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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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Stardust We AreStardust We Are
Import
Imports 2014
Vinyl$28.06
$16.85 (used)
The Road Back Home: The Best Of (2CD)The Road Back Home: The Best Of (2CD)
Inside Out Music 2012
Audio CD$14.60
$14.59 (used)
The Banks Of EdenThe Banks Of Eden
Century Media 2012
Audio CD$7.98
$7.95 (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 | 506 ratings
Back In The World Of Adventures
1995
3.73 | 439 ratings
Retropolis
1996
3.92 | 509 ratings
Stardust We Are
1997
3.96 | 434 ratings
Flower Power
1999
3.85 | 486 ratings
Space Revolver
2000
3.49 | 390 ratings
The Rainmaker
2001
3.88 | 463 ratings
Unfold The Future
2002
3.49 | 431 ratings
Adam & Eve
2004
3.73 | 437 ratings
Paradox Hotel
2006
3.80 | 487 ratings
The Sum Of No Evil
2007
4.07 | 698 ratings
Banks Of Eden
2012
4.01 | 483 ratings
Desolation Rose
2013

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

3.80 | 107 ratings
Alive On Planet Earth
2000
4.39 | 154 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
2003
3.31 | 26 ratings
Carpe Diem
2008
4.09 | 63 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011

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

4.14 | 116 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
2003
3.77 | 83 ratings
Instant Delivery
2006
4.27 | 43 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011

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

3.42 | 41 ratings
Scanning The Greenhouse
1998
3.23 | 65 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 | 30 ratings
The Rainmaker (Limited Edition)
2001
3.91 | 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
2.22 | 8 ratings
Fanclub CD 2004
2004
2.13 | 30 ratings
BetchaWannaDanceStoopid!!!
2004
2.82 | 22 ratings
Harvest Fanclub CD 2005
2005
3.64 | 36 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
3.85 | 486 ratings

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Space Revolver
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I guess I've been wrong for dismissing the Flower Kings through all the years. It's probably because simple 30 second samples at Amazon hardly does them justice. I also had too many bad experiences with contemporary prog where they cram as much as they can on one CD as possible without enough good material to justify such a lengthy CD. That and the fact the Flower Kings are so prolific, it isn't even funny and bound to give a lot of filler in the process. In recent years they had toned down their output, between 2007 and 2012 there were no new material released, and after 2013 with the release of Desolation Rose, there's been nothing new since. So, now, in 2016, I went and bought two used Flower Kings CDs, Space Revolver and their newest one, Desolation Rose in Eugene, Oregon. I took a gamble, and lo and behold, Space Revolver is great. I know many fans consider this one of their better albums, and for good reason. Just check out the opening "I Am the Sun (Part One)". I am particularly fond of the more calm, atmospheric passages. This album brought in Jonas Reingold, whose bass playing is obviously influenced by fusion, especially the fretless bass. "Dream On Dreamer" is a really nice, atmospheric piece that sounded like it should have belonged to a suite, instead of being on its own, but still it really blew me away. Nice jazzy sax moves too. "Monster Within" is most noted for the guitar riffs that I really dig. "Chicken Farmer Song" bears more than a passing resemblance to Phish. Here the band is exploring their less serious side. I have referred to the Flower Kings as a hippie prog band, even if they weren't attempting to be a progged version of the Grateful Dead, it's because their CD titles often bore hippie references: Stardust We Are, Flower Power, and the cover to The Sum of No Evil depicts a hippie VW bus/goldfish combo, but they basically stay to the traditional symphonic prog template. But the Phish resemblance on "Chicken Farmer Song" is another reason I referred them as a "hippie prog band". "You Don't Know What You Got" is my least favorite, an acoustic piece that sounds like something I've heard off public radio. "Underdog" threw me off with the bagpipes at the beginning, I was wondering if they were going to do some sort of Celtic/Scottish thing, but instead they go into Yes territory. "A Slave to Money" is a song as equally relevant in 2000 as it is now in 2016 (and probably 1985 as well, when I started noticing the greed mentality starting have its presence known in America).

I am actually happy to finally come to terms with the Flower Kings. As mentioned before, I understand Space Revolver is one of their better releases, so it's something I don't regret purchasing. At first listen it gave me that impression as to why I dismissed them all these years, but then it really grew on me. If you're a fan, you already have this, but if you want to start with the Flower Kings, this is a great place to start, besides it's one of their "shorter" releases (because it's a single CD set, as they released their share of double CDs).

 Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003 by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Live, 2003
4.39 | 154 ratings

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Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Mr. Gone

5 stars I honestly can't say much that already hasn't been said here. The number of five-star reviews and generally glowing outlook that many seem to have toward this album is, in my mind, totally justified. Simply put, this is an absolutely fantastic document.

I own basically everything this band has ever released. To me, they epitomize the best of symphonic prog - melodic complexity, a slightly jazzy bent at times, a sense of adventure - and, to top it all off, a mostly positive outlook as well (though that has waned on more recent releases). At the same time, while I love much of their music, things can occasionally become a bit too self-indulgent - an overlong solo, a bit too much cleverness. Such is the nature of trying to produce music like this, and given how prolific Roine Stolt and company have been over time, it's easy to forgive the occasional misfire when there are far more moments of brilliance and true musical sophistication.

Any issues one might have had on the studio releases, however, are all completely discarded here. If I were to pick one album to initiate someone to TFK with, this would be it. It has the epics (including a nicely pared-down "Garden of Dreams" - I don't miss what they didn't include, anyway), and they're delivered tastefully, precisely, and beautifully, with a ton of feeling behind them too. I particularly love "Humanizzimo", especially the part where Ulf Wallander's soprano sax would've been (love his work, don't get me wrong) - the eerie keyboards and fantastic bass/drum work send chills down my spine every time. I will say that the rhythm section of Jonas Reingold and Zoltan Csörsz are outstanding throughout these performances - wonderful underpinnings to the adventuresome melody players. (I find myself wishing Csörsz would've hung around longer. All their drummers have been top-notch, but I really like his work and feel a loss that he apparently didn't care for the arrangements for some reason. I also wish Wallander and Hasse Bruniusson were around for their more recent releases, but that's another story.) Everyone is really in top form, both technically and expressively. It's pure joy listening to this, even at its great length. The material and the execution are the epitome of what symphonic progressive rock is at its best.

So, if you're reading this, please get yourself a copy of this CD. You will not be disappointed. Five stars.

 Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003 by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Live, 2003
4.39 | 154 ratings

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Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Quinino
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #15

Now what do we have here? Oh yes, a double live in the old style!

But this is just the outer physical form, don't be deluded, because when you get in you'll find yourself taken on a wondrous musical journey that will leave you a different person thereafter. That happened to me, anyway, and this was when my profound admiration for this band did begin.

Global Appraisal

Throughout more than 2 and a half hours the FK perform 6 epic tracks, taken from 3 past studio albums and even one from Roine solo album of 1994, and recorded here sequentially on a single date. These long songs, by their own merit already magnificent and grandiose, acquire in this sequential listening an extra dimension that I can only classify as majestic: supreme rulers of the domains.

The richness and diversity of the compositions and arrangements is simply astonishing and were captured here like glued together by the strong collective personality of a band caught on a precise moment in time and space.

This resulting feeling of unity and continuity happens to create the illusion that you are listening to a single gigantic theme of two and a half hours - simply overwhelming, I tell you.

Goodies

The band, but this everybody already knows and is not a matter of opinion it's an established fact, this particular band is for a great deal responsible of bringing the Symphonic Prog of old to the 21st cent.

This fellow Reingold is a pleasure to listen to; I tend to value very highly the role of bassists in any band, like to say they glue together the otherwise disparate parts. No doubt that's what happens here, a center piece of the whole sound, neatly very "classical" and refined, a true class act.

Roine Stolt - here, in Transatlantic, wherever - exceptional guitar playing and composing (all tracks on this one, 2 with Bodin)

 Fanclub CD 2004 by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
2.22 | 8 ratings

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Fanclub CD 2004
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by infandous

2 stars Just wanted to clear some things up regarding this fanclub only CD from 2004.

First off, the listing of musicians for this is not really accurate, since several songs do not feature all the members listed.

First track, Space Traveller, IMO the best of the whole CD, is actually a Michael Stolt solo piece where I believe he plays all the instruments, with the exception of brother Roine playing some guitar. It is a very mellow, meandering in a good way, type of piece that indeed has some spacey textures.

Second track, Sum Of Substance is from Karmakanic, which features Zoltan Csörsz on drums and of course Jonas Reingold on bass, who also composed the song. The guitar and keys were provided by Krister Johnson and Lalle Larsson, with vocals by Göran Edman. It's a typical Karmakanic track, a bit more on the pop side than the prog side, but still not bad.

The next two tracks, Psychonaut and My Poor Brain (5:33) are recordings done by Hasse Froberg's old hair metal band from the 80's, Spellbound. This features totally different musicians from TFK's, including a couple who now play for Hasse's Musical Companion solo act. These songs are basically 80's hair metal type stuff, like Motley Crue or Poison. Not really worth the interest of most proggers or TFK fans, and certainly my least favorite of this album (I did not rip them to my computer with the rest of the tracks as I have no interest in ever hearing them again).

Walkabout is a track from Tomas Bodin's solo album Sonic Boulevard. This is indeed an alternate version, differing somewhat from the album version. That album actually does feature all TFK members, however the guitar on this track is handled entirely by Jocke JJ Marsh.

The rest of the tracks are, presumably, from the TFK's, though based on the titles appear to be Tomas Bodin compositions and feature mostly keyboards. They are mainly short, atmospheric pieces without a lot of substance.

All in all, this is my least favorite of the fan club albums and, as with all of them, is no longer available in any format at any rate. Even if it were, this is the very definition of a two star album; Collectors/fans only.

 Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003 by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Live, 2003
4.39 | 154 ratings

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Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a CD rendition of their excellent first DVD, Meet The Flower Kings, released in 2003. I was always impressed by the images of the band playing their epics, some of them exceeding the 30 minute, and still they played with such ease and confidence you think they are actually mimicking to a CD. Not the case, of course, but very impressive. The DVD was always on my top ten videos of all time in my collection.

The CD on the other side, impressed me less,of course. It does have its merits and although Garden Of Dreams has some fourteen minutes less than the original studio version (and it still leaves 46 minutes of music!) , this live rendition of the suite is actually slightly stronger and better than the one we have on Flower Power. I never really liked the chaotic and - at least most of it - pointless avant guard noodling of Circus Brimstone. Like the video, I wish they had included a couple of "shorter" songs instead or chose another epic in its place. They had plenty of them! I loved their version of Humanizzimo: this track actually came from Roine Stolt solo album The Flower King (which, for several people - me included - is really TFK´s first CD).

I must say I enjoy this CD because for a live recording, they had the good idea of playing some of their strongest (and longest) compositions in full (The Truth Will Set You Free and Stardust We Are) and I doubt if they ever will do that in future concerts. And it´s a great pleasure to listen to those long epics all played together in the same album (save for Circus Brimstone, but nothing is perfect). The flower Kings is definitely the most important symphonic prog band to appear since the 70´s heyday. I love you, guys!

 Fanclub CD 2004 by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
2.22 | 8 ratings

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Fanclub CD 2004
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I have a friend who is a real FK fanatic. So much so that he became an official member and got some exclusive stuff the band only released for them. I borrowed from him this CD sent to fans in 2004. And it still amazes me how such prolific band still had so much non previously issued material to fulfill 45+ minutes of original tunes. Of course one does not expect first rate stuff from those non commercial CDs. Yet, I can´t really figure out how they can write, arrange, rehearse, record and mix such vast quantities of complex tunes. (and they still have side projects!)

Anyway, back to CD itself: as expected here most songs must be leftovers from various sessions around the time (2004). There are obvious instrumental jams like the 13 minute opener Space Traveler, some inside jokes (Mr. Hope goes to Africa), and a couple of surprisingly heavy songs (the almost metal Psychonaut and the heavy/hard blues of My Poor Brain, where Hasse Froberg does his best Robert Plant impersonation). There are of course some worthy material (the aforementioned Time Traveler) and some self indulgence (Mr. Hope Goes to Circus), but I found that most of the time the CD to be more interesting than really good. I can´t really see any of those songs featuring on any official group release. So, if you like The Flower Kings there is no need to hush to din this album. On the other hand, if you´re fanatical about them and got to have anything they put out, even the weakest stuff, then maybe you should join their official fan club (if you´re not already in it).

More a curio than anything else, this CD is for fans and collectors indeed. And is rated accordingly.

 Desolation Rose by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.01 | 483 ratings

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Desolation Rose
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Released barely an year after Banks of Eden, Desolation Rose puts The Flower King back on track and it´s a triumph of their talents. While Banks... was a good album, it still lacked some of the fire, inspiration and focus that made the previous work, The Sum Of No Evil (2007) , so outstanding. I am glad to say Desolation Rose has all those qualities back in spades. With the same line up as before (we hope newcomer Felix Lehrmann will stop the round-the-clock changes at the drum stool), but with far more strong material, the band is in fine form. They deliver the new songs with passion and power. The tunes are maybe the shortest they ever released: only the opener Tower One is over the ten minute mark. Still, the tunes are the same symphonic rock they are famous for, only a little more concise. It´s always good to see a seasoned band taking chances and doing something new without losing their best qualities.

Songs like the title track, The Resurrected Judas, Tower One (one of their best latter day epics) and Dark Fascist Skies are some of the strongest they have produce in years, with excellent musical ideas and inspired lyrics, plus heavier arrangements than previous works, with obvious influences of King Crimson (around the time of Starless and Bible Black/Lark´s Tongs in Aspic). All the songs are good, with a very well balance track sequence. The trading lead vocals of Roine Stolt and Hasse Forberg soars again in full force. Stolt´s guitar work is as emotional as ever and Tomas Bodin´s vintage sounding keyboards are a joy to hear. There is even a bonus CD on the special edition. Not as good as the official CD, but not bad either. There are only two songs with vocals on that part and it´s a good addition in case you´re missing their longer, instrumental parts of the first CD. Production is as brilliant as ever.

Conclusion: after almost 20 years since their debut, it´s a surprise and a pleasure to know that one of prog´s best bands from the 90´s is still alive and kicking, capable of delivering the goods after so many years of hard work and a prolific discography.

Highly recommended to anyone who likes symphonic prog rock at its best.

 Banks Of Eden by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.07 | 698 ratings

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Banks Of Eden
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars As a long time fan of The Flower Kings, it took a long, long time too to write this review (no pun intended). After the masterpiece that was The Sum Of No Evil (2007), the band took a five year lapse before releasing a follow up (an incredible amount of time in Flower Kings terms). Officially it is too one of their shortest works clicking at "just" the 53:20 mark, although most versions do have an "bonus" CD with extra 22 minutes of recorded music. In other words, it all could fit perfectly a single CD and the results could be better (see below).

Banks of Eden did not excited me at all at the time, I must admit. Maybe I was expecting too much after the terrific previous one. And I never did understand the high ratings it got on PA. Perhaps Warthur is right: the long time probably excited the other reviewers for the fact that the band came back after a long spell and they were all missing those guys, so they would be in a forgiving mood. Maybe, I don´t know. Certainly I was not convinced by the opener, the massive 25 minute plus opus Numbers. Unlike many other giant musical pieces TFK produced before (Stardust We Are, Garden If Dreams or The Truth Will Set You Free) this one is quite boring and take a long (that word again!) time to sink in. And even then, it still leaves the feeling of being overstretched and not exactly convincing as a whole. I have the feeling that this is what makes this CD much less striking, because the remaining tunes are very good. And the "bonus" material does have some stronger performances than the "official" ones - in terms of passion and fire at least - even if they are more straightforward rocking than the rest. Fireghosts and LolInes specially are quite moving and powerful. One thing that I miss is the presence of percussionist Hasse Bruniusson and saxophonist Ulf Wallander. Production is, as usual, top notch.

Rating: it was also very difficult to rate Banks Of Eden. Compared to their best albums, this is a lesser work. However, it is still a lot better than most of what you get on the market nowadays. So the 3 star rating must be seen as evidence of relative loss of songwriting quality compared to what they do best, specially to their previous The Sum Of No Evil. Still it´s a worth release from a band that is one of the best prog acts to emerge from the 90´s and beyond.

 Space Revolver by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.85 | 486 ratings

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Space Revolver
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

 Retropolis by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.73 | 439 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
Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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