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THE FLOWER KINGS

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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The Flower Kings biography
Founded in Uppsala, Sweden in 1994 - Hiatus between 2008-2012

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 essential 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

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THE FLOWER KINGS discography


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

4.03 | 643 ratings
Back In The World Of Adventures
1995
3.75 | 560 ratings
Retropolis
1996
3.93 | 642 ratings
Stardust We Are
1997
3.96 | 550 ratings
Flower Power
1999
3.85 | 589 ratings
Space Revolver
2000
3.47 | 482 ratings
The Rainmaker
2001
3.91 | 584 ratings
Unfold the Future
2002
3.49 | 518 ratings
Adam & Eve
2004
3.73 | 524 ratings
Paradox Hotel
2006
3.82 | 590 ratings
The Sum Of No Evil
2007
4.06 | 850 ratings
Banks of Eden
2012
3.97 | 626 ratings
Desolation Rose
2013
3.72 | 241 ratings
Waiting for Miracles
2019
3.86 | 172 ratings
Islands
2020

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

3.82 | 139 ratings
Alive on Planet Earth
2000
4.36 | 190 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording 2003
2003
3.47 | 34 ratings
Carpe Diem - Live in USA
2008
4.09 | 79 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011

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

4.15 | 132 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
2003
3.76 | 103 ratings
Instant Delivery
2006
4.24 | 54 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011

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

3.46 | 50 ratings
Scanning The Greenhouse
1998
4.00 | 8 ratings
Two In One
2006
3.25 | 79 ratings
The Road Back Home
2007
4.81 | 21 ratings
A Kingdom of Colours
2017
4.54 | 24 ratings
A Kingdom of Colours II
2018

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

3.91 | 11 ratings
Édition Limitée Québec 1998
1998
4.29 | 7 ratings
The Flower Kings
1999
2.88 | 17 ratings
Fanclub CD 2000
2000
3.09 | 39 ratings
The Rainmaker (Limited Edition)
2001
3.73 | 27 ratings
Live in New York - Official Bootleg
2002
3.90 | 26 ratings
The Fanclub CD 2002 - A Collection Of Flower Kings Related Music
2002
2.21 | 37 ratings
BetchaWannaDanceStoopid!!
2004
2.44 | 13 ratings
Fanclub CD 2004
2004
2.95 | 29 ratings
Fanclub CD 2005 - Harvest
2005
3.69 | 46 ratings
BrimStoned in Europe
2005

THE FLOWER KINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Islands by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.86 | 172 ratings

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Islands
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by LittleJake

3 stars Another great, yet un-memorable Flower Kings album. I fell in love with The Flower Kings many years ago, and I am always interested in what they're doing. This latest release, "Islands", really showcases what they are so good at, which is top notch playing and employing great prog characteristics. You will find all of that here, for sure. If you're already a fan of the band and that is what you want, this album should satisfy you. With all of that said, this album contains nothing new from this great band. After several listens I could not tell you which song does what or hum a single tune. There is no song I look forward to hearing again. I cannot recall any riffs. They pretty much just played it safe and did what they've done many times in the past. Took no risks. Nothing new explored. A sad trend affecting a lot of great prog bands. So, 3 stars for a great normal Flower Kings album, but no 4th or 5th star due to nothing out of the ordinary that stands out from anything else.
 Space Revolver by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.85 | 589 ratings

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Space Revolver
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

3 stars 'Space Revolver' is the fifth but first album by The Flower Kings released and recorded in the 21st century, coming after four really successful albums, in terms of reception, that had introduced this magnificent lavish-sounding Swedish symphonic prog band to the world. On this album, we get what could be considered as the 'classic' TFK line-up of band leader and guitarist Roine Stolt, also on lead vocals, Tomas Bodin on all keyboards, including moogs, organ, mellotron, synths and pianos, then Hasse Fröberg on vocals and acoustic guitars, on the bass Jonas Reingold, and finally Jaime Salazar on drums. Two additional musicians are also present - Ulf Wallander on soprano sax, appearing very often on TFK albums as a sixth member, and Hans Bruniusson and percussion and some backing vocals.

What is interesting about The Flower Kings is that every album sounds a bit different from the previous one, yet the TFK sound is vey recognizable; and this is valid for pretty much most of their albums released in the 1990s and the 2000s, which as we know, are a lot, so we have a very prolific contemporary studio act here.

The mixture of very long songs, some regular-length ones, and a few really short episodes is used here as well, similarly to the four albums that came before 'Space Revolver'. This album is around 76 minutes long, and is a single-album, of course, so it is interesting how things have changed because this length is pretty much standard for a double-album from the 70s. However, I like to call the songs 1-5 side one, and the songs 6-10 side two, although this is not correct.

Where does this division come from? Well, from my listening experience: I can never enjoy the so-called 'side two' which I consider to be severely weaker than 'side one', much less memorable, and it could have really been reduced a bit. This being said, I have to praise side one, or the songs 1-5, which happen to be pretty damn good and this is why I wish I liked this album a bit more overall.

Opener 'I Am the Sun (part One)' is a 15-minute typical bombastic TFK epic that takes you on a bumpy ride among crazy instrumental passages with great lyrics and memorable choruses, and mellow and pastoral atmospheric sections, a very strong track. Then 'Dream On Dreamer', an excellent short song that serves as a transition between 'I Am the Sun' and the explosive instrumental 'Rumble Fish Twist', written by Bodin ? it sounds like something recorder by Yes for the 'Relayer' album, it is that crazy. The band follows this with another 13-minute epic, 'Monster Within' that transitions into the catchy and enjoyable 'Chicken Farmer Song'. Around 44 minutes of music so far, and I can't help but think that if this was released with just these five tracks, 'Space Revolver' could have been considered one of their best albums.

The rest features songs like 'Underdog' or 'Slave to Money', which are just fine but never impressed me as much as the first five, or the second part of 'I Am the Sun' which sounds a bit bland compared to part one. Simply put, the latter five tracks are the avoidable ones.

Overall, 'Space Revolver' is an album that has its highs and lows, with some tremendous and unforgettable moments, and some weak spots that, in my opinion, should have remained bonus material. However, the band is in great form in that period, and this can be heard on any of their albums released between 1994 and 2013.

 Paradox Hotel by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.73 | 524 ratings

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Paradox Hotel
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Paradox Hotel" could have been an excellent The Flower King's album, but it's too long and sometimes even too boring to be considered even a very good one.

The epic Monsters and Men is one of their most forgettable long songs they've ever written, and tracks like Lucy Had a Dream, Jealousy and Touch My Heaven are forgettable while other like Bavarian Skies and Mommy Leave the Light On are directly bad.

Luckily, there are also enough good moments in "Paradox Hotel" which makes this album worthy of a pair of spins, but it is so irregular and the quality is so mixed that I can't give more than three stars.

And that's a shame, because if "Paradox Hotel" was half so long and if they had rid of the bad and mediocre songs, this could have been a four star one, easily surpassing "Adam & Eve".

But sadly, that is not what happened.

Best Tracks: Pioneers of Aviation (fine instrumental) End on a High Note (the best song of the album, a lot of happy feelings mixed with splendid keyboards), Minor Giant Steps (catchy and diverse track) and What if God is Alone (beautiful lyrics and great vocal melodies)

My Rating: ***

 Adam & Eve by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.49 | 518 ratings

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Adam & Eve
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the marvellous "Unfold the Future", I was eagerly waiting for its follow-up back in 2004.

Nevertheless, although I enjoyed "Adam & Eve" (and I still do today), I was inevitably disappointed when I heard it. A good chunk of the power and incredible progressive-jazz fusion force of their previous album was gone in favour of more short and conventional tunes, more rock and American folk influenced and too much forgettable songs like the insipid Cosmic Circus, the directly weak Starlight Man and the boring pseudo-blues Timelines.

Of course, there is also room for epics here but Love Supreme is not The Truth Will Set You Free, and Driver's Seat is also not The Devil's Playground.

Nevertheless, the musicianship is excellent as expected. The traditional Flower King's song with the crazy Bodin's keyboards is back, and so are the great Reingold's bass lines and the inimitable style of Stolt on guitars.

In addition, "Adam & Eve" is also the only The Flower King's album to have Daniel Gildenlow as official member of the band, and his style and personality is evident in the very well interpreted A Vampire's View, and the hard rocking title song, one of the two highlights of the album.

So if you like symphonic prog, you will surely enjoy "Adam & Eve", because even one of the worst The Flower King's albums is still good, but definitely not the right place to start if you are a newcomer.

Best Tracks: Love Supreme (decent epic with Yes influences and some American folk melodies), Babylon (a beautiful instrumental), A Vampire's View (dark, even horrific song with an incredible singing by Gildenlow) and Adam & Eve (maybe the most Gildenlow's influenced song of the album)

My Rating: ***

 Unfold the Future by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.91 | 584 ratings

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Unfold the Future
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After confusing the fans with the irregular "The Rainmaker", The Flower Kings regained faith with another double CD, the first since "Flower Power", which in my opinion is the pinnacle of their discography.

"Unfold the Future" is very jazzy, the production is strong, the guitars are sharp, the keyboard shines throughout the whole record and it also contains lots of crazy percussions and strange sounds making this release to be very special and distinctive in the long Roine Stolt's career.

And the bass? "Unfold the Future" is also the best Jonas Reingold's work to date. His bass lines are just a dream, marvelous, almost perfect. I love it!

And it also has the collaboration of Pain of Salvation's Daniel Gildenlow on vocals, a guarantee of quality!

Sadly, like every other The Flower King's double album, this one also contains a pair of fillers like the forgettable jazz improvisation Christianopel, and maybe also The Devil's Danceschool, too convoluted for my taste.

But the rest of the songs just show a band and a bunch of musicians on their prime, in a time when The Flower Kings still tried to be a project larger than life, and not just another prog-rock band.

Best Tracks: The Truth Will Set You Free (their best epic, period!), Black and White (fierce, jazzy and crazy track), Silent Inferno (the bass playing is just wonderful here), Genie in a Bottle (great progressive hard rock), Fast Lane (Daniel Gildenlow singing is unbelievable) and The Devil's Playground (the second epic. Darker, jazzier and with another great Gildenlow's performance)

My Rating: *****

 Islands by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.86 | 172 ratings

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Islands
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by dougmcauliffe

5 stars If last year somebody had told me that in 2020 I would be rating the new Flower Kings album higher than the new Wobbler album, first I would go: "new Wobbler? Hell yeah!" Shortly followed by a "Ugh, The Flower Kings!?!?" Yep, I've never understood this band and I've always grouped them in with that kind of Neal Morse, Transatlantic, Karfagen sort of thing, where it's generally pleasant melodic prog, that rarely ever sweeps me off my feet with anything all that exciting or original. However, this album has seriously changed my mind about the band. I will repeat, I'm not a hardcore Flower Kings fan at all, but this album is truly fantastic. Islands runs at a very dense 96 minute runtime, but front to back it's full of extremely dynamic, well executed and interesting ideas. The production is what I would consider absolutely perfect for what it's going for, there's a real quirky and lively sound to this album with all sorts of beautiful melodic guitar playing and keys in the mix. It also manages to be a very cohesive and generally easy listen considering it's runtime, you can hear melodies and motifs from previous songs smoothly repeated here and there in other songs. I like that when they do include these reprises, they never overindulge or rely too heavily on them like you tend to see some contemporaries fall back on. The music here just puts me in a good mood, it makes me happy, but while it does have that accessibility factor, the songs still prog hard with complex arrangements, lively instrumentation, an abundance of subtleties and nuances as well as unconventional song structures. There's so many details to pick out of these songs, after countless listens, this album still sounds just as fresh as it did when I first heard it, if not more.

"Racing With The Blinders On" is a really exciting and upbeat opener, when the vocals come in during the latter half I get so amped up. The second track "From the Ground" is the song that really got my ears perked up when it came out, it was the track that got me hooked on this sound. It's such a pleasant and feel good song with memorable lyrics and catchy melodies on all fronts. The main guitar melody introduced in this track is pure bliss, I cannot stress enough just how great this song is as well as how much there is to latch onto in it's mere (4:11) runtime. "Black Swan" is another homerun, this one is the first to feature their other vocalist: "Hasse Froberg" on lead. He's got a great voice that works as a nice contrast to the differing timbre of Roine Stolt, I always love the two or more lead singers dynamic in any band. There's a bit of a Queen and Beatles feel to this track while still keeping that great melodic interplay going. I absolutely love where this track goes in the final two minutes with a brief but pretty unorthodox jam before delivering a great payoff satisfyingly dropping back into the main verse and chorus. "Morning News" is a very pretty and chill laid back track with a very emotional delivery and undertone to it. The following track "Broken" is another favorite of mine, featuring some of the darkest and heaviest playing on this album (with that said, we're still talking Flower Kings here, don't expect any meshuggah levels of heaviness!) This is found within the extended jam section around halfway through the track where it enters this awesome driving groove while a real dark and heavy sounding organ takes the lead with a super fiery solo. This is another track where there's so many instrumental change-ups that feel extremely effortless and organic, left turns and sweet melodies everywhere you look. "Goodbye Outrage" is a short symphonic sounding interlude, followed by "Journeyman" which is another generally short but fiery Jazz Fusion inspired instrumental. I love these fusiony jams that come up here and there, I tend to get some nice, breezy Zappa vibes from them. On some of these tracks I almost get some of the same vibes as I do from Camels "Harbour of Tears." Not only is the guitar playing incredibly melodic, but some of the symphonic arrangements and undertones within these songs match that vibe I only really get from that record. Along with From The Ground, "Solaris'' takes the cake as being the apex of the first disc. An incredible track with some real explosive melodious guitar playing on top of gorgeous vocal harmonies while also packing a sick contrasting and menacing build up section mid-way through. In the latter half of this song, the band reprises the main melody from "From the Ground," building up to an ungodly guitar crescendo that just takes off into the stratosphere. Seriously brilliant track. "Heart of the Valley" beautifully ties this first disc all together throwing in little lyrical hints and musical nuggets of some of the previous songs while adding a whole load of its own textures and sounds. Bookending this first disc is the soft and flowing instrumental "Man in a Two Piece Suit" offering a sort of celebratory closure to the first half of this album.

Now if this was just the album right here i'd be totally hooked and sold, and I was really worried this album was going to lose points in its exhaustive length, but I was wrong. I can count the number of 90+ minute records I love front to back probably on a single hand, and you better believe this is one of them. "All I Need is Love" opens disc two and it's one of my favorite tracks on the whole record. It starts off with some real pleasant poppy vibes and smoothly lands into an unbelievable beautiful piano and acoustic guitar led interlude right before the two minute mark with lovely vocal melodies to match. Following this, it breaks down into a nasty extended guitar solo with some awesome synth unisons and tradeoffs. "A New Species" is another favorite of mine. It's probably the most experimental and eclectic sounding track here, at times almost sounding like music you'd expect to hear on an alien planet. Real chaotic, fiery and quirky keys are all over this track with the meter going all over the map. It's a little tough to go into detail with this one due to it's schizophrenic instrumental nature, but I highly recommend giving it a listen for yourself. "Northern Lights'' is stunning, the instrumental textures and details in the mix paint a vast and expressive emotional picture in my head while listening. "Serpentine" once again brings forth the high energy fusion sounds with very well developed and eruptive saxophone all over this track. I just can't help but move while listening to this song, it's so full of life and it's another song here that just puts me in a good mood. "Looking For Answers" similarly to A New Species is super unorthodox and eccentric. The passage it breaks into at 2:22 is one of my favorite parts of this second disc. Just?. how do people get this creative?!?! "Fools Gold" keeps the high energy of the album going strong deep into it's runtime with it's driving and busy rhythm section and intense guitar soloing. Now in the final stretch, "Between Hope and Fear" once again acts as a track subtly tying things together, really going hand in hand with the final track "Islands," collectively setting up the grand finale of this record. The title track has a heavy burden placed upon being the final track of such a goliath record, a lot of pressure to deliver, and for my money, it does. The payoff this song delivers is so powerful and stunning. The guitar playing, which is really the main star of the show here, is so poignant and high-spirited. The album ends, and deep inside me is a feeling of complete satisfaction. They gave me everything I could have wanted out of this record, and I know if I want more, I can just start it right back over and get another fresh and exhilarating musical experience.

Like many of you, I've faced many extreme lows this year, but music has been there through all of it. I've found many releases from this year that I've loved a lot, but none of them touched my soul like this album has, and for that, I have to give it my one and only 5 star rating of this year. I will most certainly be following the band on their future endeavors from this point on and working backwards to see what I've missed. This album has turned me from someone whose sort of shunned the music of TFK, into someone with a great respect for the band, and I have to congratulate them for turning around so fast and delivering this brilliant and inspired record that's been a glimmer of light for me in the last few months. I recommend any prog fan check this out, especially those of you who are big into highly melodic prog like Camel, Khan, Yes and Caravan. Though there's something for everyone here.

5 Stars, *Album of the Year*

 Islands by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.86 | 172 ratings

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Islands
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by lukretio

3 stars The Flower Kings are one of the modern-day institutions in progressive rock and have been producing consistently high-quality progressive music for 25 years and counting. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Islands is as technically proficient and satisfying as a prog rock album can be. It contains over 90 minutes of sumptuous, Yes-inspired progressive rock, filled with playful instrumental extravagance, unexpected tempo changes, complex harmonies, and big, uplifting melodies. "Uplifting" and "playful" are two adjectives that I would like to highlight here, because I think they are particularly fitting to describe this release, which is very light and lively ? both musically and in its lyrical themes - and vividly transmits to the listener all the fun and joy of playing that the five musicians must have experienced while recording this.

As customary with any The Flower Kings's release, the double-album contains plenty of solos and spotlights, letting the band showcase all their instrumental chops. Roine Stolt's guitar playing is impeccable as always, his solos so well-crafted and tasteful, unafraid to veer towards simpler melodies and bluesy territories when there is need to put more soul into the playing. Jonas Reingold's signature "rumbling" bass is also ever-present and makes for an interesting listening experience in and of itself. The two "new" guys, Mirkko DeMaio (drums) and Zach Kamins (keyboards), are also given space to shine. The latter, in particular, contributes to the songwriting of several tracks and brings in orchestrations and choral elements that represent a somewhat new influence to the band, which is refreshing. DeMaio's drums are placed a bit low in the mix and his playing is perhaps the less conspicuous, which however does not detract too much from the overall listening experience and contributes to the "light" feel of the album.

As on their other most recent releases, vocal duties on Islands are shared between Roine Stolt and Hasse Fröberg. While Stolt's voice may not be the most powerful or tuneful you'll ever hear on a prog disc, his a distinctive and characteristic inflection and his jazzy delivery make his vocal lines pleasant and totally in line with the music background. Fröberg perfectly complements his bandmate with a more rounded and accomplished performance, which is ideal for the more technical passages and the "big" choruses. Lyrically, the album centres on positive and uplifting messages ? which are probably a response to the times that inspired the music (the self-isolation and seclusion forced upon many of us by the COVID-19 pandemic). To be honest, I am more the type of person that gets moved by dark melancholic lyrical themes, so the album's lyrics leave me fairly cold and uninterested, but others may find them endearing and inspiring.

According to Stolt, the album is supposed to come across as one long piece of music, divided into 21 interconnected songs. Personally, I don't think this worked out very well. The 21 songs are occasionally tied together by common lyrical or musical motifs, but by and large I perceived them as separate pieces of music. Sure, the style is fairly homogeneous and one can instantly recognize The Flower Kings's trademark sound throughout the album, but I missed the magniloquence, bombast and ambition that I typically associate with the prog epics The Flower Kings have written on previous records, or with the many concept albums they have released in their career. Overall, the emotional arc and listening experience did not quite match that of albums like Unfold the Future or Flower Power.

There are a few other issues I have with the album that prevent me to rate it higher. One is the production, which I find somewhat too dark and murky (especially when it comes to Fröberg's vocals). As mentioned earlier, the drums are also a tad too low and flat, making the album somewhat punchless. The other issue is that, perhaps inevitably after 14 full-length albums, I feel that The Flower Kings have somewhat lost the ability to surprise me and excite me with their new releases. If I go back in time and think about the amazement and excitement I experienced when I first listened to an album like Unfold the Future ? so urgent, fierce and fearless ? well, that's simply not there anymore. This feels a bit like a "vanilla version" of the band that once was.

Nevertheless, Islands objectively remains a very good album, particularly if one is in the mood for technical yet playful and melodic instrumental entertainment. It is not an amazing album, there are other records in the band's catalogue that are much fresher and more exciting than this one, but it is certainly one of the most accomplished and technically proficient albums you will find on the record shelves this year. As for me, I will continue to buy The Flower Kings's albums, hoping perhaps for one or two more "big bang" records that will rekindle that spark that I used to experience every time a new release of the band was hitting the stores.

 Banks of Eden by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.06 | 850 ratings

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Banks of Eden
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars The flower kings is one of the best bands that emerged in the 90's and made prog grand again. Through out the years the band produced a lot of albums, some good, some great, never bad, but their 2012 release Banks of Eden is a brilliant showcase of how majestic prog rock can be and their best album so far.

Numbers is a 25 minute epic and my favorite song from the band. It starts with a small but notable guitar part and vocal introduction only to explode with an amazing riff, beautiful guitar part that starts at the 2 minute mark and heavy riffing again, make the beginning of this song a true prog heaven. The entire song is brilliantly constructed from melodic and catchy to heavy and complex parts. The rest of the album delivers nothing but fantastic music a truly enjoyable album trough out.

 Islands by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.86 | 172 ratings

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Islands
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Devolvator

4 stars "Fantasy tangerine" keyboard landscapes are forever behind!" But the blues crunchy guitar tunes intensified. Complex, sometimes unnecessary, but this is the nature of the most sophisticated and multifaceted neo-progressive group titled The Flower Kings. It is not clear what was the reason, but two double albums in 2 years are a titanic success. While both records are great! Since 2012 - from the album "Banks of Eden" (which your humble servant considers one of the three strongest releases by TFK) - a strong bias towards a powerful guitar sound has been taken, which has benefited the musicians. And the last record to date is no exception. The music is still full of optimism and unrestrained fantasies of Roine Stolt, only with a different approach. The album is imbued with morning mood and layered guitar landscapes, and is very suitable for displaying large-scale scenes that are literally "off the ground". This time the music, almost devoid of sharp jumps, rather resembles the transition from "hill to river". The main drawback of the album (although more likely the last 10 years) is the vocalist's somewhat worn out: the voice has become too quiet and almost devoid of past emotions. Years are felt in it, which is depressing, given the general "pacifying" canvas of the group. It is still difficult for me to choose the highlight, because in fact all tracks are insanely interesting. So, "From The Ground" is a good example of a classic TFK with all their soaring chants and "widescreen bridges". Morning News is a fun, almost Christmas "connective tissue" between powerful album hits. Its initial simplicity is deceptive, and very soon it turns into sublime sadness, which culminates in a virtuoso and rather dynamic "Broken". And, in general, the whole album is incredibly good, the material is of the highest quality, despite the rather spoiled vocals. Perhaps the only miss is "Tangerine". Hey guys! You shouldn't write silly songs with a lack of melody and integrity. Perhaps, only it completely falls out of the album - and indeed not in the spirit of The Flower Kings. Everything else is better just to listen, because I will not have enough nerves to describe 2 discs, superbly played and complex pieces, as well as your desire to read all this! In any case, the dying world of the neo-progressive is still tapping out of the grave, and in this case, it broadcasts from it quite confidently and beautifully. True, no one knows how much of this is left ...
 Islands by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.86 | 172 ratings

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Islands
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

3 stars The band is in a relaxed mood with this album that seems to be less structured and more improvised with some jazzy passages. The performance of the new musicians is spot on with some innovative keyboard lines. However, I have tried to enjoy this album by repeated listening, it's 90 minutes difficult to digest. It was supposed to be a single song, but it doesn't sound that way. The cohesion found in the first Flower Kings albums is not here. There are some good parts in various places in this long journey, but too many moments where my attention drift away. I don't know if a single album would have improved things because there's not a standout track here that still is sonically a beautiful work of art, but something is missing in the songwriting. Maybe I need to listen more, if not I will go back to my old Flower Kings or Kaipa albums.
Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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