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The Flower Kings - Banks Of Eden CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 787 ratings

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5 stars They're baaaack!

The Flower Kings, after a five year hiatus return with the full line-up of Stolt, Bodin, Reingold, Froberg and 'the new drummer'.

Right off the bat, Felix Leherman (the previously mentioned new drummer) does his best to say, 'Oh no, I AM the drummer' by blowing the kit out of the water in the first moments of "Numbers". As "Numbers" continues the Kings show one of their greatest strengths by alternating the lead vocals between Roine Stolt's raspy voice and Hasse Froberg cleaner leads throughout the 'Bad Moon Rising' section.

One interesting side note, I've never quite enjoyed Tomas Bodin on the keys until now. Either his playing has matured or I've gotten used to him, either way his style is beautiful throughout the epic.

The height of the epic, and in fact, the entire CD, is the ' . . . and then the numbers . . . " section. A phenomenal Roine Stolt solo soars throughout the section as he shows off that he is one of the best guitar players of modern day prog. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. If you want to know what Roine Stolt is all about, this is the place to do it. Regardless of your Flower King appreciation, this guy is a virtuoso. In addition, Jonas Reingold is a musical contemporary of Mr. Stolt, easily able to blend his own style with that of Stolt's. Throughout the 'numbers' section, Jonas solo alongside Mr Stolt melding the two instruments beautifully. (I refer to Jonas Reingold as 'Jonas' because I've actually met and talked to him once. Mr. Stolt on the other hand, I've not met.) Again, this section personifies everything that is great about The Flower Kings. My only complaint about this section is the it ends all to soon with an abrupt and unwelcome Zappesque outro.

On to the other tracks, "For the Love of Gold," shows the whimsical, poppy side of the band. "Pandemonium" is the low point of the album for me, after the four minutes of nice instrumental work we get heavily synthesized vocals that are easily the worst sounding ones on the whole album. With two world class vocalists, I can't understand why they went with vocals that are so over processed that it's distracting. On the bright side, "For Those About to Drown" is a catchy tune with a lot of majesty. I grin every time my five year old starts singing the chorus. "Rising the Imperial", written by Jonas Reingold, is another wonderful tune based on the melody first introduced in "Numbers".

The second CD is a series of four songs that didn't quite fit with the first five, but are good on their own merit. For the price of a single CD, I got the bonus tracks, nothing wrong with that.

I should take a moment to talk about the cover art for the CD which is absolutely stunning. A Buddhist theme beautifully done in shades of green and orange that dominated my work computer for several months (I still have my mainframe processing system done in the green and orange theme).

All in all, "Banks of Eden" is the best release of the year and a solid five star rating for me. It is full of majestic moments, blistering guitars, beautiful vocal arrangements and all around virtuoso musicians. This is the kind of music that got me into prog in the first place. This is The Flower Kings. Welcome back!

Roland113 | 5/5 |


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