The Flower Kings
By Royal Decree


3.5
great

Review

by Zakusz USER (5 Reviews)
March 3rd, 2022 | 18 replies


Release Date: 03/04/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A great contribution to the band’s catalog that leaves room in the future for them to continue down the path they have carved in progressive rock music.

The Flower Kings began as a solo project created in 1993 by former Kaipa guitarist Roine Stolt. Since their beginning, the band has released a multitude of albums that harken back to the glory days of symphonic progressive rock giants such as Yes, King Crimson, Genesis and Pink Floyd. The musical palette of the band is bright and whimsical with a strong sense of scope for modern epics rivaled only by a few in the genre. With their most recent 15th album By Royal Decree they have turned a corner in favor of shorter songs, a choice which comes at the certain expense of the depth and breadth offered in previous releases.

Revitalized by the warm critical reception to their previous double album Islands, the band’s sights are set on a repeat endeavor of similarly structured tracks that adhere to their core sound, and expand upon their strengths perhaps like no other album in their discography has done before. The band is focused and energized on this release, the whimsical beauty has returned in spades and the strongest elements of their songwriting have been refined and developed into short bursts of genius framed in a sequence that is both easy to follow, and digest.

The musicianship displayed on this release is similar in delivery to previous releases in the band’s discography, in that it is performed extremely well, yet not wholly original. There are few surprises to be discovered in this release when compared sonically to all other output The Flower Kings have released in recent memory, but perhaps that is the charm. At this stage in their careers the band has proven itself time and time again to be consistent composers of grand masterpieces such as The Truth Will Set You Free (Unfold the Future, released 2002), and Stardust We Are (released 1997). The lack of a grand epic on this sprawling double album may come as a disappointment to some, but what this album lacks in inflated track lengths, it makes up for with some of the strongest songwriting this band has ever produced.

Tracks such as the lead single Revolution tears through its runtime with cartoon keys and focused melodies that bend and soar above the familiar timbre of frontman Roine Stolts voice. The drums are tight to the core of the song and the snare rolls throughout the verses add a sense of wonder and urgency to the warbling synths and symphonic backdrops. The textures are lush and full yet the band does a wonderful job toeing the line between the perfect arrangement and the pompousness of overproduction.

A Million Stars calls to mind the yesteryears of Yes’ And You and I (Close to the Edge 1972) with its abundance of strummed guitars and chiming keys weaving their way between lyrics touching upon the nature of wonder in this universe. The song breaks through to a melodic touchstone solo delivered by Roine that twists and turns through the length of the bridge before the chorus returns in all of its grandeur, an album highlight to say the least.

The familiarity and charm of the music wears a bit thin as the runtime of the album reaches its final third. Filler becomes apparent during certain portions of the less refined tracks embedded at the back of the album and the predictable delivery of sounds and structures can be grating at times once an idea fails to land at its intended mark. Should the band have opted for this release to be a single album instead? Perhaps, but the cutting room floor would be littered with segments of each track rather than the full removal of songs entirely in order to make that notion a possibility. At a certain point one starts to wonder if each idea is necessary to the whole, a fault in a number of this band’s releases over the years that are largely forgiven due in part to the high points of their catalog overshadowing the lows.

All things considered, this is a great contribution to the band’s catalog and leaves room in the future for them to continue down the path they have carved without them fizzling out or resting on the laurels of the masterwork that has been consistently doled out by The Flower Kings throughout their tenure in the realm of progressive rock music.


user ratings (16)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Zakusz
March 3rd 2022


676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Album will be released at midnight tonight 3/4/22 on all streaming services!

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2022


17287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

[Words that are no longer here]

Zakusz
March 4th 2022


676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks for the heads up Gnocchi, I don't want to break any of the rules. Once I get the stream link I'll post it below when it's official!

alkostach
March 4th 2022


277 Comments


It don't care for the music, but this cover caught my eye somewhere before. I just dropped by to appreciate this marvelous piece of art. One of the best album arts I've ever seen.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2022


5705 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice to see The Flower Kings reviewed. Islands was a great record, I'm kind of excited to hear this although none of the singles released were gripping.

Digging: Coheed and Cambria - Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind

johnson567
March 4th 2022


2 Comments


I m new

Pho3nix
March 4th 2022


1312 Comments


"It don't care for the music, but this cover caught my eye somewhere before. I just dropped by to appreciate this marvelous piece of art. One of the best album arts I've ever seen."

Agreed. I really like the cover art.

Zakusz
March 4th 2022


676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks everybody! This is my first review for the site since around 2011-12 with my old account where I had a handful. Really digging this record, The Darkness in you has some great guitar work in it throughout as well.

Jethro42
March 4th 2022


17703 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, dude. Gonna give it a spin.

Weirdbeard
March 4th 2022


52 Comments


Hoping this lives up to expectations, been a huge fan since the first album but I have to admit the last few albums have been a blur for me.

Zakusz
March 4th 2022


676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I've always had a soft spot for this band no matter how similar a lot of their releases end up sounding. They work great for active listening in headphones to pick apart all the instrumental passages, or in the background when doing homework. Seems to be one of the only bands I can do both

e210013
March 5th 2022


4067 Comments


Nice to see a review of these guys here. Good work. It's in my list to check. Pos.

Digging: Porcupine Tree - Staircase Infinities

Zakusz
March 5th 2022


676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks man! Always really dug these guys

henrymosley
April 26th 2022


2 Comments


Good review, man. I love it when all the information is easily spread out and you can see the good and the bad sides. I also love this bazoocam review for general development, because technology needs to be understood, dude.

Zakusz
April 27th 2022


676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks man! I appreciate it

adamphelps25
June 22nd 2022


1 Comments


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GhandhiLion
June 22nd 2022


15596 Comments


no fuck u

Digging: Stina Nordenstam - Memories of a Colour

Zakusz
June 22nd 2022


676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah fuck this adam guy haha



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