The Flower Kings
Banks of Eden


4.5
superb

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (197 Reviews)
March 12th, 2013 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Smooth, how smooth?

Look past the name, sit back and take it all in. The Flower Kings’ Banks Of Eden is one of the most promising releases to grace 2012. That might look like a big call, but it’s backed up by some of the strongest song writing to be found in the modern progressive rock genre. Somehow, since releasing the group’s debut back in 1995, The Flower Kings have been regarded as a progressive rock powerhouse and yet simultaneously managed to stay relatively un-noticed with their releases. For those who have had the pleasure of hearing any other record in the band’s catalogue, chances are they know that this act have some serious talent behind them. Mixing your everyday progressive patterns with the occasional folk instrument, and excellently well-presented crooned male vocals, Banks Of Eden is deep listen that harmonises and floats into the sub-conscious of the listener. Careful though, this album will need some time to sink in especially with its nine tracks finishing just over the hour and fifteen minute mark. Five years in the waiting (as members worked on other numerous acts) and The Flower Kings prove once again why you should put down whatever you’re doing and put this record on.

When discussing the new record, members cited that they wanted to go for an ‘old-school’ analogue sound, similar to the early releases of Led Zeppelin, Queen or Deep Purple. Banks Of Eden is not too far away from the mentioned old-school vibe but it does manage to have a clean modern flair to the music, thus making Banks Of Eden a mix of old and new, formed into something spectacular. This is instantly noticeable on the opening epic twenty-five minute opus, ‘Numbers’. With the first track taking up the bulk of the album’s runtime, it’s here where listeners can appreciate the warm complexity thrown throughout the entire record. The overall sound is smooth mixing time signatures, mellow leads interesting guitar solos and positively enough a bass with presence following the rhythmic percussions without a need for show boating. Despite the inherent simplicity at work, the album is actually quite complex and is a lot to take in. There’s no two parts the same, and the music is certainly far from a defining black and white. A wide variety of instruments is used throughout the record; they range from the conventional drum, bass, guitar, vocals to the left of centre organ, flutes and even the dabbling in effects both on guitar and vocals, take ‘Pandemonium’ for example. The track is a build-up of sorts, thrown together with musical flamboyancy and catchy rhythmic sections (and that’s all within the first two minutes of the track). What this track also shows, is that bands can alter vocals without ruining passages with auto-tune, The Flower Kings maintain that crooning to the vocals even with the effect.

All in all, Banks Of Eden explore the outer confines of a genre, making a listen fresh and enjoyable. The album itself is infectious, especially for those familiar with the band or encompassing genre. The Flower Kings have blown away their some-what lacklustre release of Adam and Eve in 2004 and come built on their previous release, The Sum Of No Evil in the best possible ways. The band shows that even with a hiatus of five years they are in no way out of the game. Banks Of Eden explore and map out the world of progressive rock, stopping only to captivate the listener and despite being released in the middle of 2012, is one of years strongest releases. It may take a while for the listener to fully understand the passages and integral depth shown throughout the entire of the record, but thankfully most will be glad to listen to this over and over again. Sections intertwine and caress the next taking care to not outweigh or outshine the next. Everything is where it should be.



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user ratings (34)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


7041 Comments


Album's that should of been on your End Of 2012 List, but were not. #1.

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My brain can't handle the amount of contributor reviews today

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


7041 Comments


How about you try to handle this album, it's two disc sexy show of progressive sexiness.

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I feel like your whole review should just be that comment repeated over and over

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm listening right now. Looking forward to this 25 minute opening track

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


7041 Comments


But that wouldn't be very Contrib like now would it?

Give this one a go Trinkie.

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll let you know what i think when i'm done listening. This first track is pretty damn good though so far.

Oh yeah.. Good review by the way.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


7041 Comments


Make sure you get the copy with the second disc - should have nine tracks totaled together.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


19757 Comments


Dude the flower kings rule nice review

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


7041 Comments


They really do, I'm surprised at the low number of vote counts on all their albums

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


19757 Comments


I'll have to listen to them all and rate them. NightmareCinema16 reviewed one of their albums a few months ago and I dug them pretty hard

Keyblade
March 12th 2013


14853 Comments


great band and very underrated. surprised this didn't get a review last year as I was pretty stoked for this.

Digging: Strawberry Switchblade - Strawberry Switchblade

CaptainDooRight
March 12th 2013


29147 Comments


whoa wtf I own every flower king al

a true pos

p/



Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


7041 Comments


Hey Keyblade lost his 33, congrats : ]

Pos me if you can El Capitano " ]

Keyblade
March 12th 2013


14853 Comments


holy shit, i didn't even realize lol.

man i gotta listen to this again...think i only jammed once or twice last year

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


7041 Comments


Yeah, definitely get this going again - album is more than worth a casual re-listen.

WashboardSuds
March 12th 2013


5014 Comments


sweet write up, imaginary pos. 'grats on ditching the numbers keyblade you're now ready to take over the world

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


7041 Comments


Thanks Sudsie, I actually think you could get a lot of enjoyment from these flowery musicians

WashboardSuds
March 12th 2013


5014 Comments


maybe, my tastes are sorta leaning more towards this direction lately, I could dig it

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013


7041 Comments


Give em a go, Or i'll find some super blackened psychadelic sludge inspired doom metal for you ; ]



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