Lee Speaks About Music… #58

A Kingdom Of Colours 1995 – 2002 (Box Set) – The Flower Kings

27504084_1589792504433631_319029685190277943_o

Introduction…

Well I guess I have to thank Tom Fowler for posting his own purchase of this latest box set of The Flower Kings in the Prog Rock Group on Facebook. To be perfectly honest nothing inside this box set is new to me at all, but there was a reason I purchased it, and what it contains again. More about that in a bit in the my introduction to The Flower Kings section of my review here.

Because this is a box set I have very much chosen to review and because it contains quite a few albums, I am merely going to go through the highlights of each album, rather than take on every individual track on them. But first I shall give you a bit of history of the band, and also tell you why I brought these albums again.

The Flower Kings A Brief History…

The main man behind The Flower Kings is the multi talented musician from Sweden known as Roine Stolt. Stolt who is no stranger to prog rock, and has been around a very long time. He even goes back to the distant dark days of the 70’s when prog rock was still very much in fashion.

He originally started playing bass in a couple of unknown bands in the late 60’s and later in 1973 switched to guitar. In the following year he joined the Swedish prog rock band Kaipa and in 1975 that band released their very first self titled debut album. Between the years of 1975 – 1979 Stolt made 3 studio albums with Kaipa in which most of the material was written by himself and their keyboard player Hans Lundin.

Because music was changing it’s direction and prog rock was no longer fashionable any more. In 1979 Stolt quit the band. Though the band still did continue on without him. If your into progressive rock I seriously suggest you check out the band Kaipa. They have made some quite remarkable albums including their first 3 albums done with Stolt.

Having quit Kaipa in 1979 Stolt set about making his own music and put his own band together Fantasia and between 1979 – 1983 he made a couple of albums. Though he never really released any of them at this point, and went into studio production and session work. In 1992 he did release one of the albums he made back in 1979 which was the bands self titled debut album Fantasia. But it did not exactly set the world on fire.

A year later in 1993 Stolt noticed a few bands had started to churn out progressive rock again in the way of a revival despite it still not really being that fashionable. A couple of bands from his own country he took note of who went by the names of Landberk and Änglagård inspired him to to once again go back to writing the music he always loved again.

In 1994 Roine Stolt released what was known to be his first solo album to which he entitled The Flower King. The warm response he got back from it’s release spurred him on to put a band together that consisted of the few musicians that he made his solo debut album with (including his brother Michael) and he recruited his best friend Tomas Bodin to play keyboards, and simply called the new band The Flower Kings.

Stolt’s solo debut album The Flower King is a remarkable piece of work and brilliant album. His writing in the world of progressive rock is formidable and once The Flower Kings were launched in the following year of 1995 he was to become one of the most formidable writers in today’s world of progressive rock.

My Introduction To The Flower Kings…

My Introduction to The Flower Kings came about through the Classic Rock Magazine around the time the band had released their 5th album Space Revolver in the year 2000. This particular magazine back then used to come accompanied with a CD with various rock and prog rock artists and bands on it, and was my way of keeping up with what was new out there at the time.

I am pretty sure it was a magazine that got released on a monthly basis and the one band that caught my eye more than anything on one of these CD’s was the newly put together prog rock band Transatlantic. To be honest the song of theirs that was on this CD that came with the magazine, was only a ballad. But one with that much beauty to it that it spoke to me very highly and I just had to buy the album. The song was entitled “We All Need Some Light“.

Having got the bands debut album and very much liking it a lot, I started to take note of the 4 musicians who made up the band. To be honest the only musician in this band I did know was the bass player from Marillion Pete Trewavas. The other members that made up this so called new supergroup Transatlantic at the time were Neal Morse from Spock’s Beard on vocals, keyboards and guitar. Roine Stolt from The Flower Kings on vocals and guitar and Michael Portnoy of Dream Theater on drums.

So I started to check out more of the latter 3 musicians and started to buy their albums too. To be honest I was not so keen on Dream Theater simply because they was more of Metal band than prog rock at that time, and I was well more impressed by both Neal Morse and Roine Stolt mainly because they were both very clever writers of progressive rock music. Even today I still regard them both as the best prog rock writers in today’s world of progressive rock.

It was a few years later around 2005 that I foolishly lent out my collection of The Flowers Kings albums to a friend. It was also the last time I seen this friend and my albums :))))))). Never again as been my motto ever since.

I still have those albums on my hard drive though. Simply because with every album I buy on CD I rip them onto my computer, because a lot of my time is spent on the computer and I only really play the CD’s on my HifFi when the wife is not around or in bed so to speak.

But back in those days I only ever used to rip the albums onto my hard drive in an MP3 format of 192kbps to save on hard drive space. These days I have a lot bigger hard drives and rip them out in 320kbps quality.

A Kingdom Of Colours 1995 – 2002 (Box Set) In Review…

The Flower Kings box set A Kingdom Of Colours was released on the 15th December 2017. The box set contains the first 7 albums that The Flower Kings released between the years of 1995 – 2002. 3 of those albums are actually double albums as well. So has you can see I have quite a lot to get through in my review here, which is why I am only going to be taking you through the highlights of each album.

To be perfectly honest a box set such this is something I would never buy as a rule. I prefer to buy the individual albums. But has I had already brought them once before and lost them by lending them out, this box set provided me with a cheaper alternative of getting them back again.

I also doubt that anybody who had these albums already would actually buy this box set either. Simply because there is nothing really new in here at all. I would also say that in no way would I consider this box set to be seen as an introduction or starting point for newcomers to The Flower Kings. Simply because every album they put out is packed to the brim with far too much material on it in reality.

Getting into any album made by The Flower Kings is gonna take some serious music listening. This is because they tend to cram as much information onto 1 CD as they possibly can. No doubt you get your money’s worth, but in all honesty just one of their single albums is the length of a double album when comparing to the old vinyl album time slot of around 40 minutes. Their double albums are like 4 albums :))))))))))).

I myself prefer the old album time slot of 40 minutes, that way you can get to listen to a lot more albums, and I would even go as far as to say that putting an album out such as the way The Flower Kings do, will put a lot of people off. It’s simply far too much information to take in, and you are going to have to put in more or less the same amount of hours it took them to make the album to reap the pleasure and rewards it does give back to you.

The other things that could be seen for not wanting this particular box set is the fact that none of the CD’s have been remastered and none of them contain bonus material like they did with newer reissues and limited edition releases of the albums. I think Mr. Stolt has been a bit tight there.

The box set was released as a limited edition by Inside Out Records and only 3,000 have been made. Each box set comes with it’s own unique number and it comes at an attractive price point, and I got mine from Amazon for £34.99.

So let’s take a further look at the packaging and see just what you’re getting for the bucks here.

The Packaging & Contents…

20180131_125215

The Box.

The CD’s come in a very attractive box which is very well made and constructed. The title of the box set A Kingdom Of Colours I would very much presume that the title they chose, came from looking at all the colourful artwork that was on the original album covers. It really is a very nice presentation.

The Contents.

All the single CD’s are stored in cardboard wallets and the double CD’s come in cardboard gatefold Digipaks (pictured below). To be honest looking at them they represent a sort of mini version of the vinyl albums very well, and come with all the original artwork.

20180131_123042

However these type of cardboard sleeves are made on the cheap and even the gatefold Digipaks are nowhere near the construction or quality of a conventional Digipak one would get with an individual release. But to be perfectly honest I have even seen this type of cheap workmanship come exactly the same with box sets that cost as much as £300 plus.

There is no doubt that the individual album releases, will come in a much better quality Digipak than the way they have gone about things here.

But I suppose they have to do something to keep the cost down, and I do not see buying a package at this low price point really as a rip off like those much more expensive box sets on that score, it would also cost more than twice the price of this box set to buy these albums individually.

My only gripe with these type of cheap cardboard sleeves is that I wish they would pay more care and attention to the actual discs that are going to be stored in them.

For example they could put a gloss coating on the inside of the cardboard that house the CD’s to give the disc surface better protection. Or even have them in paper sleeves housed inside the cardboard with a polyurethane lining inside like one gets with a vinyl album to protect them.

Quite often with these type of packages the CD’s are housed in cardboard pockets with no coating on at all, and when retrieving the disc from it’s pocket it is possible to put scratch marks on the discs, especially if it catches the edges when doing so.

CD’s are not indestructible and even though they may still play with marks on them, it’s not gonna do the laser inside your CD Player any good by any means. So I would love to see more care and attention paid to the design of such things.

The box set comes with a very thick booklet, its perhaps more like a book than a booklet to be honest. It provides you with a bit of background on the history of how The Flower Kings started, and all the information that was on the original albums, being as they could not of fitted individual booklets inside each album with the way the single album and double albums have been constructed.

Overall it’s a very nice box set and the chances are that even if I did spend the extra money on buying all the albums again individually. They most likely would of came in the standard Jewel Cases like I had before.

There is no doubt that the Jewel Case does offer more protection, but these days I do quite like the way CD’s are released in Digipaks and they look more like mini versions of the vinyl albums. I think that factor also persuaded me to buy this box set too.

The Albums In Review…

As I mentioned earlier because this is a box set I am only going to focus on the highlights of the albums and not do an in depth review of all the individual albums tracks like I do on most reviews. I shall also review each album as they was released in chronological order. Now without any further adieu, let’s get down to the album reviews.

TFK - BITWOA

Back In The World Of Adventures

The Flower Kings debut album Back In The World Of Adventures was originally released on Foxtrot Records back in September 1995. It’s an album that contains 10 tracks over an overall playing time of 71 minutes, 21 seconds. Its perhaps a double albums worth of material in comparison to the album time slot back in the 70’s.

But what I will say is that its perhaps one of my favourite albums by the band, though to be honest it’s pretty damn hard to pick a favourite album by The Flower Kings because there is a lot to be said about all of them, and each contain some pretty amazing songs. But the opening track on this particular album does happen to be my all time favourite song by The Flower Kings.

All of the material on the album was written by Roine Stolt and this is one guy who must be a complete workaholic with the amount of material he has written over the years and still been able to go out and play live, and be involved in many other projects.

As with all albums by The Flower Kings the material is made up of lengthy and short tracks and is a combination of songs and instrumental pieces, though they are very heavily music based, to allow for the musicians to express themselves very well throughout and play their part within its musical presentation.

The music itself presents itself very well and takes in all the genres that make up progressive rock music. It’s a mixture and combination of rock, jazz, jazz fusion and classical influences that make it all up.

It’s all held together by the very capable and excellent musicians Stolt assembled to make up the band. Most of this band line-up managed to stay together through most of the albums in this box set too.

The line-up of musicians are as follows:

Roine Stolt: Guitars/Lead Vocals/Keyboards. Tomas Bodin: Keyboards. Michael Stolt: Bass/Voice. Jaime Salazar: Drums (Tracks 1-8). Hans Bruniusson: Percussion/Drums (Track 10). Guest Musician: Ulf Wallander: Soprano Saxophone.

The album Back In The World Of Adventures has quite a wide range of musical styles and influences throughout  the duration of the albums 10 tracks. You will get to hear some influences from early Yes, Genesis, Focus and many more. There is plenty of really great well written material for you to digest and absorb.

It’s perhaps not easily accessible to most people I would of thought. But for those who are already into prog rock it’s perhaps an album that is more easier to get to grips with, and take in this magical dramatic journey into this world of adventure.

My personal highlights are as follows: “World Of Adventures“. “Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope“. “Go West Judas“. “Theme For A Hero“. “My Cosmic Lover” and “Big Puzzle“.

Back In The World Of Adventures is quite a solid body of work and a solid album in the way that it does not really have a bad track upon it. There are some classics along the course of the album too.

We’re Children Of The Woodstock Nation Lost In Peace and Contemplation…

The album track listing is as follows: 1. World Of Adventures. 13:37. 2. Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope. 7:49. 3. Go West Judas. 7:47. 4. Train to Nowhere. 3:49. 5. Oblivion Road. 3:47. 6. Theme For A Hero. 8:32. 7. Temple of the Snakes. 1:23. 8. My Cosmic Lover. 6:46. 9. The Wonder Wheel. 4:17. 10. Big Puzzle. 13:24.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 10/10.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

TFK - R

Retropolis

Retropolis was released on the 25th May 1996. The album contains 11 tracks spanned over a playing time of 68 minutes, 45 seconds. The bands 2nd album is quite different in comparison to their debut album, and tends to be more dramatic.

The dramatic side is also perhaps more like the sound design one would use for films and can be quite cinematic in parts. It feels more of a concept album and the music fits the albums artwork cover like a glove in parts, especially the albums self titled track, and puts you in the picture so to speak.

Though I would not say it’s completely all like that, and these cinematic effects only take part in small parts such as the intro’s and outro’s and in other places in parts. It does also contain very well structured prog rock music, and I suppose one of the other best tracks besides Retropolis I can think of on the album that would put across what I am trying to describe here is “Rhythm Of The Sea“.

Besides the drama a lot of the music is built around very strong themes and has plenty of power as well as subtlety. My personal favourite track on the album is “Silent Sorrow” which has influences from Genesis and Frank Zappa along its path. “There Is More To This World” is certainly another very high contender too.

Retropolis is a concept album that flows along superbly with every track on it, and is another really superb album. Besides the bands main writer Roine Stolt the bands keyboard player Tomas Bodin contributes to the writing and wrote the 3 shortest tracks on the album. His keyboard work is magnificent on the album.

My personal highlights on the album are as follows: “Retropolis“. “There Is More To This World“. “Silent Sorrow“. “The Judas Kiss” and “Flora Majora“.

The Flower Kings produced yet another solid album that contains a solid body of work. It’s an album that works remarkably well from start to finish, and another one of my very favourite albums of theirs.

Though the album consists of the same band land line-up, they did at this stage bring in another guest musician who was to become a more permanent member later on, and Hasse Fröberg was brought in to add to the vocals.

The line-up of musicians are as follows:

Roine Stolt: Guitars/Lead Vocals/Additional Keyboards & Bass. Tomas Bodin: Keyboards. Michael Stolt: Bass/Voice. Jaime Salazar: Drums. Hans Bruniusson: Percussion/Drums (Track 10). Guest Musicians: Ulf Wallander: Soprano Saxophone (Tracks 6 & 11). Hasse Fröberg: Vocals (Tracks 4 &7)

I’ll Drown In A Silent Sorrow, I’ve Seen All Too Much, Too Soon…

The album track listing is as follows: 1. World Of Adventures. 13:37. 2. Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope. 7:49. 3. Go West Judas. 7:47. 4. Train to Nowhere. 3:49. 5. Oblivion Road. 3:47. 6. Theme For A Hero. 8:32. 7. Temple of the Snakes. 1:23. 8. My Cosmic Lover. 6:46. 9. The Wonder Wheel. 4:17. 10. Big Puzzle. 13:24.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 10/10.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

TFK - SWA

Stardust We Are

Released in April 1997 Stardust Were Are is a double album that contains 9 tracks on the 1st album that have an overall playing time of 58 minutes, 32 seconds and the 2nd album contains 11 tracks over a playing time of 71 minutes, 42 seconds.

Just like all albums by The Flower Kings they are very much based in the form of a concept album in some way or another. Though I have to confess this album tends to take in a lot more other subjects to really work in the way of a concept album. But one may feel they are on one big circus ride on this album.

Personally I do not think the album Stardust We Are is as strong as it’s 2 predecessors. Though it does have some really great tracks about the both albums you get here. Most of its strength lies on the 2nd album more than anything else, and it contains the 25 minute epic self titled album track “Stardust We Are“. This is my personal favourite on the album.

The both albums are perhaps more laid back and apart from the odd track here and there it does not contain enough excitement. Though it’s not entirely a bad album and there is some great church and pipe organ on the album too. It can be a bit like all the fun at the fair at times.

 The highlights on the 1st album I chose are “In The Eyes Of The World“. “Church of Your Heart“. “The Man Who Walked With Kings“.

The highlights from the 2nd album are “The End of Innocence“. “The Merry-Go-Round“. “Different People” and “Stardust We Are“.

The line-up of musicians are as follows:

Roine Stolt: Guitars/Lead Vocals/Keyboards. Tomas Bodin: Keyboards. Michael Stolt: Bass/Voice. Jaime Salazar: Drums. Hans Bruniusson: Percussion.  Hasse Fröberg: Lead & Backing Vocals. Guest Musicians: Ulf Wallander: Soprano Saxophone. Haken Almqkvist: Sitar & Tabla.

I think at this stage of the bands career a double album may have proved to be bit too much and Stardust We Are is not quite as solid with the material that was written for it. The biggest majority of the material was written by Roine Stolt and once again Tomas Bodin wrote and co-wrote 6 of the shorter tracks on the album.

The album does have its moments though and it’s still a great album to have because there are some excellent tracks amongst the 20 you do get over the double album. In some ways it’s quite strange, and I do tend to play this album a lot, and every time I do so I always for some reason consider it as one of their stronger albums.

So like I said before, it’s not really a bad album at all, and many may give it an higher score than I have here. I think we may have been a bit spoilt with how well the bands first two albums were written.

Stardust We Are, Close To Divine…

The album track listing is as follows:

Disc 1.

1. In The Eyes Of The World. 10:38. 2. A Room With a View. 1:26. 3. Just This Once. 7:54. 4. Church of Your Heart. 9:10. 5. Porr Mr. Rain; S Ordinary Guitar. 2:44. 6. The Man Who Walked With Kings. 4:59. 7. Circus Brimstone. 12:03. 8. Crying Clown. 0:58. 9. Compassion. 8:40.

Disc 2.

1. Pipes of Peace. 1:19. 2. The End of Innocence. 8:29. 3. The Merry-Go-Round. 8:17. 4. Don of the Universe. 7:02. 5. A Day at the Mall. 0:45. 6. Different People. 6:19. 7. Kingdom of Lies. 5:47. 8. If 28. 2:15. 9. Ghost of the Red Cloud. 4:37. 10. Hotel Nirvana. 1:49. 11.Stardust We Are . 25:03

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 6/10.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

TFK - FP

Flower Power

The bands 4th album Flower Power was released a couple of years later on the 16th November 1999. Once again it’s a double album and just how many bands do you know that follow a double album by releasing another double album straight after.

The Flower Kings did just that with their 4th album Flower Power. The 1st of the 2 albums contains 21 tracks and has a playing time of 68 minutes, 2 seconds. The 2nd album contains 10 tracks and comes with a playing time of 72 minutes, 47 seconds.

Though the 1st album appears to have 21 tracks. 18 of those are merely movements of one massive suite which is the “Garden Of Dreams” that takes up just under an hour of the first album. Tomas Bodin contributes more to the writing on this album too, and this whole suite was penned by Bodin/Stolt.

Some reviewers over the years have stated that this almost 60 minute epic suite is better than Close To The Edge by Yes. Personally I think whoever wrote those reviews were way off the mark, but no doubt this has been very well put together. But once again I do not see anything on this particular album matching up to The Flower Kings first couple of albums, never mind measuring up to Close To The Edge.

The remaining 3 tracks on the 1st album consist of 2 very short pieces done for effect more than anything else, and even the bands drummer Jaime Salazar contributes to the writing on a couple of them. Though “Ikea By Night” is only himself on the drums and lasts all of 4 seconds :))))))). But the last track on this 1st album entitled “Astral Dog” he contributed to the writing with Stolt on is a great instrumental track and is very Zappa esc with Stolt’s guitar work on it.

The 2nd album contains some great songs and instrumental pieces and kicks off with a song entitled “Deaf, Numb & Blind“. It’s got quite an influence from the prog rock band Camel this one, though no doubt you will find many influences from the great prog rock bands of the past on a lot of The Flower Kings albums.

Once again Tomas Bodin contributes to the writing on the 2nd album and wrote one of the 10 tracks and co-wrote another with Stolt. interestingly the extra vocalist Hasse Fröberg that Stolt brought in awhile back, also wrote one of the songs here too.

Once again we have a concept album here, and even some of the other tracks besides its main feature of the “Garden Of Dreams” tend to hark back to the garden so to speak.

The Flower Kings often referred to themselves as being a kind of psychedelic prog rock band, though I would say that on this album and their other albums they are certainly more along the lines of progressive of rock. Though the one track on the 2nd album entitled “Psychedelic Postcard” certainly does go down that road. But the title of it is perhaps the only reason they do on that score.

The albums title of Flower Power certainly suggests that the concept of this particular album is harking back to the 60’s and those hippie care free days. Though I would not say the music presents itself like that decade of the 60’s at all, and once again the subject matter of the words and individual subjects can be a bit bizarre to say the least. But I suppose those days were a bit hazy for that matter :)))))).

My personal highlights from the whole of the double album are as follows: The epic suite “Garden Of Dreams“.”Astral Dog“. “Deaf, Numb & Blind“. “Corruption“. “Magic Pie“. and “Calling Home“.

The line-up of musicians are as follows:

Roine Stolt: Guitars/Lead Vocals/Keyboards. Tomas Bodin: Keyboards. Michael Stolt: Bass & Vocals. Jaime Salazar: Drums. Hans Bruniusson: Percussion & Odd Voices.  Hasse Fröberg: Lead Vocals.

This was to be the bass player Michael Stolt’s last album with The Flower Kings. He chose to leave the band to do his own thing, mainly because his older brother Roine was a great bass player and did most of the bass work on the bands studio albums. Michael was only really more or less needed for the bands live shows. So he chose to leave to get more work. He was even in the first band Roine put together Fantasia and also played on Stolt’s first solo album The Flower King.

Overall the double album Flower Power by The Flower Kings is quite a good album. Though I will stress it took myself a lot longer to get into this album, and in some ways it’s perhaps a bit more inaccessible in relation to their previous albums. I would also say that the material we have here is also better than a lot of the material that was wrote for their previous album Stardust We Are. So there is some power in this plant pot.

Life Was Simple In The Prime of Days…

The album track listing is as follows:

Disc 1.

1. Dawn. 1:33. 2. Simple Song. 1:48. 3. Business Vamp. 5:02. 4. All You Can Save. 5:02. 5. Attack Of The Monster Briefcase. 3:04. 6. Mr. Hope Goes To Wall Street. 1:46. 7. Did I Tell You. 3:46. 8. Did I Tell You. 2:39. 9. Don’t Let The d’Evil In. 3:11. 10. Love Is The Word. 2:49. 11. There’s No Such Night. 2:43. 12. The Mean Machine. 2:41. 13. Dungeon Of The Deep. 4:24. 14. Indian Summer. 4:13. 15. Sunny Lane. 5:25. 16. Gardens Revisited. 2:56. 17. Shadowland. 2:03. 18. The Final Deal. 4:10. 19. Captain Capstan. 0:45. 20. IKEA By Night. 0:04. 21. Astral Dog. 7:58.

Disc 2.

1. Deaf, Numb & Blind. 11:10. 2. Stupid Girl. 6:49. 3. Corruption. 5:54. 4. Power of Kindness. 4:23. 5. Psycedelic Postcard. 8:42. 6. Hudson River Sirens Call 1998. 4:47. 7. Magic Pie. 8:19. 8. Painter. 6:50. 9. Calling Home. 11:19. 10. Afterlife. 4:34.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

TFK - SR

Space Revolver

The bands 5th album was the very first album I brought of The Flower Kings, It’s another really great album that contains 10 tracks and has an overall playing time of 76 minutes, 34 seconds. The album was released on the 4th of July 2000 and perhaps gave us Europeans something to celebrate too :)))))).

Stolt recruited a new bass player namely Jonas Reingold to the band to replace his brother who had left after making their previous album. Reingold was to become a consistent member to the band and is still with them today.

For many of the bands fans its perhaps a favourite album to them and features one of their many classic tracks “I Am the Sun” which comes in two parts and starts and ends off the album. Originally Roine Stolt wrote the song as one piece and decided in the end to split it into two parts for the album.

It really is a classic and great song over it’s both parts and is my personal favourite track, though there is plenty more on this album that speaks to me very well too, and my highlights of the great tracks on this album are as follows: “I Am the Sun (Part 1)“. “Rumble Fish Twist“. “Monster Within“. “Chicken Farmer Song“. “Underdog“. “A King’s Prayer” and “I Am the Sun (Part 2)“.

The line-up of musicians are as follows:

Roine Stolt: Guitars/Lead & Backing Vocals/Keyboards/Bass. Tomas Bodin: Keyboards. Hasse Fröberg: Lead & Backing Vocals/Acoustic Guitar. Jonas Reingold: Bass. Jaime Salazar: Drums & Lip. Hans Bruniusson: Percussion/Mallets/Chains/Voices. Guest Musician: Ulf Wallander: Soprano Saxophone.

Overall Space Revolver is a near enough solid album with the material upon it, to which most of it was written by Stolt. Though Bodin did co-write “Dream on Dreamer” with Stolt and he also wrote one of my many favourite tracks “Rumble Fish Twist“. Hasse Fröberg also wrote “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got” and even though he did contribute on the guitar at many of the bands live shows since he joined them, this was the first studio album he contributed acoustic guitar on.

Never Believe What They Tell You, Let’s Move A Mountain…

The album track listing is as follows: 1. I Am the Sun, Pt. 1. 15:03. 2. Dream on Dreamer. 2:42. 3. Rumble Fish Twist. 8:05. 4. Monster Within. 12:55. 5. Chicken Farmer Song. 5:11. 6. Underdog. 5:29. 7. You Don’t Know What You’ve Got. 2:39. 8. Slave to Money. 7:30. 9. A King’s Prayer. 6:01. 10. I Am the Sun, Pt. 2. 10:39.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 9/10.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

TFK - TR

The Rainmaker

The bands 6th album The Rainmaker is another one of my personal favourites. Though it’s not that popular with some of the bands fans, perhaps down to it’s being slightly a bit more modern. But for me personally I love this album to death, and certainly think it’s the most easily accessible album out of the bunch we get in this box set.

The album contains 11 tracks over a playing time of 76 minutes, 59 seconds and was released on the 18th September 2001. I cannot stress enough that even the bands single albums are like double albums, though I would say that you might be grateful for the time slot on this album because it is without doubt a near enough solid album.

This was the last album to feature the bands drummer Jaime Salazar having had a good 7 years with the band he quit for personal reasons, and went on to play for a few other bands.

It’s very difficult to choose a favourite track from this album so I am not gonna either. But if I had to it would be any one of the first 3 tracks on the album. They are all so damn good.

My personal highlights of the album are as follows: “Last Minute On Earth“. “World Without A Heart“. “Road To Sanctuary“. “City of Angels” and “Serious Dreamers“.

The Rainmaker is one of those albums best enjoyed listening to it in its entirety. It was the first album that The Flower Kings released that sparked off mixed reviews from the critics and it’s fans. The album contains some reversed vocals that Stolt also used on his 3rd solo album Wallstreet Voodoo he released in 2005. .

The line-up of musicians are as follows:

Roine Stolt: Guitars/Lead & Backing Vocals/Keyboards/Hand Percussions. Tomas Bodin: Keyboards. Hasse Fröberg: Vocals/Vocoder. Jonas Reingold: Bass. Jaime Salazar: Drums & Liptwisting. Hans Bruniusson: Percussive Sculptures/Chains. Guest Musicians: Ulf Wallander: Soprano Saxophone.

Personally I cannot fault any of the material on The Rainmaker even the ballad of a song “Elaine” is a very well written song. I think some of the tracks on the latter part of the album may lean towards Neal Morse’s style of writing, especially “Sword Of God”  and Stolt had worked with Neal Morse in the previous year with Transatlantic and that may of had some kind of bearing on the mixed reactions and critical reviews the album got.

But personally I am also a big fan of Neal Morse myself and love the output from both of these artists. So that may also reflect in my liking of this album, and the overall high rating I gave it here.

I personally feel the album The Rainmaker is a superb body of work and near enough another very solid album that works very well with the placement of all tracks upon it. I personally do not think it has a bad track either.

Fractions Of Time Is All That Is Left…

The album track listing is as follows: 1. Last Minute On Earth. 11:51. 2. World Without A Heart. 4:30. 3. Road To Sanctuary. 13:49. 4. The Rainmaker. 6:02. 5. City Of Angels. 12:04. 6. Elaine. 4:56. 7. Thru The Walls. 4:28. 8. Sword Of God. 6:03. 9. Blessing Of A Smile. 3:09. 10. Red Alert. 1:07. 11. Serious Dreamers. 9.00.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 9/10.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

TFK - UTF

Unfold The Future

The last of the albums in the box set is the bands 7th album and once again it’s another double album, and by no means was it not their last double album either. They did go to make one more double, but also most of the bands single albums also came with limited editions in which you also got a bonus disc.

The double album Unfold The Future by The Flower Kings was released on the 5th November 2002. However the version in this box set is in fact a 2017 reissue of the double album, and not the original album. It’s also the only album in this box set that is a reissue too.

According to Roine Stolt he was never ever happy with the original mix of some of the tracks on this particular album, and he said they contained too much compression. So he not only remastered the album but he also remixed 3 of the tracks. They was “The Truth Will Set You Free“. “Black And White” and the “Devil’s Playground“.

The reissue of the album was released on the 3rd November 2017 and was released on a triple vinyl album, it also came with the choice of two other colours too for those coloured vinyl lovers. A double CD was released at the same time, to which he decided to include in this box set.

I have to say the album sounds superb for the remastering and the remixes, but there is some differences with the timing on those tracks he remixed, and the most notable one happens to be one of my favourites and the last track on double album entitled the “Devil’s Playground“.

On the original album this track was 24 and half minutes long. Oddly enough even on the back of the gatefold Digipack it states the timing is 24:30 yet its only got a playing time of 19 minutes 21 seconds on the CD.

My guess is that he’s shortened some of the tracks to be able to fit them all on vinyl, because of the vinyl limitations and restrictions.

Sacrilege! Mr. Stolt :)))))

But I forgive him, because this album really has been brought back to life with all he has done here.

The new reissue of Unfold The Future comes with 7 tracks that have an overall playing time of 72 minutes, 42 seconds on the 1st album and 9 tracks over 59 minutes, 59 seconds on the 2nd album. The overall timing of the both albums comes to 132 minutes, 41 seconds and is missing nearly 8 minutes in comparison to the original 2002 release.

Despite the lack of the 8 minutes on this release, no matter how you look at the the album Unfold The Future I would regard it has the best double album The Flower Kings ever made. Both albums you get here contain pretty much solid material, especially the first album out of the two.

Roine Stolt invited Daniel Gildenlöw of the band The Pain Of Salvation to appear as a guest vocalist on this album. Gildenlöw can be seen backing up the other band Stolt was part of Transatlantic on their live European shows. A couple of years later in 2004 Stolt made him an official member of The Flower Kings.

But because of the United States Visitor and Immigrant status indicator technology (commonly referred to as US-VISIT) He refused to submit biometric data which was required to enter the country. And he left the band just before their US tour in 2005.

I think the only track that may let this album down slightly is “Fast Lane” which is on the 2nd album and was written by Tomas Bodin and features Gildenlöw on the lead vocals.

Speaking of Bodin it was he who brought in the bands new drummer Zoltán Csörsz to replace Jaime Salazar after he quit the band after their last album. Bodin had collaborated with the new drummer on various other projects and recommended him.

Though Csörsz did not last too long before he eventually quit in 2005 after making the bands 8th album Adam & Eve. But did briefly rejoin the band for the making of their 10th album The Sum Of No Evil in 2007 and quit once again.

The album Unfold The Future kicks off with the longest on the whole of the double album. It’s a just under 31 minute epic entitled “The Truth Will Set You Free” that contains 3 subheadings that proceeds it’s journey along which are as follows: Lonely Road/Primal Instincts/From The Source.

This epic was penned by Roine Stolt and for any song that runs over this distance it has to go to many places to keep the attention and excitement for the listener, and boy does it just do that as well. It’s my personal favourite on the whole album and quite a master-class piece of work. There is never a dull moment throughout it.

My personal highlights on the whole double album are as follows: “The Truth Will Set You Free“. “Christianopel“. “Silent Inferno“. “Genie In A Bottle“. “The Devil’s Danceschool” and the “Devil’s Playground“.

The line-up of musicians are as follows:

Roine Stolt: Guitars/Vocals/Keyboards. Tomas Bodin: Keyboards. Hasse Fröberg: Vocals. Jonas Reingold: Bass. Zoltán Csörsz: Drums & Liptwisting. Hans Bruniusson: Orchestral Percussion. Guest Musicians: Ulf Wallander: Soprano Saxophone. Daniel Gildenlöw: Vocals. Anders Bergcrantz: Trumpet.

Overall Unfold The Future by The Flower Kings is another one of their high rated albums, out of the many they have churned out over the first 7 years of the bands career. The band have been pretty much consistent throughout their entire career and never really fail to disappoint.

The Kaleidoscope Inside Your Eyes…

The album track listing is as follows:

Disc 1.

1. The Truth Will Set You Free: Lonely Road/Primal Instincts/From the Source. 1:33. 2. Monkey Business. 1:48. 3. Black and White. 5:02. 4. Christianopel. 5:02. 5. Silent Inferno. 3:04. 6. The Navigator. 1:46. 7. Vox Humana. 3:46.

Disc 2.

1. Genie in a Bottle. 11:10. 2. Fast Lane. 6:49. 3. Grand Old World. 5:54. 4. Soul Vortex. 4:23. 5. Rollin’ the Dice. 8:42. 6. The Devil’s Danceschool. 4:47. 7. Man Overboard. 8:19. 8. Solitary Shell. 6:50. 9. Devil’s Playground. 11:19.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 9/10.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

Summary…

To sum up my review of The Flower Kings box set A Kingdom Of Colours (1995 – 2002) I would say that it’s most likely aimed at serious record collectors who just have to have everything that their favourite bands put out there. There is no doubt it does offer you a terrific insight in this great bands earlier part of their career, which personally for myself I would consider to be their very best output. Though to be honest I still highly rate the band today.

They are very much skilful and class musicians who know how to craft out great music. Like I said earlier in my review Roine Stolt is no stranger to the world of progressive rock and he’s been in the business since the mid 70’s. He is one of the top writers in today’s world of prog rock and his music very will very much speaks for itself.

The only other way I can see this box set appealing to somebody is if like myself you lost your albums, or even sold them and are thinking of buying them back. This box set is the way to go at its price point and is a bargain that will save you more than half the price of buying them all back again individually. I myself was grateful it was released and am well chuffed with it.

Even though only the one double albums has been remastered I cannot fault the sound quality of the original albums that you get here. The production is very high and they sound superb. In my own experience out of any of Roine Stolt’s production work. The only thing he really does suck at is the work he has done in mixing albums with a 5.1 surround sound mix. But that takes a special mixing engineer to do that, and not many great stereo mixing engineers are really that good at it either.

To be honest I would love to see all these albums done with a 5.1 mix on them, and I would buy them all again. But if Stolt was doing the 5.1 mix himself. I would not even bother buying them (LOL).

I think it would of been nice if they did include the bonus tracks on a free CD to accompany the box set. Some of those limited edition albums I lost that came with a bonus CD were really great. Especially the bonus disc that came with The Rainmaker album. Luckily I still have them on my hard drive, but they are only in 192kbps. But I suppose that will have to do.

Conclusion…

In conclusion of my review of the box set A Kingdom Of Colours by The Flower Kings I would say that if your into the likes of Yes. Genesis. Camel. Focus. Frank Zappa and many more bands and artists alike. I think you will like The Flower Kings. They are a band that no doubt have all those influences but present the music to you in their very own way and style, and it’s just as good.

For a box set such as this, you are getting way more for your money here than what you would ever have got in David Glimore’s deluxe edition box set of his Live At Pompeii which I reviewed back in October last year, and that cost £10 more when I brought it. OK it may be different in that it contains 2 CD’s and 2 Blu Rays of one live concert, but even the box set A Kingdom Of Colours comes in, is a way better presentation I personally think.

However personally I would not suggest a box set like this for a first time listener. Because like I said earlier in my review, this is a hell of a lot information to digest and absorb all at once, and is quite a mouthful.

My personal recommendation in the way of a starting point for newcomers. Would be any one of the 4 single albums.

But if you have some of their later albums and are thinking of backtracking on their earlier albums from their discography. I would highly recommend this box set.

The box set offers you quite a saving. It is also a limited box set and you get a certificate with a number from 1 to 3,000. Mine was the number 1,294. So when they are all sold they are not likely to be reissued again.

My final overall complete box set value rating is really based upon the box presentation and the contents on the CD’s and booklet that comes with it. It does not represent the quality of the Digipaks and Sleeves the discs come in, or the fact a box set like this is only really of value to those who do not have the albums. So here are a few pros and cons.

Pros.
Very well made great looking box that house the contents.
Original artwork and CD’s.
Very good thick quality  booklet.
Excellent price point.

Cons.
The box set contains nothing new regarding the albums inside.
Pointless for those who already have the albums.
Contains no bonus material.
Way too much material to take in and absorb for newcomers.
The cardboard Digipaks & Sleeves could of been made of better quality.

Lee’s overall Complete Box Set Value Rating…

The Box Set Presentation Rating Score. 10/10.

The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

One thought on “Lee Speaks About Music… #58

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s