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ROINE STOLT

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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Roine Stolt biography
A major figure in Sweden's rock history, guitarist/singer/composer Roine STOLT led two of his country's most successful progressive rock bands: KAIPA in the 1970s and the FLOWER KINGS in the 1990s onward. His distinctive guitar style combined David GILMOUR's debonair mid-tempo, Steve HOWE's sharp edges, and Frank ZAPPA's virtuosity. His vision of a positive world governed by beauty (akin to Yes's singer Jon ANDERSON) gave his music an aura that appealed to many progressive rock fans.

Born in Uppsala, Sweden, on September 5, 1956, Roine STOLT started playing bass in the late '60s in local rock cover bands. He quickly discovered the burgeoning British progressive rock scene and had switched to electric guitar by the summer of 1974 when, at age 17, he became the lead guitarist of the professional prog rock band KAIPA. This band recorded three albums for the Decca label (reissued on CD by Musea) and is still considered to be the most important Scandinavian prog act of the '70s.

STOLT left KAIPA in 1979 to form his own group, FANTASIA, who recorded two albums and disbanded in 1983 after a second, more commercially oriented LP for Warner. STOLT then started to work as a session musician and record producer, drifting away from symphonic rock esthetics, something very obvious on his Hall and Oates-like 1985 solo album, "Behind the Walls" (his first performance as a lead singer) and "The Lonely Heartbeat", released in 1989 under the name STOLT.

Witnessing the progressive rock revival of the 1990s, a movement that partly originated from Sweden with bands like LANDBERK and ANGLAGARD, Roine STOLT was quick to come back to his ancient love. Recruiting ex-Jonas Hellborg drummer Jaime Salazar and ex-SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA percussionist Hasse Bruniusson, he released The FLOWER KINGS in August 1994. Stimulated by the warm response, he enlisted brother Michael Stolt (bass, vocals) and longtime friend Tomas BODIN (keyboards) and formed the FLOWER KINGS, which would remain his principal musical project for years to come.

At the helm of the FLOWER KINGS, STOLT experienced international fame as the band became, with U.S.A.'s SPOCK'S BEARD, the best-selling 1990s prog rock act. Albums were released at an incredible rate: six studio albums (including two two-CD sets) in the band's first six years of existence. Meanwhile, STOLT found time to record another solo album, "Hydrophonia" (this time an instrumental symphonic prog CD) and was part of the prog r...
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ROINE STOLT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.14 | 22 ratings
Fantasia
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fantasia
1982
2.06 | 15 ratings
Behind The Walls
1985
2.04 | 15 ratings
The Lonely Heartbeat
1989
4.10 | 199 ratings
The Flower King
1994
4.00 | 99 ratings
Hydrophonia
1998
3.57 | 90 ratings
Wallstreet Voodoo
2005

ROINE STOLT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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0.00 | 0 ratings
Burning Bridges
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Big Daddy
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Stranger (In My Own House)
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Utopia
1990

ROINE STOLT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hydrophonia by STOLT, ROINE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.00 | 99 ratings

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Hydrophonia
Roine Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Hydrophonia" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedith progressive rock artists Roine Stolt. The album was released through InsideOut Music in 1998. At this point in time Roine Stolt experienced great success with his main act The Flower Kings, but he had been an active musician since the mid-70s. First as a member of progressive Swedish rock act Kaipa and in the 80s as a solo artist. However it wasnīt until he released his 4th full-length studio album "The Flower King (1994)", that things really began to happen.

"Hydrophonia" is not a continuation of the progressive rock sound on "The Flower King (1994)", which is a sound Roine Stolt further cultivated with The Flower Kings. "Hydrophonia" is still a progressive rock album, but itīs fully instrumental and incorporate stylistic elements from as different genres as new age, jazz/rock, progressive rock, folk and medieval music. There is a reoccuring marine theme in songtitles like "Shipbuilding", "Bizarre Seahorse Sex Attack" and "Lobsterland Groove", but other than that the music doesnīt necessarily makes me think of oceans, boats and whales.

Roine Stolt takes care of guitars, bass, keyboards and percussion on the album. He has recruited Jaime Salazar (drums, percussion) and Ulf Wallander (soprano saxophone) to help him out in the few areas where his multi-instrumental skills arenīt sufficient. The musicianship is not surprisingly on a very high level. The sound production which is credited to Roine Stoltīs pseudonym Don Azzaro, is professional, pleasent and organic and generally sounds like the sound productions on contemporary Flower Kings albums.

Although there are some energetic moments and even a couple of atonal solos and themes on the album, "Hydrophonia" is generally a pretty laidback, sweet and uplifting listen. It doesnīt always possess a lot of depth and quite a few of the tracks very quickly become pleasant background listening (or if Iīm a bit more critical: "high level muzak") and at 67:42 minutes I think "Hydrophonia" does drag on for too long. If Roine Stolt had cut the fat (read: the most new age/muzak sounding parts) and released a 40 minutes long album instead and I think "Hydrophonia" would have been a better and more enjoyable listen. Still itīs a relatively enjoyable listen and certainly a professional sounding release and a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

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 Hydrophonia by STOLT, ROINE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.00 | 99 ratings

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Hydrophonia
Roine Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Roine Stolt is without doubt one of the most important figures in progressive rock movement in Sweden in the '70s soon becoming one of Europe leaders with The Flower KIngs. Composer, guitarist and singer Roine Stolt has his own style of playing the guitar since he was part in legendary Kaipa. With beautiful smooth blistering guitar chops remind me of Hackett combined with virtuosic escapades of Howe, Stolt is one of the most influencial musician in last decades in prog for sure. After living Kaipa in late 1979, he formed Fantasia with 2 albums in their pockets and then disbanded, Stolt optaing for a solo career. But, with the revival in the '90 of prog music and specially Sweden who was and is one of the leaders in this bussines, and because of this boom Stolt formed The Flower Kings and since early 90s this band was and is an instant succes world wide. Beside succesful career with TFK and colaborations with super group Transatlantic, his solo career was aswell marked with a new studio album named Hydrophonia, released in 1999. This album is instrumental with many memorable parts, for example the opening track Cosmic Lodge is absolutly killer, some very refreshing ideas here even the sound of the album overall doesn't apart much from TFK fame, even in places are some very faine spacey Gilmoureish guitar chops of the highest calibre.The music is varied, catchy and has all the ingredients to be fairly solid among prog fans, we have jazzy fusion passages, funky parts, spacey escapdaes all garnised with Stolt brightly ideas. Besides guita he is aswell a very acomplished keybord player, there are some really memorable parts on this album. All in all this album is good towards great, I really like it, is entertaining and has no low point.. 3.5 stars for sure, a well worthy release from this already legendary musician.

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 The Flower King  by STOLT, ROINE album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.10 | 199 ratings

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The Flower King
Roine Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Roine Stolt's The Flower King was, of course, the project that brought together the Flower Kings, and it's kind of the blueprint for every subsequent Flower Kings project - particularly when it comes to sappy, preachy lyrics, retro-prog repetitiousness, compositions outstaying their welcome, and a limited range of tricks and gimmicks milked to exhaustion.

In other words, if you find that the Flower Kings are not usually to your tastes, there's nothing here to prompt you to change your mind - and if you are a Flower Kings fan, you're likely to find this album a bit bland, since the various compositional additions and twists thrown in by the other members of the group don't really come to the fore this time due to its origins as a solo album.

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 Hydrophonia by STOLT, ROINE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.00 | 99 ratings

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Hydrophonia
Roine Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by Mr. Mustard

4 stars Roine Stolt's second solo album sees a slight decrease in the amount of guitar and a marked increase in saxophone. Whether or not Roine was pushing for a more jazzy sound, he definitely achieved it here. Like 'The Flower King', the melodies and arrangements are superb.

I would say while there is nothing here that is over-the-top amazing, there are definitely no weak tracks either. My personal ratings of the tracks are as follows: Cosmic Lodge (10/10), Shipbuilding (8/10), Little Cottage By the Sea (6/10), Wreck of the HMS Nemesis (9/10), Bizarre Seahorse Sex Attack (8/10), Nuclear Nemo (9/10), Hydrophonia (9/10), Lobsterland Groove (7/10), Seafood Kitchen Thing (9/10)

Overall, don't let the silly names confuse you! This is an amazing album and marks Roine at the top of his game.

8/10

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 The Flower King  by STOLT, ROINE album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.10 | 199 ratings

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The Flower King
Roine Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by Mr. Mustard

5 stars Though labeled as a Roine Stolt solo album, this should be considered the very first Flower Kings album. The album is missing the input of key members Tomis Bodin, who appeared on the next album, and Jonas Reingold, who joined the bad for Space Revolver. Roine, therefore, wrote all the material and played most of the instruments. Nevertheless, the album still sounds like early Flower Kings.

The Flower King is dominated by guitar, with the keyboards taking a more rhythmic role. The album is also mostly instrumental, with Roine doing most of the vocals. I think the thing I like most about this album is its flawless mixing of great melodies and tasteful extended (and rather jazzy) guitar jams. Like Hackett, Howe, and Gilmore, Roine Stolt definitely has his own style of guitar playing that is immediately recognizable, and has quickly become one of my favorites of the instrument. The album starts of with the eponymous 'The Flower King,' (10/10) which is practically an anthem for the subsequent band and their music. Positive, upbeat, melodic and guitar driven. It's the only song to feature Hasse on vocals besides the ending reprise. An amazing song and an appropriate first song for the Flower Kings.

'Dissonata' (10/10) is similar in length and style to the The Flower King. It starts with some dramatic Stolt vocals and develops into one of the best melodies/solos at around the four minute mark before ending similarly to how it began.

'The Magic Circus of Zeb' (10/10) is probably my favorite song of the album. It has some amazing melodies up until around the three minute mark where it features, in my opinion, Roine Stolt's best solo, which is filled with guitar distortion and in a Gilmour-esque style.

'Close Your Eyes' (6/10) is just a short little song with a nice atmosphere of guitars and vocals, but otherwise is rather uninteresting.

'The Pilgrims Inn' is a fantastic instrumental featuring great guitar work by Roine. The sax is also a prominent instrument here and will continue to be in albums to come.

'The Sounds of Violence' (10/10) is an crazy upbeat tune with some awesome melodies on both guitar and keyboard.

'Hummanizzimo' (10/10) is easily one of The Flower King's better epics, along with Stardust We Are and I Am the Sun. The song keeps hitting you with one melody after another, and when there isn't one, Roine's tasteful soloing keeps your interest.

The final track, 'Scanning the Greenhouse' (8/10) serves as a loose reprise for the first song.

Overall, this album is probably the best Flower Kings album (if you attribute it to them), and one of my favorite albums of all time. Luckily, Roine and company will continue to produce music similar in quality to this in their future albums.

10/10

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 The Flower King  by STOLT, ROINE album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.10 | 199 ratings

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The Flower King
Roine Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Those who enjoy The Flower Kings ought not pass this sterling album with Roine Stolt at the helm. Excepting the distinct bass work from Jonas Reingold, this album has all the ingredients fans of The Flower Kings would love even though it predates their proper debut by a year. There's nothing more to say really- an excellent symphonic progressive rock album by one of the genre's most respected guitarists.

'The Flower King' Soothing lead guitar sweetly sings in before a sound breaks through that is distinctively The Flower Kings: And that refrain has to be the most definitive archetype for them- happy, uplifting, and even a little bit silly. Stolt demonstrates his proficiency with blues guitar, eventually stepping aside for a symphonic synthesizer solo. Overall, it is a wondrous piece of music and the crown of the album.

'Dissonata' A bit on the darker side of The Flower Kings, this second tune has a bit of cabaret camp that tries to masquerade as serious and sinister. The melodic theme and its variations in the middle passage are well-executed and a welcome evolution.

'The Magic Circus of Zeb' A mostly peppy and colorful instrumental, this piece evokes the spectacles of a circus without ever becoming hackneyed in the course of doing so. It features soulful guitar work.

'Close Your Eyes' The Flower Kings are, for me, notorious for filler tracks. This is one of those. It is a slow, plodding bit of new age with decent vocals and good guitar.

'The Pilgrims Inn' The musicians return to the uplifting sound from before but add some baroque flourishes. It is full of both electric and acoustic guitar exhibitions.

'The Sounds of Violence' As the title implies, this one hangs on the heavier and darker music Stolt and company are capable of. The last bit consists of bass and electric guitar soloing quietly around one another.

'Humanizzimo' The twenty-minute piece starts with the most subdued music on the album, consisting of Mellotron flute. About a quarter of the way through, the music becomes a tad too giddy for my liking. My take on this is similar to my judgment of many epics from The Flower King (and there are many): Sonically pleasant but rarely engaging. I enjoy this song in parts, but as a whole it tries to accomplish too much.

'Scanning the Greenhouse' The final three minutes and forty-five seconds of this album offer some more guitar soloing before launching into a fine vocal passage that culminates in a reprisal of that elevating refrain from 'The Flower King.'

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 The Flower King  by STOLT, ROINE album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.10 | 199 ratings

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The Flower King
Roine Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgFrog57

5 stars Being as behind on things as I have been over the years I didn't stumble upon the music of Roine' Stolt and The Flower Kings until I became aquainted with the internet. Finding them is one of the greatest of my discoveries in the past few years. I first heard this album when I was stationed in Afghanistan in 2009 and hearing it helped me out a whole bunch! Just like the best FK stuff this is a rich and exciting recording. The title track is a wonderful beginning and everything that follows is no less enjoyable. It must have been glorius for many other old-time prog heads to hear this in the middle of the 90's, a decade crammed with garbage pretending to be music. I'm glad I was able to catch up and with other epics like Space Revolver and Stardust We Are I can hear that the legacy of prog is in good hands! Thank you Roine'! You deserve a statue!

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 The Lonely Heartbeat by STOLT, ROINE album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.04 | 15 ratings

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The Lonely Heartbeat
Roine Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars One more obscure recording of Swedenīs most important prog figures to rise in the 90īs. But before Stolt would conquer the prog scene with his Flower Kings, and after he left another seminal prog band of the 70īs (Kaipa), he had a real awful time during the 80īs. Well, almost everybody in prog had a hard time through that period. And mr Stolt was no exception. If on his previous output (1985īs Behind The Walls) it seemed that some big recoding tycoon decided to make him a pop/new wave star, this time around it sounds like someone thought he could be the swedish version of new R&B artists who were having radio hits like Robert Cray and Steve Ray Vaughan.

So this time we have an uneven collection of songs that goes through pop, blues, jazz, R&B and gospel. Even a the Dire Stratis style is thrown in for good measure (on Shine and Ring Of light, for instance). While the overall quality of the songs is much superior to his previous effort (an easy task, I should say), once more several tracks are marred by the typical 80īs production, with those cheesy, ever present plastic synth sounds and drum programming. However, I reckon he was beginning to find his voice: his singing is much more focused and convincing now, and he does sound like Roine Stolt this time. His guitar solos are also excellent. The guy really had the chops to face the challenge of pedaling in the aforementioned styles without making a fool of himself. But donīt expect anything prog here. He was yet to find his own way in 1989.

All in all I didnīt find The Lonely Heartbeat not even nearly as bad as Behind The Walls (again, it was expected). If you like 80īs FM radio friendly rock and R&B, chances are youīll probalby enjoy this album. But if youīre looking for something prog, just skip all his entire solo discography during that decade. itīs amazing how he would eventually appear with such masterpiece of symphonic prog as The Flower King in a little more than four years after such dubious work that this CD surely is. Besides, he has recently proved he could release a much stronger album in the blues/hard rock style recently (2010īs Wall Street Voodoo), with lots of personality and without the pop elements found here..

Rating: in this site, this is for completionists/collectors/hardcore fans only, in that order. 2 stars.

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 Behind The Walls by STOLT, ROINE album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.06 | 15 ratings

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Behind The Walls
Roine Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Good lord! That was really a surprise! And not a good one, really. Think of any 80Âīs worst cliches and itÂīs more than likely youÂīll find it here. Small wonder this album is so obscure and not even mentioned on The Flower Kings official site! ItÂīs an embarassment for mr. Stolt. It seems that in the mid 80Âīs someone thought it would be a good idea to turn the ex Kaipa guitarrist into a pop star. But it never worked out and I guess everyone involved would much rather forget this CD. So if already know the guy as one of the single most important prog artists of today, or as the extraordinaire musician/songwriter he surely is, be warned: there is NOTHING prog - or even close to anything prog - here.

What we have here is a bunch of pop/new wave tunes with a very reasonable production for the time. While the music itself is not particularly bad per se ( if you like 80Âīs pop, of course, like a mix of Hall & Oates and Dire Straits, sometimes he seems to be emulating Mark KnopflerÂīs vocals), itÂīs so embarassing to hear Stolt singing those cheesy love lyrics while backed by equally awfull plastic sounding synths, eletronic drums, pseudo soul saxophones and the like. Even the guitar playing is unrecognizable, although he still manages to produce a few decent solos like he does on the title track and, specially, on the albumÂīs closer Into The light (the only real high point in the entire album, but only because of the very good guitar part).

Conclusion: more a curio than anything else. And even then, only for the completionists and collectors. Even hardcore fans will probably be very disappointed with this disastous experiment. I never thought IÂīd give such low rate for a Roine Stolt related album, but I guess everyone is entitled to make a few mistakes in life. And for a prog site like PA 1.5 stars is the most I can rate it. Iīm glad I didnīt have to spend my hard earned money to listen to it (I borrowed from a friend). Avoid it.

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 Wallstreet Voodoo by STOLT, ROINE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.57 | 90 ratings

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Wallstreet Voodoo
Roine Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Well, I guess it is no surprise that nowadays progīs most prolific songwriter would deliver a double solo album sooner or later. After all he wrote most of The Flower Kings repertoire and they already had released 3 two set CDs of original material. What surprised everyone it seems to be the style adopted here: this is much more early 70īs hard/blues rock than the symphonic prog we are expecting for. However, I disagree with some reviewers that say this stuff has nothing to do with the Flower Kings. Anyone who is familiar with their sound will recognise the style of TFK songs like Donīt Let The Devil In or The Judas Kiss as very similar of the tracks included here. And a few of the those could be on any 90īs TFK CDs, like the Cd 2īs second tune, the very inspired Remember.

However, it is also clear that both the music and the lyrics are usually quite different from what Stoltīs has been releasing lately, both solo or with his several side projects. Even if Neil Morse is present here, there is no influence of Spockīs Beard or Transatlantic. The premise seems to be, musicly, a homage to those blues rock artists from the early 70īs. So youīll find lots of slide and wah-wah guitars, big fat Hammond runs and some good percussions. Stolt proves once and for all he is one fo the best guitarrists around and he can play just about anything with great taste and technique. And most important, he is also a terrific songwriter. The lyrics are much more direct, spiteful and angry, but are very well written and on target (todayīs capitalism and greed).

While I found Wall Street Voodoo a little too much to listen to in one sitting, all the songs are at least good, with some very fine highlights along the way like the very ironic Sex Kills and the aforementioned Remember, one of his best. The recording quality is top notch, the musicians are excellent and, if you like the style, the tracklist is quite strong. I never thought Iīd hear Stolt playing guitar like this and, boy, does he plays! His solos and riffs are amazing and will please even the most hardcore Eric Clapton/Leslie West fan!

As for the musicians he chose all I can say is that Marcus Liliequist was hardly TFKJīs best drummer, but here he does a fine job and seems to be much more at ease now than with his time with the band. Neil Morse is also very good on the Hammond and does some lead singing. My only gripe with this album are the vocals, since both Stoltīs and Morseīs voices are ok, but they are not the best singers for this style of music. Maybe it would be a good idea to have a īrealī blues vocalist as a guest next time. But thatīs a minor issue, if you can call it an issue at all.

Conclusion: an excellent blues rock/prog rock album. The vocals may sound a bit odd for the style, since I will always identify it as a Flower Kings trademark, and I think that it will be the same with all TFK fans. But the high quality of the songs, the brilliant playing (specially Stoltīs stunnig, shinning rocking guitar) and the edgy lyrics make this a different, but remarkable record by one of progīs truly genious.

Rating: four strong stars.

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