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Thread: FEATURED ALBUM: The Flower Kings - Unfold the Future

  1. #1
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    FEATURED ALBUM: The Flower Kings - Unfold the Future

    How did the future unfold for this landmark album in The Flower Kings' catalog after 20 years? This one has always been one of my personal favorites. I don't usually care for 2CD sets as it often is a bit too much music to fall under one album, but a good portion of this sprawling recording holds up very well, imo. Silent Inferno remains my favorite track. Thoughts?



    Review from ProgArchives
    There are not too many groups that garner attention and gather the anticipation of a new release like Sweden's progressive rock superstars The FLOWER KINGS. With that, the responsibility they carry on their shoulders attaches a huge accountability to everything they do. In a marvelous and humble way, they always come up with an outstanding effort every time they go into the studio to record. In addition, they have come out of several sessions with enough material to fill two CDs, which is once again the case with "Unfold The Future".

    They continue to amaze me with every album. I ask myself each time- "Can this band actually become better?" I answer that question with a resounding and affirmative "yes." They sound hauntingly similar to Yes, then follow with a track that puts them in a league all their own, quickly turning things around to sound like a stand alone great prog-rock band with a first class lead singer that has a definitive Swedish accent. They are indeed the purveyors of some of the most sophisticated and pure music here on the planet earth. With each listen of this album, and believe me there were several, I hear more intricacies and developments in their music that I did not hear on the previous listen. From my point of view as a critic and someone that studiously pays attention to every note, that carries a tremendous amount of weight. So where do I start with my rundown on this set with over two hours of prog-rock bliss? It is not an easy task mind you, but I will pick out what I though were the brightest spots on the recording.

    Disc one starts things off with a classic FK oeuvre called "The Truth Will Set You Free." It is 30 minutes of progressive nirvana. "Monkey Business" is a rockin' romp in the musical jungle, putting a decidedly straight-ahead rock slant on their sound. My absolute favorite is the ever-changing "Silent Inferno." The time signatures in the song are extraordinary, and it is the band in their most essential element. They are obviously talented enough to flip-flop between genres and seamlessly blend several styles into one song by adding a tasteful saxophone here and an airy keyboard layer there. I normally rant and rave about Roine STOLT's guitar playing, and yes, it is always superb, but this time out I must say that this is a total and complete effort from every member of this group, it always is, I noticed it more than ever with this album though. The maturity of each group member, and how that aspect helps to evolve the band's overall sound, becomes more important as the recording plays deep into the first disc then continues with the second. The advent of successful solo albums by the members of the group also gives them more depth and variety than ever before.

    Side two opens with a delightful "Genie In The Bottle" and "Rollin The Dice" is equally engaging with snappy hooks and dreamy vocals. The solos that each band member has the opportunity to produce is another factor that makes this release so much more intriguing and introspective than previous albums. I have enjoyed everything that this group has ever done, it seems now that they have moved up yet another notch and taken it all to the next level in their select dominion of prog-rock. I dare say that there are only a few groups with this kind of power and presence, I think you know who they are fellow prog-heads. This group has been one of the very few consistently great ones over the past 7 years. So, I ask you now, who will fall from your good graces this year? Moreover, who will stay right there in front of you to keep your focus? I can tell you that this group is not giving an inch on their position, with this album they have a firmer grip on their place in musical history reserved for only legends. - Muzikman




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  2. #2
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    I picked it up on vinyl a few years ago when it became available. It came with 2 CDs included. I thought I could sell my original CD copy. Boy was I wrong. Nobody wants it.
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    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    I've drifted away from FK some years ago but one listen to Silent Inferno makes want to dig out my discs again.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    I picked it up on vinyl a few years ago when it became available. It came with 2 CDs included. I thought I could sell my original CD copy. Boy was I wrong. Nobody wants it.
    I'm not clear on what you are saying here.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by fiberman View Post
    I'm not clear on what you are saying here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flightwave View Post
    If you decide to sell any stuff may you let us all know? Always looking for more Prog.

    See Thread: What's Your Favorite Old Neo-Prog Album?

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    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    This is a strong release from what I suppose is now their 'middle' period. For such a mammoth album, there's really not anything that comes across as filler to me.
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk and former scribe at Classic Rock Society. Only vaguely aware of anything other than music.

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  7. #7
    I loved this release when it first came out but aside from the Truth Will Set You Free, I don't tend to listen to it at all anymore. Like just about all TFK albums, there's just too much filler (or what I consider filler).

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by flowerking View Post
    I loved this release when it first came out but aside from the Truth Will Set You Free, I don't tend to listen to it at all anymore. Like just about all TFK albums, there's just too much filler (or what I consider filler).
    Wow, can’t say I agree with this at all. There’s very little — if any — filler on UTF if you ask me. It’s possibly their most varied and ambitious album of their entire career.
    "what's better, peanut butter or g-sharp minor?"
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    This is the only Flower Kings album I own. I like it a lot, however the number of shorter tracks (at least 6 of them) tend to weave into Pop too much. The longer tracks are very good to great, including "The Truth", "Silent Inferno", "Genie In A Bottle" and especially "Devil's Playground". When they stretch it out on the longer numbers, the guitar and keyboard interplay blends through nicely. Not an outstanding album in my opinion, but very good overall.

  10. #10
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    Probably my favorite FK album. I do not think there is any real filler on this one but its way too long anyway. Around 50 minutes is the natural timespan an average person can stay concentrated. 2CDS of 75 minutes is just too much.

    I always regret that after this album they almost surgically removed all the jazz rock elements from their music. I really miss that in later FK.

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    I don't really listen to any of these bands that much now. But I think this one has probably held up best for me, and probably because of the things I didn't care for initially like 'Christianopel' etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    I always regret that after this album they almost surgically removed all the jazz rock elements from their music. I really miss that in later FK.
    Yes I think that may be why this one stands out, it doubles down on one of their strengths- their musicianship. I find them stronger players than songwriters. I don't really care for the likes of 'Fast Lane' on here.

    The main drawback is their usual lack of self-editing. Very good musicians but their albums do tend to sprawl.

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    I haven't played this for quite a while, probably would have been better as a single album, there's some great stuff but as is often the case quite a few tracks I skip too.

  13. #13
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    My favourite The Flower Kings album. It is vastly overlong but at least most of the material is quite good and I enjoy the jazz/jazz-rock aspect.
    My progressive music site: https://pienemmatpurot.com/

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve983 View Post
    I haven't played this for quite a while, probably would have been better as a single album, there's some great stuff but as is often the case quite a few tracks I skip too.
    This is probably why Space Revolver is my favorite TFK release - because they pruned it down to a single disc. Most of these double CDs that the band releases has material that, in my mind, shouldn't be there.

  15. #15
    One of the most accessible of sympho bands, that gets very boring after 30 mins of listening to. Roine Stolt is a wasted talent unfortunately. However, this is their best album and if one needs any, it's the one to get.
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by flowerking View Post
    This is probably why Space Revolver is my favorite TFK release - because they pruned it down to a single disc. Most of these double CDs that the band releases has material that, in my mind, shouldn't be there.
    Very true. But even Space Revolver has the terrible sub-epic “The Monster Within.” That’s one of the biggest filler tracks The Flower Kings ever released.
    But the last 17-min of that album is beyond sublime.

  17. #17
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    I always get a bit itchy when I see people use the word 'filler' so easily.
    Every album FK got stuff I like and stuff I do not like. Some albums more of the one then the other. But filler? I am sure Stolt and Co never said; We planned this CD to be 75 minute so lets write and record another two 5-minute tracks quickly. I kinda like some of the songs other qualify as filler, like Ghost of the red cloud. I dislike the pompous 'stardust we aaarreeeeeeeee, close to diviiiiiiiiiinneeee', Bléh. Just not my thing, not filler.

  18. #18
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    This was my intro to the Flower Kings back at the end of 2002. This one is pretty unique among TFK albums due to the more jazzy elements. A big part of that is the presence of Zoltán Csörsz who helps give this album a somewhat different vibe than previous albums. Too bad Roine seemed determined to abandon this approach on subsequent albums.
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    Big fan of this one, although I have not given it a listen in a while.

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    I have the original CD's of this one. Is there a big difference between the original version and the 2017 remaster?

  21. #21
    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    I had this one at one point. I thought I still had it but I guess not. Anyway, I remember it being a slight deviation from their usual bombastic symph approach. Plenty of symph on here for sure but also a bit of a jazzy or fusion element that they probably didn't do much until this release. One I'll definitely need to hear again at some point.
    You can't take a photograph of Uzis on a street corner.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    I always get a bit itchy when I see people use the word 'filler' so easily.
    Every album FK got stuff I like and stuff I do not like. Some albums more of the one then the other. But filler? I am sure Stolt and Co never said; We planned this CD to be 75 minute so lets write and record another two 5-minute tracks quickly. I kinda like some of the songs other qualify as filler, like Ghost of the red cloud. I dislike the pompous 'stardust we aaarreeeeeeeee, close to diviiiiiiiiiinneeee', Bléh. Just not my thing, not filler.
    Thank you for saying this. I feel the same way when it comes to TFK tracks that I don't like -- and there are several. But I wouldn't call them filler, no sir. Just because I don't care for a song doesn't mean it's just there to act as "filler" on the album. Clearly the band thought it should be there, and I respect their decision even if I don't want to listen to that particular track.
    "what's better, peanut butter or g-sharp minor?"
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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by yesstiles View Post
    Very true. But even Space Revolver has the terrible sub-epic “The Monster Within.” That’s one of the biggest filler tracks The Flower Kings ever released.
    Not filler at all man. I think we're getting way off into the weeds with the use of the word "filler" here.

    I love "Monster Within", and even learned the intro to the song on my piano at home as a method to practice transcribing.

    I have never cared much for "Slave to Money" or "You Don't Know What You've Got", but that doesn't make them filler. Quite a bit of work went into those songs.
    "what's better, peanut butter or g-sharp minor?"
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  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by spacefreak View Post
    Roine Stolt is a wasted talent unfortunately.
    No way, dude. A wasted talent? Come on, man.
    "what's better, peanut butter or g-sharp minor?"
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  25. #25
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Just listening Unfold The Future. I realized when searching it from the record shelf that it is the last The Flower Kings album I ever bought.
    My progressive music site: https://pienemmatpurot.com/

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