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


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 784 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars They're back. One of the biggest cult prog bands of this era of modern day Progressive Rock. Many people including myself wondered if we would ever see the Flower Kings again. Five years ago it seemed that the band had run out of steam and worse still, rumours indicated a problem internally with some of the band members. However with the release of "Tour Kaput" last year and Roine Stolt beginning to hint of the band coming together, hopes were raised. Its not as though the members were disparate through the time apart. Many of the side projects have featured others from the group. No matter how good the side projects are, Karmakamic, Agents of Mercy and other solo works, when the Flower Kings are together there is magic. Add to the mix the newest member Felix Lehrman, who is a brilliant big hitter of a drummer and a star of the future, and there is the ground for some of the finest prog you'll ever hear. So on to "Banks of Eden". Is this an album worthy of a five year wait? Emphatically...Yes! It's a true Flower Kings album in every respect and I will nail my colours to the mast and say possibly one of their best. That last statement is a challenge to explain since the catalogue of albums features some incredible music in huge quantities. The opener, 'Numbers' is a typical 25 min epic employing the usual techniques in melody and structure. It revisits the melodies established through the song at the end /closing section to great effect. Also with repeated listens the hook from a later track 'Rising the imperial' is found within numbers and this helps to stitch the album to gether beautifully. The remaining tracks on the album are shorter than those you may find on other albums in the past, however they hold up very well as shorter songs and indicate a more streamlined approach. In the past songs like " For those about to drown' may have typically topped the 12 min mark, instead the middle intrumental section is cut short to return to the catchy refrain. The total running time for the album is a rather slim 55 mins which by the bands standards may seem almost EP in length, however there is more quality to be found on the 2 CD version. The second disk opens with a 'Illuminati' which is a slow burning blues piece which builds beautifully to a classic Stolt soaring guitar climax. In fact all of the musicianship on this album is sublime. Bodin provides a combination of catchy hooks of stabbing 70's influenced keyboards mixed with power chords of symphonic bluster. Reingold provides silky bass with heavy jazz influence and this works particularly well with the superb range of style that Lehrman can produce. The vocal combination of Stolt with the rock opera range that Froberg can reach works to perfection and every track is a great example of this. What amazes is the way that they all come together so readily and then produce such class so quickly. The ability of the unit is simply jawdropping. There may be many suggested starting points in a long and feature packed career for the new listener. The epic value of 'Stardust we are' or the frenetic jazz energy of "Rumble Fish twist" may be also worth a go early on, but for a converting listen to the magic of this group this album is about as good as it gets.
treebeard | 5/5 |


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