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

BANKS OF EDEN

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 796 ratings

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Master of Time
3 stars I know I'm in the minority, but the last album The Flower Kings did is my favorite of theirs, and consequently I had high expectations for this one but it just didn't do it for me. Numbers started off okay, but for me it dragged on. The choruses I found annoying, and I feel like all the long passages just missed great for me. I did enjoy the more bluesy guitar approach at first, but it became tiring for me. Not one of their best epics in my opinion, but it has been a bit of a grower and I do enjoy it more than I did at first, though I still don't quite love it. Then came For the Love of Gold, which I know a lot of fans quite enjoyed. I heard called catchy but it never seemed to grab me, and it took a few listens before I could sit through it without my mind wandering off. However when I finally got it I did enjoy it. I did find myself thinking about Moon Safari a lot during this one, and I could easily see this on a Moon Safari album. I have been having trouble with this album because on paper it seems like something I should love but everything just seems to miss the mark, and though I can't find any overt flaws I just can't hear anything spectacular, which is a common problem for me and basically anything Roine Stolt is involved in.

Pandemonium was an interesting song, that I've had a little trouble putting my finger on. I can't decide whether I love this song or not. For the most part the guitar riffs are a bit dull, and like numbers I find the chorus annoying, but there are other times especially near the end of the song where I absolutely love it. The best part of the song is Bass playing, it's adventurous and works well with the guitar and does never sound out of balance. Then comes my favorite song on the album, For Those About Drown. After listening I had it stuck in my head for a long time. It has interesting lyrics, I actually enjoy the choruses as opposed to most Flower Kings songs, and I found Roine's playing fun instead of boring. This one reminded me a little bit of Spock's Beard tunes like The Man Behind the Curtain, fun and catchy with an interesting story-line while still having great instrumental passages. The next song however is perhaps my least favorite on the album. It calls back to my least favorite sections of Numbers and builds a whole 'nother song around it. It heavily features the strange jazzy sitar sound that Stolt uses that again on paper sounds like something I would enjoy but the actual execution is lacking. Roine gets into some decent soloing here that nearly saves the song but I still find it lacking, and quite boring.

In the regular version this would be the end of the album but I acquired the 2 disc version with four additional songs. This second disc is definitely not necessary, and the first disc is superior to the second, the songs here are all shorter than the ones on the first. I won't get into as much detail as I did the first disc, but I find the musicianship lacking, and the whole disc rather boring, more accesible than the first perhaps. This disc starts off with the song Fireghosts. It is not too proggy, and to me sounds like something that could be played at the end of a movie and play into the credits. Going Up seems like a bit of a fun upbeat song, something you could play for your friends, but not an exceptional song. It slows down with the bluesy instrumental Illuminati. The beginning and end are more quiet, and reminds me of cliched lobby music, the middle section sounds more like a bluesy pink floyd-esque guitar jam. Disc 2 ends with Loi Lines is a fitting end for the disc, and is probably my favorite off of the disc. It may just be me but this whole disc 2 besides Illuminati, especially this song, (excluding the end of the song) reminds of a more bluesy version of The Fixx. Don't get me wrong I love The Fixx but it just doesn't work for me with The Flower Kings.

All-in-all, the album was a bit of a disappointment, but it has grown on me a little, though it's still not my favorite. In interviews Roine commented that this album was more metal influenced, but I hear much more to do with blues than metal here. The first disc I give 7.5/10 and the second a 6/10, and for the purpose of this review a 3 star. Maybe not the best Flower Kings album for all but Flower Kings fans should love this.

Master of Time | 3/5 |

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