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The Flower Kings: By Royal Decree

Another double album from Sweden's The Flower Kings...are you surprised? By Royal Decree is the bands 15th studio album, of which roughly half are double albums, so this latest 2CD set, which features 18 new songs and 90 minutes of music is nothing out of the ordinary for Roine Stolt & Co., though what come is more surprising is the lack of epics on the album and shorter song formats. With not one track clocking over 8-minutes, the band have gotten back to a more song based album here on By Royal Decree, though all the normal elements are of course present; the plethora of guitar and keyboard solos, the great dual lead vocals from Stolt & Hasse Fröberg, and the wealth of groove and rock solid rhythms. Michael Stolt & Jonas Reingold provide bass on the album, drums are once again courtesy of Mirko DeMaio, and Zach Kamins has now finished his third album with the band on keyboards.

As for the music, no real surprises here on By Royal Decree, just a lot more of The Flower King's brand of trademark, melodic, laid back progressive rock. While their music has always borrowed a bit from Yes, they always had that 'Swedish' sound, very pastoral and majestic, and tracks here such as "A Million Stars", "World Gone Crazy", "The Great Pretender", "Time the Great Healer", "Peacock on Parade", and "Funeral Pyres" deliver all the elements we've come to expect from these guys. Kamins for his part plays a huge role here, his use of synths, pianos, and organ seep into every track, and his soloing is quite remarkable, especially when he's trading with the always nimble Stolt, a guitarist of serious talent who doesn't always get the credit he deserves. Listen to these two trade melodic lines on the prog/fusion of the soaring "Revolution"...impressive.

As with most double albums, there are those that are going to question whether some material might have been omitted to come up with a tighter album, and while I won't lie, there are a few songs here that aren't necessarily classics, for the most part, a good 75-80% of By Royal Decree is top quality The Flower Kings in my book. The rest is still pretty damn solid, and as a whole this one is easy to recommend to any fan of the band or modern prog in general. Wonderful artwork on the digipack too I might add.

Track Listing
1.The Great Pretender (6:55)
2.World Gone Crazy (5:04)
3.Blinded (7:45)
4.A Million Stars (7:11)
5.The Soldier (5:23)
6.The Darkness In You (5:13)
7.We Can Make It Work (2:48)
8.Peacock On Parade (5:15)
9.Revolution (5:59)
10.Time The Great Healer (6:12)
11.Letter (2:25)
12.Evolution (4:47)
13.Silent Ways (5:01)
14.Moth (4:31)
15.The Big Funk (4:39)
16.Open Your Heart (5:17)
17.Shrine (1:08)
18.Funeral Pyres (7:14)

Added: April 10th 2022
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 589
Language: english

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