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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)

4.02 | 650 ratings
Back In The World Of Adventures
1995
3.75 | 567 ratings
Retropolis
1996
3.92 | 648 ratings
Stardust We Are
1997
3.95 | 551 ratings
Flower Power
1999
3.85 | 591 ratings
Space Revolver
2000
3.47 | 485 ratings
The Rainmaker
2001
3.91 | 587 ratings
Unfold the Future
2002
3.49 | 521 ratings
Adam & Eve
2004
3.73 | 526 ratings
Paradox Hotel
2006
3.82 | 593 ratings
The Sum Of No Evil
2007
4.06 | 851 ratings
Banks of Eden
2012
3.96 | 629 ratings
Desolation Rose
2013
3.71 | 243 ratings
Waiting for Miracles
2019
3.82 | 182 ratings
Islands
2020

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

3.82 | 141 ratings
Alive on Planet Earth
2000
4.33 | 193 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording 2003
2003
3.42 | 36 ratings
Carpe Diem - Live in USA
2008
4.07 | 82 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 | 55 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011

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

3.45 | 51 ratings
Scanning The Greenhouse
1998
3.89 | 9 ratings
Two In One
2006
3.24 | 80 ratings
The Road Back Home
2007
4.64 | 22 ratings
A Kingdom of Colours
2017
4.40 | 25 ratings
A Kingdom of Colours II
2018

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

3.67 | 12 ratings
Édition Limitée Québec 1998
1998
3.88 | 8 ratings
The Flower Kings
1999
2.81 | 17 ratings
Fanclub CD 2000
2000
3.07 | 40 ratings
The Rainmaker (Limited Edition)
2001
3.70 | 28 ratings
Live in New York - Official Bootleg
2002
3.84 | 25 ratings
The Fanclub CD 2002 - A Collection of Flower Kings Related Music
2002
2.20 | 38 ratings
BetchaWannaDanceStoopid!!
2004
2.40 | 14 ratings
Fanclub CD 2004
2004
2.91 | 30 ratings
Fanclub CD 2005 - Harvest
2005
3.66 | 47 ratings
BrimStoned in Europe
2005

THE FLOWER KINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Rainmaker by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.47 | 485 ratings

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The Rainmaker
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by lukretio

4 stars "The Rainmaker", album number six for The Flower Kings, is actually the first record I ever bought from the Swedes. For this reason, it holds a special place in my heart, which may rose-tint somewhat my evaluation of the album. The LP was recorded by the same line-up that was behind the previous record "Space Revolver", with Jonas Reingold consolidating his position as the new bassist of the band, following the departure of Michael Stolt in 2000. "The Rainmaker" is also the last album with Jaime Salazar on drums, inaugurating a sort of revolving doors situation for the drum spot in the band (with four different drummers alternating across the subsequent eight albums).

"The Rainmaker" is a simpler, more song-based album compared to the previous releases of the band. It breaks the tradition of long multi-part epics that the band had included in their previous three LPs, and instead presents 11 stand-alone tracks that do not follow any specific overarching theme, neither lyrically nor musically. This quest for simplicity does not only involve the length and thematic connection between songs, but also their structure and melodic accessibility. The template for the Kings' sound remains the classic prog rock of the 1970s (Yes, ELP, Genesis, King Crimson), but many of the songs on "The Rainmaker" are unashamedly chorus-based, with a structure that only slightly complicates the standard verse/chorus alternation of straight pop/rock music, typically with the insertion of more or less lengthy instrumental detours in the middle of a song. The vocal melodies are also very accessible and immediate, transforming pieces like "Last Minute on Earth", "City of Angels" and "Serious Dreamers" in irresistible sing-along pieces.

The album also marks the turn towards a slightly edgier and more metallic sound that will accompany the band through much of the rest of their career. The riff of opener "Last Minute on Earth" is almost metal. This turn towards a more metallic and simpler sound will perhaps disappoint prog purists, which may reflect the slightly lower average rating of this record on ProgArchives compared to the rest of the Kings' discography. Personally, I find a few of the tracks on "The Rainmaker" to be some of the best song material released by the Swedes throughout their career, but, again, I may have my rose-tint glasses on here.

Objectively, the album's quality is not completely homogeneous. There are some fantastic tracks, but there are also weaker pieces that veer at best towards the anonymous and at worst towards the boring. Among the highlights of the record, I would include: "Last Minute on Earth", with its beautiful combination of melancholy, sinister riffs and energizing musical dexterity; the mellower, jazzy ballad "World Without a Heart"; the upbeat piece "City of Angels", which sports an incredibly catchy chorus in its coda; the often overlooked "Elaine", a beautiful small piece with sensitive lyrics and a nice sax solo; and "Serious Dreamers", a great funky track with another killer chorus. The rest of the album is somewhat weaker. "Road to Sanctuary" is a whimsical piece that tries a bit too hard to be quirky and loses sight of actually being a good song. "The Rainmaker" is a 6-minute instrumental piece based on a bolero where nothing much happens and in the middle of which I usually tend to snooze. "Sword of God" is a little Deep Purple-like rocker which is pleasant but sounds a tad too derivative.

Despite some hits and misses, "The Rainmaker" is one of those The Flower Kings albums that I really never get tired of. I can put this on and listen to it on repeat for days, singing along the great choruses of its songs. It is a very immediate record, which may make one feel that it is "less prog" than many of the other Kings' records. This might as well be true, but it does not diminish one bit my enjoyment of this album.

 Retropolis by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.75 | 567 ratings

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Retropolis
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by lukretio

3 stars Just one year after releasing their debut album "Back in the World of Adventures", The Flower Kings unleashed their sophomore record "Retropolis". The line-up is the same as the one that had recorded the debut, with Roine Stolt on guitar/vocals, Tomas Bodin on keyboards, Michael Stolt on bass, Jaime Salazar on drums, and Hasse Bruniusson on percussions. On "Retropolis" we also have for the first time vocalist Hans Fröberg joining the band on two tracks ("There Is More to this World" and "Silent Sorrow"). The alternation between Fröberg and Stolt behind the mic will become one of the trademarks of the band in future releases.

"Retropolis" travels along the same path that the band had first opened with their debut record. The songs are a mix of instrumentals (6 out of 11) and tracks with vocals. The music is strongly influenced by the classic progressive rock of bands like Yes, Genesis and King Crimson, a style that The Flower Kings reinterprets with personality and gusto, avoiding sounding exactly like any of these bands while at the same time conveying their spirit and inspiration. There are distinctive echoes of jazz and blues into quite a few compositions, which is another trademark of the Kings' sound. Moreover, some tracks, like "The Judas Kiss", have a harder edge, foreshadowing the slightly more metallic sound that the band will embrace in later albums. But here the heavy rock influences are really only sporadic and mostly restricted to "The Judas Kiss", while most of the album navigates more tranquil and symphonic seas.

There are a few innovations on "Retropolis" relative to its predecessor. Tomas Bodin takes charge of songwriting in a couple of songs, albeit these are little more than tiny instrumental noisescapes ("Rhythm of Life", "Romancing the City", "Retropolis by Night"). It nevertheless marks the band's transition towards the more choral and collaborative compositional style that will characterize their later albums. Hans Fröberg's presence also marks the beginning of a long-term collaboration between the singer and the Kings. Fröberg had already featured on Stolt's solo album "The Flower King". His presence here is mostly notable on the splendid "There Is More to This World", and indeed Fröberg contributes more than a little to the greatness of the track. Stolt is a fine singer, whose voice suits well the type of music The Flower Kings play, but he does not have a particularly powerful set of pipes. Fröberg instead belongs to a whole different league of vocalists, and the beautiful ad libs of "There Is More to This World" are the proof.

Perhaps the biggest difference between "Retropolis" and "Back in the World of Adventures" is that the new album is more cohesive in terms of quality of the compositions. "Back in the World of Adventures" was marred by a few tracks that were frankly subpar ("My Cosmic Lover", anyone?) and one had the feeling that the 71+ minutes of that album could have been easily trimmed down to a healthier 45 minutes without losing much in terms of quality. "Retropolis" is somewhat more homogeneous in this respect, showing that perhaps Mr Stolt had tightened a bit the quality control of his material. The album also flows better, there are no particular points where it slumps down like it happened in the middle of "Back in the World of Adventures", with that imprudent sequence of three bland instrumentals in a row ("Oblivion Road", "Theme for a Hero" and "Temple of the Snakes").

Nevertheless, "Retropolis" is not yet the perfect album and shows that the Kings are still on a learning curve. One of their struggles in these early albums is to find memorable melodies for their compositions, which is the case also for many of the songs on "Retropolis". Stolt will become much better on later albums to find those catchy, sing-along melodies that can transform a difficult prog track into an instant masterpiece. Another struggle - which unfortunately will not wane in later years - lies in the band's tendency to overindulge in instrumental noodling that at times does not really seem to go anywhere, thus needlessly overcomplicating the structure of the songs.

Despite these youth problems, "Retropolis" represents a step up relative to the debut album and is the first album to contain a classic Flower Kings track that will stay in the band repertoire for years to come. I am talking about "There Is More to This World", a strongly Yes-influenced piece in two parts that are pierced together by a tasteful instrumental detour. The first part of the song is quirky and jazzy, and revolves around a great melodic verse and a whimsical chorus. The second part (with Fröberg on vocals) is instead more serious, epic and symphonic and sports a terrific cathartic conclusion. It is a great track, one that I always want to listen multiple times when I put on the album. There are another couple of tracks on "Retropolis" that stand out. One is the edgier "The Judas Kiss", which reprises the lyrical theme of "Go West Judas" from the debut and recreates the earlier track's heavy rock style. It is as dark and sinister piece that almost veers into proto-metal at times, but then surprises with a cool 1980s disco-rock interlude. The other highlight of the album is the instrumental "The Melting Pot", which is probably the first great instrumental track to appear on a The Flower Kings' album. It's another sinister piece, driven by an oblique piano motif and a great sax part, that brings to mind King Crimson.

Overall, "Retropolis" is a very good album, more assured and more consistent in terms of quality than the debut "Back in the World of Adventures". It is not yet a top The Flower Kings' album, but it does clearly show that the band is on an upwards trajectory. Indeed, already with their next album "Stardust We Are", the band will manage to write one of the greatest records of their discography.

 Back In The World Of Adventures by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.02 | 650 ratings

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Back In The World Of Adventures
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by lukretio

3 stars Sweden, 1995: this is where it all began for one of the most prolific contemporary progressive rock bands: The Flower Kings. Following a successful solo album titled "The Flower King", guitarist/vocalist Roine Stolt decided transform his backing band (Tomas Bodin on keyboards, Michael Stolt on bass, Jaime Salazar on drums and Hasse Bruniusson on percussions) into a proper, full-blown act, and "Back in the World of Adventures" is their first full-length release.

Amazingly, listening to this record today (2021), more than 25 years after its initial release, one realizes that the classic "Flower King sound" that the band will become famous for, was already all there from the very beginning of their career. Strongly influenced by the classic era prog and in particular by bands like Yes, King Crimson, Genesis and Camel, The Flower Kings weave modern progressive rock sounds by injecting touches of jazz and blues and a healthy dose of pop/rock sensibilities into their music. Roine Stolt's guitar is the lead instrument of the ensemble, his playing sublime, both when he is soloing and when he is building riffs to lay the foundations of each song. Keyboard player Tomas Bodin is the other driving force behind the music, offering a varied and sophisticated palette of sounds and instruments, from piano, to Hammond organ, to Mellotron. Michael Stolt's bass is also very prominent (in a rumbling, Yes-like sense) and nicely complements Jaime Salazar classy performance. Meanwhile, Hasse Bruniusson, of Samla Mammas Manna fame, adds percussions, screams and assorted extravaganza to the final package.

In later years, The Flower Kings will add a more metallic edge to their sound, further differentiating themselves from the classic era prog rock they are so clearly inspired to. On this release, the classic influences are more prominent and adjectives like "retro" and "symphonic" capture well the essence of the album. Personally, I prefer the sound they developed on later records, which I found fresher and more personal than the slightly derivative music on the first couple of Flower Kings' releases. But "Back in the World of Adventures" is nevertheless a strong record, which will surely appeal to prog rock fans, especially those who look back with nostalgia to the glorious fasts of the 1970s.

"Back in the World of Adventures" also already displays all the positives and negatives that have regularly characterized the band's discography. Among the positives, there is the excellent musicianship and the exciting, flamboyant playing that pervades the 10 songs of the album. There is also good variation across songs, spacing from the soft Beatlesian pop-rock of "My Cosmic Lover" to the edgier heavy-rock-cum-jazz of "Go West Judas", and including both instrumental tracks and songs with vocals. The arrangements are tasteful and the song structures are not overly complex, striking a good balance between prog sophistication and melodic accessibility.

However, the album also contains a few defects that, regrettably, are a constant in many The Flower Kings' releases. Above all, the Kings have often struggled to strike a good balance between quantity and quality, and this album is a case in point. Clocking at 71+ minutes, the listening experience is bogged down by the inclusion of a number of filler tracks that, albeit not terrible, feel rather dull and uninspired (the bland ballad "Train to Nowhere", the slightly uneventful instrumental "Theme for a Hero" and the sappy "My Cosmic Lover"). Self-indulgence is another word that might pop up rather frequently when one thinks about the band. Yes, their playing is great. But sometimes one has the impression that Stolt loses sight of substance when he writes his compositions. At places, the songs do feel like endless noodling rather than properly composed pieces of music (for example, the trio of instrumentals "Oblivion Road", "Theme for a Hero" and "Temple of the Snakes", which, with hindsight, should not have been all put one after the other).

Overall, "Back in the World of Adventures" is a good album, marking a promising start for a band that will eventually end up dominating the contemporary progressive rock arena. With the exception of "Go West Judas" and perhaps "World of Adventures", I wouldn't say that the album contains any classic, buy-or-die The Flower Kings track, and therefore it may not have the same strong appeal of some of the subsequent albums released by the band. But it does nevertheless offer at least 45 minutes of excellent progressive rock music, inspired by the greats of the 1970s but firmly grounded into the sound of the 1990s, and it undoubtedly deserves a spin or two if you are into classic prog.

 Islands by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.82 | 182 ratings

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Islands
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

3 stars When one of your favorite bands starts doing the same stuff over and over again, it is the listener's responsibility to acknowledge that. When The Flower Kings returned in 2019, after some six years of artistic pause, everyone was rightfully happy, as these Swedes are among the top prog rock bands of the 90s generation without a doubt, owing this to their eclectic and retro sound, and the cast of extremely talented virtuosic musicians associated with the band. After a rather unimpressive thirteenth studio album, they surprisingly released another one in 2020, the double-album 'Islands', featuring a lovely artwork by Roger Dean. This new incarnation of TFK features some personnel changes, we have to say, these being a new drummer from Italy and a young keyboardist from the US, with everyone wondering where did Tomas Bodin go.

'Islands' sees the band take on a new approach to songwriting, and this is writing exclusively shorter songs, or at least, shorter for their standards. There are no epics this time, and not a single song exceeding ten minutes of playtime. The Flower Kings present an interesting collection of 21 songs, spread over two discs that are running for about 90 minutes, and these songs are quite different from one another! Despite this fact, after repeated listens, you cannot help but think that they are merely presenting all the musical elements that are associated to their name, in a big, long ride, where most of the songs are quite enjoyable, and a few are quite forgettable. Some highlights have to be 'Racing with Blinders On', 'Black Swan', 'Broken', 'Tangerine', 'Solaris', 'All I Need Is Love', 'Serpentine'.

Overall, 'Islands' is a good album, not essential or groundbreaking for the band, just pretty decent, elegant and well-played, with not much separating it from the previous one, except for the fact that it has more intriguing sounds. Not their best release, and certainly not a bad album, 'Islands' will go down as a nice addition to TFK's catalogue.

 Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording 2003 by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Live, 2003
4.33 | 193 ratings

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

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I will always connect THE FLOWER KINGS with SPOCK'S BEARD because when I discovered this style of music in the early 00's it was those two bands that kept popping up. The former reminds me more of YES while the latter more like the more melancholic GENESIS. I prefer the BEARD like I prefer GENESIS but that early period of THE FLOWER KINGS resonates with me from 1994 and Roine Stolt's "The Flower King" to "Back In The World Of Adventures" to "Stardust We Are" to "Flower Power" and "Unfold The Future". Those five I've kept around and this double live album is a nice edition to those considering it was recorded in February of 2003 in Upsalla Sweden. And it's all epics! Man is there anyone as prolific as Stolt when it comes to song writing? This is the classic lineup as well with Stolt, Gildenlow, Froberg, Bodin, Reingold, Csorsz and Bruniusson.

Of course both discs are packed with over 75 minutes each, no surprise there but only seven songs. Some monsters like the two part "Garden Of Dreams" from "Flower Power" at a combined 44 1/2 minutes. Or the 26 1/2 minute closer on disc two "Stardust We Are" from the same album plus we get "Circus Brimstone" from that album also on disc two and that's my favourite of all the tunes here. Love the lyrics on "Humanizzime" from "The Flower King" also on disc two with the only track left from that disc being "Silent Inferno" from "Unfold The Future" which also is where the opener from disc one comes from in "The Truth Will Set You Free". A lot of music here but again I've come to expect this with THE FLOWER KINGS and if your like me and prefer their early stuff then check out this recording which also comes in a DVD which I don't have.

 Islands by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.82 | 182 ratings

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Islands
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars The Flower Kings are back with their second album since their break, which saw long-time keyboard player Tomas Bodin no longer in the band. These days the line-up is Roine Stolt vocals, ukulele, guitars, additional keyboards and Hasse Fröberg (vocals, acoustic guitar), who has also been there since the beginning, bassist Jonas Reingold, who has now celebrated 20 years in the role, plus the new guys, Zach Kamins (keyboards) and Mirko DeMaio (drums). I have always been interested in The Flower Kings since I heard Roine's solo album which led to the group being formed, more than 25 years ago. However, although I loved their early albums, since then I have been somewhat wary of new releases as to my mind, they can either be wonderful or overblown and way too long. So, what is Islands like?

The first thing I do now with an album by them is check the length, and this one is more than 90 minutes in length which sent up a warning sign for me, but only amber and not red, as it was still less than 100. However, I soon settled into the album and found I was smiling while listening to it, so it is obviously not that bad. In some ways this feels more relaxed and less frantic than some of their other releases, with Black Swan showing they know their way around pop mentalities and styles. They have previously been guilty of playing songs way too long, yet here we have a release where only one song is longer than 7 minutes and does not even reach 10! This is definitely not what I would expect from Roine and the boys, and the result is something which is as consistent and interesting as their last album, Waiting For Miracles. I have always been a fan of Bodin, but one wonders if the music would have moved in this direction were he still there. For fans new to the band, then this is a really nice introduction, while those of us who have been along for the full ride will lap it up.

 Retropolis by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.75 | 567 ratings

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Retropolis
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars I will never tire of repeating that prog isn't dead ... especially after listening to a multifaceted band like Flower Kings. A band that no lover of more historic prog-rock can help but listen to, because when they do it for the first time they will seriously regret never having done it before. In fact, these Swedes really seem to be able to revive that period with its extremely refined melodies and thanks to an attention to the arrangements never left to chance. And if that weren't enough, they also bring their own, thus managing to surprise with particular music and original tunes here and there.

This "Retropolis" can be considered (perhaps in co-ownership with the subsequent "Stardust We Are") the masterpiece of the group where everything comes in the right measure. A compact, dynamic and smooth work that does not tire even after many plays. The 11 tracks that compose it maintain a style that is always constant but without absolutely being copies of each other. The intro "Rythm Of Life" is entrusted to the noise of two players playing ping pong. A great way to introduce the record! It took a particular intro to portend how much great we will listen to and I would say that the choice was spot on! We hear the ball bounce off the table and then crash against a glass before moving on to the next track. And here is the titile-track: eleven minutes of instrumental really excellent workmanship between symphonic atmospheres generated by the mellotron, splendid guitar solos supported by a beautiful Hammond organ in the background and a beautiful percussion drumming as well as beautiful complex passages of synthesizer and Hammond! The instrumental that everyone would like! "Rythm Of The Sea" is instead suitable for those who love to get lost in the atmosphere and emotions! A delicate piece opened by a very delicate acoustic guitar, then a few splashes of synthesizer and then ample space for atmospheric and symphonic openings.

"There Is More To This World" instead has a strong rhythmic impact that gives it a lively and cheerful aspect. Opened by a nice synth passage, the track shows a particular emphasis on the Hammond organ, but it also does not give up the more atmospheric side, which emerges after the middle of the song, in the most relaxed moment. After "Romancing The City", a beautiful piano interlude, here we are in front of "The Melting Pot"; nothing to do with the famous brand of jeans, this is a delicious instrumental piece with a suggestive and relaxed atmosphere, almost jazzy, with the saxophone protagonist giving this peculiar aspect. Very night club track, I would say, but also suitable as a soundtrack for a nice moment of relaxation. "Silent Sorrow" with a jazzy rhythm (especially in the central part) and characterized by a fairly lively melody; beautiful the instrumental part, which with those complex synthesizer and guitar passages turns out to be one of the most successful moments of the disc. "The Judas Kiss" enters the head less easily, but then appreciates how much the other songs affects the instrumental passage with the hammond protagonist but the more relaxed parts are also remarkable! "Retropolis By Night" is instead a short concentrate of electronic loops that in three minutes also shows us the more modern side of the band. Then another instrumental masterpiece, "Flora Majora" Hammond parts and fine synths and quite sustained rhythm, but also the guitar parts seem to be very inspired and give good melodies. Noteworthy closing with "Road Back Home" with an excellent acoustic approach and a delicate rhythm, but also with a nice central synth solo!

Truly a noteworthy album, one of the best products progressive rock produced in the 90s! The listening advice goes above all to nostalgics of the Seventies prog but I would also give a thought to those who want to get closer to the genre and want to discover it in its classicism! Try it. It won't be easy to appreciate it immediately but I think you won't regret it afterwards!

 Stardust We Are by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.92 | 648 ratings

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Stardust We Are
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Flower Kings. Probably one of the best prog-revival bands currently in existence. Yes, many try to imitate the golden age of progressive rock in its most significant details. We can also mention other groups that attempt this feat ... for example, Spock's Beard immediately comes to mind, a group that I adore, which plays well, which fully preserves those structures, but often combines easy catchy choruses and pop sensibility which, even if very beautiful do not exactly refer to that period; to mention also the excellent Magic Pie, whose melodies are faithfully inspired by that period but those more or less evident hard rock influences do not allow to fully resurrect that period. Flower Kings, on the other hand, are the band you must listen to if you really want to breathe a real breath of prog seventies! Imitating the greats of the past is very difficult but this band really does it great ... I challenge anyone to hear one of their records and to say that it is a record made in fairly recent years.

A complex and sophisticated prog made up of vintage atmospheres, sometimes more delicate sounds, sometimes more scratchy, an introspective vocal performance that is certainly not appreciated at first glance and always great care in the use of the instrumentation including the old dear mellotron, hammond, synthesizers , etc ... And this band manages to amaze with particular and sometimes unexpected music and atmospheres in the same way that historical prog groups did, although their music has never undergone major variations over the years. And it really does it without making you regret the great seventies classics! Certainly thanks to a highly experienced musician such as Roine Stolt, singer and guitarist, one who has come a long way before forming the group. Some might call the group too derivative. It's true, but even if the groups that turn out to be the most interesting are those who experiment and try to create a style that is as strictly personal while referring to very specific models, sometimes it's also nice to hear something more strictly classic, to deny the rumors that it would no longer be possible to produce something truly sophisticated in a genre where everything seems already written ... And congratulations to the FK, who do it with great class! "Stardust We Are" certainly represents one of the moments of greatest inspiration for the group. Released in 1997 after an excellent debut with "Back In The World Of Adventures" and after the masterpiece "Retropolis", this album creates with its predecessor a truly formidable combination! Someone sees in this album (and someone else in the previous one) the unattainable, the perfection ... I don't know exactly which is the best album of their career but I don't want to question that this album is a masterpiece! All the best that progressive rock can give ... here it is! For the first time the band chooses a double cd solution ... a choice that would lead someone to argue. Someone, seeing the 2CD writing on the package, might already be thinking about which ball of record they would be in front of if they really bought it ... or maybe they would listen to it willingly but would never be able to get to the end if not even put it on the shelf of the 'home closet after four or five tracks.

This is a difficult, complex, varied album, but precisely because it is varied, this album can be listened to until the end without getting a hit on the head. I think ears are not enough to listen to a record like this! Soul and heart are essential! Only by letting yourself be guided by music and emotions, only by making an intricate mental journey of which music is the driving vehicle can you really enjoy this work until the last! And then it never falls into repetition, and will stop giving new and interesting ideas only when "stop" appears on the player at the end of the second disc! There are many songs (9 in the first cd, 11 in the second) and of different taste from each other! Delicious and cheerful instrumental games and mood swings characterize songs like "In The Eyes Of The World", "Just This Once" and the valuable instrumental "Circus Brimstone"; we let ourselves be caressed by the touching and melancholy melodies of "Church Of Your Heart"; we let ourselves be refreshed by the oriental essences of "Don Of The Universe" with that sitar that seems to have been borrowed from Ravi Shankar. And many other wonders await us in this fantastic world! The valuable instrumental bands such as the acoustic "Porr Mr. Rain's Ordinary Guitar" and the piano "If 28"; the amazing suite that gives the album its title; but also more pleasantly catchy songs like the sunny "Different People" and "Kingdom Of Lies", confirming that you can build strong impact melodies without losing your usual personality! Even the simple one-minute interludes are well-kept ... you don't really want to create anything that isn't memorable!

 Islands by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.82 | 182 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 | 591 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.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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