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Flower Kings, The: Adam & Eve

The Flower Kings have seemingly become one of the most controversial modern prog bands on the scene in recent years. By controversial I mean that the loyalty of the prog community is pretty much split down the middle-fans either love them or loathe them. I've never quite understood the latter for some reason. I mean, Roine Stolt and Co. create on a regular basis symphonic rock that pays close tribute to the great bands of the 70's, smattered with doses of fusion, pop,metal, and folk, all done with an obvious Swedish flair. Perhaps it's the regularity of their releases (this being I think the bands 15th release since their inception, counting all studio, live, and fan club platters), or the epic scope of some of their recordings (who else has the balls to release as many 20 minute songs or 2 CD sets these days?) But, isn't that what we love about progressive rock? So whats the problem? I can't speak for the folks that shun this outfit, but I know the legions of fans who do adore this band will love this latest release, Adam & Eve, a recording that follows similar paths as the last few releases have, yet has some subtle differences that will become apparent after a few spins. There are less "heavy" moments on this CD, less jamming, less jazz-fusion, but the symphonic quotient has been upped a notch, and more emphasis has been placed on the vocals of Hasse Froberg & Pain of Salvation's Daniel Gildenlow, as Roine Stolt tends to let his guitar do most of his talking on this CD.

Tomas Bodin's keyboard work is perhaps more evident on Adam & Evethan ever before, and his layers of lush Mellotron, Hammond, and synths are all over every track. The opening epic "Love Supreme" is a gorgeous piece, littered with catchy vocal melodies from Froberg & Gildenlow, searing yet melodic guitars, and symphonic keyboards, getting a feel much like Yes did so well back in the 70's. Waves of Mellotron and acoustic guitar play together so joyfully on the quick "Babylon", while the lead vocals of Gildenlow takes center stage on the creepy and chilling "A Vampires View", complemented by Mellotron, synths, percussion, and some ripping guitar from Stolt.

Hints of the early Flower Kings recordings can be heard on the jovial title track, where Stolt adds his trademark vocal and guitar stylings to create a truly fun and symphonic tune. Bodin's Hammond, Froberg's gutsy vocals, Jonas Reingold's beefy bass lines, and the intricate guitar work of Stolt lead the way on the aggressive "Timelines" , and the whole band delivers yet another solid epic in the masterful "Drivers Seat", a song just brimming with great melodies and 70's styled prog firepower, from the raging synths to the muscular & acrobatic bass work.

Are The Flower Kings the most original band on the planet. Of course not, but I don't think they ever pretended to be. As far as consistancy goes, it's hard to beat the impressive track record this band has racked up so far. With sales continually climbing, a great record label behind them in InsideOut Music America, and a horde of fans waiting for each new release, I'm sure that 20 years from now The Flower Kings will be mentioned as one of the greats in the history of progressive rock. Adam & Eve continues their trend of exceptional recordings, and is highly recommended. Of course, if you regularly ignore this band, I'm sure you will continue to do the same, but you are really missing out. Don't let me say "I told you so..."

Track Listing
1) Love Supreme - 19:50
2) Cosmic Circus - 3:00
3) Babylon - 2:41
4) A Vampires View - 8:50
5) Days Gone By - 1:10
6) Adam & Eve - 7:50
7) Starlight Man - 3:30
8) Timelines - 7:40
9) Drivers Seat - 18:22
10) The Blade Of Cain - 5:00

Added: August 24th 2004
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: The Flower Kings Official Website
Hits: 6832
Language: english

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