The Flower Kings
Retropolis


4.0
excellent

Review

by NightmareCinema16 USER (36 Reviews)
November 30th, 2012 | 41 replies | 1,570 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Flower Kings take a small step in the right direction.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

The Flower Kings were on good track when they first made Back in the World of Adventures. All they had to do was improve their sound and add some much darker and moodier elements into the equation. Without their own knowing that mission, they took one step further to success a year after their first album with their second studio album, Retropolis.

The material that was delivered in this album had already begun to sound a little darker and prophetic, taking more of a concept approach to the album. Some of the songs began to take to the futuristic device, which worked exceptionally well with King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King. The new question would be this: would it work with this album? It certainly didn’t hurt the album much. In fact, it benefited the content of the album quite a bit. It gave the darker material more flavor, mood, and uncertainty while it uplifted the brighter tracks even higher in attitude. However, there was a little less traditional content in this album than their 1st effort, which could have helped Retropolis be a little more interesting.

Another great factor about this work in comparison with the first Flower Kings album is that some the elements used in the first album have stayed. What’s even better is that they have started to be refined and textured, making the album sound more magical, enjoyable, unique, savory, and worthwhile. Some of the continued themes in this album include modern prog ballads, impressionistic solos, and highly diverse journeys. Another newcomer to the equation of musical content is jazz. Although it’s obscure, it should still be slightly noticeable throughout the album.

In certain cases, there are times when the album’s content is once again questionable, the same it was in the Back in the World of Adventures. Examples include Rhythm of Life and Silent Sorrow. With Silent Sorrow, it sounded as if Roine Stolt was taking a little less effort on the vocals. In that case, it wasn’t as fun or as great as the rest of the album. As for Rhythm of Life, I am still not so sure what happened during the making of that song. It’s just a bunch of random sounds and the phrase “rhythm of life” said three times, which is just plain weird. Hopefully, they don’t much more of this, for that matter. It simply explains that the Flower Kings are not the suitable artists for psychedelic prog rock.

Not much has changed about each of the band members. They still play relatively the same way they’ve usually played from Back In the World of Adventures. However, there is still room to back off a little more from playing solos. It’s not that they sound bad, but that they are almost overpowering the essential elements of the music, which is the general background music. There was a slight lack of balance there, so if they hold back on guitar, drum, or keyboard solos, and focus a little more on the overall power of the music itself. However, if there’s anything better about what any certain member did in this album, it would have to be Roine Stolt’s guitar playing in this album. He has refined his playing and puts more zing, brilliance, radiance, and revelry into his work. He also sounds more vocally stable than in the last album.

In terms of each song, there are less signs of reminiscence than in the last album, and more new sub-areas of prog rock incorporated into each of them. Songs like Retropolis, Flora Majora , and Rhythm of the Sea start to dive deeper into the boundaries of Avant, Symphonic, and Neo-Classical prog with the addition of more Jazz Fusion, areas that the Flower Kings didn’t discovered earlier in their band career. The best part about this is that it’s only benefiting the album and not negatively affecting the album. In other words, it gives the album a little more flavor.

In the end, most of what the Flower Kings did from their first album into the second had a pretty smooth transition and sounded better than before. They continued the proper usage of new modern prog elements and added new ones. They also lost some the traditional prog content that was enjoyable from their previous work, along with the addition of some odd sounding music. And what was lost would be gained from their ring leader, Roine Stolt, who also improved his leadership and musicianship, which would become even more noticeable in the future Flower Kings installment, Stardust We Are. To conclude, what the Flower Kings did in Retropolis was a small step in the right direction.



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
NightmareCinema16
November 30th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This review was a little quicker than the last, so I might have some minor flaws. If you see any, inform me. Thoughts?...as usual.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



18591 Comments


pretty good review man pos'd

Digging: Somos - Temple of Plenty

NightmareCinema16
November 30th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, man.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



18591 Comments


no problem Aaron (that' my name too hehe)

NightmareCinema16
November 30th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Funny you mention that. I can't imagine Contributor or Staff Reviewer Aaron Jablonski yet. Maybe in a few years.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



18591 Comments


ha you never know.

you have great taste by the way. i LOVE manheim steamroller nice to see somebody else who appreciates christmas music.

NightmareCinema16
November 30th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Indeed. I'm about doing a few reviews for the Manheim collection I have to mix it up for the holiday season.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



18591 Comments


i would love that man. which manheim album has the joy to the world song?

also i don't know if you like them but relient k has a good christmas album so does she and him (which i reviewed)

NightmareCinema16
November 30th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool, man. I don't remember which album has the Joy to the World song, but that would be the first album that I review.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



18591 Comments


do it! listening to joy to the world by them on youtube right now.

please tell me you like bing crosby?


NightmareCinema16
November 30th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wish I knew him more. I know a few famous songs by him. My grandparents were fans of him especially.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



18591 Comments


his merry christmas album is a fucking classic 5/5 best christmas music out there.

NightmareCinema16
November 30th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I Might have to listen to it them.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



18591 Comments


take out the might and you are correct ;P

NightmareCinema16
November 30th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was able to locate it on Spotify (because i can find practically everything there.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



18591 Comments


sweet!

NightmareCinema16
November 30th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I pretty much use Spotify or Youtube at home to locate all my music. I also think I have a TranSiberian cd at home I could listen to again, so I can start up the Christmas review sessions.

Funeralopolis
November 30th 2012



10441 Comments


when you were young you were the flower kings
and how you built a garden tumbling through the trees

Digging: CunninLynguists - Oneirology

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



18180 Comments


Good job, pos'd.

Haven't heard this one either, I should start looking into some of their early stuff.

Digging: Benoit Pioulard - Hymnal Remixes

Zettel
November 30th 2012



581 Comments


"This review was a little quicker than the last, so I might have some minor flaws. If you see any, inform me."


Ah, there lies the problem. There is no hurry in submitting a review, take your time if you feel something is not developed properly or if you have grammar issues. The latter severely hinder your write-up making it unreadable in many spots. The most basic advise I can give you is that you read several times your review until you start noticing the awkward sentences and the strange choice of words in some cases.

I applaud your honest effort, but you need to write better than this.



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