Flower Kings, The - The Rainmaker

Year of Release: 2001
Label: InsideOut Music America
Catalog Number: IOMACD 2027
Format: CD
Total Time: 77:05:00

I was practically weaned on classic prog groups like Yes, EL&P, Gentle Giant, Genesis, and Pink Floyd. No surprise then that I tend to like prog played in that good ol' 70s tradition. With that in mind, it's also no surprise that I adore bands like Spock's Beard, TransAtlantic, and The Flower Kings. Some people scoff at these wonderful groups, saying that they are too derivative. Well, if fantastic songwriting, virtuoso playing, and top-notch productions aren't enough for these folks, then I'm just happy to be me. It's no coincidence that these groups are on almost everyone's best-of-the-year prog lists. And the latest outing from The Flower Kings proves that this Swedish band still belongs there.

Starting with "Last Minute on Earth," this album's first track (clocking in at 11:40), The Flower Kings set off to claim their place as one of the best modern-day prog bands in the world. Plenty of great melodies, shifting time signatures, and great vocals (am I the only one who has noticed how much Roine Stolt can sound like John Wetton?) display the band's talent right from the start. That track surrenders to the poppish "World Without A Heart," a song that, with its great melodies and vocal harmonies, proves that Roine Stolt is nearly as fine a songwriter as Spock's Beard's Neal Morse, who is himself one of the best songwriters in this genre.

Not wanting things to get too mainstream, though, "World Without A Heart" moves directly to "Road To Sanctuary," another magnificent epic that runs for nearly 14 minutes. Opening with a Genesis-like organ and guitar intro, this track pounds through an almost bluesy main section before abruptly shifting gears into a Zappa-like instrumental section. Plenty of other surprises surface in this track, too, including gentle acoustic sections, Genesis-like majesty, Gentle Giantish bits, and oh so much more.

The title track, "The Rainmaker," sounds downright classical in a kind of King Crimson way, only with gentler melodies and none of the dissonance you'd find on such a piece by KC. "City Of Angels," another epic that runs over 12 minutes, features a couple of seriously Beatle-ish verses. (Must be all that influence Neal Morse -- a huge Beatles fan himself -- has over Roine Stolt when they're working together in TransAtlantic. Or not.)

And all I've described is the first half of the album. The remaining tracks follow suit, with some shorter tracks, including "Elaine," a beautiful song that brings the album back for a few minutes to the mainstream, though still in a proggy way (outstanding bass playing near the end of this track), and "Sword Of God," with its choral opening and its roaring guitars, another bluesy number that brings to mind early Tull and Deep Purple. The album's other long track, "Serious Dreamers," closes the disc with dazzling vocal harmonies, powerful choruses, and funky wah-wah guitar. All in all, there's little question that this album will be on my best-of-the-year list. Damn, I love these guys.

Also released by InsideOut in Europe (SPV 085-41672 CD IOMCD085)

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)

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: September 28th 2001
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum

Artist website: www.flowerkings.se
Hits: 891
Language: english


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