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THE FLOWER KINGS

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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The Flower Kings biography
It's hard to make a biography about THE FLOWER KINGS, being that there's so much to say about them, so any attempt of telling their history may seem insufficient.

This esential Swedish group was born around 1993 as a power trio formed by Roine Stolt (Ex-KAIPA) in guitar and vocals, Jaime Salazar (Drums) and Hasse Bruniusson (percussion), and ex-SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA, this lineup worked with Stolt in his solo album "The Flower King" with the participation of Hans Fröberg (Lead and Backing vocals) who would stay with them.

Soon they decided to form a band using the name of the solo album so THE FLOWER KINGS was born, the keyboardist Tomas Bodin and Roine's brother Michael in the bass joined and the band was officially born.

For 1995 they have their first release ready "Back in the World of Adventures" which impressed the critics very much for their closeness to the style of early bands such as Moody Blues, genesis, Jethro Tull etc, borrowing ideas but not music, so you can easily find their inspiration but a single chord copied, I personally liked the album but found it closer to Neo Prog than to Symphonic but this is only a stylistic precision that has no relation with the quality of the album.

The next few years are prolific with few changes and they release "Retropolis" in 1996. Stardust we Are" in 1997 and "Flower Power" in 1998 with no great changes.

In 1999 Michael Stolt leaves the band and is replaced by Jonas Reingold so the new formation for "Space Revolver" in the year 2000 also includes Ulf Wallander playing the Sax as a guest that remains for a long period with them.

After "The Rainmaker" in 2001 Jaime Salazar leaves the band and the drums are taken by Zoltan Csörsz who stays in the band until the release of "Paradox Hotel" (2005) when is replaced by Marcus Liliequist.

As most Swedish bands the quality of their music and the musicianship of their members is
impeccable but don't expect the complexity of their most illustrious compatriots like Anglagard or the dark and almost religious atmosphere of Par Lindh Project (With whom Roine worked in Gothic Impressions), being that the music of THE FLOWER KINGS is a bit lighter but not inferior by any means.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

The Flower Kings official website

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Desolation RoseDesolation Rose
Inside Out U.S. 2013
Audio CD$9.97
$9.95 (used)
Banks of EdenBanks of Eden
Inside Out - EMI 2012
Audio CD$7.98
$6.18 (used)
Space RevolverSpace Revolver
Inside Out U.S. 2000
Audio CD$10.08
$5.98 (used)
RetropolisRetropolis
Inside Out U.S. 2000
Audio CD$11.00
$10.50 (used)
Adam & Eve (2CD)Adam & Eve (2CD)
Special Edition · Extra tracks · Import
Avalon Japan 2004
Audio CD$33.12
$26.58 (used)
Stardust We Are (2CD)Stardust We Are (2CD)
Inside Out U.S. 2000
Audio CD$13.11
$11.95 (used)
The Sum Of No Evil (2CD)The Sum Of No Evil (2CD)
Limited Edition · Extra tracks
Inside Out / SPV 2007
Audio CD$17.06
$9.98 (used)
Paradox Hotel (2CD)Paradox Hotel (2CD)
Inside Out U.S. 2006
Audio CD$11.92
$9.97 (used)
Back in the World of AdventuresBack in the World of Adventures
Inside Out U.S. 2001
Audio CD$10.25
$9.95 (used)
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THE FLOWER KINGS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE FLOWER KINGS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 463 ratings
Back In The World Of Adventures
1995
3.72 | 399 ratings
Retropolis
1996
3.89 | 464 ratings
Stardust We Are
1997
3.94 | 391 ratings
Flower Power
1999
3.82 | 440 ratings
Space Revolver
2000
3.48 | 352 ratings
The Rainmaker
2001
3.87 | 429 ratings
Unfold The Future
2002
3.47 | 396 ratings
Adam & Eve
2004
3.72 | 410 ratings
Paradox Hotel
2006
3.79 | 454 ratings
The Sum Of No Evil
2007
4.08 | 646 ratings
Banks Of Eden
2012
4.03 | 436 ratings
Desolation Rose
2013

THE FLOWER KINGS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.79 | 96 ratings
Alive On Planet Earth
2000
4.33 | 128 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
2003
3.19 | 22 ratings
Carpe Diem
2008
4.05 | 55 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011

THE FLOWER KINGS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.12 | 104 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
2003
3.73 | 73 ratings
Instant Delivery
2006
4.23 | 36 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011

THE FLOWER KINGS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 38 ratings
Scanning The Greenhouse
1998
2.70 | 37 ratings
Edition Limitée Québec 1998
1998
3.20 | 61 ratings
The Road Back Home
2007

THE FLOWER KINGS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 2 ratings
The Flower Kings
1999
2.75 | 11 ratings
Fanclub CD 2000
2000
3.00 | 29 ratings
The Rainmaker (Limited Edition)
2001
3.92 | 20 ratings
The Fanclub CD 2002 - A Collection Of Flower Kings Related Music
2002
3.78 | 22 ratings
Live In New York - Official Bootleg
2003
3.50 | 6 ratings
Fanclub CD 2004
2004
2.13 | 30 ratings
BetchaWannaDanceStoopid!!!
2004
2.84 | 22 ratings
Harvest Fanclub CD 2005
2005
3.64 | 34 ratings
BrimStoned In Europe
2005

THE FLOWER KINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Space Revolver by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.82 | 440 ratings

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Space Revolver
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The release of ''Flower power'' was followed by two success stories for their leader Roine Stolt: The reformation of his first ever band Kaipa and the rise of what is considered the best modern Prog supergroup, Transatlantic, we all know what followed in the future.But within The Flower Kings family he had to say goodbye to Michael Stolt, who left the band, but the Swedish were determined not to slow down concerning their productions, they immediately hired emerging bass star Jonas Reingold, who had just released his debut album ''Universe''.In 2000 their fifth album sees the light on InsideOut, ''Space revolver''.

For the first time you get the feeling that all these running projects have somewhat affected the band's ability to produced really sublime progressive compositions, while they appear to be stuck in their previous sounds and sights, I think after four long and dense releases the fans needed this X factor, that would show The Flower Kings' development.Instead the band proposed exactly the same path they were known for, a 70's-influenced complex Progressive Rock, which still holds some instant melodies and romantic overtones, either talking about the stretched epics or the shorter cuts, often paused by a strong jazzy flavor, even Reingold is given some time here to proove how much of a talented bassist he was (''Rumble fish twist'').The music remains at very high standards, it's emphatic, grandiose, orchestrated and fairly symphonic with the analog keyboards battling over the contemporary synthesizers and Stolt's guitar talent delivering a wide range of ambiental, melodious, technical or virtuosic moves.Problem is the album lacks this definite highlight compared to some of The Flower Kings' best moments.Vocals in particular have become a bit tiresome in the process, I do not find them to be really interesting anymore, but noone can get over the brilliant instrumental passages that the band performed, fillled with thrilling Mellotron and organ washing and excellent fast or laid-back interplays.

I have to be a little harsh this time.If we were talking about any other band entering the prog world, this would be a really great debut.But from these guys I expected more.It's very good and, no doubt, recommended, Sympho Rock with jazzy overtones, but I fail to detect this monster track, which would lift this one to another level.

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 Retropolis by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.72 | 399 ratings

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Retropolis
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The second Flower Kings album after the affable 'Back In The World Of Adventures', 1996's 'Retropolis' finds Roin Stolt and company tipping their respective hats in the direction of their 1970's heroes whilst mainting the glossy sheen and impressive technical proficiency that would eventually become the group's trademark. There is, of course, no doubting the Swedish outfits die-hard love of all things progressive, and thus, 'Retropolis' provides fanboy affection by the bucket-load, only from fans with serious talent and their own ideas. However, despite semi-successful attempts at replicating the old school synth-and-organ sound of yore and Stolt's seemingly neverending arsenal of guitar solo's, 'Retropolis' is actually something of a letdown, the golden melodies that adorn the Scandanavians very best work replaced by an earnest, overly-tricksy and actually rather boring modern-prog sound. Not only does it lack the upbeat, almost joyous, ambience of it's predecessor, 'Retropolis' lacks any real stand-out cuts, a rare thing indeed for a Flower Kings album. The chief offender in this misfire has to the title-track, which also serves as the album's opening epic, and serves up over ten gruelling minutes worth of relentless soloing from Stolt. More of the same is offered up on the slightly-less draining 'There Is More To Thias World', whilst the album's second half continues the general theme of polished production values, top-notch technicals and Stolt's tiresome guitar histrionics. Buy 'Stardust We Are' instead. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2015

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 Flower Power by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.94 | 391 ratings

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Flower Power
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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

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

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

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

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 Paradox Hotel by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.72 | 410 ratings

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Paradox Hotel
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Lofcaudio

3 stars I am relatively new to The Flower Kings, but have slowly been exploring their discography. Paradox Hotel was recommended to me as one of their better albums so after being pleasantly surprised with Desolation Rose, I grabbed this one. Paradox Hotel is a meandering affair full of social commentary which I have not fully digested. While I love concept albums (where the whole is better than the sum of the parts), I feel like the music on this album really suffers as it seems to be an afterthought compared to the lyrics. The band has something to say and by golly they say it! The music just does not measure up, in my opinion.

While there is a lot of music on this double disc album, there are really only a few individual tracks that I find interesting. The first album begins with a very solid offering in "Monsters & Men" which begins the commentary on the European aggressors of World War II (Germany). While I haven't given the lyrics a whole lot of attention, a similar theme continues for the rest of the two albums with the music becoming rather boring and forgettable along the way.

The second disc has a few worthy additions in the tracks "Touch My Heaven", "Life Will Kill You" and "Paradox Hotel." Again, this album is much better as a whole and is really the only way to listen to it as the individual songs just don't have very compelling melodies. As a result, if I'm in the mood for The Flower Kings, I'd much rather listen to Stardust We Are or Unfold the Future.

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 Banks Of Eden by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.08 | 646 ratings

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Banks Of Eden
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I think I just about leaped out of my seat when I heard that The Flower Kings were getting back together after a lengthy break. Obviously there has been no lack of productivity from the individual members of this legendary Swedish group via fantastic albums from the likes of Karmakanic, Agents of Mercy, Hasse Froberg and Musical Companion, etc.; however, there's some special magic that happens when these musicians get together to write music under the banner of The Flower Kings. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect, and I didn't really care. Whether or not I always get it the first time around, experience has taught me that TFK produces prog of the highest quality, with the special ability to deliver music that walks an interesting line of catchy and profound. Each of their albums has taken me repeated listening and devouring to truly appreciate; while some other bands tend to knock me off my feet on the first listen, TFK has crept up in my list of favorite bands, little by little, eventually ousting out the competition and making it to the top.

The choice to break the silence of their 5 year break with an opening track of 26 minutes shows that Stolt and co. want to make one thing absolutely clear from the get go: they mean business. "Numbers" ends up being a track that you can seriously rock out to and provides TFK's intelligent signature use of leitmotif and doesn't forget to put their money where their mouth is with fantastic instrumentation. Between the timpani roll that kicks off the piece, Felix's aggressive drumming, and some extremely dark, heavy, and thick moments, these Swedes aren't ashamed to add a few new shades to the band's already diverse palate of sounds. Don't expect TFK to abandon their traditional sound though. Here we have everything that we've come to love about the band. Mr. Bodin gives us some great symphonic moments along with great Rhodes playing and some of his signature eclectic patches, Jonas shows us once again just how capable he is of laying down some really melodic and slamming grooves, and Hasse and Roine deliver the goods on guitars and vocals as we can expect. For such a lengthy piece, this actually goes by incredibly fast. I would have to say this is one of their most precise long compositions; the main themes are delivered and reworked in ways that make them instantly recognizable but never repetitive, and vocals are used abundantly and effectively. One thing that struck me as distinct about this particular track is that it seems like it's not quite so keyboard heavy as some other TFK long tracks, perhaps it's a bit of Roine's experiences in Agents of Mercy playing into this new sound, however, that is not to say that this isn't symphonic. There's definitely lots of keys to please synth happy geeks like me.

While "Numbers" really shows off the new elements that TFK are bringing to the table, "For the Love of Gold" really takes us back to the classic TFK sound, drenched in synthesizers that are mixed right up front, just how I like 'em. This tune really puts out a positive and uplifting vibe, plus the 3/4 groove at about 3:30 really makes you nod your head and smile. I should also mention that both Hasse and Roine do a fine job on the vocals on this very enjoyable piece. In the end this one really put me back in that Flower Kings spirit and reminded me that these guys know how to have fun.

The last track I would like to mention specifically is "Rising the Imperial," written by none other than the stunning bass master, Mr. Reingold. Let's just say that this guy knows how to write the most perfectly melodic bass parts that will bring you to tears. The chord progression feels very introspective and dynamic, coming in and out like the swaying of waves until it reaches high tide and you're drowning in a sea of wonderful, musical texture. While I tip my hat of to Jonas for the amazing piece, everyone did a brilliant job performing on this song. For example, Roine's vocals compliment the lyrics perfectly, emphasizing the somber nature of the piece, and his guitar solos will melt your heart. After the first one, I said to myself, that would have been the perfect climax to the song, why did they keep going? But then they added some strong vocals sections and brought Mr. Stolt back in for another round of breathtaking guitar-work, backed perfectly by Tomas Bodin's wonderful Hammond playing. Good move; I definitely couldn't complain after a section that was that good. To put the icing on the cake, Hasse's wonderful voice and Tomas's dense keyboard arrangements grace us once more, and the regular album comes to a close. "Rising the Imperial" really wrapped the album up with a bang. At 55 minutes of fantastic composition and performances over five songs, the main album certain left me satisfied. For those who can't get enough of TFK, like me, the band has given us a little extra treat with the special edition which includes a fun video interview and four bonus tracks on a second disc; a little bit of extra fun for everyone.

In short, if you liked The Flower Kings already, you'll love this album. If you aren't that into them or are a fence sitter, I doubt that this will change your mind. In my opinion, this is a finely executed album and will sit very nicely in my Flower King's collection and get regular rotation among their other masterpieces. Where it ranks among their albums, I couldn't say. All I'll say this early on is that it's good, real good, and I hope and pray they'll come out to San Francisco as they tour this gem of an album.

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 Tour Kaputt by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Live, 2011
4.05 | 55 ratings

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Tour Kaputt
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Back in 2011 when I got an email from Greg Walker at Synphonic Music letting me know what new stuff he's just gotten in stock, my eyes instantly got wide when I saw that the legendary Swedish proggers the Flower Kings, had just released a new live DVD known as "Tour Kaputt." Not only are The Flower Kings an amazing band, but the quality of their live performances, in my opinion, is hard to beat by any band. There's something really magical about the sound they get on stage; they're just one of those bands that, while sounding great on their albums, somehow manages to achieve an even fuller and richer sound while performing live.

Let me re-emphasize that a new DVD release from Stolt and company is never an event to pass up. Honestly though, with the excessively high standard that they set performing the epics in their DVD Meet the Flower Kings and the extremely enjoyable offer that was Instant Delivery, I was wondering how their new DVD would hold up. Not that I was worried at all about the performance; there was just one little thing about Tour Kaputt that had me nervous: it's an official bootleg. With these types of releases you never know quite what you're getting into. But, being the faithful Flower Kings fan that I am, I decided to go ahead and purchase without further hesitation or debate.

Bottom line is, I was not disappointed in the least bit. For not being a professionally produced recording, the sound quality and the visuals are actually really good and definitely do justice to the nuances of the Flower Kings' dynamic and performance. While the film quality isn't quite as crisp as the other releases, the angles and shots are excellent and everything comes in clear in the audio mix. If I have one complaint, it is that there are a few moments where they use filters or visual effects, which don't enhance the experience. However, these are so few and far between that it's not something that would dissuade any fans from watching this release time and time again.

Joining Stolt, Bodin, Reingold, and Froberg on this tour is King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto, who does a fine job at fitting in with the band and having to cover what is usually the percussion job of two. Since this tour was in support of their record Sum of No Evil, that album is emphasized in this show; the band plays 5 of the 6 album tracks and pounds out some stunning moments, like the newly arranged ending chorus of "Love is the Only Answer." Of course, The Flower Kings always play ultra-long on their live releases (I guess they do on their studio releases as well), so it's only natural that they included a whole bunch of other tracks which span their career. Furthermore, not being a band that simply plays the same "favorites" at every show, the majority of the songs on this release can't be found on any of their other DVDs, which is reason enough to buy this.

While the first half of the DVD was incredible, I have a soft spot for the second half. There's a string of songs that they couldn't have chosen any better to create a massively moving and heartfelt show: "Babylon," "Stardust" (excerpts), "What if God is Alone," and "Blade of Cain." Babylon features some of the best musical building I've witnessed in any song. It's amazing what they are able to do with a repetitive bassline and melody over the course of a couple of minutes. Truly stunning and immensely uplifting, "Babylon" was such a nice feel-good piece that I was wondering if it was going to get much better. Well, they managed to construct the perfect set up for what would follow; a really cool ambient intro to all of our favorite song: "Stardust We Are." Stolt controls the reverby leads while Reingold contributes some spacey synth patches, leading Mr. Froberg into a sublime vocal melody that kicks off (or should I say, continues) some of the most beautiful moments of the show. The combination of Stardust's lyrics with the cosmic atmosphere that the band produces is a real treat. On every one of their releases they do a totally different rendition of this piece, and I must say that this one blew me away, just like the others. Some definite shiver moments abounded.

At this point, I hadn't yet realized that "Stardust" and "Babylon" had done some major tenderizing on my emotions, and by the time they roll out with "What If God Is Alone," I was totally sucked in. Once again, the band knows how to beautifully build a mood and deliver the goods. By the end of this piece, with images of the cosmos and Buddha flying around stage as Hasse sings "I am one with the earth, I am one with the sky," it was hard not to get a bit emotional. And, of course, they just had to follow up with another gorgeous piece: "Blade of Cain. This one's been one of my favorites for a long time, and the band doesn't fail to impress, kicking it off with an extra little symphonic opening before the slowly marching keyboard melody and bass solo begin to creep out. Jonas Reingold's weeping bass solo on the fretless never felt more fitting than on than on this particular performance, absolutely capturing the mood and essence of the song.

While not topping Meet the Flower Kings, Tour Kaputt ended up being an official bootleg that definitely soars far above mediocrity. In fact, I would go as far as saying that this is a FANTASTIC release all around and will not disappoint (that is, unless you hate The Flower Kings anyways. And if you do, shame on you). Kudos to these guys for managing to put out another great release. Can't wait for the next studio offering and another awesome DVD to accompany it. Until then, I definitely won't get sick of watching this one.

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 Desolation Rose by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.03 | 436 ratings

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Desolation Rose
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've decided that it's a good idea not to write reviews after only a couple of listens to an album. Not that I usually do, but I am always in the mindset of writing a review these days when I listen to a new CD, and first impressions are not always so favourable, nor do the favourable ones always last.

I was having a tough time getting into this one. It's my fifth FK purchase after "Banks of Eden", "Space Revolver", "Back in the World of Adventures", and "Stardust We Are" and I was really experiencing a feeling of diminishing returns. After "Space Revolver" the debut sounded good but it seemed that most new ground had been broken in the beginning and there was not much that could be called progress on subsequent releases. "Stardust We Are" is to me not very exciting with only three or four tracks getting repeat plays. Much of the album sounds like the band is just treading water. The PA rating for "Desolation Rose" is pretty high and the album is one of only three FK albums to clear 4.00. So, it had to be good, right?

Well, certainly there is a lot of good music on the album. The Flower Kings are no slouches. Listening to the album for the fifth time as I write, it's starting to sound pretty decent. The problem was that at first I felt that there were no songs that truly stood out. Perhaps every song is very good but there was no lasting feeling of euphoria for me. I've been preparing a playlist to burn to CD, choosing my favourite songs from 2013/2014 releases, and it's been no problem picking choice cuts from IQ, Spock's Beard, Opeth, Haken, and others. But after four complete listens to the whole album and the double disc plus several individual songs, I still wasn't able to find a track that begged to be on a favourites list.

The album and bonus disc include the expected FK ingredients such as hard rocking guitars (which sound the same as they do on the debut, "Space Revolver", and "Banks of Eden"), pop-sounding parts, more complex music, dominant keyboards, and slower lounge jazz-tinged moments along with slow and pretty instrumentals for lead guitar soloing and the odd spacey bit, plus some emotive vocals at times. You can expect to find three or four of these aspects together on many of the songs, creating the impression that the Flower Kings just continue mixing the same ingredients without trying anything new. It seems to me that the band is simply content to repeat the same sounds and styles that they introduced to their albums in the 90's.

That doesn't mean a first time buyer won't be impressed. There are many fine moments throughout the album and most songs have their moments of heightened enjoyment. "Tower One" is perhaps THE track to spin though there's nothing new here, and "White Tuxedos" deserves mention for being the most different-sounding track on the album, mostly because of the distorted vocals and the spy-movie-like guitars. In fact, this was the first song off the album to make a spontaneous play in my head at work, demanding a replay on my music player for my ride home.

I noticed some songs include lyrics from others, indicating a concept in the works. The line about "silent graveyards" shows up on three different songs! This repeating of lyrics in different songs doesn't help to diminish the notion that much of the album sounds similar to other parts or indeed the majority of the Flower Kings' catalogue. Could the main album have been like another Transatlantic "Whirlwind"? Is the bonus disc just a collection of mostly short numbers that couldn't be stitched together into longer tracks? It's taken time for me to properly digest everything.

If you decide to get this album, buy the double disc. It'll be like casting a bigger net and catching more fish. You'll still get more of the FK-run-of-the-mill music but there are some highlights on the bonus disc as well. Certainly a very good album for the devout fan and newbie to the Flower Kings. At least that's how I felt this morning when beginning the fifth listen. But now it is starting to take hold in my brain and I am finding "Desolation Rose" is turning out to be actually pretty good. It still doesn't deliver anything new to the FK repertoire but on its own it is rather a fine piece of work. I was going to give it just three stars and then four minus one for lack of progress in sound or adventurousness. But now I think I can push my rating to four stars without reluctance or grudge.

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 Banks Of Eden by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.08 | 646 ratings

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Banks Of Eden
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'd unknowingly been a fan of progressive rock since the end of my elementary school days, enjoying the longer, more complex compositions of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, and Metallica and collecting all the Pink Floyd albums on cassette. I just didn't know this music was called progressive rock until I became a sudden huge fan of Rush at the end of 2010 and then Yes in June of 2011. By 2012 I converted to progheadism and began exploring the genre in earnest. The Flower Kings album "Banks of Eden" showed up on Amazon one day and I gave it a sample. I wasn't convinced that this "new" band was really prog and so I checked them out on PA and was stunned to find that this was a well-established band with quite a catalogue of albums, a few of them double studio albums, not to mention Roine Stolt's involvement with Kaipa in the seventies. I went ahead and ordered the deluxe edition of "Banks of Eden" with the bonus disc of four songs. I've been meaning to review the album ever since and just now, two years later, I am going to share my thoughts.

The opening track is the 25-minute epic, "Numbers". It begins with lots of action, impressive symphonic prog that really rocks at times and eases back when required without turning cold. For the first ten minutes there is much to keep up with. But as I walked home tonight with the song in my earbuds, I found my attention wandering during the slower part in the middle. I am sure it's a necessary part of the song but I finally wondered if the track wasn't winding down soon and I looked and saw there was still ten minutes left! But around 18 minutes the interest comes back and I was once again keeping my ears and mind connected. As this was among the first of my modern prog albums, I was and am still pleased and impressed with most of this song.

"For the Love of Gold" swiftly became my favourite on the album, mostly for the delightful vocal harmonies and the transitions between pop-symphonic prog and occasional punches of hard rock. Guitar solos, synthesizer solos, and organ solos figure in this song, and though the chorus tends to show up fairly often, the melody is catchy. I noticed tonight how the drummer seems to be hard at work at avoiding a 4/4 beat. He's hopping about on his drum stool and dropping odd beats and bursting out with sudden fills, a nice touch to a song that often sounds like a prog song in pop clothing.

I quite appreciate the length of this album. At just over 54 minutes, we have reached the point where there are only three more songs to hear and all between six and eight minutes long. Considering the band often released double studio albums and that they hadn't released a new studio album for a few years before "Banks of Eden", it's a surprise to find an album so concise. "Pandemonium" begins with some exciting symphonic prog a bit on the heavy side but soon the song settles into musical territory already established in the lengthy first track. Some are put off by the sci-fi character vocals that seem to be making an embarrassing attempt to rap, but I find this part adds some originality to the general tone of the album.

We are back into symphonic prog complexity with "For Those About to Drown" and the lyrics have a Gabriel-esque ring to them. The music also reminds me of "Seeds of Love" by Tears for Fears at times, which in turn makes me think of the Beatles. This has become my second favourite song on the album, though Roine Stolt's vocals sound intentionally nasal at times and a bit annoying.

The final track, "Rising the Imperial" didn't leave much in my memory previously but listening to it again tonight gave me a fresh take. It's slow and more atmospheric and actually better than I remembered. It's interesting to note that "Numbers" begins with lyrics from "Rising the Imperial" and also that "Rising the Imperial" includes a continuation of part of the lyrics to "Numbers". In a way, the two longest tracks create bookends to the album.

The four tracks on the bonus CD are all worth the extra money, in my opinion. "Illuminati" is an instrumental that, around the 3-minute mark, reveals its intention to pay homage to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" with some wonderfully played Gilmour-tribute guitar. "Fireghosts" is a catchy song that is likely the most pop-sounding on the entire offering. The melody is pretty and uplifting but with a trimming of sentiment. "Going Up" rocks out a bit and takes us back to some of the excited playing that showed up on "For the Love of Gold". The final song, "LoLines" shows the Flower Kings in hard rock seventies style with a marriage of almost boogie rock and symphonic prog, depending on which way the song is leaning in the beginning, middle, or end.

After this purchase, I was impressed enough to later pick up three more albums by the Flower Kings and I still have two more at least that I'd like to get. This and "Space Revolver" remain my favourites, with "Banks of Eden" winning slightly in overall sound and general impression.

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 The Sum Of No Evil by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.79 | 454 ratings

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The Sum Of No Evil
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

2 stars "The Sum of No Evil" from 2007 is a typical The Flower Kings album. It is long lasting, few and lenghty songs and a funny interesting cover picture. The cover shows a nice band name sign and a Volkswagen bus fish over a religious building, a budistic temple I think. The record was released seven years ago and after this tenth record the band has done two more.

Here, Roine Stolt plays guitar and sings, Tomas Bodin plays keyboards, Jonas Reingold plays bass, Zoltan Csórsz drums and Hasse Fröbergs sings and plays guitar.

Well, the music of Flower Kings is of a special type, definitely not every person likes it. For me it uses to change from time to time. I love some records and songs and hate others. This was almost of the second clasification. It starts quite well with perhaps the records' best "One more time" but then comes "Love is the only answer" with a rather boring text and also the melody is boring in my ears. In that case stretch it so much as now is not a good idea. The other songs are not especially much better they either.

On "The sum of no evil" you, as a listener, will find many ingredients of what The Flower Kings are famous and popular for such as great guitar work and powerful symphonic pieces with long playtime. They are very clever and dompetent but this time it didn't work at all for me. I have listened some times but I can't enjoy what I hear. I know that I should try to be more objektive and judge each record for it's qualities. Now though I had hard to let my personal feelings behind and those feelings don't get frightened or feel any shame for saying that this record unfortunaly mach other of the band or many other prog record. "One more time" is the best song but avoid the others. If you love this band there is a chance you'll like this also but I think two stars is fair right now- perhaps the record wil grow.

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 Desolation Rose by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.03 | 436 ratings

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Desolation Rose
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Swedish band THE FLOWER KINGS are among the living legends of progressive rock these days, a flagship band in the revival of the genre in the 1990's and a surefire headliner act for just about anyone planning to do a progressive rock festival that wants to draw the crowds in. If we can talk about stars in such a niche environment as progressive rock is, The Flower Kings have been one of the brightest as far as bands that didn't start out in the 1960's or early 70's go. "Desolation Rose" is their 12th studio production, and was released through prestigious label Inside Out in 2013.

Now I do not recall just why this CD came to end up in my stack of CDs to review. I bought this one for my wife as a pre-Christmas gift, the limited edition version with bonus tracks, but can't recall if it subsequently ended up in my stack of CDs to review because she wanted me to write about it or because she had chatted with one of the band members and had promised them I would cover this one. Most likely it is one of those two alternatives though, or that it just happened to be placed in my CD pile accidentally. Still, I do not write about this one because it was sent to me by the label or the artist, which on my case is somewhat unusual.

While I'm obviously familiar with The Flower Kings, they have never been a band that have been that high on my list of music to investigate for some reason or other, possibly it's just a matter of how much time I have at my disposal. They are a quality act of course, always have been and presumably they'll always be so as well, and their meticulous approach to the technical aspects of mixing and production is just one of the top notch qualities about this band. This is an album that should please most audiophiles out there, a well balanced and well assembled production through and through. All instruments are crystal clear, those fond of listening to the details beneath the main motifs and the subtle elements in whatever theme is ongoing will enjoy this album immensely due to this aspect alone.

If you have a taste for retro-oriented symphonic progressive rock you'll obviously have even more to enjoy. Rich cascades of keyboards, organ and Mellotron flavor these compositions with a smorgasbord of sounds, if there is something that can be described as keyboard porn this is it, with elegant guitar soloing on top, in harmony or intertwined in the action of the tangents. As expected from this band the rhythm section is just as excellent, and Roine's vocals, that in my ears have a slight touch of Jon Anderson to them, fits this landscape perfectly.

The songs obviously profit from all of this excellence, but still I didn't find myself getting the goosebumps experience too many times as this disc unfolded. The opening sequence of Tower One actually felt somewhat strained to me for some reason or other, until the first instrumental interlude got going that is. Following that this epic length excursion started to grow quite a bit for me. This also established something of a pattern for me as this CD unfolded. Some songs opened in a not that intriguing manner, growing on me as they unfolded. Title track Desolation Rose another song in that category, The Silent Masses another one.

Other songs gave me goosebumps inducing vibes straight away, like the intriguing Sleeping Bones and later on White Tuxedo as well, but at some point this initial magic faded ever so slightly, the intriguing elements overly used or the song developing in a somewhat less interesting direction. Dark Fascist Skies is the sole exception here though, the generally darker mood an alluring element in itself, and in this case combined with sequences of a less brooding nature that also managed to catch my fancy.

The 8 tracks on the bonus disc gave me a slightly different experience. More varied in style and sound and less cohesive in nature, but more cohesive in terms of my end experience as a listener. From the sheer blatant fun factor of a track like Lazy Monkey to the sacral, cosmic vibes of instrumental Interstellar Variations, the pastoral landscapes of Psalm 2013 and the melancholic mood of concluding piece The Final Era all of these bonus tracks lacked the slight ebb and flow feeling I got from the main album. None of the slightly less alluring parts, but none of the moments of sheer magic either. But a high quality and more than pleasant collection of material it is.

That sums up my impression of "Desolation Rose" quite nicely too. This is, overall, a solid production by a high quality band. If you have a passion for symphonic progressive rock with many vintage qualities, and enjoy that style of music performed by a band whose members appear to have a very high standard on all aspects of the albums they create, this is a CD that deserves your time and attention. Perhaps not the production that will define this band's legacy whenever they decide to retire, but an album that has solid, high quality written all over it.

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