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The Flower Kings

Symphonic Prog

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The Flower Kings Flower Power album cover
3.96 | 596 ratings | 51 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (68:13)
- The Garden of Dreams (59:25) :
1. Dawn (1:33)
2. Simple Song (1:48)
3. Business Vamp (5:03)
4. All You Can Save (5:02)
5. Attack of the Monster Briefcase (3:04)
6. Mr. Hope Goes to Wall Street (1:47)
7. Did I Tell You (3:46)
8. Garden of Dreams (2:40)
9. Don't Let the d'Evil In (3:12)
10. Love Is the Word (2:50)
11. There's No Such Night (2:43)
12. The Mean Machine (2:42)
13. Dungeon of the Deep (4:25)
14. Indian Summer (4:14)
15. Sunny Lane (5:26)
16. Gardens Revisited (2:57)
17. Shadowland (2:04)
18. The Final Deal (4:10)
19. Captain Capstan (0:45)
20. IKEA by Night (0:04)
21. Astral Dog (7:59)

CD 2 (72:54)
1. Deaf, Numb & Blind (11:11)
2. Stupid Girl (6:50)
3. Corruption (5:55)
4. Power of Kindness (4:24)
5. Psychedelic Postcard (8:43)
6. Hudson River Sirens Call 1998 (4:47)
7. Magic Pie (8:20)
8. Painter (6:50)
9. Calling Home (11:20)
10. Afterlife (4:35)

Total Time 141:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Hasse Fröberg / lead & backing vocals
- Roine Stolt / electric & acoustic guitars, keyboards, lead vocals
- Tomas Bodin / keyboards, mixing
- Michael Stolt / bass
- Jaime Salazar / drums, percussion
- Hasse Bruniusson / percussion, odd voices

Releases information

Sub-titled "A Journey to the Hidden Corners of Your Mind"

Artwork: Hippified Art

2CD Foxtrot Records ‎- FOX CD 020 (1999, Sweden)
2CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 046 (2010, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy THE FLOWER KINGS Flower Power Music

THE FLOWER KINGS Flower Power ratings distribution

(596 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

THE FLOWER KINGS Flower Power reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars As they keep putting out important (the understatement of the century , let alone the millenium) quantities of music (the previous and following will be double CD also) , one wonders what the point is to putting one hour numbers going in all direction (especially when this goes nowhere),mindless soloing and doubtful concept .

I rented out this album , and to my great distress was simply unable to go through the entirity of it as almost every single note appears to be either redundant or lifted from a classic album.

As with most of TFK albums, this is for people who have yet to built discernement . Youger progheards will likely not agree with me, but once you have heard thousands of prog albums and put them in the historical perspective, you should see this relatively easily.

Review by Greger
4 stars Roine Stolt's solo album "The Flower King" in 1994 was a fresh breath of air. It was simply the best he had done since KAIPA, and a milestone in Swedish progressive rock. The album's title became the name for a new band called The FLOWER POWER, who would come to be one of the leading names in Progressive rock, both in Sweden and in the whole world. The band and the band members have since then released albums in a faster tempo than any other bands I know about. "Workaholics" would be a proper name for them. And if I tell you that every album contains high-quality progressive rock, that two of the albums are double-CDs, and that none of the albums would get a lower rating than 4 out of 5, then you can imagine that they have to be musical geniuses. The new album "Flower Power": Then what about the new double-album, does it live up to the expectations? I have to say YES! The FLOWER KINGS have made it again. Disc 1 contains a one hour long epic masterpiece called "Garden Of Dreams". It's divided into 18 shorter tracks but has got a constant flow in the music. If you've never heard The FLOWER KINGS before I can tell you that they are playing 70's influenced symphonic progressive rock with some jazz influences here and there. The music is often instrumental, or lyrical with long instrumental passages and many mood and tempo changes. Their music is a mix between GENESIS, KING CRIMSON, PINK FLOYD and YES. All of the musicians in FLOWER KINGS are very skilled. Roine Stolt is one of the top guitarists in the whole progressive world, and maybe THE best from Sweden. Roine has got a very unique sound and way of playing. Tomas Bodin is a master on the keyboards. Tomas Bodin often use many different keyboard instruments such as analogue synthesisers, Church Organ, Grand Piano, Hammond, Mellotron and Wurlitzer piano. Hasse Bruniusson is a living legend as he was a member of SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA, which was one of the leading Swedish progressive bands back in the 70's. The drummer Jaime Salazar is a rock behind his drums. He can play both tight and static, and in the next second get loose on the drums like a madman. One thing I like with The FLOWER KINGS is their positive lyrics. While many bands only see the bad things in life, like war, the pollution of the air etc., The FLOWER KINGS write about love, peace and understanding. I'm not saying that you should neglect all the bad things in the world, I only believe that if the mankind had the same way of seeing things as The FLOWER KINGS, there wouldn't be any problems. In some ways their messages are almost religious. Another one of The FLOWER KINGS trademarks is the strong melodies. The highlights are "The Final Deal", "Astral Dog", the eleven minute long "Deaf, Numb And Blind" and "Painter". The weakest tracks are "Stupid Girl" and "Psycedelic Postcard". - SUMMARY: I give this album a four star rating (out of 5). This is because I have judged it compared to the other FLOWER KINGS releases, and this album isn't as good as the previous "Stardust We Are" from 1997, but almost. Else I would've given it a five star rating. I advice you to buy this double CD as well as all the other The FLOWER KINGS releases. Good stuff all of them! An excellent album from one of Sweden's premier bands that is highly recommended!
Review by loserboy
4 stars Brilliant release confirming the 90's kings of Prog! "Flower Power" is a 2 CD set of epic proportions. CD1 basically runs as 1 long track which contains some of The FLOWER KINGS' most diverse and powerful pieces ever recorded! Epic track,"Garden Of Dreams" runs 59Mins in length and builds in emotion and intensity until the most beautiful, symphonic climax in unleashed upon the listener. The final 10 mins of the track contains in my opinion the FLOWER KINGS's highest moment ever recorded. This long track moves so cleverly in atmospheres, moods and emotions that the listener will not be tired throughout at all (a real trick to pull off for such a long track!). "Flower Power" contains the classic FLOWER KINGS lineup (Bodin, Stolt, Salazar...) who sound even better than ever!. There is no question about Roine's guitar talents and "Flower Power" gives him loads of room to play his guts-out which he does with that unmistakeable Stolt - emotion. CD2 builds nicely off the 1st CD in many ways and compliments the overall theme. "Flower Power" contains lots of real FLOWER KINGS classic progressive rock moments which will please all prog heads out there in prog land. Recommended with the highest regard!
Review by lor68
3 stars Well it's a prolix and pretentious album, characterized also by surprising symphonic breaks through, but it is discontinuous. The best stuff here is comparable to that one of my preferred albums by F.K., that is "Retropolis" - despite of its defects - and also "Stardust We Are". It is interesting but not essential, even though I confirm that the best stuff here (a few parts) is anyway recommended!
Review by Muzikman
4 stars While groups like ELP and KING CRIMSON continue to gain popularity without making any new music, they can continue their legacy based on what they have already accomplished, not what they are currently recording. The FLOWER KINGS however have been making their mark since the 90's and have been moving forward since their inception. They are only second to DREAM THEATER in popularity, and, in my estimation, right on their heels, poised to take their place. Musically they are more interesting and unlike any other prog-rock band active today.

Now that I am working my way backwards through their sizable catalog I have an opportunity to see how they have developed over the years. In 1999 they released this two disc set titled "Flower Power". It's not as strong as their best "Stardust We Are" but very close. Although the musical intensity, complexity, and sophistication are in place, the sound and production isn't quite as good. All the same its an awesome exploration of musical interpretations of their thought provoking colorful stories and characters- "Captain Capstan" and "Astral Dog" to name a few.

Mr. Flower King himself, Roine STOLT, once again leads the rest of his band mates to prog-rock utopia with his dazzling and clean guitar work. I really think that developmentally this group is light-years ahead of every one of their peers, and always has been. The brilliance and compositional range of "Garden of Dreams" on disc one offers a multi-tiered extravaganza comprised of twenty one tracks of the most virtuous prog-rock you will ever hear.

I can foresee more changes and musical surprises over the course of time with this group's proactive progressive evolutionary mindset. They are the real deal, and they're in it for the long haul. How many groups put out double albums loaded with strong material from start to finish like The FLOWER KINGS? And they do it on a regular basis. Look at the total times for each disc! They are phenomenal. Add this to your collection, for that matter pick up every single CD that you can find by this group. You will not be disappointed, I personally guarantee it.

*Note: I found an oddity with the listing of the tracks on and All Music (which is consistently incorrect with track times); they list "Garden of Dreams" eighteen times as the same song and not the titles of each track. Please don't refer to these sites for the proper listing of songs on this CD.

Review by hdfisch
3 stars After the double strike two years before with STARDUST WE ARE this was their next one, this time two CDs filled up with even 141 minutes of music.

The first CD is mainly consisting of the great one-hour suite GARDEN OF DREAMS. It comprises 18 single tracks, but listening to it, one really gets the impression that it's one magnum opus. There are wonderful melodies, great sonic textures and it's full of rhythm breaks and shifts. The performance of all musicians is brilliant as always. Of course it has some stronger and some weaker moments, but actually I could not name any outstanding one, I usually love to listen to it just on the whole whenever I've got one hour of free time. For example the moment when Don't Let The Devil In is coming in is one of the highlights of the suite. Although it's like been waken up cruelly from a very pleasant dream this piece is really set at the right place before the music would become too dreamy and possibly lose the attraction of the listener. Overall it's a very well composed long suite. Last track on this CD Astral Dog is an amazing jazz-fusion piece and very much ZAPPA-reminiscent featuring great guitar playing.

Second CD is starting rather weak I've got to say and this reminds me a bit to the last double album. Deaf, Numb & Blind is not a bad one, but they were doing already better long tracks, this one is a bit too shallow. Stupid Girl is a nice but rather pop-ish song in the beginning, but has a great guitar solo later on. The first one which is able to catch my attention is Corruption, a quite catchy rocking one in a reggae rhythm with nice keyboards. Power Of Kindness is a very contemplative and quiet organ instrumental by Tomas Bodin, quite nice and relaxing! Psychedelic Postcard starts with some distorted vocals, has a quite lush part in the middle and some rather YES- reminiscent harmonies with guitar and keyboards in the final part. It's one of those TFK- songs which develop to a quite interesting and versatile one after a rather weak beginning. A quite good one, but as well not really a highlight. Hudson River Sirens Call 1998 is a very psychedelic and strange instrumental and can't convince me at all. Magic Pie is a rather pop-ish and sob stuff like ballade sung by Hasse Froberg, it's working out a bit better with Roine Stolt's voice in the next one Painter. Calling Home is again not a real highlight and Afterlife is a reprise of the suite theme.

As a SUMMARY I've got to say the second CD is very weak and lacking absolutely some highlight, most of the songs are rather mediocre and leaves the impression that the album has been just "filled up" with some leftover material. First CD is excellent but I think this is not sufficient to rate the whole album higher than 3 stars. I would say overall FLOWER POWER is even a bit weaker than STARDUST WE ARE and the only really essential and excellent double album from them is UNFOLD THE FUTURE!

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Flower Kings never cease to amaze me. After their amazing Retropolis and Stardust We Are, there wasn't a conceivable way that The Flower Kings could top themselves. They did it with this. The opening track, the 60 minute Garden of Dreams, is easily one of the greatest Prog epics ever. Going through many different moods, tempos, and shifts in texture, there is nothing not to like about it. The musicianship from every member is incredible, especially Stolt and Bodin. Stolt truly is an underrated guitarist, playing many different styles on the entire album.

After the opener, the rest of the first CD is what I call filler. The instrumental Astral Dog is a great instrumental, but can get old rather quickly. The Flower Kings were always good at supplying an album with great material, then after the great material, there is always filler to "fill" the gaps. Sometimes it is not bad, sometimes it's mediocre. Regardless, this album is great. Other noteworthy tracks are Deaf, Numb, and Blind, which features superb playing by Stolt and Bodin. The rest of the 2nd album is great, the only filler tracks I don't like are Hudson River Sirens Call 1998 and Afterlife.

Overall, this album is a great effort by a great band. I really do enjoy this album immensely. The Flower Kings never cease to amaze me, and this is another reason why I cannot dislike them.

Review by chessman
5 stars Well, where do I begin on this total masterpiece? This was the first FK cd I bought, and it rather spoiled me for all the rest of their albums. This is a truly tremendous work, 2 discs, with superbly crafted, melodic and symphonic music that any devotee of the genre surely can't help but adore. What can I say? The first track, the mega- epic, 'Garden Of Dreams' lasts a couple of seconds under an hour! That is longer than most groups albums! And a wonderful piece it is too! Split into 18 segments that all fuse together nicely, it is diverse and coherent. It shifts between many moods; happy, moody, upbeat, atmospheric and other, more subtle ones. In parts there are deft Yes- like touches, in others, more straightforward rockier ones. Bodin's keyboards shine here, and show just what technical ability he in fact has. I won't even bother to review the individual segments, just take it from me, it has to be heard to be believed. Of course, there are various influences at work here, but they are all garnished with the classic FK touch. This track, on its own, is worth the price of the cd, and must rank as one of the greatest epics ever. Certainly one of the longest! Next is a funny little ditty, 'Captain Capstan', a small piece of enjoyable nonsense that conjures, for me, the image of a jolly Jack Tar dancing on a sailing boat. Just under a minute it lasts, and then comes an even shorter piece, the 5 second bridge called 'Ikea By Night', which is, in fact, simply a short drum roll that leads nicely into the last track on this disc, the Satriani inspired 'Astral Dog'. This is an 8 min piece that shows off just how good Stolt is on guitar. Heavy but melodic, it is a fine instrumental, not typical FK at all. So we end disc one, and if that was all there was, then it would rank as one of this band's best. But no! Now we turn to disc two. Here we have the, erm, 'shorter' tracks. Even though two of them are 11 mins long, and another is nearly 10! We start with the magnificent 'Deaf, Numb & Blind', which is an 11+ min rockier piece, with a wonderful change of melody and style in the middle, before ending as it began. Superb. Now we have one of my favourites, the classic 'Stupid Girl', which is a cross between U2 (at the start) and Simple Minds. Another very different song, again not typical FK. Then is the heavier keyboard and guitar led track, 'Corruption', which is, again, excellent, although, if I had to choose my least fave track on this album, I would probably name this, even though I do really like it! It's just that the rest is so bloody good! A nice Bodin instrumental, 'The Power Of Kindness' comes next, which is gentle and peaceful. Very nice. And that leads to...what is possibly my fave song on the whole two discs, which is no easy choice to make, believe me! 'Psycedelic Postcard' is just what the title implies. A psychedelic journey of nearly 10 mins, redolent with riotous humour and melody. Strange, almost helium inspired singing starts it off, before the music becomes wild and driving. The chorus is classic yes, Hasse Froberg sounding the spit of Jon Anderson here, and that is always a good thing for me. It's the sort of track you sit and listen to with a smile on your face, not easy for a pessimist like me! Next is the haunting 'Hudson River Sirens Call 1998' which is simply a beautiful instrumental. It is indeed, for me, evocative of a river at night and builds slowly before ending without ever taking off. Next? My God! The excellent 'Magic Pie' one of Mr Froberg's compositions. And a wonderful tune it is too, almost a romantic ballad, yet fitting in nicely with the diversity of the album. Then? 'Painter' stirs the senses with its slow, superb melody, and luscious multi-layered harmonies in the chorus. At the risk of repeating myself, brilliant! 'Calling Home' is the penultimate track, an 11 min epic with another superb melody, and some exceptional guitar work. Also an lovely yet subtle change of tempo near the end. And, finally, the instrumental wonder that is 'Afterlife'. A piece that brings part of 'Garden Of Dreams' back to you. (Remember that? The first track, heard hours ago?) It ends sublimely, the final note lingering tantalisingly. You sit there 'Deaf, Numb & blind' before realising the whole experience is ended. For me, this is, without any question, one of my 10 'desert island discs', and maybe the greatest masterpiece of the last 25 years. You will hear very little to equal this, and any true prog fan who hasn't heard it should be drooling with anticipation at getting hold of this any way they can. Masterful. A classic for years to come. Still reading? Go and buy it!
Review by Zitro
4 stars 3.8 stars

The first disc is strong though and is unique by the fact that it has an hour long epic that works for the most part! That must had taken a lot of effort and talent to compose this monster of a track and I applaud the Flower Kings for doing so. The second track is full of quality short tracks. Not very progressive, but it shows the band playing good accessible tunes.

Describe the epic in detail from movement to movement would make me write at least 4 paragraphs, so I will instead describe as a whole its moods, its structure, its quality, coherence, and any other characteristic of it. Structurally, it is a 59 minute long song divided in 19 movements connected each other masterfully with a lot of coherence and a few recurring themes. Its mood varies, but it is mostly a dreamy mellow piece until it wakes you up with the hard rock of 'don't let the devil in'. Then it gets mellow again until it picks up on the 15 minute long climax that is the highlight of the album. The song itself is mostly great, except for a few forgettable parts on the middle like the 4-minute long silence. However, this song won't lose the attention of the listener despite its mellow style of music because of the strong songwriting and musicianship in it.

Astral dog is the only other track of the first disc and is a strong instrumental with excellent guitar playing from Stolt.

Deaf Numb and Blind is the strongest track of the second disc and probably the best song in the album. It is extremely well played, and has great melodies. Stupid girl is a fun, danceable, pop song with good melodies and lyrics, but you have to be in the mood for it. Corruption is an catchy hard rock track with a very good descending organ riff in the beginning, the middle and the end. Power of kindness is a nice laid back and relaxing keyboard solo that uses melodies from the epic. Psycheledic Postcard is not my favorite, it sounds weird in an unpleasant way in the beginning and while it gets better, it doesn't reach the level of musicianship and songwriting of the band itself. Hudson river Siren call is atmospheric, psycheledic, and has some siren like screaming. Magic Pie is a rock/pop extended song with some nice melodies and the gorgeous paintings of sound that the Flower Kigns excel at thanks to their modern instruments. Painter is another highlight of the album and succeeds at being what it wants to be : an accessible rock/pop tune focused on melodies and a good intro. Its keyboard riff on the verses sound similar to the ones in 'back to the world of adventures' and 'I am the walrus' while the chorus is a 'big' hook. Calling home is a good short epic, but I conclude they usually do better than this when writing extended tracks Afterlife is a 'los endos' style track that captures many melodies from the epic.

1-18. The Garden Of Dreams (8/10) 21. Astral Dog (8/10)

CD 2: (72:16) 1. Deaf, Numb And Blind (8.5/10) 2. Stupid Girl (5/10) 3. Corruption (8/10) 4. Power Of Kindness (8/10) 5. Psychedelic Postcard (5.5/10) 6. Hudson River Sirens Call 1998 (6.5/10) 7. Magic Pie (7/10) 8. Painter (8.5/10) 9. Calling Home (6.5/10) 10. Afterlife (7/10)

This is one of the weaker Flower Kings albums (along with Adam&Eve and The Rainmaker), but it still manages to be excellent. The flower Kings have no weak album!

My Grade : B-

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is definitely another excellent album by the Flower Kings which to me it sounds like a concept album even though the music does not seem to transcend into something with singular theme. It's probably the band's intention to give the listeners with varied styles and textures. With its powerful long epic Garden of Dreams that is broken down into 18 pieces with varied duration each ranging from1 minute to 5 minutes plus. From this standpoint I could sense that the division into 18 pieces seems too many (it's hard to memorize) let alone the overall duration that takes almost one hour less 3 seconds. But don't get me wrong, musically this long epic is truly an excellent music, overall. Only when the track enters number 12 and 13 I don't see its connection, musically, with previous 11 tracks - it seems to me so disjointed because suddenly it turns out to be a Klaus Schulze thing (sort of) - or something like a space music.

From track 1 to track 11 I can assure you that these parts are truly terrific music combining mostly symphonic styles with rock and sometimes jazz. As usual, first track "Dawn" (1:34) serves like an overture followed with symphonic style "Simple Song" (1:49). Track / part 3 "Business Vamp" (4:57) starts off beautifully with pretty melodic keyboard accompanied with the music in "flowing" style. It's an amazing track and it's gonna favor those of you who adore neo prog music. Well, you know ... typical neo prog lovers (like me, of course!) loves beautiful melodies that are memorable like those melodies produced by Marillion's Bitter Suite "It's getting late ...etc" of the Misplaced Childhood album. I think, you know what I mean ... If you don't, my apology ..(and I recommend you to have Misplaced Childhood album by Marillion first before you enjoy this CD!).

Neat tracks: 4 - 9 are excellent continuation of the previous parts with consistent delivery of varied music textures with singular musical theme. Track 4 "All You Can Save" (5:01) guitar solo reminds me to David Gilmour style. Bodin supports its keyboard work beautifully especially at the end of the solo with its pulsating sounds, unique to Bodin's style. Tracks 5 and 6 are great tracks especially when it reaches track 9 "Don't let the d'Evil in" which resembles a combination of symphonic and classic rock music. It has strong melody with great riffs and fills by Roine's guitar work. Really cool.

Track 10 "Love is The Word" brings the music into a bit of avant-garde with great choir line. The style presented here confirms to me that the band wants to give the listeners with beautiful arrangement in basically not straight forward structure of music. Bodin's keyboard work characterizes this track. Track 11 "There's No Such Night" to me is like a closure to this epic. But it flows to next spacey track which I do not favor and I consider it's an error that the band has made with this epic. When the band bring the music back with track 14 "Indian Summer" it sounds that the music has derailed from the original souls of tracks 1 to 11 - musically. It seems to me like another epic and it does not serve as a cohesive whole with track 1 to 11.

"Astral Dog" (written by Stolt and Salazar) is another loose song to conclude disc one. This song is an instrumental piece with Stolt's solo in jazzy style. It's an excellent track - individually.

Disc 2 starts off with "Deaf, Numb and Blind" (11:00) which has a strong composition, powerful song writing - combining symphonic keyboard style and excellent guitar work which at the beginning part has an eastern nuance in its melody. It's an amazing track for me. I like the style in which the music moves in crescendo from mellow opening into upbeat tempo where the vocal starts to roll. It's a dynamic song. Oh yes, it offers many differen styles and textures which make the music is really "rich" in its composition. Bravo TFK! I love you guys ...!!!

"Stupid Girl" (6:49) starts with electronic drumming and it's probably the only song which has different style - but it still an excellent track though. "Corruption" (5:54) is a favorite of mine as it combines a classic rock nuance with symphonic prog music. Awesome!

Other songs presented on Disc Two are all excellent in compositions. "Calling Home" is probably the highlight as it combines church organ sounds with symphonic style in relatively medium tempo music.

It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection; highly recommended to prog freaks who appreciate great music. I tend to give this album a five star rating. But considering the disjointed parts at the long epic, I can only give four star plus for this album. But I'm sure this album will satisfy your prog needs and The Flower Kings is one of great bands that deliver great music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This double album is the follow up to the previous studio double album "Stardust We Are". It is a worthy follow up record, but not quite as good in my opinion.This one has a lot more slower passages but they do mix things up well.

The first song is 18 tracks really but hey if they want to call it one 60 minute track who am I to argue. Anyway I do love the FLOWER KINGS, and there are some great songs on these two discs. I prefer the second record but on the first disc songs 2 and 6 from "The Garden of Dreams" are standouts to me. As well as "Astral Dog" that features some amazing guitar throughout.

On the second disc I like "Psychedelic Postcard" which opens with hilarious processed vocals. "Painter" is very good too, kind of a dreamy relaxed tune with a nice guitar melody. My absolute favourite is "Magic Pie" an uplifting song with fantastic vocals. I can play that one over and over again, one of the catchiest songs the FLOWER KINGS have ever done.

Overall this is a very good release with lots of highlights, and great playing as usual from the band.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars I must say I was very surprised when I knew that after releasing a massive double studio album, the next Flower King´s CD would be... another double album of original material. In a time most rock bands are putting out an album each 2 or 3 years, it was really amazing thta a symphonic prog band would produce that amount of music in only an year and a half time.

I am convinced that Roine Stolt´s prime as a songwriter was around the time of the original, "classic", line up. So this includes Flower Power which is as bit as good as the previous Stardust We Are. Ok, they are different, but if the title track of Stardust... is one of their most celebrate epics ever, so is their own Close To The Edge suite: Garden Of Dreams. This song is worth the price of the record alone (actually a colletion of 18 tracks put together, but they blend so well, it´s really hard to imagine it any other way than as a song). It´s one of the very few hour long pieces that is a pleasure to hear from beginning to end.

But there are other fine tunes too on record two, although no one really moved me as much as Garden Of Dreams. Painter, Corruption and Calling Home being some of the most criminally forgotten gems. There is only one really song that I did not like in the whole album: Hudson River Sirens Call 1998 aside (sounds like a boring filler). The rest varies from very good to excellent. I even like the first Hans Froberg song to be recorded by TFH, Magic Pie. Popish? Yeah, and so what? It´s still a great tune. The bad news were that this is the last album recorded with the original bassist Michael Stolt. His leaving would affect the chemistry inside the band, but that would be felt in the future. On this album the band shines and it´s better to be remembered this way.

So, this is probably the last of the "great" quartet of classic stuff they recorded. It´s essential to anyone who loves symphonic progressive rock, although, like the previous Stardust... a little too long, which inevitably does include a bit of filler stuff, even though I´m beginning to think that even those ones are better than I initially thought. Just be patient to listen carefuly and you´ll hear a truly remarkable album with lots of great moments.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars The least I can say, is that to review the entire TFK discography is a time consuming task. Not only did they release many albums, but most of them are quite lenghty, some are double ones and some are both. Like "Flower Power". Almost two hours and a half ! So, here we go.

One of the lenghtiest song in the rock industry (about one hour) is the core of this album. There is a shorter version available on their semi-rare "Edition Limitée" which lasts for about eight minutes but was a pre-version of this track.

Several pieces of this "song" are appealing. Both "Dawn" and "Simple Song" are pure in the TFK tradition and features a brilliant Roine on the vocals. Some other numbers will be a bit more chaotic (but this is a TFK feature so be prepared). "Business Camp" is one like this : combining sweet moments but mixing them with complex instrumental parts. The next number "All You Can save" sounds very nice to me : full of emotional guitar break and, again 100% in line with previous TFK songs.

"Attack of The Monster Briefcase" is pure Genesis during the intro and is rather hard for most of it. Not too bad, though. "Mr Hope Goes To Wall Street" sounds as an ELP song (more a E song than an L or a P one if you see what I mean). The first poor track, but let's consider it as a transition track since it is very short. What a change with "Did I Tell You" full of lightness and emotions.

I really like this band a lot when they produce such beautiful music. Of course, it sounds as coming out of the greatest band from the seventies we all (?) love. And that's exactly why I love TFK. They remind me my youth and the bands I am listening for some thirty-five years now. Since most of them have stopped their career or do not produce interesting music these days, I just fill the gap with bands like TFK. And I have listended to thousands of prog (and non-prog) releases.

The title track sounds as a Broadway comedy. Not really my cup of tea. Another weak track follows : "Don't Let The d'Evil In" is a hard-rock number which is not really the type of music for TFK. Press next, you will do yourself a favour. I'm afraid that the weak songs follow one another at this point. "Love Is The Word" is difficult to bear. At this stage, I cannot consider this lenghty suite as one track any longer. Just a serie of short numbers put one after the other with a definite lack in unity.

The next piece is there to highlight this comment. But this time, TFK reverts to their roots : "There's No Such Night" is a superb melody with great vocals. Like to have a bit more of these. But alas, "The Mean Machine" is a dull instrumental that reminds me at time "On The Run" from DSOTM. It was not the best moment on this great album. Again, press next to avoid irritation.

The scary mood of "Dungeon Of The Deep" is a pure masquarade. Some religious choir sounds and females singing "Hallelujah". Pretty boring. But you know what you do (but at this moment I have already recommend four times to press next). "Indian Summer" is another dull song : piano bar oriented. You know, the type of music you could hear in a classy hotel while having dinner and that nobody put any attention to. But, by now the next button has no secret for you.

ELP are back again with "Sunny Lane". But this jazzy keyboards oriented song is not appealing at all, I'm afraid. It will only become a good one during its second half. But again, it could have been cut into two since there are absolutely no main theme in this lenghty piece. At least it would have made one good track more in this long list of average to poor pieces. "Gardens Revisited" is better than the title track. Great guitar work again. The listener had to wait for quite a long time to get another good song.

When one gets to the end of this collection of eighteen numbers; there's only one word that comes though my mind "Phew, it's over ! Even if "Shadowland" is also a good moment of TFK music.

Now, I would really like to know what's the use of releasing a song that lasts for only FOUR seconds (a very short drum "solo"). Maybe to appear in the Book Of Records ? But I have already heard one that short (but I do not remember on which album). They are probably looking forward to appear there in two entries : the shortest "song" ever written as well as being the band producing the longest albums in the rock history. In the track listing, it follows "Captain Capstan" which is completely useless as well. "Astral Dog" closes the first CD on a rather noisy mood. Gosh! I still have one CD to review to get it done.

But I'll get a break (and I mean it) for dinner and come back little later.

Dinner is over. I just hope I won't get an indigestion with the second CD.

Actually, the opener is a more TFK track, although the intrumental intro is not that great. But form the moment Roine starts singing, it'll pick up nicely; till the end. But the joy will be short. "Stupid Girl" is more hard-rock oriented than usual for TFK. They already produced such a track on CD one with "Don't Let The d'Evil In". This one is not any better. It ends up in a useless jam.

"Corruption" does not belong to the best of their repertoire but it is not the worse track of this album. Somewhat uninspired I guess. As "Dungeon Of The Deep" on CD one, "Power of Kindness" has a religious flavour. Mr. Roine should have been very mystical those days. What to say about "Psycodelic Postcard" ? That is it pure annoyance ? Inspiration is really elsewhere, but this is a global remark for this work so far. Some Yes sounds (finally, I should say) after five minutes.

"Hudson River Sirens Call 1998" is not worse than most of the other songs, but is there any contest for producing not the worst song here ? Aerial female vocals will bring some sweetness and spacey feeling. The religious mood prevails for the last thirty seconds. Horrible section.

By now, I really have a hard time. Fortunately, "Magic Pie" is a song which will bring me some beautiful feeling. Very melodic, smooth and harmonious vocals. My favourite track of the album. Why didn't they stick more to what they do best ? Just writing nice pieces of music. Like "Painter". Wow ! Two great tracks in a row !

"Calling At Home" is another long track featuring some good and some less interesting parts. Average Should I say. In-line with this album. "After Life" closes this endless record. This instrumental is again not the worse track of the list. A nice melody to forget all these useless tracks.

TFK would have been inspired to cut this "work" into two. As such it would have been a decent piece of music. I am rather disapointed with this album. It is the first one to which I will apply a low rating (not speaking about "Edition Limitée"). Some good moments but really not enough to justify a higher one than two stars.

Review by progrules
5 stars I'm going to review this song by song, I think this is a typical album to do this (TFK usually is in fact because of their huge difference in style and quality in each and every song).

CD 1

1. Garden of dreams. To start with the highlight you could say. This has to be one of the most unique, special and great compositions ever. I like epics like this, they are endless and in this case I enjoy every minute when I play this (except maybe for a few minutes in the middle). And I think this is an incredible performance for almost exactly 1 hour long. This is absolutely 5*.

2 and 3. These are useless intermezzo's. I think it's meant to be humour. To write the longest and shortest song ever on one album or something like that. I still give them 1*.

4. Astral Dog. This is a very nice one. Instrumental typical TFK track with good guitar work by Roine. 4*

CD 2

1. Another great opener with Deaf numb & blind. I almost like every over 10 minute song by TFK. They are just very good in writing and performing these epics. Nice intro too. 5*.

2. Stupid Girl. Interesting song with original lyrics and great guitar by Stolt again. 4.5 *

3. Corruption. Average song by TFK standards. Not much to say about this one. 3*.

4. Power of kindness. Same really. Not too special. 3*.

5. Psychedelic postcard. Another original, quite humoristic one. Funny voice. Good track 4*.

6. Hudson river etc. This is a poor one really. Useless. 2*.

7. Magic Pie. Much better again, though not really essential to me. 3.5*

8. Painter. I like this one. Very nice tune with good instrumental passages. 4.5 *

9. Calling home. This is in fact one of the few over 10 minutes songs I not too fond of. No spectacle here. 3*.

10. Afterlife. One of the average ones. Not essential. 3*.

Despite the fact there are only a few excellent songs on this double CD I still give it 5 stars. And that's because of the superepic. This track is so special. It's good enough on its own to be worth 5 for the entire album. I have to do this.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another excellant release by our Swedish friends The Flower Kings! They seem to never run out of ideas! This album is their second double album containing the almost hour long piece Garden of Dreams. On the first disc Garden of Dreams is definately the highlight especially the Simple Song section. Also on the first disc check out IKEA By Night. It's a drum solo and it's only 5 seconds long! The second disc is nowhere near as good as the first but the tracks Deaf, Numb, and Blind and Calling Home are decent. Stay away from the worst filler on the album, Stupid Girl, it is the Flower Kings going into a realm of music they don't normally and shouldn't do. Overall it's a very nice album, keep it coming Flower Kings!
Review by The Crow
3 stars Like almost every The Flower Kings's double album, "Flower Power" is an irregular one... Nevertheless, it has some great moments, worthy to be tasted by every prog lover.

In "Flower Power", the first Cd clearly surpases the second one, with the great Garden of Eden, a brilliant epic with great melodies. The musical developement here is just marvellous, being the central theme the one in Sunny Lane, funny and precious track. This first Cd closes with Astral Dog, another worthy track, similar to Don of the Universe in "Stardust We Are".

But the second Cd has some flaws, with a bunch of insipid songs like Deaf Numb and Bling, Stupid Girl, Corruption... They are not bad, just under the level of quality of the first Cd. Nevertheless, in this second part of the album we can find Magic Pie, a good prog flick composed by the singer Hans Fröberg, with a great keyboard solo; Psychedelic Postcard, odd but very good and Calling Home, an imaginative track with some good melodies and Hans choirs.

Instrumentally, the album is at the same level of the previous "Stardust We Are", wich is similar to "Flower Power" in style and execution, but surpasing it in both aspects... Maybe the protagonism of Hans Fröberg's voice in the second Cd is the most remarkable difference. Roine Stolt's guitar work is also over the top, but not as incredible as later albums like "Unfold the Future". His singing improved a bit from "Stardust We Are", reaching higher notes and adding some new textures to his voice.

Best tracks: Garden of Eden (the longest The Flower Kings's epic), Astral Dog (great rythmic track with an appropiated psychedelic touch...), Magic Pie (Hans Fröberg shines here...) and Calling Home.

Conclusion: if you like the album "Stardust We Are", you'll surely enjoy "Flower Power", wich is similar in style... Nevertheless, this fourth The Flower Kings's offering is less complete that their previous work, having a great first Cd, but an irregular and sometimes dull second one. But the complete album is worthy of a close listening anyway.

Cd 1 rating: ****1/2. Cd 2 rating: ***

My rating: ***1/2

Review by Roland113
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

"Flower Power" by The Flower Kings is among the best all around Flower Kings albums.

I picked up "Flower Power" in the midst of a music buying frenzy that started in mid two thousand and seven and ended earlier this year. I picked up a lot of music during that time . . . I stopped counting after two hundred CD's. During this time period I acquired the entire Flower King's Discography amongst a whole bunch of other symphonic and neo prog. I say this to illustrate that I've had "Flower Power" for a yeah and a half now, though it only hit me as a masterpiece about two months ago. It was lost in the shuffle for a year.

This CD has all of the tricks and tribulations that one would expect from any The Flower King's CD. Excellent sound mix, tasteful keyboards by Tomas Bodin, tear jerking beauty from Roine Stolt's guitar solos. In addition, The Flower King's first rhythm section of Roine's brother Michael on bass and Jaime Salazar on drums is still in tact and firing on all cylinders. While, we don't quite get the mastery of Jonas Reingold yet, M. Stolt does a fine job here.

You can't talk about "Flower Power" without focusing on the epic "Garden of Dreams", a sixty minute romp through a variety of styles, moods and tones. The entire epic is a masterpiece from the rollicking theme of "Business Vamp" straight into Roine's first soulful solo in "All You Can Save". "Attack of the Monster Briefcase" revisits the "Business Vamp" theme with Salazar and extra percussionist Hasse Bruniusson at their percussive best; the cymbals behind the main beat are phenomenal. My favorite part of the "Garden of Dreams" epic is the "Mr. Hope Goes to Washington" section; Mr. Hope starts with about a minute of chaos produced by Michael Stolt's walking bass, Tomas Bodin's highly modulated keys and Mr. Burniusson's odd ball percussive work. Out of the midst of the chaos, Bodin breaks into a Steely Dan sounding riff with Roine Stolt doing a beautiful Walter Becker impersonation on the accompanying solo.

One of my criteria for a five star CD is whether or not there are any spine tingling moments. The first truly spine tingling moment for me comes in "Did I Tell You". As best as I can figure out, this is where God laments the violence in humanity, though it's sung from the perspective of a father loosing a son. I'm not horribly religious, but this bit is terribly powerful. Roine Stolt's voice is so perfect for this bit. Salazar's straight rhythm behind the minimalist music adds a beautiful character to this already magnificent bit.

Ironically, the "Garden of Dreams" section is one of the least memorable parts of the epic; it simply serves as a recovery period from the emotionally charged "Did I Tell You" with just enough space until the rocking "Don't Let the d'Evil In". Hasse Froberg joins in the fun by adding a nice harmony to Roine's vocals in "Love is the Word", Stolt's clean solo at the end of this piece is noteworthy as well.

"There's No Such Night" is similar to "Did I Tell You" in that the music is more a canvas for the vocals to stand out, though not as emotional. "The Mean Machine" is the first of two atmosphere pieces, this one a fairly energetic keyboard arpeggio with Tomas Bodin noodling above. From here, we hit "Dungeon of the Deep" which is one of two pieces from this album that I'll be playing in my house this Halloween. Lots of strings and oddly creepy choirs. "Indian Summer" is a somewhat wistful, reminiscent piece reminding me vaguely of something that Ralph Vaughn Williams or George Gershwin would write. "Sunny Lane" revisits the arpeggio from "The Mean Machine" with a vastly more upbeat sound and Tomas Bodin shining. "Gardens Revisited" and "Shadowland" are a pair of instrumentals featuring Roine at his best. Finally, "The Final Deal" is the 'Supper's Ending' to the piece, the long drawn out chords with the final message which alludes to a final resting place, my interpretation, the hero of the story heads off to heaven to meet God, "The dream is real" cries Roine, "it's more than we asked for." Please, don't let the religious overtones scare you off of this one, it's not over the top and the focus on ninety percent of the epic is the music and not the lyrics.

"IKEA by Night" written by Jaime Salazar is one of the funniest pieces of music in history. If I have a choice, I'd like it to be my deathbed music. I thank Progrules for this (see page 16 of The Flower Kings Appreciation Thread for details). "Astral Dog" is a somewhat Zappaesque instrumental, giving Roine another chance to shine.

Deep breath . . . ok, that was disk one. I am going to go through disc two a little more quickly in an effort to keep this under two thousand words.

"Deaf, Numb and Blind" is eleven minutes of fun, great vocals and drumming throughout. Personally, I really like "Stupid Girl" though it is on the poppy side. With a catchy chorus and somewhat bouncy feel, this one could have been a single with a little shortening . . . cause butter makes everything better. Corruption is a good enough song with Froberg's backing vocals adding to the chorus. "Power of Kindness" is a pipe organ piece by Bodin, more of a mood piece than one that really commands your attention.

"Psychedelic Postcard" shows the Yes influences nicely, more great harmonies especially towards the end with Stolt pretending to be Steve Howe; not my favorite song on the album, but nice nonetheless. "Hudson River Siren's Call 1998" is five minutes of muted haunting melody with an un-credited female vocalist warbling. This is the other song that will be played in the house of Roland this Halloween. The choir at the very end of the piece is just plain unsettling. (As a side note, this is a great song to irritate your neighbors if you work in a cube farm).

"Magic Pie" is one of their more controversial songs, many die hard Flower Kings fans, absolutely hate the song. It's reminiscent of seventies pop, think Ambrosia or maybe a Foreigner ballad from the eighties. It's not your typical Flower King fare, though written and sung by Mr. Froberg you'd almost expect something different. It reminds me of a high school dance. Of course, on the opposite end of the polarizing spectrum is "Painter" which really just kind of blends in there for me, and frankly, I don't think I've heard anyone really make a comment about this one. It's kind of forgettable, not bad, just not memorable.

"Calling Home" is a fairly progressive piece showcasing the rhythm section and, again, Roine Stolt on guitar. His solo at the seven minute mark is nicely done and the piece in total has a Genesis feel. Finally, we get to "Afterlife" which is a fairly simple closer, revisiting the sound of the entire album.

All in all, this is a fantastic double album, highlighted by the magnificent "Garden of Dreams", the Flower Kings epic to end all epics . . . or something catchy like that. Five stars.

Review by darkshade
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Flower Power is a bit of a controversial album in The Flower Kings discography. It is the second double album in a row after only a year, and according to some, it contains the band's magnum opus piece "Garden of Dreams", but then also contains some of the band's weakest material. While I agree that the hour-long epic "Garden of Dreams" is possibly the band's greatest work, I do not agree that the other material is the weakest. In fact, I think the other material, which is mostly on the second disc, has some of the band's strongest material, and most of the other is underrated. This is also the first album, in my opinion, where the band had finally become a full, working unit, with everyone playing to the fullest, and feels like classic Flower Kings. Hasse Froberg's vocals are finally taking a much bigger role in the music than the previous 2 albums, and even though Jonas Reingold hadn't joined the band yet, bassist Michael Stolt does a fantastic job, and may have his best overall performance on this album. Jamie Salazar plays some of his most furious drumming here, as well.

But let's get on with disc 1. It contains the already mentioned "Garden of Dreams", with a nice coda piece following it in "Astral Dog". The epic is, however, quite epic. That word gets thrown around a bit much on this site, but GoD is the definition of 'epic'. The song goes through some of the most challenging and moving sections of music I've ever heard, not to mention from TFK. This is probably the most exciting from a keyboard perspective. Tomas Bodin is a bit more of a reserved player, but here, he lets loose on a few sections, and has some nice melody lines as well. The song gets a little heavier and rocks out for a little bit before moving into the darkest moment on this album. A brooding, almost scary section, that reminds me the Dark Ages for some reason, I don't know. It eventually returns to a more uplifting section, as you can feel the end is near. The grand finale is beautiful, and has nearly moved me to tears on more than one occasion. The epic is followed by the coda piece, "Astral Dog", which is mostly a Roine guitar solo in the vein of Frank Zappa. Perfect end to a perfect disc of music.

That, alone, would be a 5 star album. But the band has an entire second disc of music, longer than the first disc.

The second disc contains great to excellent songs some highlights are:

Deaf Dumb & Blind opens up disc 2. This is another TFK classic, Some great symphonic moments, with a touch of a middle-eastern vibe. Stupid Girl is alright, a little too light, but goes into a fusion-type improv section, with a little more Zappa influence at the end. Corruption is a classic 90s TFK hard rock tune, with a good chorus, excellent organ, and great solos from Roine. This is followed by a Bodin atmospheric piece, which is nice, maybe too long, but nice. Nothing special.

Next song is Psychedelic Postcard, and this may be one of the band's most underrated songs. It almost reminds me of Zappa's Mothers of Invention from the 60s, with that high pitched vocal technique, and some of the keyboard sounds; but the music is mostly symphonic prog. The song eventually makes it way to the best part of the song, the climax if you will, and is one of the band's most uplifting vocal sections. This song should be one of the band's signature tunes. This is seriously one of their best songs, a little wacky though.

Magic Pie is next. seen as one of their weaker songs in the band's catalog. I never understood this. I mean, it's not the greatest song they ever made, but it's got some real catchy vocals and the chorus is beautiful.

The album ends with Afterlife, which is mostly a reprise of a couple of themes from Garden of Dreams, to round off the album (in case you forgot you were listening to the same album, hehe).

If you're a symphonic prog fan, and do not have this album, you'll be doing yourself a big favor by getting this. Just disc 1 alone is worth the price of admission, as it truly is one of the greatest pieces of progressive rock you'll ever hear.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 1998 was another busy year for The Flower Kings.Roine Stolt released his second solo album ''Hydrphonia'', while the press was still talking about an emerging monster, writing and producing extremely good music at high rates.For the first time the band was preparing to travel to the States and the compilation ''Scanning the greenhouse'' was released to on Avalon as a taste for what the audience would deal with.The Flower Kings played at the 98' Progfest, but still kept writing music in a prolific way for a fourth release before the end of the millenium.''Flower power'' was released in 1999, the first album of the band to be released in four different countries: Sweden, USA, Germany and Japan.

Needless to say this was another 2-CD effort by The Flower Kings, the rate of producing music by Stolt was reaching shocking levels.This album is apparently known for containing one of the longest prog pieces ever recorded, the 59-min. ''Garden of dreams''.The Flower Kings' sound was always versatile, although fairly grounded in 70's Classic Prog, and this piece sees the band moving away from the strict symphonic orientations of the previous releases.While the music is always melodic, sophisticated and fairly symphonic with evident CAMEL, KAIPA and GENESIS influences, the track's length allowed Stolt to experiment with different styles and deliver as many as moods possible, as a result ''Garden of dreams'' contains certain segments with a strong jazzy flavor, some more Electronic-showered lines and even some surprising bluesy solos, prooving why Stolt is regarded one of the best guitarists in the league.On the other hand there are tons of proggy, complex themes with symphonic keyboard flashes and more striking guitar tunes over sentimental vocals to keep things going for the traditional prog listener.The final feeling is mixed, definitely the musicianship is great and almost flawless, but the display of so many styles hurts the track's consistency and overall value.Seeing this as separate pieces will definitely increase the general listening pleasure.

CD one closes with a typical instrumental Flower Kings piece ''Astral dog'', but CD 2 is the definitely winner here, containing a few full-blown prog epics along with some shorter tracks, where the style of the band becomes instantly recognizable.Compositions with great melodies, decent singing lines and a collection of grandiose textures and complicated twists and turns in the vein of 70's Prog, always flavored by a modern production and sound.Stolt's guitar work remains a highlight and Bodin had already become a hot name among Prog keyboardists.Laid-back electroacoustic instrumentals, covered by pompous symphonic orchestrations and touches of a melodious side, creating monumental and trully enjoyable Progressive Rock.They still find some space for rockin' parts and a bit of a jamming mood among the elaborate arrangements, which is always a good thing in my books, if placed and performed well.Echoes of YES, GENESIS, CAMEL and a maybe even a slight Canterbury/jazzy feel are the guiding lines of ''Flower power'' second part.

Rating comes hard.The very long epic is good, but not always great with often a very loose approach, the second part of the album sees The Flower Kings in a creative orgasm, featuring rich and convincing arrangements.Strongly rcommended to say the least, the best moments of the album belong among the best of 90's Prog as well...3.5 stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars One of the better Flower Kings albums, in great part due to the tremendous epic, "Garden of Dreams"--one of my top five epics from the 1990s. The musicianship, as always, is superlative, the song constructs, as usual, sometimes confusing and overly oblique, sometimes simple and straightforward (depending on Roine/the band's leanings toward YES, KING CRIMSON, or GENESIS), and the production great, but 141 minutes of listening is a lot to demand of an audience.

- Disc One "Garden of Dreams" (114.75/120) "Astral Dog" (8:00) nice jazz fusion slow jam-groove, kind of mellow Zappa (14/15) Disc Two "Deaf, Numb and Blind" (17/20) "Stupid Girl" (6:49) trip hoppy start; very 80s; could've been a hit then?especially with the Peter Frampton electric guitar. (13.75/15) "Corruption (5:55) organ. Uriah Heep comes to mind. (7.75/10) "Power of Kindness" (4:25) funeral organ, solo. FOCUS-like. (8.25/10) "Psychedelic Postcard" (9:50) YES. Weird muted vocal. Nice instrumental midsection. (16.5/20) "Hudson River Sirens Call 1998" (4:20) slide guitar solo over slow-burn bass and distant drums. Fem soprano singing operatic vocalize in background. Effective atmosphere and mood. (9.25/10) "Magic Pie" (8:19) acoustic 12-string & harpsichord w/nice vocal from Hasse Fröberg. GENESIS-like rock ballad. (17.75/20) "Painter" (6:45) repeat of old themes in rock power ballad form. (12.75/15) "Calling Home" (16.75/20) "Afterlife" (4:34) tron, organ, military drumming instrumental, builds and builds to crescendo and then falls to simple Moog. (8.75/10)

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

Review by Kempokid
4 stars The Flower Kings are definitely one of the more interesting retro prog bands out there for their ability to expertly craft instrumental sections that take the listener on a journey with amazingly vivid imagery being painted with each sweeping section of music, creating some truly beautiful music. Even so, I've got to say that this album is entirely baffling to me, given how this album is over 2 hours long, yet almost entirely enjoyable from front to back, despite the fact that I couldn't really see a 2 hour long symphonic prog album being anything other than an exhausting experience. What this album does so well in order to make it as enjoyable as it is is how the songwriting has once again been refined and consistency feels far more focused upon, fixing the biggest flaw I found Stardust We Are had, as this album feels as if the majority of the tracks actually have a place.

The album is split into 2 halves, with the first half primarily being taken up by the hour long epic, Garden of Dreams, a piece as grandiose as one would expect from an hour long prog epic, and definitely the most impressive, ambitious song here, even if it can feel a bit inconsistent at points. The first 10 minutes or so that include Dawn, Simple Song and Business Vamp are absolutely excellent, containing a lovely buildup into beautiful, pastoral acoustic guitar before building upon the more fantasy oriented side of their sound, exceptional synths forming the basis of this amazing sound thus far, with Roine Stolt's guitar work further contributing to the quality, being technical, but not enough to become overbearing or distracting. Despite the near perfection of this first stretch of the epic, it's really after this where things get so interesting, with a somewhat darker, more emotionally hearfelt edge to sections like All You Can Save. This is accentuated by the increase of guitar prominence, which is definitely the most emotive aspect to the band's sound overall, and is much more versatile in what imagery it can create compared to the largely fantastical sound of the keyboard. I also love how the band clearly isn't against throwing in some more fun sections into the mix to spice things up without derailing all of the momentum that's being made, as these faster, looser parts often come right before some sort of massive buildup. Of course, when I'm talking about massive buildup, I'm talking about the leadup to one of the most satisfying moments in the band's entire discography, Don't Let The D'evil In, the lush orchestrations making way for surprisingly heavy guitar work in such a perfect climax to the previous few sections' trajectory. It's absolutely how wild this section sounds without sounding entirely out of place, yet going as far as to have a defined riff and everything, sounding like another part of the 2 Judas songs on the band's first 2 albums, except even more amazingly intense through and through. What impresses me more than this is how everything manages to continue smoothly after this point despite the stark drop in intensity, falling back onto the grandiose melodies that still remind me somewhat of a pantomime.

This second half is where I feel like things begin loosing traction as well however, as while there are some really cool experiments with more ambient and understated music, it's also where the more traditional parts often lack the same kind of magic as what was found early on. While I believe this, I must also make sure to not neglect mentioning how absolutely incredible the conclusion to the song is, being so immensely powerful all across the board, the emotional vocals being nothing short of absolutely breathtaking as all elements of the band display the culmintation of the last 55 minutes nothing short of flawlessly, both making everythin beforehand that much more significant, and reeling me back in after the album began to lose me, the first of many cases in which this happens on the album as a whole. Side one also includes the great instrumental Astral Dog, which isn't anywhere near as special as what just came before, but nonetheless signifies the fact that the second half will be full of shorter, more digestable tracks.

I do personally find the second half of this album to be more or less equal to the first in terms of quality, with some clear highlights throughout. Deaf Numb and Blind starts things off very nicely with another lengthy epic, although this time only 11 minutes, but packing it with pure exellence, still having a nice balance between technicality and beauty, especially near the end where everything becomes extremely dense. I like how there is some sort of variety within the many songs here, as it is probably part of the reason why I am able to enjoy this album despite so much being seemingly against it. Psychedelic Postcard is the biggest example of this, as while it's not a big change, the trippier nature of it definitely is an interesting change from most of the album, the fuzzy sound that many elements have in plaes providing some really unique characteristics to it in the grand scheme of the band's output. I also find myself enjoying some other songs such as Corruption, with it's cool guitar sections and the same darker atmosphere underpinned by the theatrics of the project. One final song I would be remiss to neglect is the amazingly beautiful Painter that showcases the identity of the band as a whole extremely well without taking an exceedigly long time to do so.

Overall, I find it highly unnexpected that I ended up enjoying this album so thoroughly, but in the end, that's exactly what I did. I do still believe that this album could have been cut down a bit, but it's a far less egregious issue than on Stardust We Are, as the majority of this feels unlike filler. In terms of reinventing themselves, this album does literally nothing, but instead greatly refines the preexisting identity of the band to create a highly memorable, beautiful album that highlights the best aspects of prog, even if it does indulge on the excess that makes up one of its worst aspects in many cases. Definitely not the first place I'd send people when recommending this band due to its immense length, but it's definitely a great album, especially for the great Garden Of Dreams, which is almost completely worthy of its ridiculous length, although I'd cut it back by about 10 minutes.

Best tracks: Garden of Dreams, Deaf, Numb and Blind, Corruption, Painter

Weakest tracks: Power of Kindness, Hudson Rivers Siren Call 1998, Calling Home

Verdict: Despite being a 2 hour block of symphonic retro prog, I found this album to be surprisingly consistent in its engagement. If you can accept the fact that this album is needlessly excessive in many aspects and enjoy that sort of stuff, I think that you could enjoy this album quite a bit, especially for Garden of Dreams.

Review by Warthur
4 stars One might call Flower Power the start of the "no editing" phase of The Flower Kings. Whilst their first two albums (or three albums, if you include Roine Stolt's original The Flower King solo album which brought the project together) were single-disc affairs, Stardust We Are risked stretching out to two discs and by and large succeeded. This seems to have persuaded the band that the more music they could put on a release, the better - hence Flower Power ends up similarly packed.

The Kings seem to have backed off on this approach in later years - with many subsequent studio albums from the mid-2000s onwards either sticking to one CD in length or, if they had the material, sticking the weaker stuff on a bonus CD rather than packaging it in with the main album. At this point, however, they seem to have been confident that they'd be able to do another 130 minute-plus album hot on the heels of their previous one.

The album leads off with the monster epic Garden of Dreams, an almost hour-long track. This is fairly slow in its early sections, but on the whole I think it's worth it: it uses its massive running time to allow itself to build up gradually, and the Kings' compositional style is diverse and wide-ranging enough that whilst there's obviously themes running through the entire thing they can pack a fairly extensive sonic universe into that one song alone.

To be honest, with prog audiences being used to concept albums where the musical themes all run together - think of Dark Side of the Moon, think of Misplaced Childhood, think of Thick As a Brick for crying out loud - the Kings could have probably just said "that's it, that's the album" and just released Garden of Dreams as a one-disc affair, and I think if they had it'd be regarded as a masterpiece, a journey into symphonic prog realms which, unlike far too many retro- prog acts, keeps in mind the full range of sounds and influences that the classic prog acts of the 1970s truly drew on, and able to incorporate influences ranging from Yes to Zappa in their palette.

The remaining 75 minutes of the album consists of various other musical experiments, ranging from proto-prog psychedelia (the Zappa-ish Psychedelic Postcard) to space rock (Hudson River Sirens Call 1998 could almost, if the vocals on it were less operatic, be an early Porcupine Tree piece) and taking various diversions along the way.

I can see why the Flower Kings gathered a loyal following in the late 1990s - it was a time when it was harder to discover new prog bands than it is today, and InsideOut had pretty decent reach with its distribution, and in an era when many fans were feeling starved for prog a two hour plus album would have felt like an embarrassment of riches. Nonetheless, there are times when less is more, and Flower Power illustrates that. Garden of Dreams by itself would be in contention for five stars, or a 50-minute condensation of the best bits of the non-Garden of Dreams songs would be in the running for a similar grade, but as it is I have to give the whole package four stars. If you're a prog fan, there's a lot to like here, but you may find you rarely listen to the whole thing all the way through.

Latest members reviews

4 stars 'Flower Power' is a double-disc album from The Flower Kings, which is a regular occurrence for this band. The first disc is mostly comprised of a nearly one-hour-long epic composition entitled "Garden of Dreams," and the second disc consists of "shorter" songs. I say "shorter" in quotations because ... (read more)

Report this review (#2938236) | Posted by Magog2112 | Saturday, July 8, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Mixed, but Iconic TFK was creatively peaking around this time. Here is another double-CD release, right after a previous one (Stardust We Are). Roine Stolt (and Thomas Bodin) sure were productive song writers! Unlike other bands where quantity is usually traded off with quality, the opposite seem ... (read more)

Report this review (#1703399) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, March 18, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is in every way an interesting record. It is totally full of music and parts of it are awesome. I have to warm you beacuse the music needs time to be understood. There's so plenty of music minutes and every song needs to be heard some times before you judge it. "Flowerpower" from 1999 is ... (read more)

Report this review (#1175182) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Rate 10/10 When I felt for the first time the flowers king I felt the track "astral dog". at once to the first notes I understood the importance of the track and I immediately fell in love of it. the whole CD is a concept album. the first track "the garden of dream " is a musical masterpiec ... (read more)

Report this review (#819212) | Posted by Pink Vlosy | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Flower Power is the second double album from TFK and is also their longest at a whopping 2 hours and 20 minutes. Listening to this in one sitting is definitely a task. What doesn't help, though, is like the previous album Stardust We Are, Flower Power also suffers from filler material. This time aro ... (read more)

Report this review (#771393) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Like most of their albums, the Flower Kings has a varied style throughout the album. Never a band to be stuck in a rut, they experiment with sounds and styles. But what makes this album a masterpiece is the almost full hour long composition, Garden of Dreams. This piece is one of the most amazing ... (read more)

Report this review (#752330) | Posted by dtguitarfan | Saturday, May 12, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is modern symphonic prog rock at its best. Disc 1 features the magnificent suite known as Garden of Dreams, which still stands as the best thing The Flower Kings have ever done. The 18-song suite takes us through many sounds and styles, eventually capping itself off with one of the greatest end ... (read more)

Report this review (#450475) | Posted by Biff Tannen | Friday, May 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Flower Power", the fourth full-length release by Swedish prog rockers The Flower Kings, is a double-disc monster spanning over 141 minutes of music, and it is very much an album of two faces. One is sublime, the other is a disappointment. Let's start with the positives. Disc 1 contains the beau ... (read more)

Report this review (#347424) | Posted by lukretio | Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another double-CD, the second in a row, for TFK. It features the super-epic 1-hour "Garden of Dreams", various very short tracks, and standard FK quite long songs on the second CD. The second is an excellent addition to a TFK collection, and the first one is... a masterpiece. In this special ca ... (read more)

Report this review (#333192) | Posted by Progdaybay | Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Flower Kings' fourth album is the terribly named, in my opinion, Flower Power. But, Flower Power, is not like the title. Flower Power is in fact an album of extraordinary melodies and musicianship. The first song on the album is the 59 minute epic "Garden Of Dreams", which is one of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#308474) | Posted by BrownsFan | Friday, November 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Steve's Album Of The Day : "Flower Power" by The Flower Kings. I discovered these Swedish proggers about 10 years ago, and they have always proved to be an interesting listen. Emulating Genesis, Yes, and perhaps even Frank Zappa blended with a bit of modern Jazz fusion, they sound both famil ... (read more)

Report this review (#299118) | Posted by Progfan1958 | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well what's their to say about these guys. One thing is that they're everything I like about prog, melodic, impressive and mature. Not just a bunch off fake jazz musicians trying to play stupid and meaninless odd rhythyms to try and impress. This album proves it. Not their best in my o ... (read more)

Report this review (#289142) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Sunday, July 4, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well this actually proves the point - I listened to this CD way before I had adjusted my music appreciation to include the genius of Stolte & Co - I have just given this a few spins & was completely blown away! The Garden of Dreams has 18 partoids, and only part two is sub FK standard, the res ... (read more)

Report this review (#230714) | Posted by M27Barney | Sunday, August 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An imperfect album. It contains what I still consider the finest piece of music by the Flower Kings (or any other prog band for that matter), Garden Of Dreams. For me, 60 minutes well utilized. I love all of it. I was initially disappointed when I heard it live, because they cut out a few sections ... (read more)

Report this review (#215182) | Posted by infandous | Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have recently listened to all the Flower Kings' studio albums in chronological order(over several days!). In my opinion this is their best, by a short head from 'Unfold the future'. There is a remarkable consistency ( some might say sameness)over all their albums, but here they excel themselve ... (read more)

Report this review (#170864) | Posted by dmwilkie | Tuesday, May 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It could be easily a 5-star album :-), BUT: Disc 1: They really insist to some concept, connecting all those songs together. A normal concept album should have some concept, yeah? What is that here? Is there a story? There isnt. Some extremely banal lyrics about lost love, then about a yuppie ... (read more)

Report this review (#166041) | Posted by Tandary | Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars To me this is yet an album that some fans either love or hate well I LOVE SOME FLOWER POWER i mean sure there are some weak tracks here and there but alot of stuff on the second disc and of course all of the first disc really make up for a lot. The Flower Kings have always kept my attention w ... (read more)

Report this review (#80833) | Posted by Progdrummer05 | Saturday, June 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is the album where TFK began to win their fame of releasing everything they wrote, without any kind of selection or quality control. Disc one is a very good album by The Flower Kings, but disc two seems to be released by The Filler Kings instead. And it's a pity. Garden Of Dreams, the hug ... (read more)

Report this review (#76289) | Posted by eddietrooper | Tuesday, April 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An imperfect album. It contains what I still consider the finest piece of music by the Flower Kings (or any other prog band for that matter), Garden Of Dreams. For me, 60 minutes well utilized. I love all of it. I was initially dissapointed when I heard it live, because they cut out a few sec ... (read more)

Report this review (#74641) | Posted by | Tuesday, April 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Now that The Flower Kings have released their new album and with their show coming up in the Netherlands this seems to be a good time for a review of one of my favourite albums from this great band. The Flower Kings make symphonic prog mostly influenced by Yes, yet they clearly have their own ... (read more)

Report this review (#74588) | Posted by Dirk | Monday, April 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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