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On disc: Flower Kings

- Space Revolver - Amir Djawadi - 6 stars
- The Sum Of No Evil - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars

The Sum Of No Evil

The Sum Of No Evil
(InsideOut Music - 2007)

First the cover looks a bit strange with the Taj Mahal and some Buddha statues in the back, but the eye catcher is the chimera of a goldfish and an old Volkswagen van... But the scurrile artwork done by Ed Unitsky fits well to the flower power atmosphere. Next one might wonder about the album title. Initially mastermind Roine Stolt wanted to call this album Love, but with a Beatles album called Love he had to change the name. After thinking it over Roine came up with The Sum Of No Evil, coz its a good description of love.
With this album they wanted to return to pure rock and prog sounds and to achieve the warm sound of old recordings they decided to record at studio which is specialized in analog equipment and so they used old keyboards, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer and tube amplifier. With the opening track One More Time the Swedish quintet takes you back in time and to the classic sounds of 70's prog rock albums. No experimental stuff or jazz elements this time. The album opener shows them less symphonic and with an airy sound. A real treat for fans of Yes, Camel and other early 70's U.K. prog rock bands. With about 13 minutes the opener leads you into almost 75 minutes of vintage 70's sounds - and as Stolt calls it Grand Vintage Style Symphonic Prog Rock. The longest track is Love Is The Only Answer with more then 24 minutes! It starts slowly and focused on Hasse Fr÷berg's vocals. It takes time to develop, but with the overall optimistic sound they carry away the listener. Some parts are heavy and have even a slightly aggressive touch vocally. A prog rock opus which could have been a mini album and stand on its own. A journey back in time.
With Trading My Soul they present the shortest track - okay, the instrumental Flight 999 Brimstone Air is a bit shorter -, but with 6+ minutes not exactly short. The song is laid back and seems to float along. But isn't an ear catcher. The instrumental Flight 999 Brimstone Air is written by Tomas Bodin and so differs from the rest of the album. Some spacey sounds, musical twists and turns as well as a kind of short drum solo by drummer Zoltan Cs÷rsz - yes, he returned - are surprising the listener. Parts of the tune would fit to a sound track of some Tim Burton animated movie... A bit irritating is the musical change, but very interesting and one of the most memorable tunes on The Sum Of No Evil.
It's not the most innovative album of The Flower Kings, but on a high level as you expect it from Mr. Stolt. If you like retro prog rock sounds, then you will enjoy it. Many bands seems to look back and try to bring back the sound and the feeling of the 70's. Retro sounds everywhere, but usually they lack something! The warm analog sound of the vintage stuff! The Flower Kings achieved to revive this sound on The Sum Of No Evil!

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Space Revolver

Space Revolver
(InsideOut Music - 2000)

The Flower Kings are back! The Swedish are back with their 5th studio album which is called Space Revolver. Again the Swedish put the maximum music on the silver disc with more then 76 minutes. The band had decided not to release another double CD and so this was the maximum, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't keep the high quality level!
The current release has an interesting structure, the album starts with the first part of I Am The Sun (15 minutes) followed by 8 songs just to end with part 2 of I Am The Sun. The extended opening track is followed by Dream On Dreamer which has a jazzy touch. Rumble Fish Twist starts with a bang! Even if this is an instrumental track, it never gets boring, coz the complex parts and breaks keep it interesting. This is a huge contrast to the previous track and as band leader Stolt said it was bassist Jonas Reingold who's musical interest into this stuff added in this elements to the Flower Kings sound.
Singer and guitarist Roine Stolt perfectly managed to make the gathered musicians (Tomas Bodin - keyboards; Hans Fröberg - guitar; Hasse Bruniusson - drums & percussion; Ulf Wallander - soprano saxophone) become a unit.
Again this album proof that this band is the leader of this genre in their home country Sweden. The quintet knows how to keep the songs alive and even the 13 min. long track The Monster Within isn't boring. The variety of the composition and the interesting topics keep you listening.
After their last release, a live album, this studio release again catch the interest of the music fan and so the Swedish stay in the lime light. Everybody who wants to be up-to-date about the prog metal, should know the Flower Kings, coz if they continue their way in the same manner they soon will be in the premier league! And they deserve it!
Every fan of this kind of music, listen to this album!!!
A note for collectors: There is a limited edition which has a bigger and fancier booklet. Watch out for it!

6 stars

Amir Djawadi
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)


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