Review Summary: The Flower Kings join the progressive rock world.
The 1990s was a great decade for more progressive rock and metal revitalization. Dream Theater made their breakthrough album in 1992, Porcupine Tree started to become popular around that time too. Spock’s Beard debuted with The Light in 1995. Opeth was picking up the pace along with many other prog metal groups. It was around the mid-1990s that a less known prog group under the work of guitarist and vocalist Roine Stolt would be created. After finishing his solo album, the Flower King, his next work would make a studio album involving the group he had worked with in his solo album. This album would become Back In the World of Adventures.
The first thought that may come to mind is this: will the Flower King’s first studio effort still sound like it should be a solo artist album? It has happened many times before and after. Zeitgeist was considered as just another Billy Corgan work. The same could be said about Genesis’s Invisible Touch with Phil Collins. At first when listening to the first song or two, it may seem like just another Roine Stolt album, but as the album progresses, there are moments in which the drummer or the keyboardist steals the show for a while. So, it is not completely a soloist album. However, it still has its signs to make other listeners think differently. And since this was only the first Flower Kings album, the music was still developing. So, there are places in the album that may be questionable. Other than that, Back in the World of Adventures is mostly composed of good elements.
One nice factor is that Stolt is continuing to improve both his vocals and his guitar playing from his previous works. He adds more emotion into his voice and puts more of a mood to his guitar melodies. Take for example, Stolt executes more difficult solo passages, heavier riffs, and builds more onto the foundation of the group. This only helps them more than they already were.
All the other members as well as Stolt seem to know their prog rock pretty well. They appear to make their music off of the influence of older albums. Oblivion Road sounds like a cross breed between something from Any Colour You Like by Pink Floyd and Moonchild by King Crimson. Perhaps the same could be said about Temple of Snakes. There are times when Theme For a Hero, World of Adventures, and Atomic Prince gives you the ballad feel of Close to the Edge.
The Flower Kings aren’t just good at knowing their prog elements in their first album. They also know each of their instruments pretty well too. Roine’s brother, Michael, who plays the bass, could possibly match up his level of musicianship with him. The only factor that prevents that from happening is that Stolt has more experience in more instruments than his brother does. Thomas Bodin plays very beautiful keyboard passages throughout the album, giving it more magic. Hans Bruniusson and Jaime Salazar both have a nice percussion talent that gives the album more flavor, rigor, intensity, and eccentricity. And the soprano sax is like the spice; thus completing the recipe that is the Flower King’s first album. This proves that the Swedish can make some pretty neat progressive rock.
Another great advantage of this album is that each of the songs is pretty well spread out in time length. The songs longer than 10 minutes are guaranteed to keep the listener busy and interested while the shorter songs are fun, catchy, and contain some the more upbeat feeling to bring the listener back to focus. And another plus: The Flower Kings’s content blooms with some of the greatest modern prog elements without sacrificing the older, more traditional ones. This is where another nice sense of balance in the music is found. The only content this album could have used more of is some more moody tunes.
So to conclude, The Flower King’s first album is a pretty well done effort, showing a good deal of musicianship, progressive rock content, and balance. There were minor flaws in the first album, but there were more positive impacts in it than bad ones. The Flower Kings would continue to improve over the years until there were even better albums such as Space Revolver, Stardust We Are, Unfold the Future, and much more after this. All of this would be because of an album that brought a new prog rock band to life.