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The Flower Kings - Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording 2003 CD (album) cover

MEET THE FLOWER KINGS - LIVE RECORDING 2003

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 168 ratings

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Mr. Gone
5 stars I honestly can't say much that already hasn't been said here. The number of five-star reviews and generally glowing outlook that many seem to have toward this album is, in my mind, totally justified. Simply put, this is an absolutely fantastic document.

I own basically everything this band has ever released. To me, they epitomize the best of symphonic prog - melodic complexity, a slightly jazzy bent at times, a sense of adventure - and, to top it all off, a mostly positive outlook as well (though that has waned on more recent releases). At the same time, while I love much of their music, things can occasionally become a bit too self-indulgent - an overlong solo, a bit too much cleverness. Such is the nature of trying to produce music like this, and given how prolific Roine Stolt and company have been over time, it's easy to forgive the occasional misfire when there are far more moments of brilliance and true musical sophistication.

Any issues one might have had on the studio releases, however, are all completely discarded here. If I were to pick one album to initiate someone to TFK with, this would be it. It has the epics (including a nicely pared-down "Garden of Dreams" - I don't miss what they didn't include, anyway), and they're delivered tastefully, precisely, and beautifully, with a ton of feeling behind them too. I particularly love "Humanizzimo", especially the part where Ulf Wallander's soprano sax would've been (love his work, don't get me wrong) - the eerie keyboards and fantastic bass/drum work send chills down my spine every time. I will say that the rhythm section of Jonas Reingold and Zoltan Cs÷rsz are outstanding throughout these performances - wonderful underpinnings to the adventuresome melody players. (I find myself wishing Cs÷rsz would've hung around longer. All their drummers have been top-notch, but I really like his work and feel a loss that he apparently didn't care for the arrangements for some reason. I also wish Wallander and Hasse Bruniusson were around for their more recent releases, but that's another story.) Everyone is really in top form, both technically and expressively. It's pure joy listening to this, even at its great length. The material and the execution are the epitome of what symphonic progressive rock is at its best.

So, if you're reading this, please get yourself a copy of this CD. You will not be disappointed. Five stars.

Mr. Gone | 5/5 |

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