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4.2 out of 5 stars21
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 29 October 2013
The Flower Kings are back with their follow up to 'Banks Of Eden' with a much heavier, proggier and extremely catchy bunch of songs on the album "Desolation Rose". Back at the start of 2013, Roine Stolt, Jonas Reingold, Tomas Bodin, Hasse Froberg and Felix Lehrmann went to the studio with a lot of semi-finished material and decided to jam & record what they had and pretty much make up the rest. The result is what I feel is their best offering in the last 10 years. Great performances, especially by Felix Lehrmann (Drums)the very talented Jonas Reingold (Bass) and Tomas Bodin (Keys. Add to this the vocal power of Hasse Froberg and the multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Roine Stolt (Allround genius!),it's nice to hear such great Production but using 1970's style recording tecniques (Tape) and vintage instruments. I can't underestimate how talented these guys are and I, for one, am looking forward to the European tour next April/May.
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on 27 December 2013
Against popular opinion, I reckon that 'Adam & Eve', 'Paradox hotel' and 'The sum of no evil' represent my favourite TFK period, though sadly, the last of these marked a temporary 'hold' on proceedings.

I would suggest that 'Desolation Rose' puts TFK back where they were with 'The sum of no evil', BUT, they haven't moved forward.

When I first heard this, it sounded like many of the band's musical ideas had been re-constituted from the albums mentioned above. Having heard it more, I'm probably TOO comfortable with it, because I'm not being challenged by it.

Against that, the band seems a tight unit once again, and the playing and production are top notch throughout. One nice bit is 'Resurrected Judas', which has a part that sounds similar to Genesis' 'Duke travels'.

I could suggest that the music is 'under-drummed', however I suspect that this is a deliberate ploy by Roine Stolt to emphasise where the creative input is coming from. This is a shame, because if a more attacking percussion were employed it could take the music up to another level. It perhaps exposes how the band differ from Genesis, where band member, Phil Collins' influence is clearly apparent. There's certainly space in the music for a more expansive drumming performance.

This is a good album, splendidly played by a band who, once again, seem right on the mark. The only drawback, for me at least, is the lack of new ideas.
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on 31 October 2013
Gotta admit my patience with the Flower Kings had been wearing a bit thin. I own all their studio releases and whilst a huge fan of their earlier albums, their recent output ( especially The sum of no evil and last years comeback Banks of eden)has left me cold with their formulaic approach to symphonic prog. Inspiration has i feel been running low not helped I expect by the amount of side projects such as Transatlantic and Agents of Mercy that were pulling on mainman Roine Stolte`s ideas.
Having lived with Desolation Rose for a few days I am very pleased and pleasantly surprised to find the band back on great form. What works with this album is that the tracks are in the main shorter and therefore more focussed enabling the whole album to carry a energy and variation missing from the last few releases. At this point i should also point out that essentially all the tracks sequence into each other, making up for the lack of epic compositions. Listening to the whole album as one long piece of music is the best way to appreciate it. I believe this is the best The Flower kings have sounded since the days of Space revolver, Unfold the future and The Rainmaker.
Potential purchasers should head for the versions with the extra disc, it`s available at almost the same price as the one disc and there`s definately more than enough interesting additional music to justify any small extra outlay.
In summary a much better release from The Flower kings and whilst not quite up there with their best it is a hugely enjoyable album that will stand up to regular repeated plays and is definately one of the best Symphonic prog releases of the year.
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on 19 June 2014
After the semi-disappointing Banks Of Eden (which had great tracks & great production but was a lot safer and less progressive than usual), it feels like Flower Kings are back to where they should be.
Including the CD version is a great bonus, although the vinyl still sounds quite a bit more dynamic (compare here: [...]) so I recorded my own tracks off the record.

I have to also give a big thumbs up to the packaging - this album cover truly is a work of art. When you see all the artwork's detail in the big vinyl format, it makes it worthwhile for the beauty alone.
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on 9 July 2014
For me this is a very good album, with some very good moments and nice themes and motifs. The lyrics are awful, but this does seem to represent the Flower Kings getting back on track. The first song, Tower One is great and a highlight, but doesn't pose anything new. There seems to be less of the huge amount of filler that we have had in previous albums. I'd recommend this, but it does smell a bit of cliche and doesn't stand up well to some of the newer kids on the prog block.
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on 24 November 2013
I'm afraid I would have difficulty in giving anything that Roine Stolt has done less than a 5 star rating as I haven't found anyone who comes close to his musical creativity and prowess in the world of prog rock or rock in general for that matter. The Flower Kings new offering of Desolation Rose follows on neatly in sound and recording from their previous release Banks of Eden-whether it reaches the heights of The Sum of No Evil, which to me is their seminal work, is debateable (the reviewer before who referred to "the Sum" period as being formulaic is so mistaken- Mozart spent his life working under the strict constraints of the concerto, symphony etc. but this didn't stop him producing some of the best music in the world!)

There is a lot to unravel in this new album and it takes you on a musical journey which is typical of an offering by the Flower kings. Although there are a lot of highs I feel that the first track "Tower One" is the strongest composition and would please any devotee of great progressive rock. The general mood of the album is perhaps more serious than some, though the Flower kings
always manage to somehow keep an uplifting and sunny disposition in a way that bands such as IQ don't.

In conclusion this is a fine album with lots of good music to explore- following on from an incredibly strong back catalogue- time and lots of repeated listening only will tell how it compares to their previous work.
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on 24 January 2014
I'm a later arrival at the gardens of The Flower Kings but have delved well into their back catalog now.

For me this is right up there with anything they've produced so far, with a warm, uplifting melodies, complex time changes and a variety of songs.

They always seem to excel on the expanded tracks and Tower One is probably the best song on the album (at a modest 13 minutes).
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on 21 February 2014
This is the first Flower Kings album I've purchased and I think I'll be buying more.
This is superb music, superbly played and produced. I especially enjoy the fourth side which is instrumental and in places just soars.
The double LP also includes the 2CD's of the album which means I get to put it on my iPod and listen to it in the car. More artists should do this in my opinion.
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on 16 January 2014
I came across this band quite by chance having heard a single track on a compilation album. I am an old git who was lucky enough to see Floyd, Genesis, Zappa etc in their prime, so, given the references, I just had to investigate further. Musically it more than lives up to the hype and the reviews on here bear testament to just how good the musical composition and playing is. I am looking forward to seeing them play live at some stage and will now investigate the back catalogue, of which it would seem there is a lot to look forward to. :) My only reservation is the lyrical style which borders on Spinal Tap parody. There are several LOL moments. If they had a more contemporary lyric style I would give it the five stars it just misses out on. I actually prefer disc two, which puts me out of alignment with many the other voices here, as there is less lyrical twaddle to distract me. Come on guys, 1974 has gone, (how long ago????) Sing about something real. But I hold my hands up, you guys can certainly play! Love it!
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on 5 November 2013
Ok it seems the band have listened to my comments or something about using new timbres in their music and using new ideas because the last couple albums did just sort of sound very similar in overall timbre and style and a bit predictable this album however they have done away with the overly symphonic and replaced it with something mysterious inventive and adventurous like old times the whole album is actually one song as I understand it. While it is unmistakeably the flower kings they have gone out on a limb to juice it up, te guitars sound more raw the keyboards sound more ugly and the drums are more aggressive and the bass is less widdly and more basic the vocals are performed as always with great theater and the whole album is just brilliant. I can't wait to hear what else they come up with for the next album until then this new album will sit happil with the rest of their Exemplary discography
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