Friends and family will be happy to know that I am now in possession of The Flower Kings new album, Banks of Eden. They can now be saved my endless ramblings of “The Flower Kings are back after 5 years!”, and I sit here once again, getting lost in all the wonder that I experience when enjoying the sounds of a new TFK album.
So what to expect from this album? From the excerpts I heard prior to recieving it, I would say that I would be expecting something a little harder than previous albums, something perhaps more in line with The Sum of No Reason off the 2007 The Sum of No Evil, or going back a little further, Rumble Fish Twist and Underdog from 2000′s Space Revolver. Of course, this is following Roine Stolts project Agents of Mercy, where The Black Forest to me saw a new side to Roine (Black Sunday springs to mind).
As I understand it, they have employed a new recording technique for this album, harking back to the true prog rock days of the 70s, of which you can hear. I’m not going to say too much about the album as I would rather you explored this wonderful music yourself, but I will give you what it is in essence.
The big one from the album is Numbers, being just over 26 minutes long. the first half is a combination of tripping and rocking out (including those great Flower Kings melodies you’d expect), eventually winding down, only to come back in true, epic prog rock style. Classic Flower Kings which every fan won’t be disappointed with.
For the Love of Gold is a very cool track – typical Prog intro, a real good feel factor. It’s got a great rhythm and some great solos you would expect from Roine and Tomas. It is then followed by Pandemonium which is a slightly harder / darker edge to it with some unusual things going on, but not at all too heavy for you Flowerheads like me out there. Actually, it kind of reminds me of Go West Judas from Back in the World of Adventures in some ways.
For Those About to Drown is a fun one – it has a catchy melody and is a blend between classic Flower Kings (Back in the World of Adventures) / Retropolis) with some new ideas. The new drummer Felix Lehrmann carries on hitting those drums hard which keeps the pace of the album up well.
Rising the Imperial finishes the album off well with a more downtempo feel. Gentle vocals over an acoustic guitar / piano blend. I wasn’t disappointed when I expected one of Roines classic guitar solos, it’s a sound that is so unique and beautiful, no other guitarist makes a guitar sing like he does. It all builds up to a great ending.
I bought the Special Edition with the Bonus CD and from what I’ve heard from that that too is sounding very nice, but the bonus CD is what it is, a welcomed addition to the actual album. Worth your extra pennies.
So was it what I was expecting? Not really, but then I was more than happy to hear it was The Flower Kings doing what they do best. If you are a fan of the Flower Kings, no doubt you will buy it and no doubt you will be over the moon with it like I was. If you are yet to hear what the Flower Kings are all about, you may well be pleasantly surprised.