrumental in which industrial percussion pattern is embellished with spacey synths, a ton of incidentals, and a rather nice prolonged electric guitar solo. (8.75/10)

10. "Big Puzzle" (13:35) bluesy first section accented by soprano sax. The second part, instrumental exposition, is founded on a Genesis motif and sound palette--cruising along nicely. (28.5/30) = 9.5

* Absent on 1996 LP edition

Total Time: 71:28

Perhaps the best constructs, performances, sound recording, engineering, and mixes I've ever heard on a Roine Stolt-related album. I've been most impressed by the guitar, drum, and bass play.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of eclectically inspired progressive rock music.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
4 stars 'Back in the World of Adventures' is just one of the best 90s progressive rock albums and just another really, really excellent debut by a band from the scene. The Flower Kings' story is quite well known at this point - they were founded as Roine Stolt's touring band after the release of his third solo album, which happens to be another iconic release for the 90s revival of the most unfashionable sub-genre of rock music. Except the brilliant performance of Stolt, who handles all guitars, vocals, and some keys, 'Back in the World of Adventures' also sees the talents of Tomas Bodin on Hammond organ, Mellotron, synths, pianos and flute, Michael Stolt on bass, and Jaime Salazar behind the drum kit. Additionally, Hans Bruniusson plays percussion on one song, and Ulf Wallander handles all saxophone parts.

A joyous collection of uplifting and mind-blowing songs, it is quite impressive to see a band begin their career with such a strong recording; All elements that would later come to be associated with the "classic" TFK sound are present here - the lush and exuberant instrumentation, the complex song structures, the challenging and philosophical lyrics, and on top of all, the perpetually-gorgeous vocals that are an essential element of the Swedes' music (no matter who happens to sing them; It is Stolt all the way, in this case).

The album is a thrilling ride for the listener from the very beginning with the 13-minute title track, already a classic of 90s prog/neo-prog, a very rich and memorable composition that sets a simultaneously divine and welcoming tone for the sound of the collective overall. Another highlight is the unexpectedly "heavy" 'Go West Judas', a song that could be easily referred to as one of The Flower Kings' bangers. This is followed by 'Train to Nowhere', a beautiful shorter song with astonishing guitar and bass moments. 'Theme for a Hero' is quite an enjoyable and playful instrumental, very much in the style of Yes or Camel, stylishly symphonic and extraordinarily original. 'My Cosmic Lover' is another fun song, a very catchy, almost 90s pop tune about a? cosmic lover, obviously. The album finishes off with another epic 13-minute song called 'Big Puzzle'; another one of their stronger offerings and a brilliant album closer.

A great and important album that is; Recorder at the end of 1994 and finished the next year, 'Back in the World of Adventures' always sounds vibrant and inspired, this album hasn't lost a pound of its joy, energy and enigmatism for all these years, proving that it is not only an enduring classic for the band, but also a very strong representation of what the genre of progressive rock is all about.

Review by DangHeck
4 stars When I put myself to the task of listening back on through their discography, I'm not sure I knew what I was getting myself into, knowing full well that an hour+ is the norm... Fortunately for me, this 70-some minute debut from one of Sweden's best exports (in my opinion) isn't the "worst" of it. I find, starting here in 1995, The Flower Kings were fairly consistently great for nearly a decade straight. I'm curious how I'll feel now, as it's been years since I've seriously delved into these albums (I wonder why). A year following frontman Roine Stolt's third solo album, since then aptly named The Flower King (1994), the band of approximately the same name released this'n. I always felt that The Flower Kings and their truest contemporaries (Echolyn, Spock's Beard and IZZ, for instance), were heads and shoulders above the Neo-Prog of the '80s they followed (and thankfully departed from). Phenomenal, fresh compositions performed by exemplary musicians for a new generation of Prog listeners (in a very new world musically). These bands, I feel, paved the way for bands like Big Big Train, Transatlantic (shocker), The Tangent (also a shocker haha), Beardfish, Wobbler and the like.

"World of Adventures" starts us off in nearly full form. It's a now-classic balance of heavy and soft, melody and rhythm, and a great showcase of the band's overall talents (from all present instrumentalists to Roine's layered vocals). There's something about this composition that I feel has more in common with the American Prog of what I consider the Second Wave (Kansas, Styx, etc.) than it does with the original Prog of the UK and Europe at large. As a song, in good form (sometimes the Flower Kings have me wanting when it comes to the more basic things, if anything); awesome soloing later on, especially from the great Tomas Bodin. On the next, "Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope", they capture the sort of Medieval vibe of Gentle Giant or Greenslade. The start is a show of Roine's own talents as a guitarist to truly be reckoned with (and this isn't even the best of it here). Calling from the other side of Prog, they evoke ambience and soundscape in the second half ("Kaleidoscope"). This, too, eventually falls away in its own way to lovely acoustic soloing.

One of the more memorable songs, by my current estimation, is "Go West Judas" [my estimation being correct]. When Roine (and Co.) go hard, they go hard. And even at 65 today (in 2022), he's still bringin' it (in recent, I'm glad to recommend "Owl Howl" by Transatlantic). After the 2 minute mark, back to his soloing, he has this quick little thing, but it is... anything but small haha. Crazy tone, too. And then the solo proper. Just sheesh (a tad Fusion, a tad neo-Classical). Around minute 4, the rhythm has a slight Reggae-type lilt. And then there's a hint of twang on it as we near the end (a la Steve Howe), though all the while we are set within this grandiose symphony. Epic; especially in its further classic evocations of Yes or Genesis. "...Judas" is juxtaposed to the thematically similar, though more positive (barely...) "Train to Nowhere". Love his voice or hate it--this is just before the happy inclusion of the much more vocally talented Hasse Fröberg--this is one of Roine's better vocal performances. As for the song, a lowlight, by the way. Continuing right along, we have the feature of Ulf Wallander on sax on the jazzy Space Rock of "Oblivion Road" (not dissimilar to Gong, but with more classic symphonic trills). Very chill.

In comparison, we enter the bombast on "Theme for a Hero", another where we get a fantastic performance by Bodin. And around minute 3, another moment of Howesque playing by Stolt. They are one of the best in generating moving material in [mini]epic form. Great bridge section around minute 5, and featuring awesome drumming by the excellent Jaime Salazar. An instrumental track and, to me, it's the strongest thus far. Next is the shortest of the bunch by far, the minute-and-a-half "Temple of the Snakes". Our apparent snake gods summon us forth at the start of the upbeat (Worldbeat?) "My Cosmic Lover". Such a cool feel over an amazing groove, fortified so strongly by Michael Stolt's bass playing. Classic melodies! Fantastic everything, really. At the end we get another sax feature from Ulf. Another stark juxtaposition is found in the next, "The Wonder Wheel", starting off soft and ethereal. Super classic, like something you might expect in the middle of a Happy the Man album? Really cool interlude track anyways. The album closer, "Big Puzzle", is almost the exact length of its opposite bookend (just over 13 minutes). Man! More Bodin, please! [Amazing he was effectively let go a few years back... Still don't know about it in depth.] Great melodies here, too! What's there to complain about? haha. It's a great Symphonic Prog epic by a great Symphonic Prog band!

Certainly not perfect, but truly an excellent debut record. Excited to dig into the rest. It's been far too long, and my body and mind are together readied.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Sweden, 1995: this is where it all began for one of the most prolific contemporary progressive rock bands: The Flower Kings. Following a successful solo album titled "The Flower King", guitarist/vocalist Roine Stolt decided transform his backing band (Tomas Bodin on keyboards, Michael Stolt on bass, ... (read more)

Report this review (#2593588) | Posted by lukretio | Friday, September 10, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars *Disclaimer: All of the things I say in this review are subject to change, as my opinion is bound to evolve in some way or another* Ever since I got into prog almost three years ago, I had always heard about the Flower Kings. Despite all the praise they got, I never really listened to any of ... (read more)

Report this review (#2219483) | Posted by Trelecke | Saturday, June 8, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a monster of a record (in a good way) and there's no use trying to find its flaws - they're surely there but it doesn't matter at all, as the final result will be pointless - what really mattters is: Roine Stolt very much inspired compositions served by an exceptional band of performe ... (read more)

Report this review (#1942797) | Posted by Quinino | Monday, July 2, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Decent Follow-up to The Flower King. If it weren't for the title track. With the success of The Flower King album, Roine Stolt put together a touring band, which became The Flower Kings, and began a 20+ year journey and legacy. This album is a good follow-up to Stolt's Flower King. It contains so ... (read more)

Report this review (#1703396) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, March 18, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Before to say of this album is necessary to introduce a brief history of TFK. This band it's so important of new generation of symphonic prog bands of 90's. It's so difficult to define or compare with other band of style or sub genre, it's better to say that TFK create a new style symphonic prog ... (read more)

Report this review (#1635163) | Posted by nandprogger | Sunday, October 23, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I thought much about this record and I really wanted to love it. The qualifications were there: a well liked symphonic rock band that keeps on doing records eighteen years after this debut, high rating amongst prog nerds, inspiration from the old time giants and a lot of skill. So I wished t ... (read more)

Report this review (#976342) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Tuesday, June 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I stayed hesitating by a long time before to write a review about "Back In The World Of Adventures" from T F Kings and in certain form today I see that my hesitation was reasonable, because only after 12 years of career the band release another album who got a rate above 4 stars ( The Banks Of ... (read more)

Report this review (#931897) | Posted by maryes | Sunday, March 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An early but none the less inspired outing from Roine Stolt and crew. This is a fine example of Symphonic prog and would sit well in the collection of any fan of that general style. I came to hear of TFK through Transatlantic (and before that from Spock's Beard) and I can recommend them as at ... (read more)

Report this review (#779554) | Posted by wjohnd | Friday, June 29, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Although technically the first album by the Flower kings, Back In the World of Adventures is probably viewed by many as the successor to The Flower King by Roine Stolt. It's not surprising, as Stolt is still the dominating power on this album, (a trait that would be more delegated to other mem ... (read more)

Report this review (#769937) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Tuesday, June 12, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Flower Kings was born around the figure of Roine Stolt, one of the finest guitarist of all prog scene, previously active in the Swedish prog act Kaipa. Initially a trio, consisting of Stolt (vocals and guitar), Jaime Salazar (drums) and Hasse Bruniusson (percussion), was soon chosen the name (ta ... (read more)

Report this review (#761067) | Posted by Ytse_Jam | Thursday, May 31, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars THE FLOWER KINGS: LOVE IT OR HATE IT This is one of the most respected progressive rock bands nowadays, but here on the site their albums never surpassing the score of 4.0. "Back in the world of adventures, " his debut album (or not?), is that most approaching that mark (3.97 at the moment). ... (read more)

Report this review (#440069) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, April 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, how can I put this. I think this is a superb album. I have been introduced to the music of the Flower Kings with the album Adam and Eve. Since I enjoyed it very much, I decided to get to know this band better. And I am glad I did. I will express my views on each songs. So, here we ... (read more)

Report this review (#286039) | Posted by pots555 | Friday, June 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've been rating a number of prog material, very diverse in sub-genres, but I feel I have to go for all TFK normal CD's (up to now there are 11), because this group is very special. I feel they are the strongest symphonic prog act since they appeared. They are a huge reference. They are perfect ... (read more)

Report this review (#282499) | Posted by Progdaybay | Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I didn't come to this album until after I had absorbed several other Flower kings albums. Listening to it again, it sounds fresh and exciting, with a real progression from Roine Stolt's solo album, 'The Flower King', and a smoother, more polished performance. It is a great tatster for what is ... (read more)

Report this review (#261564) | Posted by dmwilkie | Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars i fell in love with this record almost instantly....this is the album i was introduced to the flower kings by....and is probably the best place to stunned that as im reviewing this that it has an overallreating of only 3.96...this album is so great!!!....the first track is a perfect ... (read more)

Report this review (#261343) | Posted by EVE123 | Sunday, January 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My Last review - on their debut CD - This is another fine trip through the styles of yesteryear. From the title track - World of Adventures - the usual excellent mellotron, organ and impish guitar runs that swoop in and out, lots of time changes also - A bit of salmacis chucked in to annoy certa ... (read more)

Report this review (#231553) | Posted by M27Barney | Friday, August 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album grew on me over time. It is the first "full band" Flower Kings album (shown here as the first Flower Kings album proper, since the album The Flower King was a Roine Stolt solo album.........though I consider it the first Flower Kings album personally), and is Roine Stolts first attempt ... (read more)

Report this review (#215180) | Posted by infandous | Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I want to go on an adventure. The Flower Kings have done quite the service to music with this fine release. The melodies are entrancing, the lyrics are good, the playing is amazing, and the entire album is full of solid material. You have their flight of fancy sections, where you could hear a ... (read more)

Report this review (#214276) | Posted by Alitare | Thursday, May 7, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The superb thirteen minutes long epic World Of Adventure opens this album and there is no doubt that this is an adventure into symphonic prog land. The references to THE BEATLES, GENESIS and YES are obvious. The music superb with a lot of nice details. But still, pretty commercial. The soundscap ... (read more)

Report this review (#207862) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, March 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Firstly, I was very fond of this album. Only after a while, when you get their sound the record isn't that interesting anymore. Still, the Flower Kings have good musicians and especially the longer compositions (the first and last track) are very well. Oblivion Road and My cosmic lover aren't th ... (read more)

Report this review (#192491) | Posted by Foolsdrummer | Tuesday, December 9, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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