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The Flower Kings - Back In The World Of Adventures CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 600 ratings

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4 stars After the weak 80's when most people believed Symphonic was gone forever, came Par Lindh with the foundation of the Swedish Art Rock Society which impulse a Symphonic Renaissance in the cold Nordic country that soon expanded to the rest of the world.

Bands as ANGLAGARD and PAR LINDH PROJECT were immediately recognized as modern classics by middle age Prog fans who had listened their YES, GENESIS or ELP albums during a decade, but THE FLOWER KINGS found some resistance by people who claimed they were not Symphonic, but a late Neo Prog band who rook advantage of the Swedish musical bonanza. Even today is common to read reviews describing them as "B" class Retro Prog bands, a term that I find inadequate and extremely unfair for a band that is making NEW music in the genre they love, but this should be discussed on other forums, because we are here to review albums and "Back in the World of Adventures" is the starting point for a prolific and amazing career.

The album is opened in the best possible way with "World of Adventure", a 13 minutes epic with everything a Progressive Rock fan can ask, musicality, elaborate structure and interesting changes. After a short melodic intro, the band jumps into a CRIMSONIAN passage, in which they explore the sound that was started by Fripp & Co. and re-discovered by ANGLAGARD, but this time more melodic and a bit softer.

We can also listen some echoes from early GENESIS (Can Utility & The Coastliners) until the song morphs into a sort of ballad with Roine Stolt adding his particular voice, who's range is more or less in the central point between Peter Gabriel and Greg Lake, but don't expect THE FLOWER KINGS to stay there' the song keeps changing with a plethora of styles and moods, including elaborate sections, lush keyboard passages and some dark moments. Great starter for an album and a career.

"Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope" begins with a pompous almost martial keyboard and drums intro, but then is the turn for Roine to show his skills with a heavy and partially distorted guitar that demonstrates how unique is the sound of this band. The use of Mellotron is different to what the pioneers did, but still we can breathe the air of the 70's in this excellent piece with some Medieval reminiscences.

"Go West Judas" is one of the most radical expressions by a band clearly ascribed to Symphonic sub-genre; the vocals plus the aggressive interplay between guitar and keys take them to the border of Heavy Metal. but with the usual strong melody and a melancholic touch. They show us they can also rock when they want.

"Train to Nowhere" has a sentimental introduction where Roine's raspy vocals ft perfectly, soon he's joined by a distorted guitar and a soft piano in the background, and then joins all the band on an "in crescendo passage" to create a delightful power ballad in the vein of early Metal artists....The short and dark almost Gregorian chorus at the end is breathtaking.

As it names implies "Oblivion Road" is sad and full of remembrances, this time the band moves closer to Jazz territory, but without leaving behind the Symphonic elements, Tomas Bodin gives a fantastic piano performance and the Mellotron is the cherry on the top of the pie that adds mystery and suspense.

"Theme for a Hero" continues in this soft melancholic vein, even when the use of the guitar is much more aggressive, again THE FLOWER KINGS cross Symphonic and Jazzy passages with radical changes that keep the attention of the listener, just can't understand what is the problem that people find in this band.

"Temple of the Snakes" is an extremely short interlude the works almost as a mystic introduction for the frenetic "My Cosmic Lover", un which the band allows themselves to wander freely through long and strong instrumental passages with Roine Stolt singing in a softer and almost oneiric style, not as good as the previous because they seem to have some problems with the dissonances, but the idea is good and they will improve this aspect in their career.

"The Wonder Wheel" is a mysterious and dark song with clear similarities in composition and performance to STEVE HACKETT solo material, full of sound effects and Avant elements, is an extremely interesting song.

The album is closed with the 13:33 minutes "Big Puzzle" with it's stunning piano and guitar interplay, somehow reminds me of KING CRIMSON'S "In the Wake of Poseidon", but only at the start, because they later flow with the clarity and style of GABRIEL'S GENESIS, specially for the use of keyboards, a complete epic that ends he album with class.

Unlike most Prog bands that started weak and grew in quality or began their career with good material and then lost the magic, THE FLOWER KINGS are a band that from their first to last album maintained a good level without strong variations in quality.

Good debut, worth 4 stars for me.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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