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The Flower Kings - Unfold The Future CD (album) cover

UNFOLD THE FUTURE

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 529 ratings

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Norbert
3 stars Unfold the Future is the seventh studio album by Swedish progressive rock band The Flower Kings. Behind the not exactly beautiful artwork we can find 2 CDs, so this is the third of their 4 double albums. The first disc is about 74 minutes long, the second one is a bit shorter, it clocks at about 67 minutes. This is the debut studio album with The Flower Kings for my fellow Hungarian drummer Zoltán Csörsz, and guest singer Daniel Gildenlöw, mainly known as the mastermind of Pain of Salvation, and the permanent guest musician Hasse Bruniusson, most familiar from Samla Mammas Manna also featured here. The musicanship is excellent as on any album released by The Flower Kings, especially bassist Jonas Reingold and Zoltán Csörsz do an absolutely outsanding job. The problems arise with the compositions, we are talking here about an album which is more than 140 minutes long. So the quantity is huge, but how about the quality? This album is in the usual style of The Flower Kings, so Symphonic Prog mainly influenced by Yes, Genesis, Camel with many jazz rock fusion and some Frank Zappa influence in the mix. For me it is not a big issue if a band is not exactly groundbreaking if they write great music in the vein of their influences, but here I am not very plesed with everything I hear. The opening track is called The Truth will set you free, in stucture is somewhat similar of the legendary title track of Close to the Edge, but it is 31 minutes long, almost as long as a classic prog album like Per Un Amico. It features some Symphonic Prog beauty mainly in the vein of Yes, but also some sugarsweet, cheesy parts, which would not sound out of place at an Eurovision Song Contest. If it was under 20 minutes it could be an excellent piece. If The Truth will set you free is the "Close to the Edge" of this album, Christianopel is the "Waiting Room", but the Supernatural Anaesthetist is does not appear here. The other "jam" called Soul Vortex bores me even more. The purely jazz track The Devil's Dance School performed by Jonas, Zoltán and guest musician Anders Bergcratz on trumpet is other hand really cool. I really like Silent Inferno and the other "Devil's" track, Devil's Playground. This are well written and adventurous pieces, without musically embarassing moments. Devil's playground features for example beautiful Mellotron parts, and some great vocals by Daniel Gildenlöw. On the other hand I could do easily without Monkey business, Rollin' the Dice, Man Overboard, Vox Humana and The Navigator, to name a few. Although I have a soft spot an alternate version of The Navigator called Solitary Shell (It has nothing to do with the Dream Theater track) it has better arrangements, and it is shorter, 2 and a half minutes from this balladesque music is just fine. So mastermind Roine Stolt and his crew certainly have talent to write some wonderful music, but unfortunately focus and restraint are not the keywords of this album. I would rate a well-edited 65-70 minutes long version of Unfold the Future with 5 stars, but I can't rate with more than 3 stars the existing Unfold the Future.
Norbert | 3/5 |

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