Flower Kings, The - The Rainmaker


Year of Release: 2001
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 85
Format: CD
Total Time: 77:05:00

No doubt most of us were very excited once we heard Space Revolver. The arrival of Jonas Reingold kind of introduced a different approach, so we were kind of wondering what the band could think of next in order to make it even more surprising. The new album marks the final Flower Kings album for long time drummer Jaime Salazar, and kind of reaches back to the Back Iin The World Of Adventures period. Starting with vocal exercises as delivered by the likes of the singers from Tuva (Siberia), of course everyone is 100% concentrated to know what is going to happen next during "Last Minute On Earth." Then the band sets in with a heavy guitar riff, soon to be backed by powerful organ, before introducing Hasse's vocals. It once again becomes clear what an important role Tomas Bodin will play in creating the distinctive Flower Kings sound. It's stunning how his Fender Rhodes electric piano suddenly has the power to stop all other instruments before introducing a wild and frenetic part leading towards one of Roine's first guitar solos. Towards the end, Roine sings a very powerful melody before it's time for Jonas to let his fretless bass shine in all its glory, even ending in pure improvisation. What an opening track!

Talking of strong melodies, wait till you hear "World Without A Heart" which holds some strong Steve Howe like guitar playing and a singalong chorus that blends with the acoustic nature of the song. Also note the Patrick Moraz-like inclusion of synth. Right at the very end there's a reversed tape loop, which in a way wouldn't surprise me if it was John Lydon with a backwards version of PIL's "This Is Not A Lovesong"! The longest track on the album is the swirling "Road To Sanctuary," which the band feels holds a lot of ELP flavour whilst bucketloads of odd time signatures also come close to the mighty Zappa. Hasse certainly knows how to try his hand at singing a Brain Salad Surgery outtake. By means of a small bit of Oldfield guitar, the feel of the song changes towards ominous soundscapes, relieved by wonderful acoustic guitar that kind of introduces the warm Mediterranean climate. It's once again Tomas Bodin's glorious Hammond playing that takes the music into another, heavier direction. Title track The Rainmaker is built around a bolero mould, sporting some great orchestral arrangements and a guitar solo which holds the middle between metal and blues.

Stolt himself likes you to recall Relayer once you listen to "City Of Angels," which indeed holds a lot of pure Steve Howe licks plus the fact it's done in the not so easy 11/8! It has loads of vocal harmonies swimming between the jazzy George Benson-like guitar interventions. There's also a laidback, sunny, funky feeling running through the song before it glides into a climax introduced by Tomas' majestic keyboards, letting the guitar shine through as if it were rays of sunshine. "Elaine" is a gentle song with Roine's original vocals being backed by Reingold's bass, mellotron and fragile twelve string. Will you be surprised when we say it gets close to vintage Genesis? Kind of a Wind And Wuthering feel creeps in during "Thru The Walls" not in the least because of the keyboard parts. Humour sets in when the Tuva tribe opens their lungs again! A female choir opens the path for "Sword Of God" which soon turns to unbridled heavy metal with Hasse being helped out by technology to get as close to Paul Rodgers as possible! There's a short folky interlude in the middle before the fire hits the fan once again adding a fair amount of percussion.

Calm sets in with the almost medieval sounding "Blessing Of A Smile," also incorporating some soprano saxophone that blends ever so well with the low bass sound ending almost like "Los Endos." Again very Genesis like is the short instrumental "Red Alert," which sees vibraphone blend with the "logical" sounds. The Rainmaker ends with "Serious Dreamers" a storytelling song incorporating divine harmonies together with distinctive Flower Kings trademarks and even more Patrick Moraz-like synths before turning towards Genesis by means of twelve string guitar. Right at the very end, piano and guitar open up for a repeat sequence of the chorus, this time with more of a funky beat.

When I heard this album for the very first time I dare say I was disappointed. To me The Rainmaker felt less interesting than Space Revolver and it's always difficult to take one step backwards. Ask the millionaire who just lost all of his money in Vegas! But then I listened to the album again and again and it kept growing on me time after time. It certainly is not as experimental as Space Revolver and therefore maybe lovers of the Back In The World Of Adventures and Retropolis period of the band will be pleased to hear Flower Kings kind of are looking up their roots once again. Nevertheless, when listening close to what's on offer here, one has to agree it is once again a very diverse collection with some surprising hard edges. It will be even more surprising to hear what the new drummer adds to this band, but for the time being let's say the band has added another eleven classic cuts to their already impressive output. Well done chaps!

[There will also be a limited 2CD set which will include the following material on the bonus disc: Excerpt From Valkyrian / Mr. Hope Goes To Salzburg / One Whole Half / Agent Supreme / Violent Brat / The Woman With No Shadow / Interactive Section]


Tracklisting:
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)

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

Discography:
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: August 31st 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.flowerkings.se
Hits: 637
Language: english

  

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