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The Flower Kings

Sweden played a crucial part in the progressive rock revival of the 1990s, but amid dark-sounding King Crimson-influenced bands like Anekdoten and Anglagard, the positive-thinking Yes-enlightened act the Flower Kings felt almost out of place. Yet, the Flower Kings became, along with the American Spock's Beard, the '90s prog rock band with the largest fan base, the biggest sales, and the widest international appeal.

The Flower Kings came to life in August 1994, but retrospectively, their first album came out before their inception. That year, guitarist/singer/composer Roine Stolt, who enjoyed relative European fame in the 1970s as a member of the Swedish progressive rock band Kaipa, brought together ex-Jonas Hellborg drummer Jaime Salazar and ex-Samla Mammas Manna percussionist Hans Bruniusson to record a solo album, The Flower King. Stolt's music was graced by a Jon Anderson-like aura and combined complex structures with catchy heartfelt melodies, and the prog fans welcomed the album with open arms. Roine brought in brother Michael Stolt (bass, vocals) and longtime friend Tomas Bodin (keyboards) to perform the material live, and thus the Flower Kings were born and The Flower King, the album, is now usually perceived as the band's first.

Back in the World of Adventures was released in November 1995 on the band's own label, Foxtrot Music, and contained the stage favorite "Big Puzzle," while the Flower Kings started to tour in Europe. It was shortly followed by Retropolis (May 1996), the band's most '70s-influenced album to date, which yielded "The Judas Kiss" and "There Is More to This World," still arguably one of their best anthems. Retropolis helped the Flower Kings reach Japan, South America, and North America (especially Quebec). The mammoth two-CD set Stardust We Are, which included "In the Eyes of the World," "Church of Your Heart," and the 25-minute epic "Stardust We Are," was released in 1997. With four albums (including one double CD) released in less than four years, music critics around the world started to wonder how Roine Stolt managed to write this fast. Obvious filler material on Stardust We Are had people thinking the band should have been a bit more selective and made it a one-CD affair. Still, the band's fan base was growing, as were the sales. A compilation album, Scanning the Greenhouse (containing a fantastic rendition of Genesis' "The Cinema Show") was released to prepare Americans for the band's first U.S. tour, and a limited-edition CD containing live improvisations and unreleased tracks was issued by Ipso Facto for the Quebec market, while Roine Stolt released his critically acclaimed solo album Hydrophonia -- all in a year's work.

Another two-CD set, Flower Power, saw the light of day in early 1999. Even more ambitious, it contained the 60-minute suite "Garden of Dreams" and the quirky "Psychedelic Postcard," which paid tribute to one of Roine's main (although rarely detected) influences: Frank Zappa. Flower Power was the band's first album to be released in the U.S. by Inside Out Music America, which acquired rights to the band's complete catalog for domestic distribution. The Flower Kings' first live album, Alive on Planet Earth, was released in 2000 while Roine was touring with the supergroup Transatlantic (with Pete Trewavas of Marillion, Neal Morse of Spock's Beard, and Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater). A new studio album, titled Space Revolver, followed later that year with bassist Jonas Reingold replacing Michael Stolt. Unfold the Future appeared in 2002, with the live set Meet the Flower Kings following in 2003. Paradox Hotel was released in 2006. ~ François Couture, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

One of my favorite and the best modern progressive (yet classic sounding) bands around. They never disappoint and boy do they put on a fantastic show!
I'm halfway through listening to the Truth will set you free and I really think this is one of the best FK tracks I've heard, despite the rather off putting length of 29 minutes. Great guitar work, atmospheric keyboards, the themes of this piece are cleverly woven together . I wish all their stuff was as good as this
I'm halfway through listening to the Truth will set you free and I really think this is one of the best FK tracks I've heard, despite the rather off putting length of 29 minutes. Great guitar work, atmospheric keyboards, the themes of this piece are cleverly woven together . I wish all their stuff was as good as this
Thanks, Pandora, for turning me on to this band!
clepeterd
Singer reminds me of John Wetton
Retropolis is my favorite. Great band. If only more people had minds that cared about true musicianship instead of teen idols!
one of the best prog bands ever!!!
jchaldu
no matter how crappy i am feeling I am the Sun brings a smile to my face everytime
i thank mike luterzo for turning me on to the flowers. he seen them at the state th new brunswick nj
I like the music, and I like the positive sentiment, but I just have to say that I'm not a great fan of the singing in this band. I usually listen to their songs when they come up, but I don't usually give one a thumbs up. I can definitely see what people like in them though. :)
@mcreils I disagree. Spock's Beard (with the exception of the albums missing Neil Morse, and the semi-comical first album) has very deep, mystical lyrics inspired by such obscure things as Philip K. Dick's Divine Invasion Trilogy.
Pandora needs to get Unfold the Future! STAT.
Transatlanti c led me to these fantastic musicians. I'm a big Camel fan and Roine Stolt's excellent guitar remindes me of the technical skills of Andy Latimer.
Thanks Pandora. I've been really missing Yes, and these guys embody some of their best traits. Guitarist has some Howe moments. Bass is diferent than Squire, but very proficient and technical/ta s t e f u l l . Great keyboards, drums and lyrics, too! Winner!
rosewoodquil t s
never get tired of them, simply the best prog out there!
Play on...Spock's Beard lyrics are weak compared to TFKs but all is good...
Great band, great songwriting, Stolt has it all. To me the Frank Zappa influence is obvious, check out I Am the Sun Pts 1 and 2 from Space Revolver, and the whole Unfold the Future album. Zappa everywhere. And thats a good thing
got turned to the king from prog aficianado mike luterzo
If you like this band check out Transatlanti c . The supergroup with whom Royne Stolts plays "on the side". Similarly good, but Better.
tqgumby
Whoever wrote this discription about the Flower Kings probably drinks Coors and Bud
14739578
Big Flower FAN
jdugan0321
First time I heard them, They sound pretty good. Worth a listen.
Yvonne:

Sounds familiar... I made a station called "Cinema Show" hoping to get music that sounded like that Genesis classic... and PT kept coming up again and again. I'd heard OF them, but never HEARD them. Have to say I'm beginning to like them!

Hooray for Pandora!



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RE: Porcupine Tree - I made a station called Supper's Ready, trying to catch that early, but not too early Genesis style and come up with P. Tree fairly often. I love 'em. Bought their Stars Die CD and love it. Within a few hours, Stars Die, Dark Matter, and Gravity Eyelids come up at least once every time I turn it on.
mec81
One of the best modern day progressive bands anyone can find.
I second the comment below!
Whoever is interested in easy and digestible blend of classic and modern progressive rock, this is the group to listen to. I highly recommend "I am the sun Parts 1&2 " from the Space revolver album... These guys rock !!
art483, just create a P.Tree station instead of putting them in as seeds.
I like this band but; I have Porcupine tree in my Artist seed and 3 PT songs in my song seeds and Pandora won't play them at all????
The Truth will set you Free is absolutely amazing and Epic in all regards. The album "Unfold the Future", where the song is featured, is fantastic as well.
mastercard69
Just listened to "The truth will set you free" and never heard of these guys before today. It's pretty rare that a composition can hold your intrest and keep you truly involved with the music for 31 minutes like this one did. Very impressive! I'm looking forward to listing to more tunes from this group of artists.

Yep, it happened again today. I am beaming from the Glory that is the Flower Kings!
I fall in love with them every day.
Different I Like.
Epic, and masterful, The Flower Kings positive music is uplifting and magickal, drawing from such Prog Giants as Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and Gentle Giant. Flowing sounds and dynamic voicings, combined with Epic compositions and flawless production gives the Flower Kings a unique, beautiful and inspiring place in the history of Progressive music. I adore these guys! Their live album dominates, plus Daniel Gildenlow performs with them. Probably the best Prog around.
I measure everything like this against anything Yes has released, and have to say that The Flower Kings have succeeded where other bands have come up short. They sound very Yes-like without really imitating Yes. Hard to put a finger on it, but the bottom line is that I like what I've heard from these guys and would have no problem adding them to my CD library.
odessa2pasha
not bad
Very Cool. Never heard of before. Very "Yes " like

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