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The Flower Kings

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The Flower Kings The Rainmaker album cover
3.51 | 524 ratings | 44 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Last Minute on Earth (11:40)
2. World Without a Heart (4:29)
3. Road to Sanctuary (13:50)
4. The Rainmaker (6:02)
5. City of Angels (12:04)
6. Elaine (4:55)
7. Thru the Walls (4:31)
8. Sword of God (6:00)
9. Blessing of a Smile (3:12)
10. Red Alert (1:10)
11. Serious Dreamers (8:59)

Total Time 76:52

Line-up / Musicians

- Hasse Fröberg / lead & backing vocals
- Roine Stolt / guitar, keyboards, lead & backing vocals
- Tomas Bodin / keyboards
- Jonas Reingold / bass
- Jaime Salazar / drums
- Hasse Bruniusson / percussion

- Ulf Wallander / soprano saxophone

Releases information

Artwork: Ioannis

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 085 (2001, Germany)
CD Century Media ‎- 0501203 (2010, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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THE FLOWER KINGS The Rainmaker ratings distribution

(524 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

THE FLOWER KINGS The Rainmaker reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Lot's of hits and misses on this one. I enjoyed the playing, however, some of the song writing isn't up to par. Some of the lyrical content is laughable, 'here she comes again, smiling like a horse' ? Come on, what kind of lyrics are those? They would be well served with finding a top notch lyricst. The instrumentals are good.

The Flower Kings would be better as an instrumental group. The singing is weak at best and over-dramatic and absurd in many songs, making me wish I hadn't bought this in the first place.

Review by Greger
4 stars Roine Stolt and The Flower Kings seem to have an enormous musical treasure where they are bringing out one musical jewel after the other from. Since 1994 they have released a numerous of albums, double albums, live albums, project albums and solo albums. All of them contain equally good compositions and very few bad ones.

Their music is complex high quality progressive rock with lengthy instrumental passages, beautiful harmonies, odd time signatures, gently jazz influences and Roine Stolt's brilliant guitar playing as the extra spice. In my opinion Roine is one of the world's best composers and guitar players in this genre. The keyboard player Tomas Bodin has a very important part in the Flower Kings sound too. Hasse Fröberg and Roine share the vocal duties and both of them have very good voices. The Flower Kings are combining the best from their musical backgrounds and the music that has inspired them through the years. We're talking about bands such as Camel, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Genesis, Gentle Giant and Yes.

As long as The Flower Kings keeps on releasing such brilliant albums, their fan base will keep on growing and they will sell more and more albums. They deserve it!

Review by loserboy
4 stars As most of you know The FLOWER KINGS have always held a very special place in my heart with most if not all thier albums reaching gold status in my mind and on my CD player. Certainly after seeing them live 2 nights on their 2001 USA tour has made this strong musical attraction all that much clearer... these guys kick! "Rainmaker" is the recent release for Roine and the lads taking us back into their tight knit symphonic prog layer. "Rainmaker" is another superb installment with no signs of weakening in any way. This full length CD contains 3 huge epic tracks (over 10 mins) and contains some of the most beautiful and emotional music I have heard in a while. This album houses a few more sound effects than other albums and Hasse Froberg has taken on a greater degree of the singing. Dominating this album is of course Roine's wonderful inspiration guitar playing and the brilliant master keyboard strokes of Tomas Bodin. Overall "Rainmaker" is a huge listen and is highly recommended by this FLOWER KING fan.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Cloud Bursting

When it comes to progressive rock, we should be grateful to the Flower Kings and their peers for continuing to produce fine examples of the genre. I don't always fully appreciate what they do, but their music can at times be a beacon shining to guide the good ship Music back to a safe port(!).

The first track, "Last minute on earth", is an excellent opener, lyrically strong, and with some fine guitar and keyboards. At times, the FKs can try too hard to be progressive, and "Road to Sanctuary" may be a case in point. It is not a bad track, but many of the time changes do not flow well together, as if various themes have been randomly linked just in order to make one long track. The title track is a lovely instrumental with orchestral overtones, and a "Bolero" feel.

For me, Stolt's vocals are the weakest part of the FK's, a point which becomes even more apparent on "City of angels", a track I find to be quite stunning instrumentally. "Sword of God" is surprisingly commercial, a melodic rock song indeed. The band need two instrumental tracks afterwards to get over the shock! The final track, "Serious dreamers" restores normality, although even it has shades of Steely Dan.

In summary, some very good work appears here, but the quality control could at times be a bit tighter.

Review by hdfisch
4 stars On the one hand I like this album even a bit more than SPACE REVOLVER since it does not contain any song being a complete failure. But on the other hand I've got to say as well that this one is again not one of their strongest ones. Just because it's lacking completely their epic symphonic instrumental parts which is without any doubt musically their strongest field and my favorite of them. THE RAINMAKER is a more song- oriented album and although there are not such highlights as Circus Brimstone or Rumble Fish Twist it's a quite good and very homogeneous one. The album is very well balanced between more rocking and more mellow parts. The highlights are of course the three long tracks Last Minute On Earth having some rather heavy parts, Road To Sanctuary with great instrumental sections and City Of Angels which reminds very much to YES in their heyday. But the rest of the songs is good as well, the title track is a classical one inspired by Ravel's Bolero and in Elaine and Blessing Of A Smile we can enjoy once again the great sax playing by guest musician Ulf Wallander.

Overall THE RAINMAKER is an album bearing not any innovations nor experiments but nevertheless a very good one and a nice listen with lots of excellent prog rock songs.

Review by chessman
4 stars I already knew that this album was one that caused quite a few splits amongst fans, and I didn't know what to expect from it. I had heard that it was heavier, and maybe poppier than their other albums. Well, seeing as I like the band anyway, full stop, I bought it. On first hearing it, I was not sure what to make of it. Certainly it seemed poppier, with shorter, more song based tunes, even though three of the tracks are still over 10 mins long. But, the more I listened, the more it got to me, and now I have to say it is one of my favourites. 'Last Minute On Earth' is an exellent starter. Beautiful singing from Hasse Froberg who, on this album, handles more of the lead vocals than usual. Both he and Roine take it in turns to sing lead, both on here, and on other tracks. And the mixture works well. There is superb guitar work on this track, very Holdsworthy in parts, whilst the ending is well worked and effective. 'World Without A Heart' is probably my least fave on the album, but it is, nevertheless, a decent offering. Predominantly vocal, quite short for a Flower Kings song, and not so heavy on the instrumentation, it is still very listenable. 'Road To Sanctuary' was a song that took some time to get into, but was worth the effort. Well crafted, with a nice change of pace near the end, it is typical Flower Kings. 'The Rainmaker', the first of three instrumentals, is probably the weakest. A slow, keyboard led build up, with hesitant, marching drums, it promises more than it delivers, as it doesn't seem to lead anywhere. I have to say, though, the guitar work near the end, and the atmospheric keyboards that follow it made me nod with satisfaction . 'City Of Angels' is the last of the epics, and is one of my favourites. Very catchy, with a memorable melody and, again, superb harmonies, this track sticks in the mind immediately. Brilliant. 'Elaine' is an underrated song. Another shortish, (for this group!) vocally dominated track, it has very thoughtful lyrics, regarding someone who doesn't quite fit in with the majority of people. A very sad, yet true statement. I like this one a lot. 'Thru The Walls' is not the best song here, but, again, is pleasant, if melancholy. 'Sword Of God' is tremendous. Hasse Froberg throws off his Jon Anderson voice here and manages to sound amazingly close to Paul Rogers during the verse. A quite heavy, memorable riff accompanies this rocky song, not very progressive, but classy. The next track, 'Blessing Of A Song' is the second instrumental, and is again catchy, with nice Bodin keyboards. The third instrumental, 'Red Alert' follows this, very short, yet again keyboard led and catchy. Superb. Now we come to the album closer. 'Serious Dreamers' is, maybe, my favourite track on the whole album! Back come the Jon Anderson harmonies in the catchy chorus, back comes the wonderful melody in the verse, and all this is accompanied by high class guitar work. This track is only a second or two under 10 mins, by the way, and is the perfect way to finish a stunning album. I always believe that the last track on an album should be one of the strongest, as it then ends the record on a high, and this certainly does that. I have to say that 'The Rainmaker' is probably my third favourite from The Flower Kings, and whilst it doesn't quite reach the heights of 'Flower Power' or 'Unfold The Future' in my eyes, and even though it is a little different to their other material, even down to the dark and gloomy, untypical cover, it is an essential for all collectors of Flower Kings material. The production is excellent too!
Review by b_olariu
4 stars This is the only album a have with this band. They sound very good. Musicaly is well put on the portative and every note is where they belong. Great stuff for any prod lover . They soud like Pink Floyd and Genesis, but with a lot of originality. The musicians are very skillfull with the instruments. A good one in every way.
Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record introduced me to the Flower Kings. I downloaded the track City of Angels and was struck with awe: Very clever chord progressions, together with totally emotional and inspired vocals, and a very natural use of 11/4 in the verse, captain future style keyboard interludes ... very nice.

It's not the best FK album to start with, although it worked for me. I'd go for Stardust first. It's more diverse than The Rainmaker, which is a bit mellow as a whole (although one of the key aspects of FK/Stolt is dynamics and contrasts).

Review by Zitro
3 stars 3.5 Stars

A bit sub par for the Flower Kings but still a very competent album. What stands out from the other albums is that this one is introduces their darkness which will be revisited in Devil's Playground and Paradox Hotel

1. Last Minute On Earth 7/10 : a solid opener. It scared me off with the chanting in the intro, but it really has good vocals, melodies, and Roine Stolt playing hard rock. This track seems to have Spock's Beard Influences, but good ones. Unfortunately, the ending is severely disappointing: it just fizzles out in a nonsensical way.

2. World Without A Heart 5.5/10 : pleasant song that is a relief after the heavy opener, but lacks a good chorus.

3. Road To Sanctuary : 7/10 : The epic of the album. The beginning is promising with influences of Black Dog (zeppelin) in minute 3-4 with the vocals-riffing sections switching. It has dynamics and many changes, yet it seems to lack a bit of direction in the second half.

4. The Rainmaker 6/10 : Bolero-style instrumental song that sounds like a movie soundtrack. It's good, but a bit repetitive.

5. City Of Angels 7/10 : This is an up tempo track with great keyboard playing. The main synth riff is really nice. I also like much of the soloing in it. Sadly, the chorus is not that interesting.

6. Elaine 6.5/10 : The verses are not very interesting musically and its lyrics are laughable. However, the choruses are excellent and the jazzy groove at the end is very interesting, especially if you pay attention to the bass guitar.

7. Thru The Walls 6/10 : the organ riff in the intro and throughout the song is good, as well as the melodies and solos. However, the song lacks a bit of dynamics.

8. Sword Of God 5/10 : I do not enjoy the vocals with distortion in its chorus and they try too hard to sound cool and heavy. It just does not work.

9. Blessing Of A Smile 7/10 : mellow instrumental with good atmosphere and melodies.

10. Red Alert 6/10 : nice instrumental, but too short.

11. Serious Dreamers 6.5/10 : a solid rock&blues closer which foreshadows Roine's latest solo album.

Conclusion : it is Flower Kings' weakest material that I found. It is still better than most prog of today.

My Grade : B/C

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another excellent follow-up album from The Flower Kings after their previous excellent work titled "Space Revolver". For me personally, "The Rainmaker" is much more accessible than its predecessor as the music, overall, is more melodic and the music is more solid. This might be the line-up change where Michael Stolt (bass) was replaced by Jonas Reingold and Jaime Salazar (drums) was replaced by Zoltan Csörsz. The line-up change does not really change The Flower Kings sound, however, it changes the way the music harmony is formed. This is due to Zoltan's truly dynamic drumming, combined with adventurous and inventive bass lines by Jonas. The result is a complex music with excellent harmony which blends stunning guitar work by Roine Stolt, Bodin's floating and soaring keyboard sound - both of them are fully supported with excellent combination of bass guitar, drums, percussion and powerful vocals.

The album kicks off with "Last Minute On Earth" (11:40) which has an intro that blends nice guitar riffs and melody reminiscent of early Genesis featuring Zoltan's acrobatic drumming augmented with keyboard. The music varies from a floating style during first verse lyrical part and it moves upbeat with guitar melody during transition piece and brings the music into fast tempo. The keyboard work by Bodin injects symphonic and sometimes spacey nuance of the song. Throughout music passages I can hear clearly how inventive Jonas plays his bass guitar. This song is great in terms of composition as well as band's performance. It's a WOW track, I would say. I enjoy Stolt guitar solo where Jonas provides really solid and dynamic bass.

"World Without A Heart" (4:29) starts mellow with acoustic guitar rhythm followed with electric guitar melody that welcomes voice line. The song is like a ballad song with good music flow. "Road To Sanctuary" (13:50) brings the music into a bit complex arrangements where organ provides its dominant role during opening. As the song turns faster in terms of tempo, guitar enters the music. I especially like the passage where the keyboard sounds like a vibe combined with rocking guitar solo. This song also provides some acoustic guitar break that accompanies voice line. "The Rainmaker" (6:02) sees the band in its avant-garde style with orchestration, featuring guitar solo augmented with church organ at background. The guitar work is really rocking - an interesting one to listen.

"City Of Angels" (12:04) sees the band performs its music with a keyboard-based intro which brings excellent singing supported with combination of guitar rhythm / effects and medium beat drumming. The music moves to different style with guitar gives nice fills during singing part. "Elaine" (4:55) demonstrates a good combination of acoustic guitar work, vocal and excellent bass lines. "Thru The Walls" (4:31) starts differently with soft punch of organ followed with vocals. Roine Stolt gives his Hackettian guitar style during interlude guitar solo. Really cool.

"Sword Of God" (6:00) begins with a colossal nuance followed with dynamic music that features great guitar melody and riffs. It sounds like a rocker especially on how the guitar riff is played. This is when TFK combines its music with Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. Again, Jonas plays dazzling bass guitar work. "Blessing Of A Smile" (3:12) is a slow track with some blues influence with saxophone and excellent bass guitar. The album concludes excellently with "Serious Dreamers" (8:59).

Overall, it's highly recommended. Some people consider this album is inferior than its predecessor. I disagree. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by AtLossForWords
5 stars The Rainmaker featured a new approach by The Flower Kings, so I think this album calls fourth an interesting opportunity to review. The album features many different compositional techniques not showcased on previous albums. The atmosphere is so different from any other Flower Kings release, so it holds an important place in the bands discography from a purely musical standpoint.

As I mentioned earlier, the atmosphere is quite different from previous releases. This is where most of my praise for this album originates. When I listen to this album, I feel The Flower Kings have made songs with truly abstract concepts open to the interpretation of any listener. My personal connection beings with the intro track, Last Minute On Earth. From here forward I could relate to the intellectual struggles of right and wrong occuring within the soul. I found this album to one of the most intimate and touching Flower Kings releases.

Roine Stolt is fantastic. He advances from the bluesy overtones of previous albums like Flower Power to a more mature, emotional, and intimate style of playing. Stolt's melodic guitar playing on this album is second to none. In particular a small section of Sword of God really made an impact on me as a listener. Stolt's playing throughout this album is entirely linked to the other members of the band for building chords and atmospheres. Something Flower Kings fans have seen little of on previous albums where Stolt favors showcasing his own bluesy solo skills. This album is a milestone of composing for Stolt.

Hasse Froberg's vocal abilites really bring this album from being an epic piece of composing, to an emotional art of music. Froberg expands the drama unlike any in his field. He has a perfect voice for contrasting that of Roine Stolt.

Tomas Bodin stuck to much darker keyboard tones on this album. Bodin who has the best consistency of playing epic melodies in this band takes more of an atmospheric and blend role. Bodin makes an excellent contribution to the chordal balance of this album. So much of this wonderful atmosphere is dependant on Tomas Bodin.

Jonas Reingold is extraordinary. His fusion style is perfect for this band. He really brings an entirely different approach from previous bassist Michael Stolt, and that is made clear on this album. Reingold is a virtuoso, the precision he executes his wild runs is incredible.

Jaime Salazaar takes a much different approach to drumming this time. The usually rock solid Salazaar ditches most of his precise style in favor of a looser, busier style. Salazaar's fills on this album are fantastic. Never before on any TFK albums have I been more impressed with the drumming. His cymbal use is quite jazzy again. The way this man works a ride cymbal is something special.

Hasse Brunisson does less yelling than usual. The whistles are still unforgettable and catchy. In fact, some people will even recognize which song they are listening to because of them.

Excellent effort, and quite possibly my favorite Flower King's single disc album. The production is perfect. It's a rarity that the tones in my head match exactly with the tones on this album, so I'll say no more.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars For a long time I thought The Rainmaker was Flower King's least successful album. The reason is simple: it came after a series of classic CDs and it is simply not par to them. That does not mean this album is bad, or mediocre, not at all. In fact, when I heard it again to write this review I found myself unable to pick up many faults. I have to point that there is almost no filler here, but this concept album does not seem to gel as a whole. There are some fine tunes (like the first track, Last Minute On Earth), but it fails to capture my imagination like any other previous ones did so easily.

Ok, maybe it's just a matter of taste, since, at the time, I was looking for another Retropolis or something like that and, of course, I would not get it. Every Flower King album is different, for the bad or the good. Rainmaker is very different indeed from 2000's Space Revolver, or any other for that matter. It's a pity that this CD would be the last with the original drummer Jaime Salazar, who left right before this album was released.

After listening to the whole album many times I can't find no reason not to recommend it to anyone who likes prog music. There are some fine moments here. But on the other hand I can't say it's essential. Good? Yes. But there are other TFK CDs that are better and more inspired. So go for the previous ones before tackling Rainmaker. 3,5 stars for the great musicianship, production and the overall quality of the music.

Review by Matti
3 stars I have heard several FK albums but the band never really broke thru to me. And yet I made a quick buying decision when I heard a record store playing the bombastic opener 'Last Minute on Earth' (it was in 2003 or 2004, only 10 euros). I liked the cover art too, and the track lengths seemed friendly; I don't dig FK's 20+ minute-epics, and here you get four tracks from 8:59 to 13:50 plus seven shorter tracks. And what really surprises me, none of the tracks is unpleasant to me.

For many this is clearly not FK at their best. Why? The lack of overblown epics? The relatively accessible songs? A couple of rather lame - but beautiful - instrumentals? I believe this is just the right FK album to have if you don't fall for their more ambitious dinosauric works. I think structurally FK belongs to the YES school of prog, but soundwise I hear especially keyboard playing reminding a lot of Gabriel-era GENESIS. That retro ingredient added to the very presice modern playing, and a nice amount of progressiveness without taking it too far, makes up a good 77-minute album. Flower Kings by the numbers, one could say, but it works.

Other FK albums I've listened to include Retropolis, Space Revolver, Unfold the Future and dreadful Adam & Eve. Still, if I was to choose from them, I'd pick Rainmaker. 3,5 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy

There are apparently mixed feelings about this band. Some people ranking them in the top of the current progressive music, while others are just bored listening to their long albums and justifying their meaning telling that TFK just repeats what has been previously already done.

I categorized myself probably in between those two options. I like very much their very pleasant symphonic music ("Big Puzzle", "There is More to This World" etc.) but dislike at times their too sophisticated (pretentious ?) approach during some lenghty pieces of music ("The Garden Of Dreams"). I guess that you got the picture.

TFK will again pleases their fans with "The Rainmaker". This album will almost fill the maximum CD lenght with 77 minutes of music. I could not really entered within their last works ("Flower Power" and "Alive..."), so let's hear about this one.

First, the long songs.

The opener "Last Minute on Earth" is made of three disctinct parts that are coming back during the song. It is a mix of their nice and melodic sound fully "Yes" oriented, we'll get the usual scrary an repetitive riff from Crimson (the most interesting part here), and something less evident for TFK : we'll get a hard rocking portion which might have been played by Purple. But I must say that all these elements fit well together and this song belongs to the good ones from their production.

"Road to Sanctuary" is a bit more difficult. Loads of heavy keyboards. The long instrumental intro is it is fully ELP and Yes oriented. It sounds a bit harder than a classic TFK song. Rather complex drumming at times. This song will feature nice vocal harmonies as well as good instrumental breaks (especially guitar of course, but not only). All in all a very pleasant track again. A bit too long, maybe.

"City of Angels" is more in the tradition of a true TFK song and therefore pleases me a lot. A bit jazzy and mellow in the first third, it will be pure symphony with a very catchy guitar break (very subtle and quiet) mixed with good background keys. A simple but effective TFK song. One of my favourite on this album.

The closing number "Serious Dreamer" is another beautiful song fully in the vein of their most symphonic work. No need to mention that I appreciate it a lot. A good manner to end this good album.

The short ones :

"World Without a Heart" and "Elaine" are very similar.They are beautiful rock ballads. I have always liked Roine's voice (but don't ask me why), so I really like these sweet pieces of music. Pleasant and soft breaks. "Elaine" will feature an interesting jazzy finale (again, very soft which explains that I like it).

"The Rainmaker" is fully Bolero inspired. It is not the first time that a rock band is using this theme. The two ones I can remember of on the fly are the ones from Crimson and ELP. Two bands that have influenced TFK a lot in their work. No wonder then that they also do an attempt. When compared to the other two, I rank this one in the middle : before ELP but after Crimson.

"Thru the Walls" is my least prefered song so far. A bit dull and uninspired. The heavy mood of "Sword Of God" is not really appealing to my ears either. Another weak one. "Blessing of A Smile" is another instrumental break but nothing great; as the very short "Red Alert"

This album is of course not an essential work. I still believe that "Retropolis" and "Stardust" are their best ones so far. This album coming slightly after in my taste (along with "Back In The World...", their debut album). I believe that if some songs would have been deleted from the tracklist (the quatuor from "Thru..." till "Red Alert"), this album would still have clocked at 62 minutes (which is a very decent lenght, IMO) and I would have rated with four stars.

As such, three stars but a nice come back from this good band.

Review by progrules
4 stars For quite some time now I know all the (studio)albums by TFK and I'm amazed how constant they are in their performance over 12 years now. They never made a real poor album and since the legendary Genesis and Yes can't even achieve this I think it's worth a compliment for The Flower Kings.

But of course there are always better and lesser albums, that's only logical. And somehow this is one of their least. I can't really get my finger on it why, I think because on this one a real highlight is lacking. And as usual (in my opinion) their shorter songs are not really the best so if you put that all together this is almost a medicre album at least for TFK standards. But don't worry, I love their music so much that even this one will get 4 stars. I'll give a short description for the individual tracks.

1. Last minute on earth. Very good epic, but in TFK history it's not quite their best. 4,5 stars.

2. World without a heart. Nice shorter song. Not too special. 3 stars.

3. Road to sanctuary. If there is a highlight it's this one. Very good epic. 4,75 stars.

4. The Rainmaker. I don't really care for this one. Bit of strange vocal aspect by (I think) Tomas. 2,75 stars.

5. City of Angels. One of their least epics of all time. Something special is lacking in this one. 3,75 stars.

6. Elaine. Sensitive lyrics by Roine. Ballad like short song. 3 stars.

7. Thru the walls. Another one not too special to me. 3 stars.

8. Sword of God. This one is a lot better. 4 stars.

9. Blessing of a smile. Ballad-like short song. 3 stars.

10. Insignificant very short song. 2 stars.

11. Serious dreamers. One of my very favourites. Really great composition with much variation. 4,75 stars.

So all in all not that bad. Problem is just that they have done so much better through the years. So 4 stars because measured in time I come to an average of 3.8.

Review by Moatilliatta
4 stars I think this one is a bit underrated. While not being able to contend with the releases that surround it, Space Revolver and Unfold the Future, it is still a great, albeit inconsistent release. We may run into issues of filler tracks, but the bulk of this record is top-notch Flower Kings. The band have settled down a bit and developed a sound with less bombast and more atmosphere. While the band would culminate in the fusing of their bombast and experimentalism with thick atmosphere on the next album, this one still serves us a huge platter of brilliance. The 4 longer tracks are the highlights, and since they take up almost 50 minutes of the disc, it's already worth having. "Last Minute on Earth" and "Road to Sanctuary" are hard rockin' pieces, of course containing many hooks and stylistic shifts, with some moments of beauty, while "City of Angels" and "Serious Dreamers" are more balladesque, still containing many shifts and hooks. These four songs contain some of the most memorable passages in the band's discography. Even the weaker tracks are enjoyable; "World Without a Heart" is peppered with some tasty slide guitars, fretless bass lines and good melodies and "Elaine" is brought to a close with a funky jazz passage featuring the saxophones of Ulf Wallander. Don't let the intro lyric of that song "here she comes again smiling like a horse" give you the wrong impression! It sounds laughable, and while I admittedly have laughed at some of their lyrics, the band was trying to create a laughable image! I think that is crucial to the point of the song.

That atmospheric element I spoke of earlier really comes out in the album's instrumentals. The band decided not to dish out another wild and wacky number like "Rumble Fish Twist," but instead decided to try out a brooding highly atmosphere-oriented piece in "The Rainmaker." It's not even like the end of the aforementioned piece. This one has a theme, which is above a slowly building background with some soloing until the throbbing rhythm takes over and the band begins to create soundscapes for the remainder of the track. Toward the end of the album we also have "Blessing of a Smile," which is another ambient piece with some soloing and that is followed by "Red Alert," which is a short, peppy recount of some melodies from earlier in the album.

The second half of the album lacks some direction, but luckily we are treated to a great closer, and there are enough moments in between to keep your attention. The Rainmaker is no start-to-finish masterpiece, but there are a handful of masterpieces within the album. And truth be told, it's more consistent than most of the records that preceded it.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is one of the lowest rated studio albums that THE FLOWER KINGS have recorded. I knew that before I started to listen to it, yet "The Rainmaker" still brought some sunshine into my prog world. This is surprisingly good. These guys consistantly put out great songs, in fact there isn't one FLOWER KING record that doesn't have at least one killer track on it. Their drummer Jaime Salazar would leave after this record, this was known before this album was put out, and I must say he delivers probably his best performance up to this point.

"Last Minute On Earth" is such a great tune. It opens with what sounds like native chanting(The Rainmaker) and this voice will return later in the album. Heavy drums and guitar follow. Both sound amazing ! Some organ adds to the sound. A calm and vocals come in. Hasse is the vocalist here and he sounds very passionate. The contrast of calm and heavy continues. A change 5 minutes in as it speeds up with organ, guitar and drums leading the way. Vocals and a calm are back 7 1/2 minutes in. "World Without A Heart" is a mellow track with strummed guitar, bass, light drums, piano and relaxed vocals. "Road To Sanctuary" is the longest song on here with the usual changes in tempo and mood. From uptempo to dark and dramatic. Some aggressive vocals 2 minutes in. Xylophone before 4 minutes. A calm with flute after 5 minutes. Fragile vocals and a calm before 7 minutes. A keyboard melody leads the way 10 minutes in with some great guitar melodies.

"The Rainmaker" is one of my favourites. It starts slowly before marching-like drums and soaring guitar melodies come in. Nice. An atmospheric track with some mellotron 4 minutes in. Synths to end it. "City Of Angels" opens with such a beautiful upbeat sound. Vocals follow. Just a feel good track, although there are different moods presented throughout this 12 minute song. I like the guitar led melody that is so tasteful later on in the song. "Elaine" is ok I guess, it's a mellow track and i'm not sure what to think of the lyrics. "Thru The Walls" opens with organ that reminds me of Banks. This is another relaxed tune. The Rainmaker is back chanting late in the song. "Sword Of God" is a great song with some ripping guitar and passionate vocals. The drumming and keyboard work is outstanding as well. This is surprisingly heavy. "Blessing Of A Smile" is an instrumental with sax, and it does make me smile. "Red Alert" is another instrumental at just over a minute in length. This is bouncey with lots of keys. "Serious Dreamers" is one of those songs that seems to get better as it plays out. Vocals, drums and synths lead the way on this one.

I really don't think these guys could make a bad album. In fact if you ever see any of their cds new or used that you don't have... buy !

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The best simile I can use is to say this album is like a beautiful jigsaw where none of the pieces fit together. The musicians are all experts in what they bring to this effort, but the compositions neither flow with one another nor with themselves. And some things on here (like some notorious lyrics) are just plain lazy.

"Last Minute On Earth" The first of three lengthy tracks begins with throat singing, which is an odd but unique way to start. It is difficult to comment on this track because I feel it springs all over the place without any clear direction. There's a solid chorus, but that's about it. As will be a constant pleasure on this album, Jonas Reingold lays down some thick and dynamic bass riffs throughout. Unfortunately, the ending fizzles away in a bunch of directionless nonsense.

"World Without A Heart" It isn't necessary that an album begin with all guns blazing, and as strange as it may sound, I feel this soft and acoustic song might have served as a more interesting and delightful first song. It contains one of Roine Stolt's better moments as lead vocalist. Despite it's gentle simplicity, this is one of the best tracks on the album.

"Road To Sanctuary" The longest track made my ears perk up with that great organ introduction from Tomas Bodin, but the call and response nature of the vocals and music put me off. There's a lot going on in this song, and it's too bad none of it seems to fit together. The gentle classical and steel-string acoustic guitar duet is a nice change of pace from the heavier fare, however.

"The Rainmaker" Barely audible music and distant rumbling introduce this Bolero, which sounds like it would make for excellent video game music, particularly an old military real time strategy.

"City Of Angels" The third and final track over ten minutes is a wakeup call from the previous, sleep-inducing one. This is the bright-eyed band The Flower Kings usually are, full of cheerful sounds and sprightly keyboards. But the Toto-like chorus sounds like bad R&B sung by a group of people who just met. Bodin's keyboard solo is the highlight of the music, but it's just not enough to make this a standout piece of music.

"Elaine" Yes, this is the song with that god-awful line, "Here she comes again smiling like a horse." What compelled Stolt to pen such bizarre and silly similes and metaphors is beyond me, especially over such lovely music. Reingold struts his stuff throughout the instrumental section of this song, upstaging the saxophonist in a big way, and showing that he is one of the best bassists still breathing.

"Thru The Walls" Stolt's weakest vocal performance on the album, this short song is at once boring and tough to follow. The throat singing returns unexpectedly.

"Sword Of God" After a brief choral opening, the hardest track on the album explodes. It sounds like a blend between early 1990s hip hop and hard rock. Mainly, it's loud and obnoxious.

"Blessing Of A Smile" After such an irritating track, this is a great return to the majestic music the band is capable of. The keyboards move underneath the saxophone in this peaceful instrumental.

"Red Alert" This is merely a ninety-second revisiting of some earlier themes.

"Serious Dreamers" Bodin begins the final track with amazing synthesizer, but things suddenly change for the worst. Folks, this is The Flower Kings doing 1990s R&B, something that just shouldn't happen.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This is not my favorite album by The Flower Kings, nor is it my favorite. At least it doesn't have any songs or sections that put me off, or bore me, as did parts of Paradox Hotel. Well, the songs are all competent, and, like many albums by The Flower Kings, when the songs get too complacent sounding the mood swiftly changes.

The best song to my ears is Elaine where the excellect bass playing of Jonas Reingold carries the song along. The rest, there are some nice sections in most of the songs, you just sometimes have to wait for them. So don't go out of your way for this one, but if you find it at a good price, it's worth it.

If this review sounds wishy-washy, sorry. This disk sometimes sounds good, but not great, and sometimes just fails to catch my interest.

Review by lazland
3 stars A 2001 release, and my third TFK review, this is a solid album, without, I think, being exceptional.

We all expect a special epic to open proceedings with, and Last Minute on Earth does not disappoint. Aside from a strange opening, the vocals on this by Hasse Froberg are really pleasing, and the whole track has the precise symphonic feel that I love so much about the band. A grandiose attempt, spoiled a little bit by a rather aimless conclusion, as if the band simply HAD to fill up 60 seconds with endless jamming.

World Without a Heart is a lovely four and a half minute track, with a fragile vocal by Stolt and some gentle slide guitar and backing from other departments. It should not be forgotten that this band do also do ballads very well, and this is a very enjoyable one.

Road to Sanctuary is the longest track on the album, at almost 14 minutes. I love the keyboard led focus of this track, it is very much moulded within the classic symphonic tradition, and certainly the letters ELP are written all over the opening passage to this one. Just short of four minutes in, the track reverts to more traditional TFK territory, before a very quiet acoustic guitar & flute led passage. Really nice musicianship is present here. There are many mood changes within this track, too many really to detail in a limited time review, but I really do enjoy the quieter passages, which I think feature some of Stolt's finest acoustic guitar work. This epic finishes not with a huge bang, but with a gentle downplay. It's not any the worst for that.

The title track is up next. Very slow intro section, described by many as Bolero inspired, and I can see where they are coming from, there is a fantastic guitar solo to come, with soaring melodies. Nice to hear mellotron come to the track at four minutes in, before other keys take over for the remainder accompanied by a low and deep bass line from Reingold. This is a competent instrumental rather than a standout epic by the band.

City of Angels is the next epic clocking in at just over 12 minutes long. This starts off in the most sunny and upbeat manner possible, a fantastic opening. There are some nice vocal harmonies, and the listener is very much reminded of Fragile era Yes again. Retro symphonic prog at its most obvious, there are some nice passages, but I don't find it consistent and joined up enough to hold the attention much.

Elaine is another ballad, with some exceptional work by Reingold on bass especially. I like Stolt's vocals on this, even if some of the lyrics are rather cheesy.

I like the heavy organ on the intro to Thru The Walls, but, again, this is not a particularly coherent track, and struggles to hold the attention.

Sword of God gets things back on track, with the music bursting into a heavy set of riffs, following on from a deceptively choral opening. I like this one - heavy, moody, and rocking.

Blessing of a Smile quietens down proceedings again, this is a lovely instrumental, with exceptional combinations of bass guitar, sax, and keyboards. Very pleasing, very gentle, this is the band at their best.

I'm not quite sure what the point of Red Alert was, in all honesty. This is a one minute instrumental revisiting some of the earlier passages, and I for one would have preferred them to have extended this into a longer track in order to develop it properly. As it is, a one minute noodle does nothing at all.

The album closes with Serious Dreamers. An excellent way to close the album, this rescues the album a little bit from meandering here and there. Some great vocals set to a good bluesy feel, nine minutes of sheer pleasure.

This band do not do bad albums, and, as with most of their work, there are soaring highs and moments when you are in the company of genius. Equally, there are infuriating moments, and there are a couple more on this one that some other albums.

With a half point rating system, this would get 3.5 stars, but I cannot describe it as an excellent album with which to get into the band, so a solid three stars it is. Some fantastic moments, but the school report would state capable of so much more.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars This is a band that have managed to move on yet not change their sound very much since their inception in 1993. I still regularly play Roine Stolt's solo album 'The Flower King', and the sound of the band that he put together around that still keep that vision shining through. There are not many bands that are immediately recognisable, and Roine manages to keep his work in this band fairly distant from his work in the prog supergroup Transatlantic.

Well what can you expect from the new album? Great musicianship, of course, songs that are as short as 70 seconds ("Red Alert") or as long as fourteen minutes ("Road To Sanctuary"). There are some that are slow and some that are quick, but for the most part they all contain those elements and many more. Their use of layered vocals almost comes across as The Moody Blues at times, and the whole result is a prog album that is a joy to listen to that doesn't take too much concentration. Call it prog, call it melodic rock, call it good.

Originally appeared in Feedback #64, Oct 01

Review by The Crow
3 stars The sixth album of the Swedish symphonic prog believers!

But this time, despite the incorporation of the Jaime Salazar's drums, part of the magic of previous work is gone due to the subpar songwriting which makes that along with some splendid long pure symphonic prog compositions (Last Minute on Earth, Road to Sanctuary, City of Angles) we find a pair of really insubstantial and less inspired ones (World Without a Heart, The Rainmaker, Elaine...)

This fact makes the hearing of the album rather frustrating and dull in the long term, because if the short tracks were better or directly gone, we would be talking about another complete success of The Flower Kings.

Best Tracks: the longer ones! And Sword of God, because its great guitar riffs.

Conclusion: being very similar in style than the previous records, this time The Flower Kings suffered from an irregular songwriting that even the incredible playing of all the members of the band could not compensate.

Nevertheless, The Rainmaker is still good enough and it contains three or four jewels of the best symphonic prog out there!

My rating: ***

Review by Warthur
5 stars For their prior albums the Flower Kings had made a name for themselves with exuberantly over-the-top, playfully whimsical prog rock with a wide range of influences from the 1970s prog wave, but on The Rainmaker they end up delivering something a little different. That might explain the somewhat mixed ratings for the album: it's a fairly subdued affair, and for a lot of listeners "subdued" really isn't the point when you listen to a Flower Kings album.

For me, though, it's great to hear them take a tighter, more disciplined approach to their songwriting, showing a bit more restraint and focus than typical. This inevitably leads to a narrowing of their musical style - the centre of gravity here seems to be reminiscent of early Yes (say, around the time of The Yes Album), with some strong Genesis influences. That said, there's a few departures from this - the final section of Elaine ends up going in a jazz fusion direction for instance - but they're a bit more carefully rationed than is typical for a Flower Kings album. All this is in aid of establishing a rich nocturnal atmosphere - adeptly captured on the album cover - which is in contrast to the bright psychedelic colours of previous albums. This is a Flower Kings album which goes great with late night listening, in particular.

I'm probably rather out of step with most Flower Kings fans in terms of ranking this more highly than any of their previous studio albums, but I really think the lack of creative restraint in their previous work had been their Achilles heel. Sure, it was flashy and attention-grabbing, but the results ended up being somewhat hit and miss. Here there's less energy spent trying to show off all the different styles they can play in at once and more of an effort to present a cohesive album, and it really pays off.

Latest members reviews

4 stars "The Rainmaker", album number six for The Flower Kings, is actually the first record I ever bought from the Swedes. For this reason, it holds a special place in my heart, which may rose-tint somewhat my evaluation of the album. The LP was recorded by the same line-up that was behind the previous rec ... (read more)

Report this review (#2593668) | Posted by lukretio | Saturday, September 11, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Very good - high 3*! This album is often viewed less worthy than other TFK albums. However, there is some excellent music on here. This album is the last album to feature Jamie Salazar on drums, who had played with the TFK since inception (and on the album that started it all, The Flower King). I ... (read more)

Report this review (#1703403) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, March 18, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars On "The Rainmaker", The Flower Kings did what they supposed to do, a record with much music to please their fans. It's the band's sixth studio album and it was recorded 2001. The cover shows a man in suite standing in water on a street in the night. I like the cover and I also like a lot of wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#1179786) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Serious Dreamers to the rescue. The Rainmaker is extensive and in many parts, bland . Indeed, except Serious Dreamers and a good part of City of Angels, in the rest of the songs are good sections and other uninspired or meaningless. Strangely, it is an album that loses interest with repeated l ... (read more)

Report this review (#1157999) | Posted by sinslice | Sunday, April 6, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, The Flower Kings has always been a "love or hate" question. Some think it is ridiculous to use sounds from the 70's and their music brings nothing new, while others state they are the successors of prog giants like Genesis, Yes or Camel, and they succeed into sounding modern through their vint ... (read more)

Report this review (#722774) | Posted by Usandthem | Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In my "voyage" through TFK production, I now reach their weakest CD, according to people that have reviewed this reknown group, i.e. 3.47 at that point, when half of the rest of their music is at least at 3.8. Well, there are some epics, which characterizes The Flower Kings, and as usual they a ... (read more)

Report this review (#360593) | Posted by Progdaybay | Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I really thought this album was going to be a wee bit average (but an average Flower Kings album is better than most crap that people make), but it really wasn't, it was just so good, it captivated my heart strings from the first listen. This I believe is when the King's really honed in on all ... (read more)

Report this review (#289234) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Monday, July 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is The Flower Kings sixth studio album, and it might be one of their worst ones. Even though this is one of, what I think, is their worst album it still brings a lot to the table. Its tracks, for the most part are very solid except for the occasional two or three. I bought this album in C ... (read more)

Report this review (#255927) | Posted by The Block | Sunday, December 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I shall review this in order of my preference... 1. Road to Sanctuary - More excellence from the Flokis, as usual the longest composition is the best, gorgeous hammond work and silky guitar licks..then gives way to classical guitar and assorted keys, the instrumental work is tremendous and a r ... (read more)

Report this review (#229940) | Posted by M27Barney | Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This was quite a disappointment at the time of release. I liked it well enough, but it seemed weak in comparison to the previous album and compared to the concert I purchased it at. The reality is that this was something of a stop gap album. Drummer Jamie Salazar had already quit when the album ... (read more)

Report this review (#215185) | Posted by infandous | Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is probably the weakest, or rather the least interesting studio album The Flower Kings have released so far. Which means, all in all, it's a quite decent effort that leaves me with the feeling of a great outfit in a less inspired hour. It's not a failure or an embarrassment of the variety t ... (read more)

Report this review (#199151) | Posted by sanjuansueco | Thursday, January 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Interesting release by TFK. This was the follow up to the wonderful Space Revolver. The first few listens I thought this was a fantastic album...but then time went I decided to revisit this album 7 years after first hearing it. Here is how this one stacks up: The first song starts ... (read more)

Report this review (#179971) | Posted by cutsofmeat | Monday, August 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My first introduction to The Flower Kings wasn't long ago, in fact it came at the beginning of this year when I bought 5 of their albums at once, without hearing a single note... I love The Tangent and just had to hear what The Flower Kings sounds like. At first I didn't like them all that much ... (read more)

Report this review (#178143) | Posted by Bathory | Friday, July 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars One of the weaker albums of The Flower Kings. It contains some good songs, like Last Minute on Earth, and Road to Sanctuary, my favourite, and the only one at the level of the great compositions of other albums. World Without a Heart is quite good too, closing the first half an hour, the best of ... (read more)

Report this review (#132772) | Posted by Proglodita | Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This, along with Space Revolver is a testament to what TFK can do, and is one of my fave albums. A single disc (now a rarely among Stolts more recent releases) it is never over long, and the epics are between 10 and 15 minutes usually, which makes them accessable and, as opposed to epics such as ... (read more)

Report this review (#77404) | Posted by | Sunday, May 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a typical TFK release. As usual, the fist track is one of the best. It combines heavy King Crimson-influenced riffs, Hasse Froberg's Anderson-like epic vocals and some jazz- fussion jamming within a non excesive running time. Great. World without a Heart is a typical short slow song ... (read more)

Report this review (#76675) | Posted by eddietrooper | Saturday, April 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This was quite a dissapointment at the time of release. I liked it well enough, but it seemed weak in comparison to the previous album and compared to the concert I purchased it at. The reality is that this was something of a stop gap album. Drummer Jamie Salazar had already quit when the albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#76334) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Maybe I've already gotten to the point where the Flower Kings can't do anything wrong anymore. This album is the fifth I bought and like all the others it's grown on me. Especially the first song, Last Minute On Earth, simply won't leave my head (not that I mind). The instrumentals are strong ... (read more)

Report this review (#63307) | Posted by | Thursday, January 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Once again, The Flower Kings have taken it upon themselves to remind us of the artistic vitality of classic progressive rock. "The Rainmaker" is 77 minutes of sprawling, ambitious, gently psychedelic artsiness in the grand prog traditions of early Yes and Genesis. Without betraying their retrosp ... (read more)

Report this review (#2715) | Posted by | Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Im a big fan of the flower kings, and for a long time I thought this one was one of their weakest albums, though I still liked it. But with more and more listens, songs that didnt convinced me now have, and I now rank the CD higherin my list. Last minute on earth is probably their heaviest pie ... (read more)

Report this review (#2714) | Posted by | Friday, May 7, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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