Flower Kings, The - The Rainmaker

Year of Release: 2001
Label: InsideOut Music
Catalog Number: IOMCD085 / SPV 085-41672
Format: CD
Total Time: 77:05:00

Oh boy ... I just know it when I'm in trouble. Take a look at the grade I gave The Flower Kings latest album, make sure you don't kill yourself by punching right through your monitor in a blinding fit of fury, and if you are merciful and kind, don't come looking for me with a sawed-off shotgun. Then take a couple of seconds to relax, breathe very deeply, and give me a chance to explain why The Rainmaker won't be making my list of recommendations for this month. [Note: While perhaps insignificant, the July 2002 date below refers to its republication date here; it originally appeared at Progfreaks.com -ed.]

It's certainly confounding to try and find out exactly what happened, because with its previous gala, Space Revolver, the Roine Stolt-led ensemble was right on its way to make a perfect symphonic rock album full of identity, flair, and charm. Moreover, when the heavy opening riff of the epic "Last Minute On Earth" showed its ugly head with an attitude that defies all opponents and then exploded into a gorgeously epic chorus, I felt that the band had finally hit the jackpot on all accounts. Goes to show what a lousy fortuneteller I'd make.

If you remember my review for Space Revolver, you might have just agreed with me that The Flower Kings were finally forging ahead and developing a modern and unique style that shined particularly during the lengthiest songs that the band could come up with. Well, if that was one step forward, this means two steps back (please, please leave the shotgun in the corner). Take "City Of Angels," which smacks of Yes to the point that Stolt manages to imitate Steve Howe flawlessly, the drowsy "Elaine," which really doesn't do anything for the listener until its jazzy finale takes over, or the initially promising "Serious Dreamers," which again ends up sounding too much like Yes, and you're left with an album that's as much of a throwback as Space Revolver was a brave step in the right direction.

I, however, am not one to spoil the party unfairly, which would be a sin after taking into consideration the fact that The Flower Kings is one tight and able outfit, with technical capacities that surpass many of their peers' and an enthusiasm that simply cannot be ignored. Furthermore, having Hasse Fröberg truly take over the lead vocalist position was an excellent tactical move, which can be noticed particularly in the Burn-era Deep Purple-like "Sword Of God;" an excellent raunchy number that has Fröberg reminding the listener of a young David Coverdale.

I hardly could be accused of being a diehard modernist when it comes to progressive rock, and it's perfectly ok with me if bands are not using samples, electronica beats, or cutting edge synthesizers on their albums. What I cannot understand, however, is why a band that was moving ahead so brightly and leaving its influences behind as merely influences would take a step back to the point of ripping off Yes (well, there is a Yes already in existence, isn't there?). And while the strength of songs like "Thru The Walls" and "Road To Sanctuary" will probably keep many out there happy with The Rainmaker, I just can't give this album a higher grade when I know that The Flower Kings is a band with so much more to offer.

Similar artists: Yes, Spock's Beard

Last Minute On Earth (11:40) / World Without A Heart (4:29) / Road To Sanctuary (13:50) / The Rainmaker (6:02) / City Of Angels (12:04) / Elaine (4:55) / Thru The Walls (4:31) / Sword Of God (6:00) / Blessing Of A Smile (3:12) / Red Alert (1:10) / Serious Dreamers (8:59)

Roine Stolt - vocals, guitars
Tomas Bodin - keyboards
Jonas Reingold - bass
Jaime Salazar - drums
Hasse Fröberg - vocals, guitar
Ulf Wallander - soprano sax

Roine Stolt - The Flower King (1994/2001/2004)
Back In The World Of Adventures (1995)
Retropolis (1996)
Stardust We Are (1997/2000)
Scanning The Greenhouse (comp) (1998)
Edition Limitée Quebec (1998) (only 700 copies!)
Flower Power (1999)
TFK fanclub disc (2000) (free CD exclusive to fanclub members only)
Alive On Planet Earth (2000)
Space Revolver (2000)
Space Revolver Special Edition (2CD set) (2000)
The Rainmaker (2001)
The Rainmaker - Special Edition (2001)
Unfold The Future (2002)
Live In New York: Official Bootleg (2002)
Fan Club CD 2002 (2002)
Fan Club CD 2004 (2004)
Adam & Eve (2004)
BetchaWannaDanceStoopid (2004)
Harvest (fan club CD) (2005)
Paradox Hotel (2006)
The Road Back Home (2007)
The Sum Of No Evil (2007)
The Sum Of No Evil (Special Edition) (2007)
Banks Of Eden (2012)
Roine Stolt's The Flower King - Manifesto Of An Alchemist (2018)
Waiting For Miracles (2019)

Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording (DVD) (2003)
Instant Delivery (DVD) (2006)
Instant Delivery - Limited Edition (2CD/2DVD) (2006)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin SE

Added: July 16th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.roinestolt.com
Hits: 1045
Language: english


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