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Thread: FEATURED ALBUM: Roine Stolt - The Flower King

  1. #1
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    FEATURED ALBUM: Roine Stolt - The Flower King

    This definitive album that introduced the world to what would be The Flower Kings is now 25 years old this year. How has it held up all these years? Discuss.




    Review from ProgArchives
    Many people consider Stolt's The Flower King to be the first Flower Kings album. This is most likely because this album captures the essence of the Flower Kings sound. Also, core members of the Flower Kings are participants of this album, including Jaime Salazer and Hasse Bruniusson on drums, Ulf Wallander on sax, and Hasse Fröberg on vocals. But of course, the Flower Kings would take their name from the title of this album. But one important fact to remember is that Stolt is the only composer of this work and takes care of all guitar, bass, keyboard and lead vocal work. In a sense it feels partly like a solo album, and partly like a Flower Kings album. Think of it as a prototype or precursor.

    The album starts off with the mostly-accessible, 10+ minute The Flower King. A charming song, fit for AOR radio play, and filled with psychedelic-inspired lyrics (a common Flower Kings trait). This is followed by the highly energetic and powerful Dissonata, with its driving bass lines and some masterful guitar work. This is the crowning jewel of the album and is one of the best songs Stolt has ever composed and performed. The Magic Circus of Zeb is a wonderful instrumental with some amazing guitar solos by Stolt. Close Your Eyes is a short ambient piece, comparable to the average Flower Kings filler. This leads to The Pilgrims Inn, another instrumental with excellent guitar work and some great sax playing. The Sounds of Violence is another instrumental, not quite as good as the previous one, but still a great song. Next follows what one would expect to be the best song, the 20+ minute, six-part suite Humanizzimo. Yes, it's a great song, but by the time you're more than midway through it, it starts to drag on and lacks the energy of the earlier songs on this disc. It appears to be about humanity and its struggles, partly Christian-inspired in its third part. Scanning the Greenhouse, the closing piece, is basically a reprise of the themes from the first song.

    As mentioned earlier, this has a strong Flower Kings sound to it, but other influences include ELP, King Crimson, Kaipa, and Yes. It has very few dull moments on it, is a very enjoyable listen, and one of the best releases of the 1990's. Stolt's performance, not only as a guitarist, but also as a bassist and on the keyboards is extremely well done. The production is tight, and seems less sloppy than some of the early Flower Kings albums. The lyrics are somewhat nonsensical in places (just like the Flower Kings), but I've found his lyrical style to be charming. You also have to remember his native language is Swedish, so expect English translations to be off slightly, if not strange in places. Sometimes I find the lyrics rather humorous. I think The Flower King is better than the first two Flower Kings albums and a few of their later ones. I highly recommend it to symphonic prog fans, and although not a masterpiece, this is easily an excellent addition to anyone's prog collection. Essential for Flower Kings fans. Well worth four stars. - progaeopteryx




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  2. #2
    Its held up great in my opinion. This and Hydrophonia are the pinnacles of Stolt's solo material (although I consider this one to be TFK release). The title track is one of Stolt's best compositions.

  3. #3
    I love this album :-)

  4. #4
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    The vocals and awkward/nouveau-hippie lyrics drag this one down for me, but the music and especially the guitar playing is very strong.

  5. #5
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    A favorite album.
    As noted in the review, Dissonata is wonderful. Easily ranks up there with top Prog of the 70's IMHO.

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    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    I know it wasn't Roine's first album exactly, but I'm amazed at what a cohesive sound overall this album has. It doesn't come across (to me) as uneven as things would occasionally become on later albums. I happen to really like Roine's voice, so that's another item in the plus column.
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  7. #7
    If I remember correctly the artwork is Roine's as well.

    I like it. Roine's output has been amazingly consistent all these years. Like in the other mid-late 90s records there's some vague Christian imagery in the lyrics (where Jon Anderson would have had Hinduism). It was more than anything else the question of him feeling alienated by the emerging death/black metal scene in rock music in Scandinavia at the time.
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    Worthy of Laudation thedunno's Avatar
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    Some great instrumental stuff.
    Some awfull vocal melodies and lyrics.

  9. #9
    Dissonata is still one of my favorite things he has ever done. It has held up quite well IMO.

  10. #10
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    I just bought this album a month ago. I was pleasantly surprised at how much of it was instrumental. However, the vocal songs are okay for the most part; "Humanizzimo" is the only one that drags for me. The lyrics to that one are also a bit annoying.

    I've never been all that wild about TFK's 20+ minute epics. They just don't hold together. The best thing they ever did was to break up "I Am The Sun" into two separate songs to bookend Space Revolver.
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    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    I don't mind the lyrics and vocals.

    The part of the album I like best is the tag at the end of The Pilgrims Inn that starts at the 7 minute mark. If I remember correctly, its basically a brief instrumental stuck at the end of a longer instrumental that it has nothing to do with, but its been a while since I've spun it.

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    The Magic Circus Of Zeb is one of the most amazing guitar work outs.

  13. #13
    The coda to The Pilgrims Inn is based on part of Kaipa’s Inget Nytt Under Solen.

  14. #14
    Ordinary Idiot Superfly's Avatar
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    My introduction to TFK was the Scanning The Greenhouse compilation, which made me want to explore the band further. I now have all of their albums. If my intro had been The Flower King album, I'm not sure I would have explored their work any further. I do love the title track, and Roine's guitar work is quite spectacular and has grown even more so over time. But it took me a while to warm up to the Wetton meets Gabriel vocals, and lyrically, well, I won't even get into the lyrics. All in all, not even close to my favorite TFK album, but in hindsight it is a very solid starting point and points the way to things to come.

    ps...I really hate that cover art. And yes, I could do better.
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    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Doesn't Roine mention his love for Jon Anderson in the liner notes? Little did he know, he'd be carrying Jon's water in the future with "The Invention of Knowledge".

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    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    The coda to The Pilgrims Inn is based on part of Kaipa’s Inget Nytt Under Solen.

    Huh, right as always Calyx. I forgot this excerpt was on their live record.


  17. #17
    Definitely a Flower Kings record. Roine just didn't know at the time that it would take off like it did. A very good album in the same league as the two follow-ups "Back in the World of Adventures" and "Retropolis." Things didn't really hit full-magic though until the amazing "Stardust We Are," then it was a wild ride from 1997-2012 of the best post-70's music ever.

  18. #18
    Member ombasan's Avatar
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    I like it. I really wish I'd already known it in the 90s when it was released!

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    Member Vic333's Avatar
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    I haven't been able to get into the Flower Kings as of yet. I can tell they're good, they just don't click with me.
    I haven't tried this one, though. Perhaps I should give it a spin.

  20. #20
    I love it. And everything that came after it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    Doesn't Roine mention his love for Jon Anderson in the liner notes? Little did he know, he'd be carrying Jon's water in the future with "The Invention of Knowledge".
    Little did he know Jon would refer to him as "a Swedish guy" in a radio interview with Jim Kerr...
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  21. #21
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    A very good LP and the start of The Flower Kings. I would rank it as my least favorite Flower Kings album but for the fact that it is, in fact, a solo work.
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  22. #22
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    Doesn't Roine mention his love for Jon Anderson in the liner notes? Little did he know, he'd be carrying Jon's water in the future with "The Invention of Knowledge".
    I looked but didn't find any mention of JA. Maybe it's in the fine print.
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  23. #23
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmatopia View Post
    I looked but didn't find any mention of JA. Maybe it's in the fine print.
    The very last line in the liner notes on my booklet....
    "And Jon Andersson, you're still the greatest!"

    I presume he means the ultimate Flower Person himself. It's consistent with all of the lyrical awkwardness contained within the album.

  24. #24
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Never really totally heard this one (currently listening to the YT samples), but I did own for a while Back In and Retropolis, but got rid of them after a disastrous concert (for the latter's tour) in Verviers, where they couldn't play properly the t-t and the rest was a boring soup, not helped by the awful sonics (usually good in Verviers). I don't think I gave any TFK album a note above a Gnosis 8

    I remember at the time being mildly interested, but never excited (at least not like other swede projects did >> PLP, Anglagard, Anekdoten, Landberk) and I did hear further albums (loans from buddies or borrowing from library systems), but never managed to rise an eyebrow (last I heard was No Evil). I was also very turned off by the amount of stuff Stolt published (I had the same unease for/with Zuffanti and Steve Wilson):for about a decade, it seemed they released every note they ever played.

    I only managed to suffer the first 10 minutes of the concert they played in the Prog Resiste festival In Soignies a couple of years ago (Aymeric will confirm: I was sitting in front of him).



    EDIT:
    Btw, I never thought much of his solo stuff and genuinely tried to dig the old Kaipa stuff (not the stinking resurgence), but didn't succeed either (maximum a Gnosis 9 for their second album if memory serves).
    Last edited by Trane; 03-12-2019 at 07:45 AM.
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  25. #25
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Haven't listened to it in years but I like it. It's better than Adam & Eve.

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