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

The Flower Kings are one of the favorite punching bags of the progressive chat groups. It is true that Stolt's guitar playing and songs barrow from the classic approach of Yes, Genesis and other favorites. In the opening "Last Minute On Earth," the guitar tone and lines sound like vintage Kansas. Froberg's rich often bluesy delivery provides solid lead vocals, and added punch during the heavier sections. For all the bashing the band takes, they do plenty of things right combining complex arrangements, constant dynamic shifts, solid musicianship, and variety.

Stolt is obviously the bands guiding force, but keyboardist Tomas Bodin is just as integral to the bands sound. Bodin is just as comfortable creating a backdrop for Stolt's guitar work as he is flying through a synth solo. He gives the band its colors and moods, and is the secret ingredient. The rest of the band does a solid job keeping it all together.

The Rainmaker offers up symphonic progressive in the tradition of the 70's. The epic opener "Last Minute on Earth" shows that the band can rock. Hammond keyboards swirl while guitar licks fly, showing the band at its best. "Road To Sanctuary" shows off Frobergs gutsy vocals, reminiscent of John Miles work with The Alan Parsons Project. The song is carefully crafted with atmospheric keyboard sections, and a pretty acoustic guitar interlude. Unfortunately, things go downhill for the most part after this. The boringly slow paced title track takes six minutes to go nowhere. "City Of Angels" is another lengthy piece that just can't get off the ground, with its most redeeming moments being Bodin's keyboard solos and the short Gentle Giant-like section about six minutes in. The closing minute offers mellotron and a stinging Stolt solo, almost making up for the time spent getting to that point.

"Elaine" is a confusing track, disguising itself as a ballad, it suddenly turns into a jazzy instrumental number showing off some nimble bass chops and sax. The Genesis like organ intro to "Thru The Walls" fails to be interesting beyond its opening, even with Stolt showing off his best Hackett imitation. Froberg delivers another powerful vocal in "Sword Of God" which gets itself on track with an instrumental duel between Bodin and Stolt. The instrumental "Blessing Of A Smile" sounds like a missing section of Genesis' "After The Ordeal". The disc concludes with "Serious Dreamers" which again for me, just never finds its groove. Swerving dangerously close to YES territory (sounding like "And You And I" at moments) the swelling symphonic moments are great, but the ending is painfully anti-climatic.

The Rainmaker does not knock my socks off. Mainly, Stolt needs to find his own voice. The Flower Kings have impressed me from the first time I heard Back To The World Of Adventures. Yet, the band has never been able to bring it all home. The band has all the pieces in place to give us a progressive classic, but I am still waiting to hear it.

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: April 21st 2002
Reviewer: Eric Porter

Artist website: www.flowerkings.se
Hits: 621
Language: english


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