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THE FLOWER KING

Roine Stolt

Symphonic Prog


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Roine Stolt The Flower King  album cover
4.11 | 185 ratings | 32 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Flower King (10:28)
2. Dissonata (9:57)
3. The Magic Circus Of Zeb (7:05)
4. Close Your Eyes (3:10)
5. The Pilgrims Inn (9:11)
6. The Sounds Of Violence (5:53)
7. Humanizzimo: (21:05)
- a) Twilight Flower
- b) The Messenger
- c) The Nail
- d) Only Human
- e) This Is The Night
- f) The Flower Of Love
8. Scanning The Greenhouse (3:32)

Total Time: 69:53

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Roine Stolt / lead voice (1-2,4,7-8), guitars, (all), bass (1-3,5-8), keyboards (all), percussion (3-4,7-8)
- Hans Fröberg / vocals (1,8)
- Ulf Wallander / soprano saxophone (5,7)
- Hasse Brunisson / drums (3,5,7-8), percussion
- Jaime Salazar / drums (1,2,6), percussion (2,6)
- Dexter Frank Jr. / keyboards, electronics
- Don Azzaro / bass guitar & Moog Taurus

Releases information

CD Foxtrot FOXCD 011 (Sweden 1994)

CD Inside Out Music IOM 052 (1998) SPV Records 085-31822

CD Inside Out TACS 003 SPV 087-31828 'The Artwork Collector´s Serie' (2004)
All CD´s in this series coming in a special 7" sized
cover and include a poster and postcards.
This CD is strictly limited and numbered to
only 3000 copies worldwide. A true collectors item.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Snow Dog for the last updates
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ROINE STOLT The Flower King ratings distribution


4.11
(185 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
41%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (14%)
14%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ROINE STOLT The Flower King reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars You may know Roine Stolt as the leader and guitar player of The Flower Kings, even though he has a rich and storied past in music since the 70's. You may be unaware that he filled important roles with other groups such as Kaipa and Fantasia. Stolt is another one of those legendary guitar maestros that started off playing the bass, which seems to be more common than not in the development of any artist that plays the six-string. His second solo album The Flower King was released in 1994 and was subsequently reissued on Inside Out America in 2001.

Stand out solo albums such as this will separate an artist from all of his contemporaries. Stolt is not only the consummate professional and leader of one of the most successful prog-rock bands in the world; he has the talent and vision to create music that is able to stand on its own merit without any reflection on previous collaborations or projects. That in and of itself is the most difficult thing to overcome when an individual has a vast repertoire to look back upon over a long period of time such as Stolt does. The format he follows with the albums sequence is classic prog-rock. He uses an intelligent combination of instrumentals and vocal tracks along with the expected multi-tiered prog- rock magnum opus as the meat of the recording. "Humanizzimo" runs over twenty minutes and breaks down into six parts. With help from his band mates from TFK he creates a steadfast and unyielding project from start to finish. Instrumental tracks such as "The Sounds of Violence" spotlight Stolt's innate ability to squeeze every ounce of resonance and beauty out of his guitar without uttering a word. Talented players like this man eliminate the need for vocals (even though he has a good voice). The beauty of his craft becomes personified in a note for note interpretation of feelings and a well spring of spontaneous emotions. He not only transcends all preconceived ideas of what the ideal guitar player and musician can be, he defines it.

It's time for the world to take it upon themselves to delve into the history and back catalog of music that Roine Stolt has given us to enjoy, only then will we completely understand his importance and the critical contributions that he has made in regards to the development of a continually evolving and blossoming musical genre. Sitting in the fan's seat for a moment as an enthused listener ... I would like to see him come up with the unexpected the next time he records a solo album. Something like a completely instrumental acoustic recording to show his diversity and ability to cross over to another style seamlessly would be appropriate, and a welcome change. I have no doubt that he can do anything he decides to do and the fan base of TFK will continue to grow and flourish because of his open ended approach to music.

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#28968) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 4 1/2 stars

A solo album from the guitar virtuoso Roine Stolt set my expectations high, and when I listened to this album, The music exceeded my expectations and is my favourite Flower Kings album for now!. This is a guitar-driven prog album with a sound very similar to the Flower Kings. The album sounds much less influenced by 70s prog bands than the early Flower King studio albums. As a consequence, the music here is very fresh to one's ears. Also, because this is a solo album, you hear more guitars than usual. What surprises me is that Tomas Bodin is not in here and Roine plays all the keyboards himself!! The vocals are not abundant in this recording because Roine is such a gifted musician and arranger that he needs no vocals to portray emotions in his music. His vocals are solid, but not really necessary.

The album begins with The Flower King which alone defines what the band Flower Kings sounds like and what it is about. It sets the whole theme of the band. The music is happy, playful, and professionally done. The song begins with a guitar solo and a pop structure follows. The music on the background is beautiful and has guitar melodies as a counterpoint to Roine's cathcy vocals. The chorus is even better! "We believe in the light, we believe in love, every precious little thing. We believe you can still, Surrender! You can ... serve the Flower Kings" The lyrics are wonderful and the vocal melodies that sing this line are some of the best Roine has produced. The song itself has a similar structure to 'Back to the World of Adventures' and 'In the eyes of the world' in which they begin with a pop song, continue on an extended instrumental section full of soloing (the soloing here is some of the best and serves as a roller coaster of happy emotions), and ends with a reprise of the melodies of the pop side of the song. This song is majestic, and one of Roine's best.

That song, while it may be the strongest track of the album, is not everything The Flower King has to offer. All the remaining tracks are very strong in quality too. 'Dissonata' is a very strong song that begins with vocals and follows with guitar melodic playing. This song has a similar song structure to The Flower King. 'The Magic Circus of Zeb' is a wonderful symphonic instrumental full of guitars and a good keyboard solo in the middle. Some guitar solos are just too wonderful to my ears. Brilliant! 'Close Your Eyes' is a short relaxing tune with vocals and of course bluesy guitar playing. 'The Pilgrin's Inn' is another highlight of the album, being an instrumental full of melodic guitars and keyboards. Ths song goes through many different moods, sometimes beautiful, sometimes a little aggressive and sometimes dreamy. The Sound of Violence is a semi-heavy instrumental with excellent use of the guitars. Humanizzimo is the most challenging track of the album and is 20 minutes long, althrough it is not as hard to get into as songs like 'The truth will set you free' and 'Devil's playground'. The first 4 minutes are instantly likeable with that wonderful keyboard line and those easy vocal melodies. Then, it transforms into a accelerated section (my least favourite part of the song), later a short melodic one that sounds like the Flower Kings that is followed by a brilliant instrumental one. After the melodic vocals appear again, the big highlight of the album is next (even though it is much better played on the DVD). This highlight I am talking about is the powerful section with those vocal hooks ("This is the night") and the extraordinary beauty coming from the instruments (especially that church organ and saxophone). The song finishes strongly in a powerful climax with saxophone clashes and a guitar going berserk. Spectacular!!!! The album ends in the best way possible : a reprise of the most beautiful melodies from the title track.

1. The flower king (9.5/10) 2. Dissonata (8/10) 3. The magic circus of Zeb (8/10) 4. Close your eyes (7.5/10) 5. The Pilgrims Inn (8.5/10) 6. The sounds of violence (8/10) 7. Humanizzimo: (9.5/10) 8. Scanning the greenhouse (8/10)

This album should be owned by anyone interested in good music!! It is also the best way to begin the musical journey of the Flower Kings because it is the easiest to get into and because Roine is at his absolute best in here.

A masterpiece.

Grade : A-

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#52570) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 21, 2005

Review by progaeopteryx
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Many people consider Stolt's The Flower King to be the first Flower Kings album. This is most likely because this album captures the essence of the Flower Kings sound. Also, core members of the Flower Kings are participants of this album, including Jaime Salazer and Hasse Bruniusson on drums, Ulf Wallander on sax, and Hasse Fröberg on vocals. But of course, the Flower Kings would take their name from the title of this album. But one important fact to remember is that Stolt is the only composer of this work and takes care of all guitar, bass, keyboard and lead vocal work. In a sense it feels partly like a solo album, and partly like a Flower Kings album. Think of it as a prototype or precursor.

The album starts off with the mostly-accessible, 10+ minute The Flower King. A charming song, fit for AOR radio play, and filled with psychedelic-inspired lyrics (a common Flower Kings trait). This is followed by the highly energetic and powerful Dissonata, with its driving bass lines and some masterful guitar work. This is the crowning jewel of the album and is one of the best songs Stolt has ever composed and performed. The Magic Circus of Zeb is a wonderful instrumental with some amazing guitar solos by Stolt. Close Your Eyes is a short ambient piece, comparable to the average Flower Kings filler. This leads to The Pilgrims Inn, another instrumental with excellent guitar work and some great sax playing. The Sounds of Violence is another instrumental, not quite as good as the previous one, but still a great song. Next follows what one would expect to be the best song, the 20+ minute, six-part suite Humanizzimo. Yes, it's a great song, but by the time you're more than midway through it, it starts to drag on and lacks the energy of the earlier songs on this disc. It appears to be about humanity and its struggles, partly Christian-inspired in its third part. Scanning the Greenhouse, the closing piece, is basically a reprise of the themes from the first song.

As mentioned earlier, this has a strong Flower Kings sound to it, but other influences include ELP, King Crimson, Kaipa, and Yes. It has very few dull moments on it, is a very enjoyable listen, and one of the best releases of the 1990's. Stolt's performance, not only as a guitarist, but also as a bassist and on the keyboards is extremely well done. The production is tight, and seems less sloppy than some of the early Flower Kings albums. The lyrics are somewhat nonsensical in places (just like the Flower Kings), but I've found his lyrical style to be charming. You also have to remember his native language is Swedish, so expect English translations to be off slightly, if not strange in places. Sometimes I find the lyrics rather humorous. I think The Flower King is better than the first two Flower Kings albums and a few of their later ones. I highly recommend it to symphonic prog fans, and although not a masterpiece, this is easily an excellent addition to anyone's prog collection. Essential for Flower Kings fans. Well worth four stars.

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Send comments to progaeopteryx (BETA) | Report this review (#55096) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 07, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A True Masterpiece!

"We believe in the light we believe in love, every precious little thing. We believe you can still surrender, you can serve the Flower King".

Well . where have I been man? How come I only knew the power of this album only couple of days ago? It's a pity because I have been collecting every album of The Flower Kings (the band) from "Back in The World of Adventures" until the last one "Adam and Eve" - and is now expecting "Paradox Hotel" and never pay any attention to this album? And now I realize that "the Flower King" album is truly the basis, the foundation, of what The Flower Kings (the band) music is going to sound like. I know exactly why I never pay any attention to this important album - because I never owned it, it happened that I borrowed the CD from my prog colleague and had no time to enjoy it. But when I purchased the CD couple of weeks ago .. oh I was amazed with the music even at the first time I spun the CD. It blew me away! It's a true a masterpiece prog album.

This album offers great music from opening track "The Flower King" until the last one "Scanning The Greenhouse" (which later became the title of The Flower Kings compilation album) with various styles combining jazz, rock and a bit of blues in its composition. Musically, it's nothing different at all with the music of The Flower Kings (the band). Roine Stolt is one of great and talented prog musicians.

The opening track "The Flower King" (10:28) is probably the most accessible piece of music this album offers because the music is quite straight forward with a blues based rhythm section. The power of this track is on its nice melody that makes the listeners emulate the segment especially during chorus line "We believe in the light we believe in love, every precious little thing. We believe you can still surrender, you can serve the Flower King". . Oh . what an excellent segment! Even though there is practically little variation in terms of tempo changes but this track is good enough to pump up our prog soul especially during stunning guitar solo. The intertwining Hammond sound played by Roine Stolt is also enjoyable.

"Dissonata" (9:57) is a logical continuation of the opening track where the song starts with nice soft keyboard work with Hackettian style guitar at the background. The music enters in relatively medium tempo where the excellent vocal line is accompanied with howling guitar wonderfully played by Roine Stolt. The music seems ambient during opening part but it moves smoothly into a symphonic prog composition with good combination of guitar and keyboard.

"The Magic Circus of Zeb" (7:05) is a track with faster tempo, led by the stunning guitar work combined with the work of xylophone. As the sleeve mentions there are only two musicians play this track: Hasse Bruniusson on TAMA Artstar Drumkit while Roine Stolt does the rest: Gibson ES175, Les Paul Goldtop & IBZ guitars, Shergold Bass and keyboards. It's an excellent instrumental track exploring guitar and keyboard.

"Close Your Eyes" (3:10) is a one man band where Roine Stolt plays all instruments and also sings. Through this track he seems to provide a sort of musical break because the track is mellow and slow in nature.

"The Pilgrims Inn" (9:11) kills me really! From its touchy opening - combining a very nice and smoothly played soprano sax, guitar and flute-like sounds which probably played through keyboard - this song brings me to the ultimate musical orgasm. Oh man .. The melody, the combined sounds of soprano sax and stunning guitar sounds have made me truly "stunned". No no no .. I'd rather use my local term here . nggeblak! Yeah man . my mind really paralyzed when I enjoy the beauty of all instruments played here. In a way the nuance of this song reminds me to "Starless and Bible Black" of King Crimson and the flute-like sound reminds me to the music of Sinkadus. Nothing similar musically but the nuance! (please don't get me wrong). The guitar solo augmented with soprano sax is killing me. The ending part of this track seems like "disjointed" from the original tagline melody. But the more I listen to this track, it grows on me and I accept the change of style started with acoustic guitar.

"The Sounds of Violence" (5:53) demonstrates how Roine can play great keyboards with Hammond sound. It reminds me to ELP but the style is truly The Flower Kings (band) style. I like the pulsating keyboard sound combined with guitar work. Not only that! The melody is really touchy! It's a great instrumental track.

"Humanizzimo" (20:55) is to me like Yes' "Close To The Edge" or "The Gates of Delirium". Not because of the duration of this track is very close with Yes' but it's more on the structure and style. The opening part with soprano sax combined with stunning guitar is really a thread for me. This is the kind of music that kills me! Especially when the vocal starts to enter the music "Midnight, you take me down to the waters. Slowdown, I've seen too much and too soon .". Oh my God . this is really good. As an epic with seven parts this track offers a blend of styles with many tempo changes from one part to another. All parts form the overall music cohesively. It's a great epic.

"Scanning the greenhouse" (3:32) concludes the album with memorable segment of "the flower king" put into the music, i.e. the part with "we believe in the light ..etc.".

Overall, it's highly recommended. For those of you who claim The Flower Kings (band) fans must have this album. I don't have any clue of not giving this album with a full five stars rating. Keep on proggin' .!

Peace on earth and mercy mild, GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#71464) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A fine disc to own if you are a fan of Ronnie and the Flower Kings. Although its a solo album, it has all the trappings of a Flower Kings album. It is heavy on Ronnie's guitar and light on keyboards, you won't miss it much because the arrangements are top-notch. The first song, 'The Flower King' has everything a Flower Kings fan would want; good singing by Ronnie and Hans, fiery guitar and catchy lyrics. Excellent all the way through! There are a few instrumentals and Camelesque songs, but my favorite is "The Sounds Of Violence". Its your typical Stolt song, but I really like the middle section, hyper and speeded up it makes up for the silly lyrics. The album does have one massive song, "Humanizzimo", alittle too long for my taste. It loses its way half through, but ends nicely; again a Camel-like song. The last song reprises the first bookending the album nicely. Overall a pleasant album that all Flower Kings fans should own. For all you others who may not own a disc by the group, this would be a nice start. Not as risky as some of the early albums and not as heavy as the later. Its a safe album: 3.5 stars rounded to 4.

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#71850) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 13, 2006

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After leaving Kaipa for a couple of unsuccessful projects, Roine Stolt returns with a solo album that would launch one of the greatest modern prog groups. Aptly titled The Flower King, it is everything you would expect, regardless of whether or not you already listen to The Flower Kings. Much of what The Flower Kings present is also presented here: great melodies, guitar solos, Ulf Wallander guest appearences on saxophone, Salazar and Brunisson on drums (though Salazar would assume full-time drum duties and Brunisson would be on percussion), and a couple appearances of Hans Froberg singing a few bars on the end pieces. Stolt plays the rest. As he is obviosuly not an expert with the keyboards or the bass, the guitars dominate the albums music. The bass and keys just provide what they must to complete the songs. It's nothing that warrants complaining though, considering this is a guitarist's solo album. And coming from that perspective, this album is incredible. Very rarely do such albums bear such value in compostion and emotion. Stolt is a brilliant songwriter, simply put. This album is well rounded and well written. Plenty of focus, and not just a bunch of cool riffs and solos thrown together as I would usually expect from a guitar album.

Every song is solid. Very solid. I can't pick out any top tracks, because they are all so good. There are three instrumental tracks: "The Magic Circus of Zeb," "The Pilgrims Inn" and "The Sounds of Violence." All of which feature great solos, and great music in general. Qualtiy from start to finish. The songs with vocals are made up of three giants: The Flower King, Dissonata (both at 10+ minutes) and the 21 minutes "Humanizzimo," a short mainly acoustic piece "Close Your Eyes" and the closer "Scanning the Greenhouse." As I said, all are great.

This album is really worth 4 1/2 stars. It's not a full-fledged Flower Kings album, and that's all that is keeping it from being a full five star album. The songwriting aid and keyboard work from Bodin was the start, but the later addition of Jonas Reingold on bass was "the icing on the cake." Still, it's extremely enjoyable, and very well written (especially considering it's a solo album). Stolt's guitar work is top notch as usual, and really, it's better than the first couple group efforts The Flower Kings put out. Why not own this? It's well worth your time and money.

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Send comments to Moatilliatta (BETA) | Report this review (#82865) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I found this CD in a import store at a high price. At the time I had bought 3 The Flower Kings albums: Retropolis, Back In The World Of Adventures and Space Revolver. On the strengh of that amazing trio I decided to take my chances and buy The Flower King without hearing a single not. And When I got home and put the disc on I could not believe my luck! It was worth every penny (and then some!).

Many people label this CD as the first Flower Kings album and I agree with them. Not only the sound is very similar, but some key members of the band are already playing on it. The only notably absence is keyboards virtuoso Tomas Bodin, but you hardly miss him. My european CD issue is quite contraditory to who played what in this album. On the back cover Roine Stolt is credit only as guitarrist and singer, with future TFK producer Don Azzaro on bass and Dexter Frank jr. (another associate of the band) on keyboards, while in the boolet Stolt is credit as playing all instruments bar the drums and sax. Apparently, the latter configuration seems to be real one .

Well, whatever! The album is an absolute masterpiece! It is a little more guitar driven then the susequent group releases, but the sound is unmistakenly TFK. I was quite surprised how the instrumental tracks and the ones who have vocals on it work together without a flaw. Both his voice and guitar work is passionable and precise, the songwriting beautiful and original, the production is very good. Not a single filler or average song here. Only top notch tunes that would stand out in any TFK classic album. The Flower King is not only the starting point of one of the most important modern prog bands but also a classic prog album of the 90's on its own.

Conclusion: a must have for any Flower Kings fan. Highly recommended not only to any prog lover but to anyone who enjoys general good music. One of my all time favorite albums.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#105133) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 01, 2007

Review by laplace
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Mr. Stolt's vision of a world unified in happiness is one I do not share. Call me a bitter, dysfunctional old cynic. Followers of his work in Kaipa, his personal albums, the woeful Transatlantic and the eventual Flower Kings ensemble that grew logically from this album may regard the sum of his output as "uplifting" and I'd agree, so long as we all realise that the term is synonymous with "Disney-fied" - a much more accurate way to describe his music.

What we have here is a collection of hyper-extended, sophisticated pop/AOR songs, replete with stadium production, vaguely Americanized singing (although I know the man hails from Sweden) and hooks a-plenty. Of course, it's all run through a Banksian(TM) obfuscator and left packaged and layered with multiple solos, classic organ patches and technoflash time signatures, but, without wishing to further disparage Roine Stolt's musical approach, I can only consider his output progressive insofar as it greatly improves upon dreck like Styx, Toto and elevator muzak the world over. The debut track has a particularly regrettable and radio-friendly chorus, repellent enough to the likes of me that I almost failed to perservere.

"Dissonata" disappointed me even more because of inherent false advertising. Believe it or not, switching from one major-minor seventh to another does not make you sound like Univers Zero, and modifying the riff from "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, part II" does not make you as innovative as the Crimson King. Call me a stickler for accuracy. I do give Mr. Stolt credit here - and his second star, the first being for undeniable musicianship - for trying something outside of major cadences but I can't celebrate the song.

From there on we have lots more mid-tempo rainy rock station sop-balladry. Defend it how you will, but "The Flower King" should really be 35 minutes long and be composed of eight glittering, world-changing pop-rock songs. I'd be much happier if it was, because what I'm reviewing right now is akin to a set of short, narrow pillowcases stuffed full of feathers - mostly of the dodo variety - in an effort to make ... well, I can't work out how to finish this analogy; should I go for "a hovercraft" or "linen foie gras"? This is getting silly and I apologise unreservedly.

All you really need to read of this review is this paragraph: if you like predictable, incredibly soppy and patronising balladry then you should buy "The Flower King" and play it to your collection of carebear plushtoys until they can croon it back to you, word for agonizing word.

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Send comments to laplace (BETA) | Report this review (#137140) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 08, 2007

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This album by Roine and his companions is a funny one because it's somewhere in between a solo-album and a TFK-album. This is a.o. proven by the fact that Humanizzimo, the great epic of this album is played quite a few times on TFK live albums or DVD's. On the other hand, the line up of musicians on this album is not exactly the later Flower Kings line up. So it's not really TFK. But many people regard this as the forerunner for TFK who produced their first album a year after this one. I already mentioned the classic Humanizzimo, one of the best songs Roine has ever produced, but there is more. My personal favourite is Dissonata, to me the ultimate proof that Roine Stolt is at least one of the best guitarplayers ever. What a performance his displays on this song !! The third top song to me is Magic Circus of Zeb, another one with fantastic guitarriffs. The title track and opener of this album is ok too but I don't really like the chorus to be honest.

But the standard of at least 3 top quality songs is easily reached here and to me at absolutely deserves the 5 stars.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#140820) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 28, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After reading Chicpah's enthusiastic review of the latest THE FLOWER KINGS album "The Sum Of No Evil" I figured it was about time I reviewed their records. I decided to start here where it all began.This is not an official THE FLOWER KINGS album, but given it's title, and the fact everyone playing on it would become members of the FLOWER KINGS I felt this was the place to start. Even the final track "Scanning The Greenhouse" would become the title of THE FLOWER KINGS compilation record. I have already (some time ago) reviewed two of their double albums "Stardust We Are" and "Flower Power". I have to say the guitar playing of Mr.Stolt impressed me greatly on this one. I also like the thoughts he shared in the liner notes as to what he was in his thinking when he recorded this record. "I wanted to come out as an alternative to the flood of destructive, dark 'n evil-hardcore-death-thrash-speed-black n' suicidal metal music of today. So I created "The Flower King" - Prophet, Healer, Hippie, Joker, Spacetraveller,The Great Gardener and possibly...son of God." R.S. 1994.

"The Flower King" opens with some tasteful guitar.This is simply a feel good song with positive lyrics and a sing along chorus. I like Roine's unique sounding vocals, but having Hasse Froberg singing lead during the chorus was a wise move. The guitar just soars beautifully on this one,as well Roine fires off some raw solos as well.There is a GENESIS feel to the keys as we get about 5 1/2 minutes of pure instrumental work before the vocals return before 9 minutes. "Dissonata" reminds me of THE TANGENT, with Salazar (who plays with them) on drums.This is more of a serious tune with Stolt doing his Fripp impression at times. After 6 minutes Roine sounds just like Vai.Then 7 minutes in we get some latter day KING CRIMSON heaviness. Ok maybe not quite that heavy, but it does sound like them. "The Magic Circus Of Jeb" is an instrumental. Other then the drums this is all Stolt who plays guitar, bass and keys. He's so fluid on the guitar, and 4 1/2 minutes in he goes on and on. Nice. "Close Your Eyes" is a mellow tune with tasteful guitar throughout.

"The Pilgrims Inn (Part 1&2)" is my favourite song on here. An instrumental that recalls CAMEL. It's simply gorgeous with sax and what sounds like flute.The guitar starts to slowly break my heart. At 6 minutes the flute-like sounds and guitar join together to end part 1 of this track beautifully. The last 2 minutes (Part 2) is different with gentle acoustic guitar and flute-like sounds.The last 30 seconds is a soaring guitar solo. "The Sounds Of Violence" is another instrumental that opens with some uptempo keys and ripping guitar 2 minutes in. The drums are crisp and very active. The last 2 minutes are calm and reflective. "Humanizzimo" is an almost 21 minute epic. Hasse Bruniusson is back on the drums as he and Salazar share the duties on this record. Hasse played drums for both SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA and ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA previous to this.This long track has so many amazing moments. Very pastoral early with lots of smooth sax melodies before we get many twists, turns and mood changes. More angular guitar from Stolt. "Scanning The Greenhouse" opens with some scorching guitar melodies before the vocals arrive. Froberg adds some lead vocals to this one. Great sound ! The bass from Roine is prominant. The song ends with a reprise of "The Flower King".

I know some people feel that this is too sugary, that Roine is living in a dream world. And although I wouldn't want to listen to this all the time,"The Flower King" truly is a symphonic pleasure to listen to. Easily 4 stars.

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Posted Sunday, November 18, 2007

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I already knew that Roine Stolt is a helluva guitarist but until I heard this album I had no earthly idea how incredibly multi-faceted he is. I've collected quite a few of The Flower Kings' CDs over the last year and really like what Tomas Bodin contributes to that band on keyboards so when I read that he's nowhere to be found on this disc I had some trepidation about how it would sound in that department. Well, knock me over with a feather! I didn't miss him a bit. In fact, this recording is on a par with the best that Roine's subsequent group has ever created and that's saying quite a lot. And if you're a guitar player or even merely a fan of the instrument you owe it to yourself to indulge your senses in what I consider one of the finest displays of axe virtuosity I've ever witnessed. "The Flower King" is an inspired, well-thought-out presentation of work that never becomes predictable or devoid of feeling. I am amazed.

The album's namesake tune starts out simply but soon blossoms as it settles into a strong rock groove consisting of only Stolt and his gifted drummer Jaime Salazar, yet it comes off as cohesive as a tightly- knit combo of individuals that have been honing their craft together for years. Roine's thinly veiled homage to the Son of God is admirably amplified in the stirring, positive lyrics of the verses and the highly memorable chorus topped off by Hasse Froberg's distinct tenor. A fiery guitar riff opens the solo segment of the song and here you're treated to the first of many fantastic rides from Stolt that you'll encounter along the way. The tune travels through an exciting evolution that culminates in an awesome, suspense-filled passage that will make the hairs on your noggin bristle. Roine truly understands the overall concept of and how to carefully construct a symphonic progressive rock epic as he transports you to a towering climax that leaves you breathless. Wow and double wow.

"Dissonata" follows and it's far from being a let-down after that extravaganza. The number's tight and intense 5/4 time signature roars down the road with you in the sidecar as densely layered keyboards create a backdrop for Stolt's penetrating vocals. He speaks as one who has learned to be harmless as a dove but keen as a fox when dealing with the record industry fat cats when he sings "Smile when you face suspect, corrupt, degenerate merchants of melody" and "You can count me out from your silly games 'cause I'm not your stupid toy." The song includes another stellar guitar ride that doesn't overstay its welcome as it draws you into an extended melodic interlude that never gets boring for a nanosecond. The expert arrangement couldn't be better. What follows is "The Magic Circus of Zeb," an instrumental that not only introduces percussionist Hans Bruniusson as he takes a turn on the drumkit but treats you to a bright, upbeat melody line. When the song breaks down into a half-time section Roine delivers a gut-wrenching guitar solo that is so emotional that it literally brings tears to my eyes. (I was a guitarist for many years and I can tell you that this kind of fervent, heart-to-fingers playing is truly a rare talent that few are blessed with.) It is devastating and it exaggerates what distinguishes this mostly one-man show from most others of that ilk in that he allows spontaneity to thrive within his meticulously structured compositions.

After experiencing those three monster tunes, a calming change-of-pace is in order and Stolt delivers with a restful few minutes of serenity in "Close Your Eyes," a graceful love song that could be directed toward either his messiah or his lady love. "The Pilgrim's Inn (Part 1 & 2)" is another instrumental piece that starts off with smooth Mellotron flutes before politely ushering in Ulf Wallander on soprano sax, providing a new dimension to the proceedings. Part 1 sports a lively, jazzy atmosphere and more superb guitarisms from Roine's fluid fingers while Part 2 features gorgeous acoustic guitars leading to a crush of sound that swallows you up in the song's grandiose exit. "The Sounds of Violence" has a distinct ELP vibe about it with some respectable organ playing as Jamie Salazar returns to dazzle you with his stick work. As always, the song is melody-driven and the beautiful resolution at the end is a joy to behold.

The nearly 21-minute, 6 movement suite called "Humanizzimo" is the album's most ambitious undertaking and it succeeds often on many different levels. "Twilight Flower" opens things up with another dose of Mellotron flute, a tight rhythm track and Stolt issuing a subtle warning that you must be mindful to "hold on to your love/'cause suddenly it's all over." (Truer words were never sung.) "The Messenger" employs a somewhat annoying polka-like beat that's a little too brittle for me (it doesn't go on too long so no permanent harm results) as he relates that "deep down you know well/when you're doing wrong/you'd rather be a saint/but then temptation is too strong." Next comes "The Nail" which is big and enveloping in scope, is the most impressive demonstration of his skill on keyboards so far and contains the loftiest of spiritual sentiments you'll encounter. "Only Human" has an unmistakably Yes- ish, full12-string aura about it and the depth of field he builds is astounding. "Even if the spirit fly/and voices of arc angels passing by/we're puzzled by the speed of life." he sings. "This is the Night" starts out with a cavernous cathedral organ (Roine knows exactly how to tug at the strings of my prog heart) that interacts with Wallander's soprano sax in a stately dance. "The River of Love" features a deep bass resonance that rattles your bones as he wraps up this epic with a surprisingly quiet ending. It's not without some sand traps in the fairway but you've gotta give him props for attempting such a challenging endeavor.

"Scanning the Greenhouse" is a rockin,' no-holds-barred track that serves as a brilliant closer in that it encompasses all of the elements that make this such a majestic album. When the final note decays into the ether you're left with absolutely no doubt that Stolt is a master musician who truly "believes in the love" with all of his being. This whole project is a sincere statement of personal faith and belief that is astonishing in its open, honest approach and very appealing whether you acknowledge his religious views or not. What it definitely ain't is preachy.

No wonder Roine was able to ride upon the swift momentum created by this CD and proceed to form a permanent group called "The Flower Kings" that would go on to produce hours and hours of high-quality progressive music for a long time to come. I can think of no better way to introduce one's consciousness to his inventive and unique aural art than by way of this impressive album of songs. You'll be hard pressed to find better symphonic prog anywhere in the world.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#169753) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 03, 2008

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I will describe my love/hate relationship with Roine Stolt and the Flower Kings as if only.

If only this spectacularly expressive, creative, virtuosic, and thoroughly powerful guitarist didn't record albums which put that vomit taste in your mouth with spiritually trite lyrics and syrupy thick evangelization. Nothing ruins a soaring, two-minute Roine Stolt solo like the rest of the album.

Harsh, but I acknowledge that Roine and co. are some of the best instrumentalists around. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I like the purely instrumental passages of this album quite a bit. They have solid, bluesy grooves, Roine's guitar obviously taking center stage. Yet, I get headaches from grinding my teeth whenever he starts singing about the master plan, the message from the king of kings, or the blood of Jesus on the nail... come on!

I can take optimism in my music, and I can certainly take beauty... but The Flower King[s] is neither-- it's slop dredged from the bucket of Christian rock disguised as something progressive, then slapped against the ears until one finally breaks down and joins the Flower Kings bandwagon. Be forewarned! If you equate musical elegance and class as patronizing morality-- then Stolt's collective body of work is for you!

Me, I'll take brooding cynicism and forward thinking creativity any day over this sugary-sweet bombast. I am off the wagon and loving it!

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 1 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#174837) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 22, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Flower King is actually a solo album from swedish prog rock legend Roine Stolt, but it´s regarded by most fans as being the first Flower Kings album as many of the musicians who would later be a part of that band plays on The Flower King. The songs from The Flower King is also a part of The Flower Kings repetoire when they play live an as such this is a Flower Kings album.

I know many people despise The Flower Kings and especially Roine Stolt for his retro approach to prog rock and his hippie christian outlook on the world and allthough the latter can also be a bit too much for me in some of the songs his seventies inspired prog rock is seldom heard more inspiring and competently played. The man is a genious in my eyes. All the best parts from seventies prog rock and hard rock is present in The Flower Kings music. Virtuosity, adventourism, hard rocking riffs and complex ( mostly very long) compositions are some of the features on The Flower Kings albums.

On this album The Flower Kings consist of Roine Stolt ( Kaipa, The Tangent, Transatlantic, Karmakanic) on Lead vocals, Guitar, Bass, keyboards and percussion, Hans Fröberg on vocals, Ulf Wallander on Soprano Saxophone, Hasse Brunisson ( Sammla Mammas Manna) on drums and percussion, Jaime Salazar on drums and percussion, Dexter Frank Jr. On keyboards and electronics and Don Azzaro on bass guitar and Moog Taurus. All musicians are outstanding and the combination of Roine Stolt and Hans Fröberg on vocals is really good. Roine´s voice reminds me of a mix of the talking singing style of Mark knopfler ( Dire Straits) and Ian Andersson ( Jethro Tull) while Hans voice reminds me of a more raw Jon Andersson ( Yes). Hans only sings on The Flower King and Scanning the Greenhouse but would contribute more and more to The Flower Kings music.

The album is almost 70 minutes long, so you´ll get something for your money and in this case quantity doesn´t mean that the quality isn´t high throughout the album. The quality is actually very high and the only song I don´t find excellent is the short semi-ballad Close your eyes and the closing song Scanning the Greenhouse. The rest of the album consists of great prog rock songs with lots of especially guitar soloing. Roine Stolt is a great guitarist. He has lots of the anarchistic ideas in his playing that Zappa also had and virtuosity which sometimes remind me of Steve Vai. His solos which are a big part of this album are generally very melodic and he obviously puts lots of emotion into the solos. the music on The Flower King is arranged as it is on every Flower Kings album so don´t expect too much improvisation. There are so many great songs on the album and I´ll mention a few things about some of them.

The first song which is called The Flower King is a classic in The Flower Kings repetoire. It´s the ultimate ode to Love and Happiness. The lyrics are a bit too cheesy for me but on the other hand it´s just such a nice positive song that I enjoy very much. My dark metal heart gets a bit soft. The rest of the songs are also truly magnificient and songs like Dissonata, The Magic Circus of Zeb, The Pilgrims Inn and The sounds of Violence are excellent and sometimes dark tracks which really shows the diversity in The Flower Kings music. Listen to the beginning of The Magic Circus of Zeb and tell me this doesn´t sound like Zappa. The song has lots of other influences too though and never ends in ripp-off. The 21 minute long epic Humanizzimo should also be mentioned. The start of Humanizzimo is one of my favorite moments in any Flower Kings song. It´s just so beautiful. The last song Scanning the greenhouse is a variation over the first song and it isn´t very interesting IMO.

The production is very good even though it´s not the best sound on a Flower Kings album.

I really like this album very much and even though I don´t feel it´s a complete masterpiece it´s really a high quality prog rock album. Roine Stolt took the world by storm with this one and he hasn´t looked back since. 4 stars is well deserved for this excellent album. My only complain is that sometimes the atmosphere is a bit too happy and just a bit too easy listening for me, but it depends on my mood wether or not I am bothered by this.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#175315) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Post and Math Rock Team
5 stars The Flower Kings first, or for a more accurate phrase, Roine Stolt's best solo album! This is a masterpiece of symphonic prog! The title track is to me the best in the album with it's hippie-like theme and catchy melodies. Dissonata is also pretty good the title sounds like a play on words to ELP's Tocatta but it sounds nothing like that. The Magic Circus of Zeb is an excellent instrumental and Close Your Eyes is a beautiful typical Flower Kings ballad. The Pilgrims Inn is an instrumental with hefty guitar parts by Roine which makes it stand out. Sounds of Violence seems a little un-needed at first but in the end you realize why it's there. Humanizzimo is the epic track. It reminds me of the Yes classic Gates of Delirium not so much because of the music but because of the tempo. It finishs with the Flower King reprise Scanning the Greenhouse which is just as good as the first. This is the album that started all of the Swedish bands excellent work and yes, it is a masterpiece!

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Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars Roine Stolt is one of the treasures of the prog rock world. And thanks to the Internet, he is finally getting some of the recognition he deserves.

This album, as should be obvious by it's title, was the prototype for the band The Flower Kings. The sound of The Flower Kings is here, as it should be, since TFK members Hans Fröberg (vocals), Hasse Brunisson and Jaime Salazar (both on drums) are all present on this album.

Stolt has a way of progressing his music, while also paying homage to the past heroes of prog. On The Flower King he seems to be channeling the spirit of Steve Howe in his guitar fills. Dissonata has a very obvious reference to King Crimson's Red. And I hear a bit of ELP in The Sounds Of Violence. All the while the pieces are not clones. They all have Stolt's unique vision driving them.

If you are a fan of classic styled prog, and especially if you like The Flower Kings, get this one.

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Posted Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review by Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This record > The entire Flower Kings back catalogue...

The eponymous solo album that led to the formation of the band.

The Good: In the early 1990s Roine Stolt had a dream. Well, it was more of a vision. There was too much negativity and aggression in modern music and something needed to be done about it. Roine harnessed the power of the resurging symphonic prog wave, and unleashed this tree hugging, circle dancing, free loving beast. Whilst he had released solo albums in the past, they had all been rock and pop orientated and quite inferior to his previous work with Kaipa. In comparison the compositions found here are fantastic and showcase why he is one of my favourite guitarists. The soloing is tasteful and interesting, and the opening hook of the title track is just magical. He's also quite adept on the keyboards with some great work on The Sounds of Violence.

The Bad: Close Your Eyes, The Pilgrims Inn and Humanizzimo have their moments, but they're not quite as strong as the rest of the tracks.

The Verdict: I'd really, really love to give this five stars as it's one of my favourite albums, but I can't justify overlooking the brief 'lulls' in creativity.

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Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Those who enjoy The Flower Kings ought not pass this sterling album with Roine Stolt at the helm. Excepting the distinct bass work from Jonas Reingold, this album has all the ingredients fans of The Flower Kings would love even though it predates their proper debut by a year. There's nothing more to say really- an excellent symphonic progressive rock album by one of the genre's most respected guitarists.

'The Flower King' Soothing lead guitar sweetly sings in before a sound breaks through that is distinctively The Flower Kings: And that refrain has to be the most definitive archetype for them- happy, uplifting, and even a little bit silly. Stolt demonstrates his proficiency with blues guitar, eventually stepping aside for a symphonic synthesizer solo. Overall, it is a wondrous piece of music and the crown of the album.

'Dissonata' A bit on the darker side of The Flower Kings, this second tune has a bit of cabaret camp that tries to masquerade as serious and sinister. The melodic theme and its variations in the middle passage are well-executed and a welcome evolution.

'The Magic Circus of Zeb' A mostly peppy and colorful instrumental, this piece evokes the spectacles of a circus without ever becoming hackneyed in the course of doing so. It features soulful guitar work.

'Close Your Eyes' The Flower Kings are, for me, notorious for filler tracks. This is one of those. It is a slow, plodding bit of new age with decent vocals and good guitar.

'The Pilgrims Inn' The musicians return to the uplifting sound from before but add some baroque flourishes. It is full of both electric and acoustic guitar exhibitions.

'The Sounds of Violence' As the title implies, this one hangs on the heavier and darker music Stolt and company are capable of. The last bit consists of bass and electric guitar soloing quietly around one another.

'Humanizzimo' The twenty-minute piece starts with the most subdued music on the album, consisting of Mellotron flute. About a quarter of the way through, the music becomes a tad too giddy for my liking. My take on this is similar to my judgment of many epics from The Flower King (and there are many): Sonically pleasant but rarely engaging. I enjoy this song in parts, but as a whole it tries to accomplish too much.

'Scanning the Greenhouse' The final three minutes and forty-five seconds of this album offer some more guitar soloing before launching into a fine vocal passage that culminates in a reprisal of that elevating refrain from 'The Flower King.'

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#765584) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Roine Stolt's The Flower King was, of course, the project that brought together the Flower Kings, and it's kind of the blueprint for every subsequent Flower Kings project - particularly when it comes to sappy, preachy lyrics, retro-prog repetitiousness, compositions outstaying their welcome, and a limited range of tricks and gimmicks milked to exhaustion.

In other words, if you find that the Flower Kings are not usually to your tastes, there's nothing here to prompt you to change your mind - and if you are a Flower Kings fan, you're likely to find this album a bit bland, since the various compositional additions and twists thrown in by the other members of the group don't really come to the fore this time due to its origins as a solo album.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#985472) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Latest members reviews

5 stars Though labeled as a Roine Stolt solo album, this should be considered the very first Flower Kings album. The album is missing the input of key members Tomis Bodin, who appeared on the next album, and Jonas Reingold, who joined the bad for Space Revolver. Roine, therefore, wrote all the material and ... (read more)

Report this review (#784604) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Sunday, July 08, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Being as behind on things as I have been over the years I didn't stumble upon the music of Roine' Stolt and The Flower Kings until I became aquainted with the internet. Finding them is one of the greatest of my discoveries in the past few years. I first heard this album when I was stationed in ... (read more)

Report this review (#561499) | Posted by ProgFrog57 | Wednesday, November 02, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "You can serve the Flower King". I really love this album, it marks the beginning of The Flower King, with Roine Stolt on Lead Guitar and Vocals. It's very different from other material they made, the sound is very alive and beautiful. Unlike later work which sound a bit "Artificial" for my te ... (read more)

Report this review (#378392) | Posted by BlindGuard | Tuesday, January 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I recently listened to this album for the first time for years, having subsequently followed the career of the Flower Kings. I had forgotten how good it is! We can hear TFK in embryo in most of the tracks, and in the mix of epic tracks with vocals and shorter instrumentals. The sound is a bit ... (read more)

Report this review (#261558) | Posted by dmwilkie | Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars the album is an ABSOLUTE delight...if you like melodic technical and epic guitar than this album is for you!!!....i mean it still has a lot more than just guitar but the guitar is at the forefront usually, not always!!.....but anyways the is roine's first flower kings work and it changed progr ... (read more)

Report this review (#261331) | Posted by EVE123 | Sunday, January 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Marvelous! I have been always very skeptical about the Flower Kings album and overlook this album for year. Now I tried and feel like kicking myself. Truly piece of Eargasm. Roine Stolt is no doubt one of the greatest modern prog icons nowadays. This solo album a prove of his geniosity. With ... (read more)

Report this review (#249446) | Posted by Jadittir | Monday, November 09, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars So we go back to 1994 and the Genius Roine Stolte's guitar sounds out the genesis of The Flower Kings......This CD has some exquisite guitar licks and basically the instrumentals are the the highlights. "The magic circus of Zeb" - marvellous guitar and Stolte also giving the keyboards a whirl ... (read more)

Report this review (#236531) | Posted by M27Barney | Wednesday, September 02, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ”We believe in the light we believe in love, every precious little thing. We believe you can still surrender, you can serve the Flower King”. I believe this is one of the classic statements of the prog rock scene. I also believe this is the statement of intention from Roine Stolt ... (read more)

Report this review (#201433) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, February 02, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Being a Flower Kings fan for some time now, I figured I was past due to pick up this album. I'm not typically a fan of solo albums, so I went into this album with some hesitation. After 1st listen, I knew that I had made a wise decision. Roine Stolt's The Flower King just about sums up every reas ... (read more)

Report this review (#164733) | Posted by Drew | Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Its a strange situation cos its defenitely the predecessor of the upcoming Flower Kings's albums, and they are the musical ancestors if this one, so I should have listened to it with ears that never ever experienced their music before...that I simply could not. Why? Cos its the same as most of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#163741) | Posted by Tandary | Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, I can't believe I haven't reviewed this album yet, so I better get to it :-) Personally, I consider this to be the first Flower Kings album, even though it really is and was a Stolt solo album. It only features 3 other future Flower Kings members, Jaime Salazar would be the drummer of th ... (read more)

Report this review (#124841) | Posted by infandous | Wednesday, June 06, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars And so the Flower Kings legend begins, being this the prologue for the extraordinary career that these great swedish musicians have developed over the last decade and beyond, with the guide of the amazing Roine Stolt. To my ears, if I consider this album as part of The Flower Kings' discography ... (read more)

Report this review (#111849) | Posted by Guillermizzimo | Monday, February 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Excellent addition - not essential. But if you are studying THE FLOWER KINGS because their music produces you only what can produces the really good prog. well, this album is essential for you. The Beginning with 'The Flower King' is in the way of 'World of Adventures', and it's a good song, ... (read more)

Report this review (#52144) | Posted by Proglodita | Monday, October 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is indeed the birth of the Flower Kings, but I would also say it is a refreshing rebirth of the progressive rock. Back in -94 when this album was released, there was nothing that sounded like this. The complex, varied and melodic songs, the incredible skills from the musicians and a an ov ... (read more)

Report this review (#28967) | Posted by | Monday, October 04, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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