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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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The Banks Of EdenThe Banks Of Eden
Century Media 2012
Audio CD$11.58
$11.57 (used)
The Road Back Home: The Best Of (2CD)The Road Back Home: The Best Of (2CD)
Inside Out Music 2012
Audio CD$14.48
$10.17 (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 | 512 ratings
Back In The World Of Adventures
1995
3.73 | 443 ratings
Retropolis
1996
3.92 | 516 ratings
Stardust We Are
1997
3.96 | 440 ratings
Flower Power
1999
3.85 | 491 ratings
Space Revolver
2000
3.49 | 395 ratings
The Rainmaker
2001
3.88 | 468 ratings
Unfold The Future
2002
3.50 | 434 ratings
Adam & Eve
2004
3.73 | 440 ratings
Paradox Hotel
2006
3.80 | 491 ratings
The Sum Of No Evil
2007
4.07 | 701 ratings
Banks Of Eden
2012
4.01 | 490 ratings
Desolation Rose
2013

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

3.80 | 108 ratings
Alive On Planet Earth
2000
4.40 | 156 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
2003
3.33 | 27 ratings
Carpe Diem
2008
4.09 | 64 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011

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

4.14 | 117 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
2003
3.78 | 84 ratings
Instant Delivery
2006
4.27 | 44 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011

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

3.42 | 42 ratings
Scanning The Greenhouse
1998
3.23 | 66 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
2.70 | 11 ratings
Fanclub CD 2000
2000
3.02 | 31 ratings
The Rainmaker (Limited Edition)
2001
3.91 | 21 ratings
The Fanclub CD 2002 - A Collection Of Flower Kings Related Music
2002
3.79 | 23 ratings
Live In New York - Official Bootleg
2003
2.22 | 8 ratings
Fanclub CD 2004
2004
2.15 | 31 ratings
BetchaWannaDanceStoopid!!!
2004
2.84 | 23 ratings
Harvest Fanclub CD 2005
2005
3.65 | 37 ratings
BrimStoned In Europe
2005

THE FLOWER KINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Back In The World Of Adventures by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.05 | 512 ratings

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Back In The World Of Adventures
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by nandprogger

4 stars Before to say of this album is necessary to introduce a brief history of TFK. This band it's so important of new generation of symphonic prog bands of 90's. It's so difficult to define or compare with other band of style or sub genre, it's better to say that TFK create a new style symphonic prog rock and pattern for other bands as Magic Pie, Anima Mundi and others.

In this album, TFK shows as prog rock can be so funny and different, the voice of Roine Stolt contribute for define also the style of band. The sensation "prima facie" is something simple, but happened high levels of creativity; the melodies summon up somenthing of funny, exploring the possibilities of keyboards. Moments so heavy in guitar and voice, Roine Stolt has a clear interpretation. Sometimes looks that hear a soundtrack of a movie because facility to change of melodies. In fact, perceives a tribute to classic prog rock bands, mainly for the use of keyboards; as the paralel projects of members of the group, it' sonds like a instrumental bands that use prog rock influences, but hearing the complete album perceives that is just a sensation.

Welcome Back is a excellent debut album of a band that has a style and shows this in your carrer, and more: style and quality that shows is possible to make a new and good generation of progressive rock. Prog rock don't live only in the past but the past contributes for a new resumption. I think that TFK is important not only as progresssive group but a lot of projects that emerged of this band.

 Stardust We Are by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.92 | 516 ratings

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Stardust We Are
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Since the official Flower Kings debut in 1995 and up until 2002, Roine Stolt's band remained one of the most prolific with 7 releases during those eight years, and three of those albums were double discs. The first of these double albums came out in 1997, the band's third release entitled "Stardust We Are". The first two albums celebrated a return to making more adventurous music in the style of the classic days of progressive rock, namely what we now refer to as symphonic prog. The band exhibited a penchant for songs with a pop-like melody but with longer instrumental parts and frequent changes in the music. As well, there were occasionally some more experimental inclusions.

"Stardust We Are" continued this trend (as did ever album since then it seems) but as the first double disc, it seems the band were interested in experimenting more. Or rather, because they experimented more, they had enough additional material to merit a second disc. As such, many of the tracks here feature the Flower Kings' typical extended pop rock style with the extra instrumental parts and multi-part musical compositions and of course a 25- minute epic in the title track. There are also some of the more, shall we say exploratory tracks and in addition some instrumental tracks.

A lot of people have concluded that the amount of material offered here is a little too much and that a single great album could have been released had the less-impressive tracks been omitted. As for me, this album is one of five Flower Kings albums that I own and this one remained the least memorable for quite some time. I could easily think of finding enjoyable tracks on the other four albums, but this one always left me feeling like the band just threw everything in, including the studio sink. Recently though, my opinion has softened somewhat. After seeing an interview with Jon Anderson and Roine Stolt, I felt like listening to my Flower Kings album again and this one became the third of those to be cued up for play. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it more than previously, particularly the title track, which I considered rather cumbersome and tedious the first time. Now I have listened to it three more times recently and I have been able to identify the various parts and which I enjoy the most.

As for the rest of the album, there are some tracks like "Ghost of the Red Cloud", "Church of Your Heart" and "The Man Who Walked with Kings" combine the melodic and memorable side of the Flower Kings' music with their progressive side and are easily favourites, while "The End of Innocence", "The Merrygoround", and "Different People" also have their great moments. Some of the other songs like "In the Eyes of the World" and "Just This Once" tend to pass through my ears without having many moments to snag my attention and make me check what track is playing, except for that "Just This Once" has a rather alarming beginning that could be annoying if you're not ready to hear that way of playing music.

Then there are these short instrumentals which, I wouldn't want to say filler but, were for me initially a bit puzzling as to why they had to be included. "Pipes of Peace" is a short pipe organ solo; "Crying Clown" is a kind of bizarre flute-like organ piece; "A Day at the Mall" is just people's voices in a mall-like place with some random keyboard noodling; and "Hotel Nirvana" sounds like an acoustic guitar intro for some epic track, though it is rather pretty, along with "Poor Mr. Rain's Ordinary Guitar". Until very recently I thought that these were unnecessary; however, a reviewer called these "transitional tracks" and somehow that made much more sense. Perhaps it is exactly because the album has so many longer and typical Flower Kings tracks that these shorter bits were added to break things up a bit. Thinking about it that way the album comes together better.

"Compassion" is, of all the tracks, perhaps the most disappointing. It's not because the music is actually so bad even though it sounds less like any of the other more typical Flower King songs. It's because halfway through the music just stops and there's about 30 seconds of nothing before some completely unrelated synthesizer atmospheric composition takes over. I guess there was a purpose but I'm not into these extended blank sections of tracks that sometimes appear on albums.

I think the challenging point about this album is that it is long without deviating so much from the standard Flower Kings approach while at the same time, the most different stuff comes in the form of these short instrumentals that at first may seem puzzling and some tracks which are less interesting than others. The best of the different tracks in my opinion is "Don of the Universe" which is a very pleasing and meditative piece in Indian style with Indian percussion and a sitar. The bass line is simple but memorable and I noticed that it cropped up again in part of the title track in which "Don of the Universe" without the Indian instruments makes a reprisal much to my delight.

Some people may understand and appreciate this album right away. For others (like me) it may take a few listens or even reading other reviews for this album to make sense. What at first seems like a dumping ground for everything the band recorded, even the outtakes, can actually begin to seem like more than that. Perhaps Roine and the gang decided to surprise us with this third album. Or challenge us. Or perhaps they were enjoying what they were doing so much that they wanted to share it all. I will say that a single disc of selected tracks would have made a five-star album easily, But now I think I like this album more for the double disc it is.

 Space Revolver by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.85 | 491 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
4.40 | 156 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
4.40 | 156 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
4.40 | 156 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 | 490 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 | 701 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.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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