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Roine Stolt’s The Flower King: Manifesto Of An Alchemist

In the realm of making music, is there anything this guy hasn’t done? I am talking about Roine Stolt. The Flower Kings leader has been involved with many projects over the years including Kaipa, Transatlantic, Agents Of Mercy, Anderson/Stolt and The Sea Within. I don’t where he finds the time to consistently produce such quality albums but he does and The Flower King is back with his new project Roine Stolt’s The Flower King and the album Manifesto Of An Alchemist. And while this isn’t an official Flower Kings release, Stolt is clearly the leader and is joined by fellow Flower King and Sea Within bandmate bassist Jonas Reingold and old friend Hasse Froberg on vocals. Other players include Sea Within drummer Marco Minnemann, Max Lorentz (Hammond B3 organ, vocals), Michael Stolt (vocals, bass), Nad Sylvan (vocals), Zach Kamins (organ, Moog, Mellotron) and Rob Townsend (saxophone and flute).

The album consists of a few shorter tracks interspersed with some longer pieces; one track over twelve and a couple close to ten. Listening to this album I was struck by just how encompassing it was of Stolt’s career. This stands to reason as many of these tracks have existed as demos for years so the nuts and bolts were in place before the band even headed into the studio. And yes, there are some Flower Kings-like moments scattered about with Stolt’s imaginative guitar work all over these ten tracks.

The first track “Rainsong” is a short segue way into the album proper featuring atmospheric and spacey keyboards and Stolt’s melodic vocals repeating, “It’s raining while you’re waiting”. Then its “Lost America” beginning with huge rhythmic bursts of guitar and a great bass line from Reingold. A variety of keyboards, including Hammond, often percolate in the background while Stolt spins a bit of politics with the lyrics, as you might have imagined given the song title. Heavy power chords lead to a superb bass solo, then on to mellower sounds that are beautifully orchestrated. Lots of change ups and musical explorations really up the progressive factor which we have come to expect from Stolt’s projects. Continuing with a political theme is “Ze Pawns” and its eerie synths and atmospheric guitar. It’s not a heavy song although the atmosphere does create some tension and Stolt’s guitar is at the forefront with fast little runs, soaring leads and melodic rhythms. The chorus is catchy and the band hits its stride, some nice bass, drum and organ interplay before ending with voice samples, including the words of John F. Kennedy. “High Road” is a grandiose progressive rock tune with a hopeful vibe and tasty melodies. There’s some excellent guitar work, building from simple chords to more complex structures and the keyboard sounds are also well worth mentioning. This is perhaps the most ‘Flower King’ sounding track, exploring jazzy elements as well. The music gets quite dense with a guitar crescendo that is classic Stolt. There is so much happening here and yet only three players; Froberg, Minnemann and Stolt. Two of the shorter tracks include the very catchy “Next To A Hurricane” and the somewhat cloying “Baby Angels”. Yes, the title and lyrics are perhaps too ‘sweet’ but it is a nice homage to The Beatles and still has some merits. A couple of instrumentals include “Rio Grande” where Minnemann absolutely shines and “The Alchemist” featuring a funky groove, fusion guitar and an outstanding sax solo from Townsend. Some of the guitar has an Eastern slant adding exotic flavours which help to diversify the sound.

It’s really nice to hear Stolt get back to his roots and to especially let his guitar shine, as it does through much of the album. Manifesto Of An Alchemist is an excellent disc. For Flower Kings fans this is an easy choice.

Track Listing:
1. Rainsong
2. Lost America
3. Ze Pawns
4. High Road
5. Rio Grande
6. Next To A Hurricane
7. The Alchemist
8. Baby Angels
9. Six Thirty Wake-Up
10. The Spell of Money

Added: January 22nd 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1029
Language: english

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