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The Flower Kings - Stardust We Are CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.91 | 585 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Edited 10/01/05!

This is the first of two double albums in a row and as the follow-up FLOWER POWER not quite on par with the excellent RETROPOLIS album. Many people are complaining about the fact that they released that many double albums but in my view they did this, because they've got an enormous reservoir of material and they are very versatile in the style of their songs, ranging from soulful mellow songs over symphonic epics to heavy rocking or jazz fusion / free jazz pieces. And since they don't want to withhold any of this good stuff to their fans, it simply does not fit on a single CD. And of course they cannot fulfill the wishes of everybody. But I think their hardcore fans appreciate everything they are offering and are happy about every extra song of them, no matter which style it is. For me they are probably the only band I know which are able to let the most emotional song not sound like sob stuff, because their compositions are all the time of highest quality and there are very few songs with a really simple structure. And last but not least as well due to Roine Stolt's cool vocals. So now let's come to the songs on this album more in detail.

CD 1

In the Eyes Of The World is a fantastic epic song and one of their best pieces. It's very rocking, prog-ish, atmospheric and grooving and even the vocodered vocals are fitting in some way. A song which is an essential on all their concerts. After a short interlude Just This Once is following, which is really not less interesting with plenty of joyful sounds and tunes. Next highlight is Church Of Your Heart, a very lush ballade and a very nice listen even for me (someone who usually doesn't like songs if they become too much bombastic). Then we have Poor Mr. Rain's Ordinary Guitar, a pure acoustical one presented by Roine on guitar. As well the next track The Man Who Walked With Kings is a rather quiet instrumental piece, almost drifting towards a New-Age sound before fortunately guitars are setting in again. After all this relaxed (but not boring I would say) music the sound is shifting quite dramatically with the weird trip through the Circus Brimstone where we can listen once again to all musicians at their very best. Last track on this CD is Compassion, again a rather quiet one with dramatic vocals.

First CD is really brilliant!

CD 2

Second CD starts with church organ in Pipes of peace, very great opener. The End Of Innocence is starting with atmospheric keyboards, then continuing with quite CRIMSON-alike guitar lines. The whole song is in a very melancholic mood. A very beautiful elegiac and symphonic track, maybe a little bit too much derivative, but I don't care, I like it. With The Merrygoround tempo is lifting up considerably, it's actually more or less just a happy pop-rock song, but a nice contrast to the previous one and the way like such rather "weak" songs of them are composed and performed, it's really not disturbing and there is no need to press the skip button. Nevertheless great keyboard playing and rhythm section. Don Of The Universe is an oriental inspired song with nice sitar and tablas, nothing special, rather pop-ish but well done and a very nice listen. I love it! Then there is just a short jazzy interlude followed by a few rather pop-ish songs, of which I would call Kingdom Of Lies the weakest one. It's really a simple pop song miles below their level and almost a case for the skip button. But I'm still resisting. Hotel Nirvana has a rather dark sound and is leading to the only real highlight of the second CD, the title theme of the album. This one is showing once again that epic longtracks are the band's strongest field. Symphonic prog at its very best with many variations, great solos and grooving sections inbetween.


The first CD of this album is definitely the better one and would deserve a rating of 4. The second one contains to many rather leight weighted songs and just due to the fantastic title track it's still worth 3 stars. So finally the whole album is coming to 3 and a half star actually I would say! Not really an essential one in prog but still very good!

hdfisch | 3/5 |


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