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Reviewed Rainmaker by The Flower Kings.
I'll start this review by first saying that this was my first venture into the classical Progressive Rock style beyond the likes of Pink Floyd and the much more mainsteam artists.
This was not a sound I was very familiar with so I was a little apprehensive about buying the album but I had heard a lot of good things about this band so I picked it up.
When buying the CD I have to admit I chose it because of the cover art which I found very appealing and also suits the music perfectly. The album consists of eleven tracks, three of which are instrumental. It clocks in at exactly seventy-seven minutes and contains three twelve minute plus opuses.
The band consists of six members (I'm not sure if they are all permanent), which is slightly odd but helps to produce a very rich and textured sound. They hail from Sweden, which I think adds a nice exotic feel to the vocals.
Track by track
1 - Last Minute On Earth 11:40
Great opener to the album and perhaps the most straightforward song on the album. It opens with some weird gurgling which leads into the heaviest riffing on the album. When the vocals finally kick in it was a shock to me, Hasse's voice is very unique but I really like it and it makes the music complete. The song is very long and is, for the most part instrumental, as is the trend of the album.
2 - World Without a Heart 4:29
Perhaps the most commercial song and my least favourite of the album, has a nice chorus but is very structured unlike the other songs.
3 - Road To Santuary 13:50
My favourite song on the album and wow it is amazing. You have to hear this song for yourself to understand it. Very emotional and very beautiful. Contains one of the most beautiful verses I have ever heard.
4 - The Rainmaker 6:02
Very nice instrumental with an almost marching beat.
5 - City Of Angels 12:04
Another amazing and epic song. Continues the trend of lengthy instrumental periods and harmonious choruses.
6 - Elaine 4:55
Nice little balled. Not a favourite but very good none the less.
7 - Thru The Walls 4:31
My favourite of the shorter songs. A lot of muted guitar and strange percussion highlight this song. Contains my favourite lyrics on the album.
8 - Sword Of God 6:00
Another of my favourites on the album. Great rock song and very different from the rest of the album. This song provides an excellent break from the less conventional songs.
9 - Blessing Of A Smile 3:12
Another instrumental, doesn’t really appeal to me as much as The Rainmaker but by no means bad.
10 - Red Alert 1:10
Jazzy little instrumental, another nice little break from the intenseness of the album.
11 - Serious Dreamers 8:59
Brilliant finale. Follows the two instrumentals and probably the least instrumental song on the album. Very simple and touching lyrics. My second favourite song on the album after Road to Sanctuary.
What an amazing album. This is definitely on the same page as Pink Floyd. Every aspect of this album is perfect and I cannot sing its praises enough. Be warned however, this is not an album for the casual listener and takes a lot of listening to understand it all and piece it together. There are no catchy guitar hooks or sing along choruses. This album is all about melodies and the marriage of the instruments.
This is a must have for any Prog fan and has been, for me, a gateway to a whole new genre.