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4.8 out of 5 stars13
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on 11 April 2006
I have to be honest and say that I spotted the following review of this amazing album on amazon.com but it totally reflects how I feel about this wonderful band and their incredible new album.
Enjoy..............
Well, the Flower Kings have been my favorite band for about 7 years now, yet I've never felt that they produced a solid 5-star cd. They've successfully integrated 70's-style prog along with the occasional jazz fusion sequence, original and interesting compositions and arrangements, catchy refrains - and it's all done with some of the best musicians in all of rock. "Paradox Hotel" showcases their talents like no other cd before it....and it undoubtedly deserves 5 stars!
This is perhaps their most Yessy-sounding cd; and with harmonies and lyrics that frequently intone "heaven", "God" and even the word "roundabout", the Yes comparisons are hard to ignore. (See "Hit Me With a Hit", "Minor Giant Steps" and "Man of the World" in particular.) Not as much of the ELP or Crimson sound this time around. In fact, if anything there's a little more "pop" bent to this cd.
This is just a very even album for them, with more songs in the shorter range (that is, 5 or 6 minutes!), and they just flow together and transition effortlessly. The introspective and compassionate lyrics continue to augment the great melodies. Every song is unique and well-crafted. I echo everyone else: "How do they do it year after year?"
Perhaps what struck me most on this cd is how much they sound like a BAND - not just a bunch of virtuosos from Sweden pieced together to play Stolt's music. And virtuosos they are! Jonas Reingold is still my favorite bass player these days, alternating between thick Rickenbacker and gentle fretless bass. Tomas Bodin showcases the grand piano much more on this album, but there's also plenty of organ, mellotron, and other assorted synths and sound effects. He is GREAT on this cd, and (again) probably my favorite keyboard player since Tony Banks. And Roine Stolt is simply incomparable: inventive solos and riffs, clever modulations, and sweet sounding slides - check out his slide guitar on the 21-minute album opener "Monsters and Men". Sublime. Roine Stolt is a musical genius, and clearly in a class by himself.
New drummer Marcus Lilliequist is excellent as well; perhaps not quite as jazzy as Zoltan Czorsz, but he nimbly leads the group through the 4-3-4-2 time changes on "Unorthodox Dancing Lesson". And Hasse Froberg is in great voice on this cd, writes one excellent song himself, and fills in with lots of acoustic strumming.
The album begins and ends with some mission control sound clips from around 1970 - still not sure what that is all about. And you can still hear the mischievous Norwegian gnome laughing in various spots throughout the album (a TFK staple). The only thing I kind of miss is the sax playing that Ulf Wallander used to do on the earlier TFK cds. But other than that, this is pure prog heaven courtesy of the Flower Kings.
HIGHLY, Highly, highly recommended.
Paradox Hotel: check in....and check it out.
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This is about my seventh Flower Kings purchase, and it has followed the typical pattern of initial disappointment that it's 'not like the last one' , and then some five to twenty plays before the penny suddenly drops, and I realise that this is their best yet. The penny dropped tonight for the Paradox Hotel. With the possible exception of the spooky and uncomfortable 'Bavarian Skies' every track is a cracker.

As someone who dabbles with writing orchestral music, it is my judgement that, with Zappa's passing, these guys are now producing some of the most compositionally sophisticated music outside of the formal classical world. The music ceaselessly modulates, never getting stuck for long in any one key or meter, and sometimes we get some whacky tonal juxtapositions, so you're not sure where it's gonna go. And then there's Roine Stolt's guitar. The extraordinary thing about him is that he doesn't have a style or sound; he has about 72 styles or sounds of which he might use 25 in rapid succession on a given track to create a kaleidoscopic symphonic effect. Can't think of anyone else I can say that about. As ever, the lyrics are for the most part very positive and hopeful, and there's all too little of that in the world. Departures from this are usually to explore very dark corners of the human psyche. As usual there is the occasional wince factor with the lyrics, though happily less than on some releases. I have learned to forgive them for these because the shear quality of the music makes them irrelevant. I put these moments down to their being Swedish and, while like most continentals they speak better English than most English folks, what for them might sound poetically surreal sometimes just sounds downright odd to us.

Fantastic album. Can't wait for the next one. I understand there's a live DVD in the works too.
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on 17 December 2006
On this new 2 disc offering 'Paradox Hotel' we see flower kings stripped down and back to basics, which I believe is when flower kings at their best. Gone is Daniel Gildenlow, who whilst being ultra talented, I thought was just one vocalist too many on Adam and Eve. The embodiment of this group is Roine Stolt and I thought he took too much of a back seat on their previous effort.

Here on Paradox Hotel we have Roine back in full flow on vocals,with Hasse Froberg, producing their finest piece of work since Stardust We Are; this is a bold statement because in my opinion SWA is one of the finest pieces of music produced across any genre of music.

As with all Flower Kings albums, especially the double disc releases, Paradox Hotel doesn't hit you straight away because there is just so much music to sink your teeth into. I believe it takes a good 4 or 5 listens to each disc before you really begin to appreciate just how special Paradox Hotel is.

There are just too many tracks here to describe them all individually, but I can say there is a broad spectrum of musical styles to enjoy. As with all openers to an album by flower kings you can expect a lengthy really progressive tune, Monsters and Men is no exception, it's an absolute spine tingling beauty of a piece. Jealousy is a quiet piano duet with Roine's vocals that again makes the hair on the back of my neck stand. Check out the live dvd version of this song, Roine Stolt gives his best vocal performance to date. Bavarian Skies which some people may find too weird is a rather bizarre but poignant view of Nazi war days from the viewpoint of a reminiscing Nazi? It's rather haunting to say the least.

There is also some great blues guitar playing, check out Touch My Heaven and Life Will Kill You which are absolutely superlative. The Way The Waters Are Moving is a touching ode to the unfortunate victims of the recent Tsunami disaster which swept across Asia a few years ago.

All in all there are no low points to this double-disc set, contrary to what you may read elsewhere. This is the quintessential Flower Kings back to their very best, creating 18 21-carat nuggets of pure aural pleasure, and I for one am a totally born again Flower Kings fanatic.

Roine Stolt is the greatest and most prolific songwriting talent out there today and anyone that misses out on this epic is missing out on yet another masterpiece!

Check out the Instant Delivery double-disc dvd set, live in Tillburg, which is over 3 hours of Flower Kings performing so many classics it really is unbelievable! Whilst Meet the Flower Kings live felt more like a live studio effort, Instant Delivery has much more freedom to it with some great audience participation and the chance to see new boy Marcus Lillequist performing superbly on drums.
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on 22 July 2007
This marks a new high in the Flower Kings' steady ascent after the low point of The Rainmaker, Unfold the Future and Adam & Eve.
A lot of the recent material that bears repeated listening is on this album e.g. Monsters & Men, Hit Me With a Hit, Self Consuming Fire - with its exquisite acoustic guitar intro, End on a High Note, the joyous Minor Giant Steps and the wonderful title track with its double tracked harmony guitar. Also worthy of mention are Lucy had a Dream and Man of the World and the poignant What if God is Alone?,
Now, here I'd like to pause and make a more general comment. The Internet keeps the spirit of prog alive & without it bands like this would have a very precarious existence. And yet, oxymoronically, the factors that conspire to keep its head above water are also the very things that weigh it down. The vinyl era required bands to be more disciplined, to hone their efforts to 40 minutes and to discard everything that was surplus. Lead guitarist and principal composer Roine Stolt has a bad case of Princeitis (the impression that every last noodle is worthy of publication) and, perhaps, some restraint might deliver some much needed focus.
Don't get me wrong, I like the Flower Kings, what they do is the best that's currently treading the boards. Check out releases such as Flower Power (in particular the track Psychedelic Postcard), Back in the World of Adventures , Space Revolver and Stardust We Are, to unearth much that is worthwhile.
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on 9 April 2006
The Flower Kings have stripped back their sound on this album. The back to basics works wonderfully, sometimes sounding like Yes, then King Crimson '69/71, then like no-one but themselves. This is a great basic rock album, nothing revelutionary like on their previous outings just great music played by great musicians. If you like bands like Camel/Alan Parsons Project/Pink Floyd/Yes you'll love this, its better than any of their albums.
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on 14 August 2012
What's slightly confusing is that the album has the same name as a live show DVD that TFK did. I initially didn't realise that it was contemporary studio album, and was not related to the DVD. I thought the album was going to be an audio reproduction of the live show shown on the DVD...

Regardless of all this, 'Paradox Hotel' could be their finest achievement. Simply what's on the first disc (and there are amazingly 2) convinces me of that fact. There really isn't a dud song on it.

'Monsters and men' is a fine 20 minute track, that gets stronger throughout. It's followed by the heartbreaking and very strong 'Jealousy' (which has a fine rendition performed live on the DVD, ironically).

The album continues in an upbeat mood until we reach the moody, yet powerful 'Pioneers of Aviation'. Again we continue until we arrive at the incredibly powerful, and surely brave 'Bavarian skies'. This is an astonishing track, quite frankly.

Eventually we reach the finale 'End on a high note', and we certainly do! It marks a fine end to what is a thoroughly creative and enjoyable masterpiece. Their best?
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on 8 June 2012
This is quite possibly the most Accessible flower Kings album
Overall this album is alot gentler in terms of weird time signature changes and typical proggy characteristics. This I feel makes it more enjoyable and fresher to listen to in some ways. The album sounds like it has alot more keyboards in it than normal which I quite like. The catchiest songs for me are Jealousy a nice little ballad which sounds slightly better on the Instant Delivery live C.D mostly because of the vocal inflections. And Hit me With a Hit is also pretty spectacularly with its jittery keyboard and complex instrumental interplay. The vocals on this album are very good performed to the highest standard some impressive performances by both Roine Stolt and Hasse Froberg heartfelt as always. The production is crystal clear and sounds very nice on my stereo and headphones.
As always the instrumental playing is top notch and exquisite, but unlike most prog bands The Flower Kings seem to focus more on writing actual songs. This is a good starting point for anybody new to the band.
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on 8 May 2007
This album is the first i have listened to from the Flower Kings.I have to say im very impressed! so much so i have purchased some of their earlier stuff,"Back in the world of adventures" and "retropolis" I can safely say you wont be dissapointed with this album.
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on 5 November 2013
Having seen Flower Kings at Lorelei in Germany in 2008, where I was I was left largely unimpressed, having never heard them before. I left it at that. When Transatlantic's Whirlwind came out, it blew me away. This caused me to revisit Flower Kings material, which I'm glad I did, discovering how much I actually liked it. Furthermore, certain similarities between the two bands illustrated the extent of Roine Stolt's influence on the supergroup's music and probably the song-writing too. I've just received a copy of Flower Kings's Paradox Hotel and can't believe how much it reminds me of Yes. I also ordered The Sum Of No Evil. Banks of Eden and Desolation Rose are next on my shopping list.
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on 4 April 2006
In these days of manufactured, un-original, listless music, the Flowers Kings shine like a beacon in the darkness with their beautifully played, thoughtful, moving music. The best prog band on the planet by about a million miles in my opinion. Paradox Hotel, much like its predecessor Unfold the Future is 2 discs of varied tempos and styles of songs that you like the first time you hear and grow to love with every repeated listen. I STILL hear something new everytime I play Unfold the Future and I dont doubt for a second Paradox Hotel will be the same. Roine Stolts guitar never fails to move me and Tomas Bodin is the first real stand out keyboard played I have heard since the days of Wakeman and Banks...... and hey, the rest of the band aint slouches either :o) Wonderful, stop reading this and buy it !
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