The Flower Kings
A legendary band in their own right, The Flower Kings have been at the forefront of progressive rock since their formation in 1994 by guitarist, vocalist, composer, astronaut, chef and veteran nut head icon Roine Stolt. Dedicating themselves to producing a strain of prog they like to call symphonic rock‘, they incorporated classical music, movie soundtracks and both jazz, ethno, blues and seventies metal elements to much success - and building themselves a dedicated fanbase in the process over ten studio albums before taking a break.
After a triumphant return to action in 2012 - following an almost 5 year hiatus, The Flower Kings released "Banks Of Eden" in the summer of that year to a brilliant reaction from fans and critics alike. In celebration they toured the world for the better part of a year, visiting locations including Europe, Japan, Russia, Israel & USA. The following year the band hit the road once again, this time with old friends Neal Morse & Mike Portnoy to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of label InsideOut Music, where they played a hugely successful prog extravaganza to packed venues across Europe and the US.
Never ones to rest on their laurels however, The Flower Kings immediately entered Fenix Studio in Sweden to start work on the recording of a brand new album. Recorded "live" in this classic, but modern, studio and on reel to reel tape, the album features a glut of grand vintage keyboards such as Hammond B3, Mellotron M 400, Fender Rhodes, Minimoog and a whole host of Tube amps.
The band even decided to try a new approach to writing and recording, assembling music on the spot and arranging it as a team.
The result of this wonderfully collaborative effort is an epic 10 song cycle entitled ‚Desolation Rose‘; an album that revolves around some of the more disturbing observations of mankind's failure to create the paradise they once hoped for – and the greed, fear and ignorance that caused that failure. The scenario is an observation by an angel who resides in a mysterious tower, looking down on all this ongoing perpetual insanity, yet unable to reach out and help.
The band is very much back to their cinematic and melodic symphonic rock best, but with a heavier edge no doubt honed while on tour for the past year. The 10 songs contained within are to be heard as a sequence and the lyric thread is wonderfully cinematic, but again it is more of an observation that works both as a whole or as separate parts. It might be considered one of their most focused efforts to date, such is the impact the tracks have on the listener from the very beginning. From the opening 14-minute tour-de-force that is ‚Tower‘, right through the moody swagger of ‚White Tuxedo‘ and beyond, this album sees the band crafting what might be their most varied album yet.
The Flower Kings are truly back where they belong, at the beating heart of the modern day progressive rock scene, and ‚Desolation Rose‘ is testament to their continued vibrancy, sonic potency and determination to keep the music driving forward.