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Roine Stolt - The Flower King CD (album) cover

THE FLOWER KING

Roine Stolt

 

Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 288 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars After reading Chicpah's enthusiastic review of the latest THE FLOWER KINGS album "The Sum Of No Evil" I figured it was about time I reviewed their records. I decided to start here where it all began.This is not an official THE FLOWER KINGS album, but given it's title, and the fact everyone playing on it would become members of the FLOWER KINGS I felt this was the place to start. Even the final track "Scanning The Greenhouse" would become the title of THE FLOWER KINGS compilation record. I have already (some time ago) reviewed two of their double albums "Stardust We Are" and "Flower Power". I have to say the guitar playing of Mr.Stolt impressed me greatly on this one. I also like the thoughts he shared in the liner notes as to what he was in his thinking when he recorded this record. "I wanted to come out as an alternative to the flood of destructive, dark 'n evil-hardcore-death-thrash-speed-black n' suicidal metal music of today. So I created "The Flower King" - Prophet, Healer, Hippie, Joker, Spacetraveller,The Great Gardener and possibly...son of God." R.S. 1994.

"The Flower King" opens with some tasteful guitar.This is simply a feel good song with positive lyrics and a sing along chorus. I like Roine's unique sounding vocals, but having Hasse Froberg singing lead during the chorus was a wise move. The guitar just soars beautifully on this one,as well Roine fires off some raw solos as well.There is a GENESIS feel to the keys as we get about 5 1/2 minutes of pure instrumental work before the vocals return before 9 minutes. "Dissonata" reminds me of THE TANGENT, with Salazar (who plays with them) on drums.This is more of a serious tune with Stolt doing his Fripp impression at times. After 6 minutes Roine sounds just like Vai.Then 7 minutes in we get some latter day KING CRIMSON heaviness. Ok maybe not quite that heavy, but it does sound like them. "The Magic Circus Of Jeb" is an instrumental. Other then the drums this is all Stolt who plays guitar, bass and keys. He's so fluid on the guitar, and 4 1/2 minutes in he goes on and on. Nice. "Close Your Eyes" is a mellow tune with tasteful guitar throughout.

"The Pilgrims Inn (Part 1&2)" is my favourite song on here. An instrumental that recalls CAMEL. It's simply gorgeous with sax and what sounds like flute.The guitar starts to slowly break my heart. At 6 minutes the flute-like sounds and guitar join together to end part 1 of this track beautifully. The last 2 minutes (Part 2) is different with gentle acoustic guitar and flute-like sounds.The last 30 seconds is a soaring guitar solo. "The Sounds Of Violence" is another instrumental that opens with some uptempo keys and ripping guitar 2 minutes in. The drums are crisp and very active. The last 2 minutes are calm and reflective. "Humanizzimo" is an almost 21 minute epic. Hasse Bruniusson is back on the drums as he and Salazar share the duties on this record. Hasse played drums for both SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA and ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA previous to this.This long track has so many amazing moments. Very pastoral early with lots of smooth sax melodies before we get many twists, turns and mood changes. More angular guitar from Stolt. "Scanning The Greenhouse" opens with some scorching guitar melodies before the vocals arrive. Froberg adds some lead vocals to this one. Great sound ! The bass from Roine is prominant. The song ends with a reprise of "The Flower King".

I know some people feel that this is too sugary, that Roine is living in a dream world. And although I wouldn't want to listen to this all the time,"The Flower King" truly is a symphonic pleasure to listen to. Easily 4 stars.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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