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Roine Stolt - The Flower King CD (album) cover


Roine Stolt


Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 288 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Mr. Stolt's vision of a world unified in happiness is one I do not share. Call me a bitter, dysfunctional old cynic. Followers of his work in Kaipa, his personal albums, the woeful Transatlantic and the eventual Flower Kings ensemble that grew logically from this album may regard the sum of his output as "uplifting" and I'd agree, so long as we all realise that the term is synonymous with "Disney-fied" - a much more accurate way to describe his music.

What we have here is a collection of hyper-extended, sophisticated pop/AOR songs, replete with stadium production, vaguely Americanized singing (although I know the man hails from Sweden) and hooks a-plenty. Of course, it's all run through a Banksian(TM) obfuscator and left packaged and layered with multiple solos, classic organ patches and technoflash time signatures, but, without wishing to further disparage Roine Stolt's musical approach, I can only consider his output progressive insofar as it greatly improves upon dreck like Styx, Toto and elevator muzak the world over. The debut track has a particularly regrettable and radio-friendly chorus, repellent enough to the likes of me that I almost failed to perservere.

"Dissonata" disappointed me even more because of inherent false advertising. Believe it or not, switching from one major-minor seventh to another does not make you sound like Univers Zero, and modifying the riff from "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, part II" does not make you as innovative as the Crimson King. Call me a stickler for accuracy. I do give Mr. Stolt credit here - and his second star, the first being for undeniable musicianship - for trying something outside of major cadences but I can't celebrate the song.

From there on we have lots more mid-tempo rainy rock station sop-balladry. Defend it how you will, but "The Flower King" should really be 35 minutes long and be composed of eight glittering, world-changing pop-rock songs. I'd be much happier if it was, because what I'm reviewing right now is akin to a set of short, narrow pillowcases stuffed full of feathers - mostly of the dodo variety - in an effort to make ... well, I can't work out how to finish this analogy; should I go for "a hovercraft" or "linen foie gras"? This is getting silly and I apologise unreservedly.

All you really need to read of this review is this paragraph: if you like predictable, incredibly soppy and patronising balladry then you should buy "The Flower King" and play it to your collection of carebear plushtoys until they can croon it back to you, word for agonizing word.

laplace | 2/5 |


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