Lee Speaks About Music… #92

The Sea Within – The Sea Within



The Sea Within is the brand new self titled debut album of a new band put together by Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings. Although I have to say by looking at the line up of the musicians and a couple of them being no real strangers to Stolt we have here, in all honesty it could even be The Flower Kings.

But what we have assembled here is said to be yet another Supergroup and along with the likes of bass player Jonas Reingold and vocalist and guitarist Daniel Gildenlöw who have been official members of  The Flower Kings.

Making up the rest of the line-up we also have the keyboard player Tom Brislin who has played with Yes and on the drums we have Marco Minnemann both of who are solo artists in their own rights. Marco as also played for many other artists including Steve Wilson, Joe Satriani and Trey Gunn.

The album also features 4 guest musicians with the likes of Jon Anderson, Jordan Rudess, Rob Townsend and Casey McPherson who make an appearance on some of the tracks amongst the album and for some time now its been looking like The Flower Kings have died since they last put out an album in 2013.

The very fact that Stolt has even decided to put the entire discography of that bands studio albums into 2 limited edition box sets more recently, may very well suggest that The Flower Kings could very well be finished. But just like Black Sabbath said in 1978 on should “Never Say Die”. So before we go any deeper, let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The Special Edition comes in a very well made matt finish 3 panel Digipak with plastic trays to support the packaging and hold the CD’s nicely in place. Like many of these new Digipaks these days it also comes with a pocket to store the booklet. It also comes with a 22 page booklet that contains all the lyrics, pictures and production linear notes. Overall it a very good neat quality package and very nice presentation that’s not made on the cheap either.

The albums artwork cover was done by Marcela Bolivar who is a digital artist that specialises in photomontage techniques. This is a complex process of assembling pictures together and bringing them closer in great detail to give a pictorial expression. The layout was done by Thomas Ewerhard and the photographs were done by Will Ireland. Christophe Pauly. Lilian Forsberg and Miles Skarin.

The Album In Review…

The new self titled debut album The Sea Within was released on the 29th June 2018. As with many of these new releases I have pre-ordered recently they tend to get put back a week or two before they get released and this one originally supposed to be released a week before on the 22nd June. However my copy did come through the letterbox on the day of it’s release and arrived safely I was pleased to see.

The Special Edition comes with 2 CD’s the 1st of which comes with 8 tracks and has an overall playing time of 50 minutes, 41 seconds. The 2nd CD contains 4 bonus tracks and has an overall playing time of 26 minutes, 33 seconds. I pre-ordered it from Amazon and got it for £12.99. They have also released a double vinyl edition that comes with the 2 CD’s in transparent polythene slip cases which can be had for around £22.99.

Roine Stolt is no stranger when it comes to working on other projects and since he assembled The Flower Kings back in the early 90’s and he has been involved in no end of them. Perhaps the most notable one of them was Transatlantic that was put together just before the millennium.

He also reunited once again with the Swedish band Kaipa he was originally in back the 70’s and also got together with Andy Tillison and we got to see the birth of The Tangent besides making his own solo albums and doing one off albums with other artists including Jon Anderson of Yes.

There is no doubt that Roine Stolt is a complete workaholic and has written more than enough material that you would need more volumes than what the Encyclopaedia Britannica has to fit it all in, and The Sea Within is just another chapter :))))))))). My guess is that it will most likely be one chapter and a one off project as well, and the sea we have here will most likely make a small splash in the ocean so to speak.

Musicians & Credits…


Produced recorded and mixed by Roine Stolt between September 2017 – April 2018. Recorded at Livingstone Studios. London and various other locations. Engineered by Billy Halliday. Assistant Tom Archer. Artwork by Marcela Bolivar. Layout by Thomas Ewerhard. Photographs by Will Ireland. Christophe Pauly. Lilian Forsberg and Miles Skarin.

Roine Stolt: Lead Electric & Acoustic Guitars/Vocals/Orchestral FX.
Daniel Gildenlöw: Lead Vocal/Electric Guitar.
Tom Brislin: Piano/Organ/Synthesizers/Vocals.
Jonas Reingold: Bass (Additional Guitar On Ashes Of Dawn).
Marco Minnemann: Drums/Percussion/Vocal/Guitar.

Additional Musicians:
Jon Anderson: Vocals (Broken Cord).
Jordan Rudess: Piano (The Hiding Of The Truth).
Rob Townsend: Tenor Saxophone (The Ashes Of Dawn).
Casey McPherson: Vocals (Goodbye/Broken Cord/The Hiding Of The Truth).

The Album Tracks In Review…

I have to say The Sea Within is perhaps not a name one would associate with the name of a band at all, and is more fitting to the title of an album on that score. I certainly do not think with this name it’s got a lot of chance of catching many fish either. The name and it’s album cover is perhaps the sort of thing one would see for sale at a sea life centre rather than in a record shop :))))))).

Maybe the band are using a new marketing idea to get their music across or something. But it would of been pointless giving you a free packet of fish flakes to feed the fish with every album, simply because there is no fish in this sea to feed :))))).

Well that’s what it all looks and appears like on the outside, but let’s dive in a bit deeper and see if there anything here a bit more promising. As I go through my review of the albums tracks and it’s bonus disc of material.

Track 1. Ashes Of Dawn.

I must admit when I first seen the official video that Inside Out Records published on the 18th May on their TV Channel on Youtube I was not that impressed by this particular song at all. However that did not put me off putting in my pre-order of the album and as a rule I quite like what Roine Stolt does. Since having the album and giving it further listens this particular song started to speak to me a bit more and it’s my second favourite track on the album.

This particular song was written by Jonas Reingold & Roine Stolt so we very much have something along the same lines of The Flower Kings with the writers. But with the combination of other musicians it’s not quite like Stolt’s old band even though we also have Daniel Gildenlöw onboard here as well, who also featured on a couple of The Flower Kings albums. Gildenlöw takes on most of the lead vocals on this album and his harder edge approach works well on this song, though no doubt there is also some distortion applied to his and Stolt’s vocals in the mix.

The “Ashes Of Dawn” certainly as more of a rock approach to it, and musically its been more structured in that way where we get verse and chorus lines, a lead guitar solo and even Rob Townsend (more known for playing with Steve Hackett) gets a spot to play a solo on the sax on this opening song too. All the musicians do a grand job on this opener and I particularly like the drum pattern and fills that Marco Minnemann gives to it as well. It’s very much a strong contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 2. They Know My Name.

A fine rock ballad of a song penned by Tom Brislin and I quite like this one and it’s very much written around the piano. It’s a very well written song with great lyrics and once again Gildenlöw’s voice works very well and is perhaps better suited to this ballad mode as well. Both Stolt and Brislin join in on the backing vocals too, and the band do a very fine job it all and this is another of the better album tracks I feel too and more of a catchy little number.

Track 3. The Void.

Another song penned by Jonas Reingold & Roine Stolt and I quite like how this one opens up on the acoustic guitars and vibes, in some ways it reminds a bit like Simon & Garfunkel’sScarborough Fair“. All the guitars on this song are played by Stolt and Gildenlöw features on the lead vocals only. The song builds up and comes down with finesse and subtly with how it all transcends along.

It also features a couple of fine solos from Brislin on the keyboards in the 1st solo and Stolt on guitar in the 2nd solo. It also features some fine bass work by Reingold too. The band do a fine job here and it’s another fine song and piece of work.

Track 4. An Eye For An Eye For an Eye.

The band up the tempo and pace a bit more on this one, and it’s the 2nd longest track on the album to which most are generally short tracks and around the 5 minute mark. The extra couple of minutes we get here allows the band to be a bit more diverse and apply a bit more progression along its path.

The vocal sections in the verses of the song are quite racy and catchy. Sort of along the lines of what we got with the band the Flying Colors that featured Neal Morse & Co. In the middle section we get a bit of jazz thrown in for the band to strut their stuff a bit more in the instrumental break. Just like you would get with The Flower Kings and The Tangent.

I think the surprising thing here is that it was actually solely written by Marco Minnemann but then again I know nothing about his solo work to be honest.  “An Eye For An Eye For an Eye” is a fine enough song that allows the musicians to express themselves more with the extra space they have to work into it all, and the band do another good job of it all.

Track 5. Goodbye.

The 2nd official video release from the album that was uploaded to Inside Out Records TV Channel on the Tube. It’s the only song on the main album that was credited to all 5 band members. This song has quite a funky soul and pop vibe about it and features both Casey McPherson and Daniel Gildenlöw on lead vocals. It’s another very well written song with strong heartbreaking lyrics and features some really great bass work by Reingold on this one too.

Track 6. Sea Without.

The shortest track on the album is an instrumental piece penned solely by Roine Stolt. Oddly enough the title here is the opposite of the bands name but no doubt it does have the sea within it, and the only thing there is without is Daniel Gildenlöw because only 4 of the band members feature on this track. The piece itself is quite familiar with Stolt’s writing for The Flower Kings and the little bit of dramatics we get here would not of gone that far amiss with that bands 2nd album Retropolis from 1996.

Track 7. Broken Cord.

Following the shortest track on the album we have the longest track on the album “Broken Cord” and this one weighs in at some 14 minutes and 10 seconds. The song is quite like The Beatles especially with how it opens up and runs along for the first 5 minutes, and then it falls into something with more of a Frank Zappa vibe for a bit. There maybe even a bit of Mountain’s Nantucket Sleighride thrown in for good measure too :))))).

Once again both Casey McPherson and Daniel Gildenlöw take on the lead vocals and around the 6:57 mark we get to hear Jon Anderson’s small contribution with his chanting voice for about a minute or so, and it comes back towards the end. The song features some great progression and is the only bit of prog rock we get on the whole album. The song itself was penned by Stolt & Minnemann it’s also my favourite track on the album and merits my top spot award.

Track 8. The Hiding of Truth.

The final track on the album is another of Stolt’s compositions and once again it’s minus Daniel Gildenlöw and features Casey McPherson on lead vocals backed up by Stolt himself. It also features Jordan Rudess on grand piano. It’s another heartfelt ballad of a song and puts the album to sleep very well.

The Bonus CD.

Track 1. The Roaring Silence.

I must admit when I first seen the title of this song it had me thinking of an album by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band but I was not so much blinded by the light when I got to hear it :)))))). “The Roaring Silence” was written by Stolt/Brislin and is the longest track on the bonus disc. Daniel Gildenlöw is back and on lead vocals only and the guitar work is left to Stolt again.

The song starts and ends with a storm and has quite a nice enough melodic structure about it and runs along a steady enough pace. It’s perhaps only vocals that tend to raise it up a notch and overall it’s not a bad track and cooks on a moderate heat. But over this distance I would of expected a lot more.

Track 2. Where are you Going?.

There is more of an up-tempo and brighter feel about this song that was written by Tom Brislin & Daniel Gildenlöw and I quite like the vocal FX that get applied to Gildenlöw’s vocals too. It gives it that late 60’s and 70’s vibe. It features some fine keyboard work from Brislin and I quite like this one and it’s another well written song.

Track 3. Time.

Another song credited to all 5 band members and is the 2nd longest of the 4 tracks on the bonus disc. You get a bit of a King Crimson feel in the break in the middle with the mellotron and nice bit of guitar follows it. But just like the 1st track on the bonus disc is does not seem to go anywhere else over it’s 7 plus minutes.

Track 4. Denise.

The last of the bonus tracks is penned by Reingold/Gildenlöw/Stolt and is another well written heartbroken love song. The song has quite a powerful build up as it transcends along and is like a military folk song with the use of the harmonium and military roll on the drums. It also features a nice bit of acoustic guitar along the way too. According to form Gildenlöw is even playing a bit of banjo on it, but it’s all a bit drowned out by the rest of the instrumentation.


To sum up the self titled debut album of The Sea Within. I personally do not feel its an album that is gonna set the world on fire, and to be perfectly honest it’s one of those albums that before I actually purchased it, I was in two minds of whether to do so. The only reason why I did buy it in the end was because there was not a lot of new stuff out there due to be released. However it’s not all bad, and perhaps more of a case of not getting what one would of been expecting to get from a so called Supergroup.

Over the years I have seen many Supergroups assembled and to be honest this is a label or tag that many music journalists and writers give to bands to hype up the stories they write in magazines and so on. Half the time I find it quite funny and very laughable, and I am sure even the musicians themselves can have a laugh about it as well.

Supergroups are a bit like football teams where they change their players now and then to try and assemble a stronger side, and sometimes having all the best players does not necessarily work and make a winning side. At the end of the day it’s how well the players are composed on the pitch that wins games, and the art of making good music is all about the composition.

But having said all that. I would not exactly say that this is badly written material at all, and there is some very well written songs along the lines of this album. But it’s more down to how the material is presented to you with its more light weighted popular approach, even though some of the songs have more of a darker edge about them.

What we have here is something like the Flying Colors and even what Asia did back in the 80’s with its more popular approach to the music they are presenting. Only Asia did do it better on that score, and after I brought the Flying Colors album it did not speak well enough to me to buy their second album. It’s just not prog rock and neither are Asia or The Sea Within for that matter, they all say very little regarding that genre of music I am afraid with the written material they have done here.

Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against popular music, and I like quite a few pop artists and have a good few in my record collection. But an album like this does not say enough to me personally to make it one of my Go-To albums and the pleasure it will bring will wear out in no time at all. But at the end of the day it’s down to preferable taste. To put it in a nutshell, its perhaps not what I was expecting from Roine Stolt in particular, and this will never make the grade of The Flower Kings I am afraid.


To conclude my review of The Sea Within’s debut album it’s one of those albums that you are either gonna like or not, and it may be better if you can get to hear it first before jumping in and buying it. I am not saying it’s a bad album, I just thought it could of been better. At its price point of £12.99 for 2 CD’s and the quality of packaging it comes in, it is good value for the money without a doubt. But overall the quality of the packaging does score more than the album I am sorry to say.

I doubt very much if The Sea Within will make another album, and I think it was a stupid name for a band in the first place. Unless your some ambient electronic artist who intends to make albums with the sound of the sea in them of course :)))). My personal highlights from the album are “Broken Cord“. “Ashes of Dawn“. “Goodbye” and “They Know My Name“. And also “Where are you Going?” from the bonus disc.

Come Hell Or High Water…

The CD track listing is as follows:

Disc 1.
01. Ashes of Dawn. 5:59.
02. They Know My Name. 5:09.
03. The Void. 4:53.
04. An Eye For An Eye For an Eye. 7:01.
05. Goodbye. 5:31.
06. Sea Without. 2:23.
07. Broken Cord. 14:10.
08. The Hiding of Truth. 5:35.

Disc 2.
01. The Roaring Silence. 8:05.
02. Where are you Going?. 5:54.
03. Time. 7:18.
04. Denise. 5:16.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 09/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 6/10.

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