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The Flower Kings - Adam & Eve CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.49 | 485 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The second of my trawl through my Flower Kings albums for review, this is a release from 2004.

As with all of the band's releases, the one thing you can expect is an album packed with extremely accomplished musicanship.

Adam & Eve opens with a fantastic epic track, Love Supreme, clocking in at over 19 minutes long. It never once loses the listener's attention. Stolt's voice has, to me, never sounded better, and there is a glorious mix of guitars and, especially, bass from Reingold. As with much of their best symphonic works, the track is deeply reminiscent of Yes' glory days, and, again, this is very much meant as a compliment. The mellotron passages are amongst the best you will hear. Epic in scope and execution, this is a highly pleasing start.

Cosmic Circus is a lovely melodic short three minute song, with again some nice mellotron and keyboard work backed by acoustic guitar. I find this a deeply uplifting song, the sort you would play when you really need a fillip from life's worries.

Babylon is even shorter at under three minutes, this is another uplifting track, but presented as an instrumental. The keyboard playing by Bodin really is beautiful, and is accompanied by some lovely acoustic guitar work. Not all accomplished symphonic rock has to be epic in length, and this is definitely no filler.

A Vampire's View comes in at just under nine minutes, and this is my least favourite track on the album. Brooding and, unfortunately, sounding lyrically and vocally like something you would expect to see & hear in a London West End musical theatre production, there are, nonetheless, some redeeming features, especially again the keyboard waves that feature during the chorus. This track, though, is simply far too melodramatic to work very effectively.

Days Gone By clocks in at a mere 1:14 minutes long, and, thankfully, brings a lighter tone to the album again with a very solid and pleasant piano solo. Yes, it's a filler, but it is a good one.

The title track itself is next. This is a far harder and darker affair, but, thankfully, it doesn't fall into the same melodramatic trap as A Vampire's View. Whilst much of what preceded this track is recognisably symphonic, this track most certainly moves into Heavy prog territory, and Reingold simply takes the breath away with the most fantastic bass line. The sort of track that will turn even the most sceptical heavy prog person into that particular sub-genre.

Starlight Man reverts to the more gentle feel of the album, and really should have been a hit single for the band if there were any justice and musical taste in the world. I love Stolt's sunny vocals on this track, and he is backed by yet another incredible bass guitar melody by Reingold. A fantastic track.

Timelines opening passage takes us back to a very dark and menacing place, with wild keyboards, guitars, drums, and bass all competing manically for control. However, very quickly, it reverts to a Stolt lyric backed by acoustic guitar. Midway through, there is a lovely, almost jammy and jazzy instrumental passage with organ & guitar competing with each other. The song then becomes far more manic again. This is not a bad piece of music, quite the opposite, but it is very disjointed, almost like a jigsaw puzzle being put together, and I think a bit more coherence in the musical themes would have helped.

Drivers Seat is the second epic track on the album, and this one clocks in at 18 and a half minutes. Firmly placing the album back into grandiose symphonic prog, the track has many mood changes, and is, to my mind, right up there with the finest of the many epic tracks the band has produced. Some have criticised it for being somewhat bitty, but certainly, to me, it flows far better than the predecessor track. Think Yes in the Fragile era, updated to 2004, and you will be somewhere near the mark. I must also say, following on from that, that Squire himself rarely sounded better than Reingold does here. The man is an incredible bassist. At 11 minutes in, the track comes to a complete halt before slowly building up to its closing phases. Incredibly, it works, as the whimsical guitar gives way to the main event. The final instrumental to close the track is as good as you will ever hear in the entire genre.

The album closes with The Blade of Cain. A wonderful atmospheric track, and a great way to close a very strong album. There really is some lovely and haunting guitar work on this piece of music.

This is an album which is very highly recommended. The album avoids falling into the trap that the band sometimes fall into, that of making an album that is simply too long and sometimes meandering to hold the attention. With the exception of A Vampire's View, there is not a weak and forgettable track included, and I have no hesitation in awarding it a very strong four stars.

If, like me, you are a relative newcomer to The Flower Kings, you will not regret buying this and persevering with it in order to realise that we are dealing with one of the all time great prog acts.

lazland | 4/5 |


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