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THE FLOWER KINGS

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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The Flower Kings biography
Founded in Uppsala, Sweden in 1994 - Hiatus between 2008-2012

It's hard to make a biography about THE FLOWER KINGS, being that there's so much to say about them, so any attempt of telling their history may seem insufficient.
This essential Swedish group was born around 1993 as a power trio formed by Roine STOLT (Ex-KAIPA) in guitar and vocals, Jaime SALAZAR (Drums) and Hasse BRUNIUSSON (percussion), and ex-SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA, this lineup worked with Stolt in his solo album "The Flower King" with the participation of Hans Fröberg (Lead and Backing vocals) who would stay with them.

Soon they decided to form a band using the name of the solo album so THE FLOWER KINGS was born, the keyboardist Tomas BODIN and Roine's brother Michael in the bass joined and the band was officially born.

For 1995 they have their first release ready "Back in the World of Adventures" which impressed the critics very much for their closeness to the style of early bands such as Moody Blues, genesis, Jethro Tull etc, borrowing ideas but not music, so you can easily find their inspiration but a single chord copied, I personally liked the album but found it closer to Neo Prog than to Symphonic but this is only a stylistic precision that has no relation with the quality of the album.

The next few years are prolific with few changes and they release "Retropolis" in 1996. Stardust we Are" in 1997 and "Flower Power" in 1998 with no great changes.
In 1999 Michael Stolt leaves the band and is replaced by Jonas Reingold so the new formation for "Space Revolver" in the year 2000 also includes Ulf Wallander playing the Sax as a guest that remains for a long period with them.

After "The Rainmaker" in 2001 Jaime Salazar leaves the band and the drums are taken by Zoltan Csörsz who stays in the band until the release of "Paradox Hotel" (2005) when is replaced by Marcus Liliequist.
As most Swedish bands the quality of their music and the musicianship of their members is impeccable but don't expect the complexity of their most illustrious compatriots like Anglagard or the dark and almost religious atmosphere of Par Lindh Project (With whom Roine worked in Gothic Impressions), being that the music of THE FLOWER KINGS is a bit lighter but not inferior by any means.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

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THE FLOWER KINGS discography


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THE FLOWER KINGS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 714 ratings
Back in the World of Adventures
1995
3.74 | 623 ratings
Retropolis
1996
3.95 | 719 ratings
Stardust We Are
1997
3.96 | 605 ratings
Flower Power
1999
3.88 | 635 ratings
Space Revolver
2000
3.50 | 533 ratings
The Rainmaker
2001
3.90 | 635 ratings
Unfold the Future
2002
3.48 | 565 ratings
Adam & Eve
2004
3.70 | 568 ratings
Paradox Hotel
2006
3.82 | 637 ratings
The Sum of No Evil
2007
4.08 | 899 ratings
Banks of Eden
2012
3.95 | 670 ratings
Desolation Rose
2013
3.63 | 290 ratings
Waiting for Miracles
2019
3.83 | 239 ratings
Islands
2020
3.85 | 161 ratings
By Royal Decree
2022
3.67 | 97 ratings
Look at You Now
2023

THE FLOWER KINGS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 155 ratings
Alive on Planet Earth
2000
4.43 | 212 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording 2003
2003
3.51 | 40 ratings
Carpe Diem - Live in USA
2008
4.09 | 90 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011
4.81 | 7 ratings
Live in Europe 2023
2024

THE FLOWER KINGS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.16 | 141 ratings
Meet The Flower Kings @ Live Recording 2003
2003
3.78 | 110 ratings
Instant Delivery
2006
4.19 | 61 ratings
Tour Kaputt
2011

THE FLOWER KINGS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 53 ratings
Scanning the Greenhouse
1998
4.15 | 14 ratings
Two in One
2006
3.27 | 84 ratings
The Road Back Home
2007
4.84 | 25 ratings
A Kingdom of Colours
2017
4.57 | 28 ratings
A Kingdom of Colours II
2018

THE FLOWER KINGS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.87 | 15 ratings
Édition Limitée Québec 1998
1998
4.33 | 9 ratings
The Flower Kings
1999
2.89 | 18 ratings
Fanclub CD 2000
2000
3.09 | 40 ratings
The Rainmaker (Limited Edition)
2001
3.71 | 29 ratings
Live in New York - Official Bootleg
2002
3.89 | 25 ratings
The Fanclub CD 2002 - A Collection of Flower Kings Related Music
2002
2.22 | 38 ratings
BetchaWannaDanceStoopid!!
2004
2.48 | 14 ratings
Fanclub CD 2004
2004
2.97 | 31 ratings
Fanclub CD 2005 - Harvest
2005
3.69 | 49 ratings
Circus Brimstone Live - BrimStoned in Europe
2005

THE FLOWER KINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live in Europe 2023 by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Live, 2024
4.81 | 7 ratings

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Live in Europe 2023
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Dunnart

5 stars This is an essential for fans of symphonic prog and of The Flower Kings. A great song selection that includes recent and old classics. The recording and production, as well as the high level of singing and playing make this such a joy to listen to. Nicely balanced production and such a clear recording that works in the car, the home sound system or headphones. There isn't any filler on this release. Just want to play it again as soon as it's over. Would be great if this release was supported with a video of the concert.
 Look at You Now by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.67 | 97 ratings

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Look at You Now
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by tmoura2000

4 stars After a long spell, I´m back to ProgArchives. I decided to start by the new Flower Kings album, Look at You Now, because I think this is really an important CD, at least for me. I must say I was not specially taken by the post Tomas Bodin FK albums . Islands (2020) for instance, is one I still find hard to relate. Its follow up did not move me much either, and I tended to think that the band lost something around the pandemic year. I wondered if the last great abum to bear the Flower King moniker was 2018´s The Flower King: Manifesto of An Alchemist, even if it is cited as a Roine Stolt solo album (but it is not, really).

It all changed with Look at You Now: although this record follows the group´s recent trend to keep on writing shorter songs, this CD has a freshness and energy I haven´t seen in any FK output for years. Superficially the new songs seem not as good as they really are, but upon listening to the album a few more times, I got the same feeling I used to when I heard their 90´s classics. The band is in great shape and it was a joy to hear those classic guitar lines, very much in the vein of Steve Howe, back into the tunes. Was it something to do with the chemistry of having brother Michael Stolt back in the group? did it help the songs turned out so much better and inspired?

Whatever the true reasons, the fact remains that this CD moved me like the Flower Kings used to. Of course it is not another Retropolis or Stardust We Are, but the spirit is back. It´s like they now don´t need to write an epic of sorts to make some point. In fact, the short songs sound just like they should. Look at You Now is like a mix of the "old" Flower Kings with the more concise stuff they´re writing lately. It seems they finally found the right balance and I hope they continue in this path. With no fillers and with an excellent flow, it´s a real nice surprise.

Final rating: something between 3,5 and 4 stars. It may not be essential, but it is more than just very good.

 Look at You Now by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.67 | 97 ratings

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Look at You Now
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Magog2112

3 stars 'Look at You Now' is the sixteenth studio album by The Flower Kings. The album opens with the upbeat track "Beginner's Eyes." The following track, "The Dream," starts subdued and progressively crescendos, while maintaining serenity. The melody during the verse of "Hollow Man" reminds me of "Sympathy" by Rare Bird. The chorus is grandiose and contains magnificent vocal harmonies. The instrumental "Dr. Ribedeaux" features wonderful lead guitar playing from Roine Stolt and keyboard playing from Micheal Stolt. "Mother Earth" is essentially an apology from humanity to the Earth for our negligence towards the environment. Micheal Stolt sings lead vocals on "Mother Earth." He sings in an operatic style, and I quite like it. "The Queen" is another instrumental with an appropriate title, given the regal quality of the music. Mirko DeMaio's drumming on "The Light in Your Eyes" is excellent.

I like the trading vocals between Roine Stolt and Hasse Fröberg on "Seasons End." "Scars" and "Stronghold" are a bit forgettable, though both songs have climactic endings. I love the driving 7/8 rhythm of "Father Sky." My favorite song on 'Look At You Now' is "Day For Peace," which features Marjana Semkina of Iamthemorning. Both her and Stolt's vocals together are exquisite. DeMaio's marching snare drum is also a nice touch in the background. The eleven-minute title track closes the album. The music ebbs and flows from tranquil sections to more driving sections. The end of the closer references the opening track of the debut Flower Kings album, "World of Adventures." Which begs the question: Is this the Flower Kings' swan song? You would think, as it makes sense to end your career by bringing everything full circle, like they did here. If this is the final Flower Kings album, then they went out on a strong note.

 Islands by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.83 | 239 ratings

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Islands
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Magog2112

4 stars 'Islands' is the fourteenth studio album by The Flower Kings, not to be confused with the King Crimson album of the same title. 'Islands' is a COVID record, hence the title. Roine Stolt has claimed that 'Islands' is meant to be regarded as one, giant suite of music. However, the tracklist of 'Islands' indicates that the album comprises multiple, independent songs. The Flower Kings are known for writing lengthy epics. 'Islands' consists of concise songs, which is a breath of fresh air. I was disappointed by the previous Flower Kings record, 'Waiting for Miracles.' When I contemplated the iconic Roger Dean album artwork, I had some hope (from the album art alone) that 'Islands' could be a return to form for The Flower Kings. I'm pleased to say that what I hoped for was true.

The album opens with the incendiary "Racing with Blinders On." A pulsating 7/8 rhythm section, provided by Jonas Reingold's powerful bass and Mirkko DeMaio's acrobatic drums, lays the groundwork. Roine Stolt's guitar and Zach Kamins' keyboards play intricate melodies on top of the rhythm section. The vocals appear during the second half. I love the lyric, "Don't let the sadness grow and grab you. Don't let it take away that dream." "From the Ground" is a jovial song that I can't help but feel good listening to. "Black Swan" is a Queen pastiche. Roine Stolt's harmonizing guitars sound exactly like Brian May. Even the music of the verse reminds me of "Killer Queen."

"Morning News" is a simple song with a country twang. I like the classical guitar licks that are sprinkled throughout. The lyrics of "Broken" use the template, "Too many (this), too many (that)." The music resolves to the Yes-like chorus in 5/4. "Goodbye Outrage" is a classical piece that Stolt co-wrote with Kamins. Despite being less than two-minutes in duration, "Journeyman" is a highlight of 'Islands.' "Journeyman" is an instrumental that was written by Kamins. On this interlude, The Flower Kings hark back to the jazz fusion elements of 'Unfold the Future.' Like "Goodbye Outrage," Stolt also co-wrote "Tangerine" with Kamins. "Tangerine" has an irresistible groove and excellent bass playing from Reingold.

I adore the orchestral section of "Solaris" that culminates in a mellotron choir. There is a musical reference to "Stardust We Are" at the end of "Solaris." "Heart of the Valley" references the main lyric of "Morning News." Roine Stolt plays a climactic guitar solo on the instrumental entitled "Man in a Two Piece Suit," which closes the first disc of 'Islands.'

The second disc opens with a Hasse Fröberg piece entitled "All I Need Is Love." This is a great melodic pop/rock song that is incredibly catchy, despite having a chorus that's in 7/8. The vocals and instrumental of "All I Need Is Love" are both equally phenomenal. "A New Species" is similar to "Ascending to the Stars" from the previous record, in that it's an instrumental that utilizes orchestra programming. "A New Species" starts with atmospheric synths and an arpeggiated classical guitar. Eventually, the song becomes electric and allows each musician to shine. The yearning lyrics and beautiful melodies of "Northern Lights" make it a highlight of 'Islands.' Most of the song is in 7/8, but it's fairly simple.

Like "Journeyman," "Hidden Angels" is a brief, instrumental jazz interlude that was written by Kamins, and is the precursor to "Serpentine." Rob Townsend, who I know from Steve Hackett's band, plays soprano saxophone on "Serpentine." Townsend's saxophone playing elevates this song significantly. During the "Make it happen" lyric, the time signature shifts from 10/8 to 11/8. "Looking for Answers" is an instrumental that features a guitar solo from Stolt. "Telescope" borrows the lyrical motif ("the world is opening like a rose") from "Morning News." "Telescope" also features a guitar solo from Stolt.

"Fool's Gold" reinvigorates the second disc a bit, though it's not the most memorable. "Between Hope & Fear" is pleasant, but considering that it's the penultimate track, I was expecting a song that was more intense. The closing title track starts, fortunately, feels like a proper ending to 'Islands.' The title track is a grandiose instrumental that somewhat reminds me of the ending to "I Am the Sun." The music is slow and powerful, and Stolt's lead guitar work is extraordinary as always.

In conclusion, 'Islands' is an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. The first disc and the beginning of the second disc are very strong. 'Islands' loses a bit of steam towards the end. Therefore, I will rate 'Islands' four stars.

 Waiting for Miracles by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.63 | 290 ratings

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Waiting for Miracles
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Magog2112

2 stars 'Waiting for Miracles' is the thirteenth studio album by The Flower Kings, released six years after its predecessor, 'Desolation Rose.' The most noticeable difference on 'Waiting for Miracles' from all the Flower Kings albums that preceded it, is that Tomas Bodin is no longer in the band. I don't know exactly what happened in regards to his departure. All that I know is that he's not in the band, and his absence is felt. That's not to discredit American keyboardist Zach Kamins, who does a marvelous job of filling Bodin's big shoes. Kamins even has his own writing credits on a couple tracks. Bodin wasn't just a keyboardist, but also an excellent composer and arranger for the music of The Flower Kings. In my opinion, the songwriting suffers from his absence. 'Waiting for Miracles' is the first album to feature, from Italy, Mirko DeMaio on drums and percussion.

The album opens with "House of Cards," which is a piano piece that was written by Kamins. This is a promising prelude that I think could've made a beautiful introduction to an epic. Unfortunately, once we get into the album proper, starting with "Black Flag," my hope diminishes. What's even more unfortunate is "Black Flag" is one of the better songs on 'Waiting for Miracles.' It feels like a continuation of what we heard on 'Desolation Rose' in that the music is dark, albeit for Flower Kings standards. While I do love 'Desolation Rose,' "Black Flag" retreads old ground. There are good ideas presented in the song, but as with many latter-day Flower Kings songs, it could be executed better. The Hammond organ intro to "Miracles for America" is also promising, but then again, the music meanders. I lose interest in "Miracles for America" within the first three minutes.

The vocal harmonies in the beginning of "Vertigo" are pleasantly atmospheric. Hasse Fröberg's vocals are warm and inviting. Roine Stolt plays a guitar solo towards the end of "Vertigo." "The Bridge" is a piano ballad in the vein of "The Way the Waters Are Moving." The second half is electric and features a guitar solo from Stolt. "Ascending to the Stars" is an orchestral piece that was written by Kamins. Paul Cartwright plays violin and John "Zach" Dellinger plays viola on "Ascending to the Stars." The music is so cinematic it almost doesn't fit on 'Waiting for Miracles,' as if "Ascending to the Stars" was taken from a completely different album. The starting music sounds like something from 'Interstellar,' and then it erupts into heavy musical passages.

"Wicked Old Symphony" is the most accessible song on 'Waiting for Miracles' with a pleasant chorus. "The Rebel Circus" is an instrumental that features a guitar solo from Stolt. There is a brief reprise of the "Miracles for America" theme on 'The Rebel Circus.' "Sleep With the Enemy" is a bit lackluster, but it's not horrible. "The Crowning Greed" begins as an instrumental with more lead guitar from Stolt. The ending is a reprise of "The Bridge."

The strangest part of 'Waiting for Miracles' is that there are two CDs, but the second one is far shorter than the first, with a duration of just over 20 minutes. The two previous Flower Kings albums had bonus discs. You would think that this second disc is a bonus disc, right? Quite honestly, I don't know if it is or isn't, because it's marketed as being part of the album proper. "House of Cards Reprise" is exactly what the title says. "Spirals" is an electronic piece that starts atmospheric and then develops a groove. Suddenly, the music explodes. Unfortunately, after this exciting moment, the music doesn't really go anywhere. "Spirals" contains playful "da-da" vocals, accompanied by a jazzy rhythm section, provided by Mirko DeMaio and Jonas Reingold. "We Were Always Here" starts with a tribal drumbeat and evolves into a wonderful, melodic song. "We Were Always Here" is probably my favorite song on 'Waiting for Miracles.' The minute long closing track, "Busking at Brobank," is a blues ditty featuring what sounds like a theremin.

In conclusion, 'Waiting for Miracles' is a disappointing release from The Flower Kings. The music isn't bad, but it lacks the creativity that was apparent on its predecessor. There are some solid tracks like "Black Flag," "Ascending to the Stars," and "We Were Always Here." However, the rest of the material of 'Waiting for Miracles' is insipid.

 Desolation Rose by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.95 | 670 ratings

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Desolation Rose
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Magog2112

4 stars 'Desolation Rose' is the twelfth studio album by The Flower Kings, released on 28 October 2013. This is the last Flower Kings album to feature Tomas Bodin. Like 'Banks of Eden,' 'Desolation Rose' comprises two discs, the second one being a bonus disc of music that didn't make it on to the first. The Flower Kings are known for their celebratory sound, but as the title implies, 'Desolation Rose' is a dark album. The first disc of 'Desolation Rose' is semi-conceptual, containing musical themes and motifs interspersed throughout.

The album opens with the 13-minute epic "Tower One," which is one of my favorite Flower Kings songs. Rather than a long intro or overture, Roine Stolt's vocals appear right from the start. The vocal melodies are great and accompanied by wonderful guitar and bass riffing. I love the "I might have turned away from wonder" section with the wah-wah guitar chords and dark atmosphere, juxtaposed by the jovial "I'll know just when the end is near" lyric. Roine Stolt and Tomas Bodin's guitar and synth interplay is stunning. The reprise of the "She'll walk me slowly" lyric at the end acts as a beautiful climax to "Tower One." The Flower Kings aren't typically known for having a heavy sound, but "Sleeping Bones" contains one of the heaviest Flower Kings riffs. The title track introduces the anthemic "Silent Graveyard" theme, which is revisited later in the album. "White Tuxedos" was written by Jonas Reingold. The chorus borrows from the melody of an old nursery rhyme that I don't know the name of. Nevertheless, the melody is recognizable and gives "White Tuxedos" a playful, childlike quality. The guitar solo and jam towards the end of "White Tuxedos" reminds me of moments from 'Space Revolver.' The chorus of "The Resurrected Judas" is gorgeous, especially by the end of the song. The jazzy bridge is a highlight of 'Desolation Rose' and features all-around excellent musicianship.

The contrast between the upbeat verse and the anthemic chorus of "Silent Masses" is wonderful. The lyric, "All these men in the factory lines," is brilliantly reflected in the assembly line rhythm of the verse. The "Silent Graveyards" theme is brought back during the coda of "Silent Masses." The groovy 5/4 rhythm of "Last Carnivore" doesn't sound odd to me. The verses are sinister and the chorus is catchy. On ITunes, 'Desolation Rose' is labeled as a metal album, and I think I understand why. The riff from "Sleeping Bones" is reprised in the aptly-titled "Dark Fascist Skies." Except this time, it's even more heavy. The final two tracks of the first disc serve as a finale suite. "Blood of Eden" (not to be confused with the Peter Gabriel song) is a tender ballad. I love the simplicity of the lyric, "Is there someone out there?" "Silent Graveyards" reprises the main theme we've been hearing throughout the first disc. Many notable musicians sing chorus vocals on "Silent Graveyards," including Micheal Stolt, Nad Sylvan, and Andy Tillison.

The bonus disc deserves to be reviewed, as the material is phenomenal. "Runaway Train" is a great song with chromatic vocal harmonies, a catchy chorus, and copious energy. "Interstellar Visitations" is an atmospheric instrumental that at points, reminds me of Pink Floyd. Towards the end, the music crescendos into a grandiose climax. "Lazy Monkey" is a fun ditty with slide guitar. "Psalm 2013" is a moody instrumental in 9/8 that evokes the feeling of stormy weather. Roine Stolt plays an emotional guitar solo on "The Wailing Wall." "Badbeats" is a wonderful instrumental. The juxtaposition between the explosive bursts of guitar riffing and the beautiful orchestral moments make "Badbeats" unique. There is also a jazzy section near the middle of the track that features yet another Roine Stolt guitar solo, which crescendos into the climax. The title of "Burning Spears" is taken from a lyric in "Tower One." This instrumental is an incendiary reprise of "Pslam 2013." "The Final Era" is a gorgeous instrumental conclusion to the album, which features superb guitar soloing.

In conclusion, 'Desolation Rose' is a bittersweet Flower Kings album. The aforementioned departure of Tomas Bodin after 'Desolation Rose' resulted in a significant change in the Flower Kings' sound. Not only is he an excellent keyboardist, but he also co-wrote many Flower Kings songs, alongside Roine Stolt who did most of the writing. In short, the latest Flower Kings albums have been less than exceptional, and I attribute it to Bodin's absence. 'Desolation Rose' is, in my opinion, the last great Flower Kings record. One criticism I have in regards to The Flower Kings as a band is that they don't change up their sound very much from album-to-album. In other words, you know what you're going to get with each album before you first hear it. However, 'Desolation Rose' is an exception to that, as this sees the band taking elements of their retro prog sound, and mixing it with darker elements they haven't explored before. Consequently, what we get is a novel Flower Kings album that stands out in the discography as one of the band's best works.

 Banks of Eden by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.08 | 899 ratings

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Banks of Eden
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Magog2112

4 stars After the release of the underwhelming 'The Sum of No Evil,' The Flower Kings took a hiatus in 2008. The band reunited in 2012 to create 'Banks of Eden.' This is the eleventh studio album by The Flower Kings, released on 18 June 2012. It is the first Flower Kings album with Felix Lehrmann on drums. 'Banks of Eden' is a relatively short Flower Kings album with a duration of 53-minutes. At the end of the album, there is a bonus disc of four songs: "Illuminati," "Fireghosts," "Going Up," and "LoLines."

The album opens with the 25-minute epic "Numbers." Right from the beginning, The Flower Kings' music sounds reinvigorated. The chorus vocal melody is catchy. The "Hoping and praying..." section is poignant. The section that contains the lyric "And then the numbers may not come up right" builds in tension. Then, the tension is released during the reprise of the chorus towards the end. The finale features phenomenal lead guitar work from Roine Stolt. "Numbers" has its fair share of bombastic moments, as well as subdued sections. Overall, "Numbers" is a well-crafted epic with an impeccable flow that doesn't feel like 25-minutes in duration. "For the Love of Gold" was written by Tomas Bodin, and is a pleasant track with good melodies. Roine Stolt uses a strange vocal affect on "Pandemonium" during the verse. Stolt's guitar playing and Bodin's moog synth work makes "Pandemonium" a highlight on 'Banks of Eden.' "For Those About to Drown" is probably my least favorite song, as I don't find it particularly memorable or interesting. My favorite song on 'Banks of Eden' is "Rising the Imperial," which was written by Jonas Reingold. The "Tripping the world imperial" theme is reprised, but in a melancholic context. The instrumentation starts with just piano, vocals, bass, and slowly builds as the song progresses. Roine Stolt plays an emotional guitar solo towards the end.

I was shocked to see that 'Banks of Eden' contained a bonus disc, as I never thought the words "The Flower Kings" and "bonus disc" could be used in the same sentence until I bought this album. I say that because The Flower Kings are notorious for filling up their CDs to its maximum duration, and have released numerous double-CDs prior to 'Banks of Eden.' Don't let the bonus label fool you into thinking that everything on this separate disc is weaker by any means. "Illuminati" is a slow instrumental that reminds me of the tender moments on 'Flower Power.' The music intensifies as Roine Stolt plays a climactic guitar solo. "Fireghosts" is forgettable. The aptly titled "Going Up," like "Rising the Imperial," was also written by Jonas Reingold. Everything about "Going Up" evokes pure elation in me. The chorus is so joyous and makes me genuinely smile with glee. "LoLines" is a straightforward rock song with an interesting guitar and bass riff. In conclusion, 'Banks of Eden' is an excellent reunion album. I can imagine that this was a fun album for the band to write and record, and the energy is palpable.

 The Sum of No Evil by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.82 | 637 ratings

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The Sum of No Evil
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Magog2112

3 stars 'The Sum of No Evil' is the tenth studio album by The Flower Kings, released on 25 September 2007. Zoltan Csörsz returns on 'The Sum of No Evil,' and would be his final album with The Flower Kings. The album opens with "One More Time," starting with a melody that was alluded to briefly on "Monsters & Men" from the previous record, 'Paradox Hotel.' Despite being 13-minutes in duration, "One More Time" is fairly stagnant. There are good melodies and instrumental passages, but this is The Flower Kings at their most ordinary. The 24-minute track, "Love Is the Only Answer," is among the weakest Flower Kings epics. "Love Is the Only Answer" starts as a standard pop song, and then goes in a million different directions while failing to create a cohesive piece. Roine Stolt's guitar solo is the only redeeming moment of the whole epic; the rest is lackluster. "Trading My Soul" is a slow song with a dark atmosphere. The chaotic and heavy moments of "The Sum of No Reason" remind me of "Circus Brimstone" and "Silent Inferno," except those songs do it better. "Flight 999 (Brimstone Air)" was written by Tomas Bodin, and allows Zoltan Csörsz to shine on the drumkit. The final track, "Life in Motion," is my favorite song on 'The Sum of No Evil,' mainly due to the finale, which is beautiful. In conclusion, 'The Sum of No Evil' is Flower Kings paint-by-numbers. While there aren't any bad moments per se, I feel like we've already heard the music on 'The Sum of No Evil' from previous Flower Kings albums, but done better.
 Paradox Hotel by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.70 | 568 ratings

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Paradox Hotel
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Magog2112

4 stars 'Paradox Hotel' is the ninth studio album by The Flower Kings, released on 4 April 2006. 'Paradox Hotel' is the band's fourth double-CD. This is the only Flower Kings album to feature drummer Marcus Liliequist (who is also on the live album 'Instant Delivery'). I love all the Flower Kings drummers, but if I had to choose, Marcus Liliequist would probably be my favorite Flower Kings drummer. Like Zoltan Csörsz, Liliequist has a jazzy touch on the drumkit, but is aware of when to hold back or play powerfully. His drumming serves the Flower Kings' music well and I wish he was in the band for a longer period of time. The first CD is titled "Room 111" and the second CD is titled "Room 222."

The opener, "Check In," is an audio excerpt of a countdown, which dramatically leads the listener into the first proper song, "Monsters & Men." "Monsters & Men" comprises of three sections: "I. Seasons of War," "II. Prophets and Preachers," and "III. Silent River." This 21-minute epic is often regarded as one of the weakest Flower Kings epics, and I couldn't disagree more with that opinion. Tomas Bodin's piano and keyboard work shines on this track and is what drives "Monsters & Men." I love the Gentle Giant-esque section during the midpoint. The emotional highlight of "Monsters & Men" is the "Silent River" section. The ending piece is grandiose and climactic. The final atmospheric seconds of "Monsters & Men" bleeds into "Jealousy," which is another piano-led piece with orchestral elements. After the copious piano music, "Hit Me With a Hit" is the rocking tune we were waiting for. The song is in 9/8 and screams Yes, particularly "Close to the Edge." There's also a hint of Zappa heard from the percussion. Jonas Reingold's bass and Roine Stolt's guitar reminds me of Chris Squire and Steve Howe, respectively. Hasse Fröberg's vocals even remind me a bit of Jon Anderson, though Fröberg has more grit than Anderson. "Hit Me With a Hit" brilliantly transitions from Roine Stolt's guitar solo back into the song. The sustain of Roine's guitar at the end of the solo is stunning. "Pioneers of Aviation" is a contender for my favorite Flower Kings instrumental, alongside "Circus Brimstone." Each musician shines on this song, especially Jonas Reingold and Tomas Bodin. Bodin plays church organ at points. The guitar melody of "Pioneers of Aviation" fills me with inspiration.

The second half of the first disc is the weakest spot on 'Paradox Hotel.' Tracks like "Lucy Had a Dream," "Bavarian Skies," and "Mommy Leave the Light On" are among the weakest Flower Kings songs of this era of the band. Fortunately, "Selfconsuming Fire" and parts of "End on a High Note" keep this half of the CD from being unlistenable. The former begins with mellow nylon string guitar, and gradually crescendos into a couple guitar solos. The latter reminds me yet again of Yes, the song this time being "And You and I."

The second disc of 'Paradox Hotel' is perfect. It opens with one of my favorite Flower Kings songs, "Minor Giant Steps." The oxymoronic title describes the evolution of humanity. Hasse Froberg's vocal performance on "Minor Giant Steps" is among his best. Fröberg is able to sing with bombast during the "Now we understand..." lyric and later with delicacy during the "I'm just a minor giant soul..." lyric, which demonstrates excellent vocal control. Overall, Hasse Fröberg shines on "Minor Giant Steps," and his performance moves me. "Touch My Heaven" was written by Tomas Bodin, and is one of my favorite pieces from him. "Touch My Heaven" is unlike any song in The Flower Kings discography. The first half is moody, and the ending guitar solo with the supporting backing vocals is a exquisite. "The Unorthodox Dancinglesson" should've been renamed "Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part 6)." All joking aside, "The Unorthodox Dancinglesson" is a dissonant, King Crimson-inspired instrumental that, like "Hit Me With a Hit," has a Zappa element, mostly due to the use of percussion. Marcus Liliequist's drumming is phenomenal, especially during the explosive bridge. "Man of the World" is an accessible rock song in 11/8. "Life Will Kill You" is a contender for my favorite Hasse Fröberg composition, alongside "Magic Pie." "Life Will Kill You" is an excellent rock song filled with wonderful hooks. I love the juxtaposition between the jazz verse and the powerful chorus. "The Way the Waters Are Moving" is a heartbreaking piano ballad about (I believe) the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. "What If God Is Alone" is one of my favorite Flower Kings songs and lyrics. This song was written by Jonas Reingold and is my favorite composition from him. The first minute of "What If God Is Alone" is hauntingly atmospheric, and finally the music builds to the first verse. Roine Stolt sings lead vocals during the first two verses and the rest is sung by Hasse Fröberg. The end section makes me cry and is the climax of 'Paradox Hotel.' Every musician is playing with maximum power by the end. Roine Stolt plays a superb guitar solo alongside Fröberg's heavenly vocals, creating an orgasmic combination. We're in the final stretch. The title track is a heavy rock song with catchy hooks. The closer, "Blue Planet," is another favorite of mine. Essentially, "Blue Planet" is a reprise of "Silent River" from "Monsters & Men," which gives 'Paradox Hotel' some cohesion. It's strange to hear a theme that you heard from two hours ago. Nevertheless, the music is beautiful and melancholic. As if I wasn't emotionally drained by this point already, the lyric, "I just want to keep the dream forever, and I never want to leave. I wish that everyone could see and feel the way I feel," hits me like a ton of bricks. The last few minutes of "Blue Planet" ends 'Paradox Hotel' similarly to how it began.

In conclusion, 'Paradox Hotel' is the closest The Flower Kings have come to reaching the height of 'Stardust We Are,' my favorite Flower Kings album. I have a strong emotional connection with this album. It pains me not to give 'Paradox Hotel' five stars, but there are some superfluous tracks towards the end of the first disc that ultimately hinder this album from being perfect. However, the first half of the first disc, as well as the entire second disc, are flawless in my eyes.

 Adam & Eve by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.48 | 565 ratings

BUY
Adam & Eve
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Magog2112

3 stars 'Adam & Eve' is the eighth studio album by The Flower Kings, released in August 2004. This is the only album to feature Daniel Gildenlöw of Pain of Salvation as a full-time band member and is the last album with drummer Zoltan Csörsz before his departure. Csörsz would later appear on 2007s 'The Sum of No Evil.' 'Adam & Eve' is a divisive album among fans, but I see this album as another step in the right direction for The Flower Kings.

The album opens with one of the best Flower Kings songs, "Love Supreme." This 19-minute tour de force starts as an acoustic piece, and then gradually crescendos. The vocal harmonies as well as Hasse Fröberg's lead vocals are stunning. I hear some Chris Squire in Jonas Reingold's bass playing. Reingold also plays inventive bass arpeggios during the "coming up, growing up" lyric. Roine Stolt's lead guitar playing bursts with creativity. The second half of "Love Supreme," like the first half, starts acoustic and slowly builds. I hear influences of American folk music during this particular section. I like Csörsz's in-the-pocket drumming style, which is complemented by his rhythm section partner in crime, Jonas Reingold and his groovy basslines. Hasse Fröberg's lead vocals powerfully contrast Roine Stolt's lead vocals. Themes from the first half are brought back as the music culminates into a cinematic finale. Overall, "Love Supreme" is a paradigm of the Flower Kings and their sound. "Cosmic Circus" is a simple, yet beautiful song. "Babylon" is a short instrumental written by Tomas Bodin.

Daniel Gildenlöw sings lead vocals on "A Vampire's View." This song is theatrical and one of the most unique Flower Kings songs. The enjoyment I receive from listening to "A Vampire's View" is dependent on my mood. Daniel Gildenlöw's vocals are theatrical. "Days Gone By" is a waltz piano interlude written by Tomas Bodin. The title track is a straightforward rocker sprinkled with Flower Kings quirks. Daniel Gildenlöw's vocals are yet again theatrical on this one.

The Flower Kings dive head first into pop on "Starlight Man." I really like the accessibility of this track, which acts as a pleasant palate cleanser. The following track, "Timelines," is my least favorite song on 'Adam & Eve.' There are some interesting moments but overall, "Timelines" is a forgettable song. The second epic of 'Adam & Eve' is the 18-minute "Driver's Seat." The funky verse in the beginning features Daniel Gildenlöw's dramatic lead vocals. There's an odd pause in the middle of "Driver's Seat" which leads into the grandiose second half. The brilliantly titled closer, "The Blade of Cain," is a mostly instrumental piece that showcases Roine Stolt's excellent guitar work and is a climactic ending to the album. Hasse Fröberg sings the "it shines even brighter" lyric from "Love Supreme," which gives 'Adam & Eve' a sense of cohesion.

In conclusion, 'Adam & Eve' is a good Flower Kings album that I think is slightly better than its predecessor, 'Unfold the Future.' The beginning and end of 'Adam & Eve' is phenomenal. It's the middle of the album where 'Adam & Eve' falters a bit. I must admit, "Love Supreme" does distort my perception of 'Adam & Eve' as a whole because of the sheer greatness of that track.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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