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The Flower Kings - Back In The World Of Adventures CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings

Symphonic Prog

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars As far as I am concerned this is their better outing so if you look at my rating the rest will not fare better. I discovered this at the time of release , and it was already much heralded by prog fanzines around the world so I went along with although not really convinced.
Report this review (#2573)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Roine Stolt is clearly at his finest on this record creating some heafty tasty guitar parts. Roine also has teamed up with some amazing musicians which certainly add lots of powder to the release. Songs are exceptionally well put together and have a very strong spirtual feeling to them. This is superbly well recorded and sounds quite nice on a good stereo system. Roine sings on many of the tracks which as usual carries a strong John Wetton -like sound to it. Superb musicianshp and is highly recommended.
Report this review (#2566)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not their best release but contains some tracks I absolutly love. The opening track, opens up with some 70ish strong guitar riff that I soon came to love. Then there come some proggy figures with differnt keyboard textures. After some slow hippy vocals, and some solos, comes a extremly happy tune, like an advetures theme from a cartoon. If you open to it, it can put you very happy.This song rates to me with a 9. Tarck number 6, Theme for a hero, has some beautiful riffs, that almost make you cry, surrounded at the begining and end of the song with some good rythm section. The last son, has some great melodic moments and profound and spiritual lyrics. Those three songs, if truly listened and apreciated, make the album an excelent buy; of course, alog with the other tracks that are not batd at all. If you are into beautiful, spiritual, and melodic prog, you cant go wrong with The Flower Kings.
Report this review (#2567)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
4 stars After shaking the prog rock world with his Prime Opera "The Flower King", Roine STOLT remarked a point of departure on the musical scene by putting together a band named after his first solo recording and pulling off the incredible release of "Back in the World of Adventures".

In the purest symphonic tradition, the sound of THE FLOWER KINGS has evidentially the YES, GENESIS and CAMEL influences, even the psychedelic ones and the old prog school of KING CRIMSON. All of this musical tendencies where the Swedish band is founded on, are brightly blended with a jazzy touch that gives a very personal taste of THE FLOWER KINGS.

The musical execution is superb and all the musicians handle their instruments just perfectly. Nowadays, Roine STOLT's guitar could easily be catalogued as one of the best surrounding the prog scene. The legendary guitarist from seventies band KAIPA, twangs the strings of his instrument arbitrarily in a very peculiar and exquisite way, being occasionally reminded of Master Steve HOWE. His voice full of passion, suits perfectly the kind of music the band plays, obtaining the most enjoyable atmospheres. Tomas BODIN is yet another monster on keyboards. High voltages of Hammond organs and mellotrons take us through extremely delicious passages and conquering music. The rhythmic section is masterfully taken over by Roine's brother, Michael STOLT, on bass and by the Chilean native, Jaime SALAZAR. For the perfect ending, comes along the talented multi-instrumentalist Hasse BRUNIUSSON, who collaborated in the 70's with the mythical band SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA.

This great band's music jumps elegantly from extremely violent moments with STOLT's effective riffs, to beautiful fragments of peace and quietness. My favorite pieces are "World Of Adventure", "Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope", "Theme for a Hero" and "Big Puzzle". From beautiful and lyrical vocals to exuberant instrumental passages, the shape and composition of "Back In The World Of Adventures" is insuperable. Enjoyable from beginning to end.

With this CD, the legend of one of the best nineties progressive rock exponents had begun, and was meant to be one of the most considerable conversation subjects of that decade and of this millennium.

Report this review (#2575)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars

Considering it as a debut album, this is a masterpiece. Awesome sound, compositions, arrangement, uffff, what a fantastic work. Long live Flower Kings. They are probably the most eclectic and prolific band in the world. All the band musicians are terrible, those of this first era, and these of the actual one. Of course, Roine Stolt is the boss, but, can you imagine The flower kings without Tomas Bodin, Zoltan, or even the incredible guest saxophonist Ulf Wallander? Get any album of them and you´ll realise

Report this review (#2576)
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's holiday season in my country. All offices closed their business for a full one week. It's a celebration time after a full fasting month. I drove the miles in Jakarta as well as Bandung (100 miles away from Jakarta) with a stack of CDs in my car: The Flower Kings (5 albums), Kamelot, Nightwish, Symphony X, IQ and some local bands such as Gigi, God Bless. Coincidently my prog colleague, Tatan was listening to TFK first album. He sent me a short message on my cell phone: "The first album of TFK is really great!". What a coincidence! I received his message while I was listening to "My Cosmic Lover" in my car, driving around Bandung city. Life is so beautiful with prog music and prog friends. BTW, Tatan is a also a die hard collector of Led Zeppelin. He owns approx 150 original bootleg CDs of LZ. He is a true collector! He also has a state of the art, high end, stereo set in his music room.

Having collected a bunch of TFK albums, I think I should start reviewing their old albums. This is my opinion about their first album. (Am not sure whether or not this is their first as I got confused with Roine Stolt "The Flower Kings" that I have so far assumed as their first album).

"World Of Adventure" kicks off with a sort of ambient, spacey keyboard and piano sounds. It then flows nicely with choirs line followed with full music when all instruments play at the same time. The guitar part at the beginning is played in rhythm style with soft riffs. Keyboard flows nicely altogether with bass line. The music flows from moderate to faster tempo with some transitions. In the middle of the track I can sense clearly the sound of GENESIS's "The Fountain of Salmacis" of Nursery Crime album. This happens with the keyboard sound at approximately minute 7:58.

"Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope" is a sort of continuous instrumental music performed in moderate tempo with symphonic touch especially the keyboard sounds. The solo guitar is really stunning, accentuated with excellent keyboard sound. The music turns to slow in the middle of the track with some spacey style (reminds me to Ozric Tentacles') until it fades away with soft keyboard sound. The bass line is nice during this part. It then continues with acoustic guitar work until it ends. It's an anti climax.

"Go West Judas" is my all-time favorite TFK track. Performed in relatively fast tempo with rocking style and great voice line. This is the track that truly represents the kind of TFK sound: continuous music with stunning guitar (by Roine Stolt) and great bass line (by Michael Stolt) that flows naturally throughout the track. Oh boy . I love the guitar solo during interlude. Mr. Roine Stolt, you are really a great prog guitar maestro!! The drumming stools by Jaime Salazar is also excellent. This song is very strong in songwriting and has a tight structure. Brilliant work!

"Train To Nowhere" starts mellow with powerful voice line of Roine Stolt with soft keyboard and some howling guitar sound. It's an excellent intro. It is then combined with keyboard sound. The music turns high but still in a mellow style. The guitar work is really excellent. It flows seamlessly to fifth track "Oblivion Road" which is heavily influenced by jazz - especially on the way keyboard is played and the bass line. This is a nice instrumental track with guest appearance of Ulf Wallander on Soprano Sax. It's a kind of treat for us because this is really jazz tunes. The only difference is probably on the howling guitar sound performed in this track.

The 6th track "Theme For A Hero" starts with a keyboard work and flows smoothly in full music style with guitar and keyboard as dominant instruments. At approx minute 2:00 I can sense a sound of GENESIS' "Hairless Heart" of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" album. Luckily there is some piano sound that enriches the music.

"My Cosmic Lover" is another favorite of mine. It has a continuous structure, performed in a rocking style with dazzling bass line and powerful voice line. It's a straight forward music with great guitar work.

"The Wonder Wheel" is an instrumental piece exploring the Hackettian guitar style accompanied by a keyboard sound. It reminds me to Steve Hackett solo album. It's a mellow track with stunning guitar backed up by sort of programmed sound.

"Big Puzzle" is actually a great track where it has some memorable segments. Unfortunately this track is lacking in structure. For my taste, this track does not bring the ultimate climax at the end of the track. Even though, the intro part with piano and guitar work are really stunning. The guitar sound is fascinating especially just before the great voice line come into play. It starts mellow and it's really cool at the beginning. It reminds me to the early King Crimson style especially on Fripp's guitar style. The music turns to faster tempo at approx min 2:30 demonstrating guitar and keyboard. It's really nice on this part. I especially like when keyboard takes part as solo on approx min 3:30. Uugghh . what a wonderful piece this part is!!!! This ends until approx min 7:00. The rest is just a mellow music with no climax. If you compare this with YES "Close to the Edge" it is very clear that there is a climax at the end of the track. This does not happen with "Big Puzzle". It fades away .. with no memorable climax. So, it lacks structural integrity. And, unfortunately it happens at the concluding track.

Overall, I give this album with 4/5 rating. As a debut album, this is a good start! I recommend you to own the CD. GW, Indonesia.

Report this review (#2578)
Posted Sunday, November 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, I'm a TFK fan, and this is for me their best work , but... why I don't give a 5 star for this??? Let me tell why: the last song, "The Big Puzzle"! Please, understand: This disc is wonderful: the guitar of Mr. Stolt is stunning, in my opinion, it never sounded so good!!! Look: "World of Adventures" is one of the best prog rock songs of all the times, the guitar playing is very strong, like he never made it again.... "My Cosmic Lover", a song that could be in a Rock FM station, is a fantastics track... The instrumental "Atomic Prince" sounds wounderfully... like all the other incredible tracks, but, after 9 wonder songs, ends a disc with a floppy song like "Big Puzzle"... I can't accept this... For me, this disc ends in "The Wonder Wheel". I can't understand why they still play "Big Puzzle[&*!#]" alive , in live recordings, like "Alive on Planet Earth". That's why this isn't a good live album!!!
Report this review (#2579)
Posted Sunday, November 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars The second TFK-album Back in the world of adventures and the first one under the band's name represents a logical development of the predecessor The Flower King. Their music became more filigree and more complex without losing any accessibilty. Nevertheless it's a kind of music that is growing on you with every repeated listening and one gets never tired of it. Although their roots in 70's are still quite obvious it does not sound dated or extremely derivative since they manage to bring in their own typical flavour, the typical TFK-style we (the fans) all love so much. Of course this album is not their masterpiece, their best things were still to come at this point. Nevertheless it's a very solid record, admittedly with some weaker moments being more on the poppy side of Prog like My Cosmic Lovers, but even such songs are presented by them at a high level of quality and they never sound really bad in fact. Knowing that most of their albums can be judged mainly as a whole piece of art , I'll still try to review this album track by track and as objective as possible (although it will be difficult for me).

The title song is starting very much Yes-alike with several voices in overdubs and developing into a fascinating Progrock song with several mood shifts. Really great opener!!! The following instrumental track Atomic Prince is a classical inspired piece with guitar and mellotron and leads over without break to Kaleidoscope with pure acoustic guitar sounding a bit like some of Steve Howe's solo works. Go West Judas is a very rocking song with driving rhythm section and heavy guitar play. An excellent one with great guitar as usually by Roine Stolt. Train to nowhere is a nice ballade, maybe a bit too simple and airplay friendly whereas with Oblivion road they are showing us their more jazzy side once again. Like in two more songs ("My Cosmic Lover" and "Big Puzzle")where guest musician Ulf Wallander is presenting his awesome soprano sax interludes. Theme for a hero being very much dominated by guitar in the beginning develops to a great song during its course with guitar and keyboards as main instrument in alternation. Drumwork by Jaime Salazar is excellent as well and Michael Stolt's bass is a bit reminiscent of Chris Squire. Temple Of The Snakes is a very short instrumental with atmospheric keyboards, actually more an introduction to the mentioned a bit pop-ish "My Cosmic Lover" which has some trippy "Flower Power-feeling". Maybe not very relevant for Prog, but still enjoyable even for a Prog-listener. Even here all instruments sound fantastic, a very round and perfect song in fact and immediately rousing. The Wooden Wheel is another atmospheric instrumental, nice but not exciting as well, but I would not call it a filler, since its function is more like a transition to the second long epic track The Big Puzzle. This one is starting more restrained with slowly rising tempo, alternating solos of keyboards and guitar and a rather lush finish.


Back in the world of adventures is a rather good and solid album, very enjoyable to listen, but still not as great as the following ones. I'd say it deserves 3 1/2 stars!

Report this review (#2581)
Posted Sunday, February 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a solid and decent debut, although, with Roine Stolt's history in rock, it is hardly a debut! Of course, it is simply the debut as regards the Flower Kings as a group. For me, this is nowhere near their best work, it is too much rock and not enough prog. And also, despite being named amongst the musicians given above, this is the one album on which Hasse Froberg DOESN'T appear, so there are none of the glorious Jon Anderson- like harmonies that are an integral part of the current Flower Kings. the opener, "Back In The World Of Adventures", is a good track to start with. The guitar is a little too loud and formalised for me, but the melody is nice and the interplay between the musicians is typical Flower Kings. Next up is the instrumental, "Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope", which is very impressive. Indeed, the best tracks on this album are the instrumentals, for me. It has a strong, fast paced melody, before quietening down and ending with a Hackett- like acoustic piece - very nice! Now comes another rocking track, "Go West Judas". I disliked this one when I first heard it, but it has since grown on me, partly because Tomas Bodin's keyboards are too the fore here, especially at the end of the song. Not really progressive but a decent effort. "Train To Nowhere" is one of those quieter songs that Roine sings in a rather depressing voice. Not bad but no better than average. This is quickly followed by what could be called part two of the song, the instrumental "Oblivion Road". This is better, nice and quiet with lots of things going on in the background. Track 6 is, for me, one of the highlights of the album - "Theme For A Hero". Another instrumental, it is upbeat and cheerful without being over sentimental, and the guitar work here is excellent, A nice mix of acoustic and electric. This leads to the 7th track, "Temple Of The Snakes", which is a short piece, and almost seems to belong at the end of the previous track. Nice and moody this, and, indeed, conjured up, for me, visions of a temple, somewhere in the mysterious East! Track 8 is one of my least favourites, "My Cosmic Lover". This is too pyschedelic for me, and not particularly original, although I couldn't call it bad. The lyrics are derivative though and took me back to the late sixties in a way. Probably the effect they were supposed to have, I would imagine! The penultimate track is "The Wonder Wheel". Another instrumental, not as good as the others, but again, shortish, (for the Flower Kings!) and moody. Finally comes track 10, the magnificent "Big Puzzle". Another track, like the opener, over 13 minutes long. Starting off almost hesitantly, without a particularly strong melody, it changes, half way through, to present a very strong melody, with excellent, unobtrusive guitar behind Roine's vocals. A good song and a fine way to finish this album. For me, it cannot compare to "Flower Power", or "Unfold The Future", but it is a good effort. Although the next album, "Retropolis", was disappointing for me, it did herald the arrival of Mr Froberg, and the last piece of the jigsaw was from then on in place. Early Flower Kings fans will like this more than later fans.
Report this review (#2582)
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.3 stars

An masterful debut from one of my favourite modern progressive rock bands. The Flower Kings are a progressive rock band with a clear 70s feel, yet are not copycats from the Prog Giants. Sure, they are influenced by them, but that doesn't make then uncreative. One of the elements that make me happiest about this album is the mood/tone of it. The Flower Kings's title represents their sound : pacific, beautiful, and uplifting. Roine Stolt(guitar, vocals) is the man behind the band, and he always composes the big majority of the music from the band. His guitar playing is art itself, and may remind listeners of Steve Howe. The Keyboard playing is essential to the band, the bass is loud and thundering, and the percussion is of high quality.

Two obvious highlights are the opener and closer of this album. 'World of Adventures' is a magical track full of joy ... and virtuosity! This song can really lift my mood whenever I feel down with its beauty. 'Big Puzzle' is a phenomenal epic and I am glad it is here to download. I may be biased because this is the first song I heard from The Flower Kings and the song that has drawn me into them. This song is full of brilliant melodies, and magical moments (one moment is similar to Close To The Edge's ambient section).

The Other two highlights of the album are the heavy 'Go West Judas' with heavy electric guitar riffs, screaming vocal lines, and church organ playing; and of course the goosebumps-inducing 8 minutes of beauty called "Theme For A Hero".

The rest of the tracks are good songs of various styles, from ambient jazz (oblivion Road), to mellow pop (Train to Nowhere), to ELP influenced material (Atomic Prince) to straightforward melodic rock/pop (My Cosmic Lover)

1. World Of Adventure (9/10) 2. Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope (6.5/10) 3. Go West Judas (9/10) 4. Train To Nowhere (7.5/10) 5. Oblivion Road (5.5/10) 6. Theme For A Hero (8.5/10) 8. My Cosmic Lover (6/10) 9. The Wonder Wheel (7/10) 10. Big Puzzle (9.5/10)

My Rating : B+

Report this review (#45479)
Posted Sunday, September 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars With this album I started with TFK, and I think it was a good choice. Start listening 'World of Adventure' it's a good idea, and as the time goes by, you find out that this song is really great. Then it becomes necessary to listen it over and over again. The final, 'Big Puzzle', couldn't be better; a really five stars song, almost perfect. And what about the rest of the album? 'Theme for a Hero' is gorgeous. There are a couple of songs easy to listen, but very "normal", and also are those like 'Atomic Prince' and 'Train to Nowhere'-'Oblivion Road' that show all the prog this band is able to do.
Report this review (#48061)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Here we have The Flower Kings' debut under the name (Roine Stolt's The Flower King is widely recognized as the group's first album). Of the ten songs, five are instrumentals, and two 13+ minute pieces are placed on each end. Much of this material could haven easily fit in with the 70's progressive movement. Roine bears a distinguishable accent and a voice full of strength and passion, as he unveils his visions of peace and harmony. The songs with vocals have an advantage, but the instrumentals, for the most part, keep up well. The instrumentals range from jams to sonic excursions. It may have been better off if one or two of the instrumentals were substituted with more vocalized pieces; a couple of the instrumentals really don't add much to the album, and could even be seen as filler. At the same time, they do add a little extra flavor. Well rounded for sure.

Though all of the songs fit in with each other, and it is surely not a daunting task to listen to this straight through, each piece can be appreciated as their own entity. The highlights are the end pieces: "World of Adventures" and "Big Puzzle," as well as "Go West Judas," and "Theme for a Hero."

With an accessible sound, but still having a few of their own quirks, and a good, positive message, this album is a great start for the band, and a worthy addition to any prog collection.

Report this review (#62093)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album grew on me over time. It is the first "full band" Flower Kings album (shown here as the first Flower Kings album proper, since the album The Flower King was a Roine Stolt solo album.........though I consider it the first Flower Kings album personally), and is Roine Stolts first attempt to make his Flower King project a true band. Needless to say, he dominates the album, writing all music and lyrics and putting his excellent lead guitar to the fore. For me, every track is worthwhile, even the ones that many consider "filler". Personally, I always enjoy these so called "filler" tracks as I think they are very appropriate and well done atmospheric interludes. Prog does not need to be all about songs, I think, and such pieces help as a breather between the more involved songs. A sort of cleansing of the pallette for the next proper song. With the Flower Kings this is often necessary due to the broad range of styles they like to use from song to song.....especially on the earlier albums. When I first aquired all the available Flower Kings albums after discovering them (shortly after the release of Flower Power), this album fell just ahead of CD 2 of Flower Power for me in my personal other words, next to last. Albums like Rainmaker and Adam & Eve have allowed this one to rise in the ranks so to speak, and given me more of an appreciation for it. It contains three tracks I consider absolute classics for this band: the title track, Big Puzzle, and Theme For a Hero (probably still my favorite Flower Kings instrumental). Of the rest of the songs, only My Cosmic Lover seems a bit weak to me, though it is a fun song in some ways. I like this album and still listen to it. Compared to their best albums, it probably is about a 3 star album, but on its own merits I give it 3.5 stars. Not the one to start with if you've never heard this band, but if you like already it is a must have.
Report this review (#74633)
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a very good debut for the FK. The are very good vocal melodies, sung by Roine Stolt in a very Wetton-like style. It also features the stunning and inspired guitar work from Roine at its best. The rest of the bands specially the keyboards make a good envelope for these songs. I find the first half of the album excellent (songs 1 to 4), specially the first track, World Of Adventure, which is one of my favourite tunes by TFK, with Yes-style music and Wetton-King Crimson-style vocals. A good mix! The album falls a little on the second half, with a pair of instrumental tracks (5,9) which don't bother me but they are not specially great, and then we have My Cosmic Lover which is a more rythmic song (you can even dance to it) and Big Puzzle which IMO is a little overlong and not as great as the first tracks of the album. Overall this is a very good album with some really excellent tracks, but not a masterpiece as a whole.
Report this review (#75288)
Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars The Flower Kings second CD (yes, I´m one of those who consider Roine Stolt´s The Flower King the group´s first release) is an absolute delight to hear! A wonderful piece of modern prog that really won my heart (and ears). Although I stil think Retropolis is their best ever, Back to The World Of Adventures is a very close second. The music is an incredible mix of many 70´s influenced sounds played through a modern band to give a very unique sound. Kind fo Yes meets King Crimson meets Frank Zappa, with touches of Pink Floyd and Genesis here and there. Still, their music is original and no wonder they are truly one of the kings (no pun intended) of progressive music in the new millenium.

Actually they are still goind strong, but their new releases never achieved the impact of the initial albums like this one. All tracks are good and unlike so many of their latter day effords, there is no real filler material here, and we´re talking about a 70+ CD! I think Theme For A Hero is one of their very best songs (and their best ever instrumental track). The musicians, if you didin´t realize it yet, are superb. Stolt´s songwriting is at his peak and the prodution is very good. Back In The World Of Adventures is the first album to feature the classic TFK line up, minus vocalist Hand Fromberg. This CD is the only Kings release to feature Stolt as the sole singer in the entire disc.

If you enjoy symphonic progressive music, this is a must have. Like all TFK output it may take a few spins to really get into this colorful rainbow of sounds. But once you get it, you´re hooked. A modern day classic prog record.. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#103854)
Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Beautiful, beautiful and beautiful album!!! That's were my first listening of Flower Kings, and I was very surprising. The quality of melodies is a wonder. The main tracks are "World of Adventure" and "Big Puzzle", but tracks like "Theme for a Hero" and "Go West Judas" impress too. The track "Temple of Snakes" shows incredibles keyboard effects. "My Cosmic Lover" is not bad, but is the most pop track on the album... sometimes remember "Ladder", one of the most recent albuns of Yes. "The Wonder Wheel" has a great mellotron passage, great synthesizer work and guitar "a la" David Gilmour. This album is highly recommended!
Report this review (#110672)
Posted Sunday, February 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fantastic 2nd album by the guys, (the 1st was actually Ronnie's 1st solo album) marred only by Stolt's fixation on Fripp and Howe. Firstly, the arrangements are top notch. There's nary a stolen melody, (which hampers the following album) or much rambling, (which pads alot of their newer discs). Here you'll find some top notch symphonic prog with tons of King Crimson noodling, especially the last two songs. "World Of Adventure" and "My Cosmic Lover" have some killer riffs and themes. It's only Stolt's occasional mispronounciation of some words that make you want to cringe, but for the most part he does a credible job. Bodin has some nice keyboard runs here and there, but he's not given enough to do, yet. It's the track, "Theme For A Hero" an instrumental, that Bodin and the band play that typical bright, airy, uptempo Flower King's song we all know and love. It's my absolute favorite instrumental track by the band ever. Phenomenal melodies and chords that stay with you for days on end. Heaven! For the most part, this album is just the tip of the iceberg for the band. After a step back literally, ('Retropolis') they soar into the stratosphere hitting on all cylinders with a sputter here and there. This album is their launching pad! A jet fueled 4 star effort and a must have starting point if you want to know what they are all about.
Report this review (#115823)
Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Flower Kings is a very prolific Swedish band from a even more prolific leader : Roine Stolt. He is participating in so many projects running at the same time (even more than Clive Nolan from Pendragon & Arena amongst many others as well) that I wonder how he can manage all this. Anyway, TFK (to make it shorter) plays a rather sophisticated music filled with lots of inspired guitar and nice keyboard sounds.

The first time I listened to "World Of Adventures" (the track) , I was really impressed. I was brought back to where Yes had left me (GFTO in 1977). I could find a similar atmosphere at least on this title track. This is truely a wonderful number. It synthetizes very well all the TFK world. Magnificent. Listen to the end of this beautiful song and tell me that it does not make you think of "Awaken". OK, sounding as Yes, does not mean per se that you are a good band; but in this case, they are.

It is always difficult to decide the track listing of an album. Once you open with such a grandiose number, expectations are high for the other numbers. And this is the problem with their first album. We won't get anything coming close to it.

Of course, "Atomic Prince Kaleidoscope" is very pleasant, full of these guitar sounds I will love so much in their music. Very melodic, this instrumental is actually a very good following piece. It will almost sound Crimsonesque (ITCOTCK, era) during a very light and quiet moment; almost bucolic. A very peaceful track. I think this is just beautiful music.

"Go West Judas" is a much harder number. TFK will alternate the most emotional sounds with a dark and repetitive riff as KC produced so many. Another good track, I must say. The mellow ballad "Train To Nowhere" sounds as beautiful as the opening track, but only for a very, very short time (near the end). If this part wouldn't have been included, I would have said that it was a rather dull.

The album won't gain in quality with the instrumental "Oblivion Road". A jazzy improv sounding as...yes, KC. Would you believe ? Too much experimental to my ears. "Theme for a Hero" is again more symphonic. At times, the grandeur of the band is back for this other instrumental piece. More keyboard oriented. TFK will produce an enormous amount of such tracks throughout their career. I guess I just like this...

Still, TFK will also alternate the best and the worse on this albums, but on future ones as well. .. After the useless interlude of "Temple of the Snakes", we'll get the disco - Oriental "My Cosmic Lover". A new genre, I guess. Press skip. "The Wonder Wheel" ends the trilogy of rather poor and unintersting songs.

We are, fortunately, brought back to the good side with "Big Puzzle". A soft jazzy mood with good percussion, adds an original flavour to this track. At times, this number sounds as a good old Santana one ("Oye Como Va"). Lots of off-beat rhythms for this long and almost instrumental piece. At times spacey as well. A complex number, with no real structure.

My favourite moments here will be the vocal parts. I really like Roine's voice, can't help that. The finale is remarkable and this is how I prefer this band. They can provide with lots of enthusiasm but at the same time, I also have difficulties with some numbers.

If you enjoy Yes and King Crimson, you should really give a try to TFK. This album is of course not their best one but you'll find here all the musical approachs that they will investigate later on. As such, this debut album is interesting.

TFK might sound nostalgic. But I am a nostalgic person. So, for me there is nothing wrong here. Three stars.

Report this review (#120002)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
4 stars Here is another band I've been listening to a whole lot lately. They do the whole symphonic prog thing, but take it to another level. This isn't your typical serious prog, highly focused on making tight compositions. It's FUN! Really it is! The music is really catchy and energetic. It really gets me in a good mood with all the hopping synth lines. However, the composition is also excellent. Roine Stolt's guitar work is all over the place. He's quite a talented guitar player, but he's also got a lot of feeling. The same goes to all the band members. Composition is a top priority here, but it doesn't detract from the music. Melody always seems to come first.

That doesn't mean classic prog fans will be appalled by it though. They take all the aspects of the classics such as Gentle Giant and Yes, but expand upon them. It's got syncopation, time signature and tempo changes, complex harmonies, and all. So musicians can really appreciate it, but so can people who just wanna hear a good tune. This band is recommended!

Report this review (#142439)
Posted Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE FLOWER KINGS Back In The World Of Adventures

1. World Of Adventure .what a riff.really aggressive but is get better and happier until the end.[ a lot of yrs

2. Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope good instrumental song [the guitar sounds kind like steve howe]

3. Go West Judas .it stars like the first song with a very aggressive riff and the church organ sound in this one is great

4. Train To Nowhere .a nice ballad [the vocals are fabulous,pure beauty ]

5. Oblivion Road .a nice slow jazz song 6. Theme For A Hero a great song [very yes sound here ,but that's OK that's no a bad thing ]

7. Temple Of The Snakes ) a spooky song

8. My Cosmic Lover ) a great catchy pop rock [or prog pop anyway]

9. The Wonder Wheel instrumental intro to the next epic

10. Big Puzzle a great song with a lot of layers of great music

this is a fantastic album Stolt and Bodin shining in every song.a 5 stars album for me [ after all is THE FLOWER KINGS ]

This album is highly recommended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#144399)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Anothe band formed in mid-90's as a part of the progressive rock revival,THE FLOWER KINGS are led by overproductive Swedish musician Roine Stolt.Actually the story of THE FLOWER KINGS begun in mid-90's,when Stolt gathered some musicians in order to promote his personal (excellent) work ''The flower king''.This touring project received so much enthusiasm and love by the public that Stolt decided to form a normal band under this name.THE FLOWER KINGS released their debut in 1995,called ''Back in the world of adventures''.Not unlike SPOCK'S BEARD,the Swedish band tried to bring the 70's prog sound back in publicity,mixing a variety of vintage influences and styles with the modern technologies' sound.The result is very attractive and the album contains a combination of short and long tracks with echoes from KAIPA (Stolt's first ever band),CAMEL,GENESIS and KING CRIMSON,heavy jazzy doses and some spacey keyboards.Overall,this is fantastic work with strong melodies,nice instrumental passages and great diversity that you simply should add in your collection.Highly recommended!
Report this review (#146761)
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars I love the debut of this band... Ok, maybe the true debut of The Flower Kings were Roine Stolt's "The Flower King", but this is the first with the name of this fantastic band.

And the sings of identety of the band were here yet... The soft passages in the vein of Yes, the experimentation in the tradition of King Crimson, the jazz influences, some commercial and rockier tracks... And the unmistakeable personality of Roine Stolt, with his omnipresent, versatile and elegant guitar, and his soft and special voice. The best The Flower Kings's band were still to come, but the musicians here make it really well... Jaimer Salazar was a good drummer, and Michael Stolt is not Jonas Reingold (that's just impossible...), but he plays pretty good... And of course, the great keyboards of this fantastic music called Tomas Bodin are here. Really good work.

The style of the album is really variated, like every album The Flower Kings have made... Some tracks are just easy to listen, and really enjoyable, like Theme for a Hero, Train to Nowhere and My cosmic Lover... The experimentation comes with Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope, Temple of the Snakes and The Wonder Wheel... Go West Judas is the typical Flower King's rock track, with good progressive parts. And of course, the best songs of the album are also the longer: World of Adventures and Big Puzzle, two great tracks wich give a clue of the long and wonderful epics The Flower Kings will make in the future.

Conclusion: not perfect, but a really good album... A must for every The Flower King's fan, and if you don't know this band, this isn't a bad place to start... Because the album is short and easy to listen. Beginning with longer albums like "Stardust You Are" or "Ulfold the Future" can be a little hard if you don't know this band. And the facts that will make this group famous are here... Maybe not so brilliant like later albums, but it's still a wonderful landing in the scene.

Report this review (#146947)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is their debut but not at all the first one I bought of this band. In fact it was thanks to the stream of Big Puzzle on progarchives that I decided to buy this. It proved to be one of the best tracks of the album but that's logical I think. The other great tracks to me are World of adventure, Go west Judas and Theme for a hero and also Atomic prince/Kaleidoscope is very much worthwhile. The other tracks are less significant to me.

Overall a good album but not really the best by TFK. Still 4 stars.

Report this review (#151788)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The FLOWER KINGS debut record continues down the same path as Roine Stolt's "The Flower King" record with a few alerations. It's kind of cool that the actual cd has the picture of "The Flower King" on it from the cover of that previous album. The lineup has changed somewhat with Tomas Bodin taking over the keyboard, while Michael Stolt is the new bass player. Hasse Froberg is not on this one, but will resume singing on the next one "Retropolis". Salazar and Bruniusson shared the drum duties on "The Flower King" but Salazar is the drummer here with Bruniusson on percussion, except for the final track "Big Puzzle" where he gets behind the kit.

A subtle intro to "World Of Adventures" before we get some harmonies and a full sound. Roine starts to sing 3 minutes in as the soundscape becomes warm and uplifting. Some scorching guitar after 5 1/2 minutes. A nice upbeat section follows before we get some more great guitar from Roine. Check out Bodin 7 1/2 minutes in. Some blistering guitar 10 minutes in followed up by mellotron. This song is an adventure all right. "Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope" opens with a keyboard melody that is joined by the drums and then the guitar. The guitar 2 1/2 minutes in is fantastic ! The keys sound like THE DOORS 4 minutes in.The second part of the song is pastoral with birds chirping and gently played guitar. "Go West Judas" has a nice heavy sound to it as vocals come in. Just a great solid sound especially after 6 minutes. More incredible guitar as well.

"Train To Nowhere" is mellow with reserved vocals. This is an emotional song that is dedicated to the memory of Raoul Wallenberg. The organ sounds really good as the guitar plays on. The guitar beautifully soars followed by waves of mellotron as the song blends into "Oblivion Road". This one is a little experimental with mellotron as sax, organ and piano come and go. As close to spacey as they will get. I like it. "Theme For A Hero" has so many mood and tempo changes throughout. Just a gorgeous sound 4 minutes in. The piano, guitar and bass shine after 6 minutes. Great symphonic track ! "Temple Of The Snakes" is experimental with mellotron that blends into "My Cosmic Lover". Actually the snake-like vocals to begin it connect it with "Temple Of The Snakes" as well. The drumming is so crisp but i'm not a big fan of the vocals that sing "My cosmic lover", it sounds eighties to me. "The Wonder Wheel" is an instrumental and one of my favs. It's dark and atmospheric with some angular guitar. The final song is called "Big Puzzle". It opens with reserved vocals, flute and piano. Simply beautiful ! Sax melodies are also featured. Roine lays down some guitar solos. Bodin starts to get active on the organ. The lyrics are fanciful and I like them a lot. A change 7 1/2 minutes in as the song seems to stop and restart with Roine singing. It goes on for a few minutes until we get such an uplifting passage with soaring guitar. As i'm listening to this right now my son just said to me "The guitar sounds really good." Nice. The perfect end to an incredible album.

What I like about this record better than "The Flower King" are tracks like "Oblivion Road" , "Temple Of The Snakes" and "The Wonder Wheel" as they offer some variety and darkness and therefore some balance that the previous record didn't offer.

Report this review (#152590)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars It seems to me the group known as The Flower Kings started the day that Roine Stolt wisely enlisted the multifaceted services of the highly-talented keyboard man Tomas Bodin. Therefore this album is their official debut. And what an astounding debut it is! It's one of those CDs that just keeps on getting better and better with every spin and no band ever put together a better introductory showcase of their talents than these guys did with this recording. There's not a weak link in the chain of musicians involved and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this album to those who have yet to investigate the symphonic prog offerings of this Swedish juggernaut.

The album's namesake, "The World of Adventures," drifts in like a sneaky, dark shadow before spotlights illuminate the room in the form of Roine's sledgehammer guitar and dense, stacked vocals cleverly fashioned into a tongue-in-cheek 50s Sci-fi kind of nostalgic motif. Stolt's aptitude for melody becomes evident very quickly as the memorable verse/chorus that includes the tell-tale line of "we're children of the Woodstock nation/lost in peace and contemplation" rings out in three-part harmony. There's an effortless flow running through this song that incorporates the big bass tone of Michael Stolt, screaming guitar rides from Roine and the incredible soundscapes being created by Bodin. It's a fun tune and the grandiose finale doesn't disappoint. "Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope" follows and they're complimentary instrumentals that are masterful. The former features a very enlightening synthesizer theme and fluid Alan Holdsworth-ish guitarisms layered over Jaime Salazar's crisp drumming. The number emphasizes the band's skillful manipulations of dynamics in their arrangements and Tomas' Mellotron and flute towards the end creates a gorgeous effect that inspires visual images of snowflakes falling through naked trees. The latter air is a serene acoustic guitar gem that shows just how versatile Roine Stolt is. Short but very, very sweet.

My favorite prog time signature is 7/8 so it's no shock that I'm crazy about "Go West Judas," a true hard rocker that has a driving guitar/bass riff based on that foundation. Once again Salazar shows his prowess on the drum kit, Stolt delivers a blistering guitar solo that will rip your head right off your shoulders and the sharp-edged, acrid lyrics never let up in their pointed incriminations. After that roiling stampede one could use a break and the softer ballad, "Train to Nowhere," is the perfect stress- reliever. Roine delivers a heartfelt, emotional vocal here backed by thick harmonies and Bodin's understated mix of Mellotron, piano and organ gliding underneath would be a shame to overlook. What follows is a trio of instrumentals beginning with the jazzy "Oblivion Road" that introduces the velvet tones of a soprano sax to the proceedings performed by future member Ulf Wallander as he soars gracefully over a very subtle jam session. At times this group can get a little "out there" when they step into the jazz rock/fusion realm but this time they resist the urge to overindulge and the result is just right.

"Theme for a Hero," with its Chris Squire-like bass riff charging out of the gate, is yet another example of why I consider these guys to be one of the "masters of melody." There's a stream of musical ideas steadily rushing by here like a river in spring that never ceases to thrill me. It's just one of many highlights on the album. Next, Tomas gets his own moment to shine on the impressive "Temple of the Snakes," a blink-and-you'll-miss-it piece involving nothing but synthesizers that leads seamlessly into one of the best examples of FROG (funky prog) music in existence, the dance-inducing "My Cosmic Lover." This is one smokin' hot cut with the rhythm section of Jaime and Michael laying down an unforgettable groove that won't quit. Roine turns in one of his strongest vocals on the disc and, just when you think it's getting to be predictable, Wallander wanders in with more flash from his soprano sax. If you were putting together a collection of prog dance tunes for a party this one just might have to be the opener. But don't worry, purists, disco it ain't.

"The Wonder Wheel" is a bit of a curve ball. Its beautiful but sad, melancholy mood is an unexpected musical gift that slowly builds to a passionate crescendo over a haunting, ominous drum beat. I glossed over this track the first couple of listens but eventually slowed down long enough to finally appreciate its delicate nuances. Another extended cut, "The Big Puzzle," brings up the rear with a bluesy atmosphere wherein Roine sings cryptic lamentations like "don't know where we're coming from/don't know where we're going to/another trick of evolution/into the cosmic revolution" before the band nudges the tempo upward for a lengthy instrumental segment where they tactfully go through near-constant changes without resorting to repeating the same themes over and over. There's a supercharged guitar ride that's not to be missed and a surprisingly peaceful coda that make this song, while not a classic, a worthwhile journey to go on.

I rate this album right up there with the engaging "The Sum of All Evil" and the inconsistent but at times absolutely brilliant "Stardust We Are" and that is saying a lot, my friends. Just a few of the many things I love about The Flower Kings is their boldness, variety and versatility and this CD is a fine example of those traits. I can't think of a better introduction for the adventurous newcomer to their brand of symphonic prog and it's an obvious must-have for all their fans. Not quite a masterpiece, but damned close to it. 4.4 stars.

Report this review (#163591)
Posted Sunday, March 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you took all that was great from '70's symphonic prog (minus the jazz influenced parts) and distilled it down to one album, you would have the essence of the first (or second, depending on how you count) release by The Flower Kings, Back In The World Of Adventures.

It's great. When I first started listening to this, I heard echoes of every great prog moment from the '70's. And yet the band is original in it's own way. This is the kind of prog I want to hear made today.

Let me tell you this to show you how much I love this album. On my way to work, when I need inspiration, I will play World of Adventure folllowed by either My Cosmic Lover or Go West Judas. On my way home, when I need to wind down, I will play Big Puzzle followed by just about any other track (except for World of Adventure which I played earlier.) I promise you that this album is so good that I have a listening routine down for it.

I'd tell you about the high and low points of this album, but it's nearly all high points. I don't like Temple of Snakes very much, and Wonder Wheel is just average. Theme for a Hero is the most inspiring instrumental, closely followed by Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope. The two epics, World of Adventure and Big Puzzle, are both excellent, and I tend to prefer one over another depending upon my mood. Of the shorter songs, Go West Judas leans toward heavy rock, My Cosmic Lover leans towards pop and Train to Nowhere references the singer / songwriter tradition. All of them are excellent.

Anyhow, I can't praise this album enough. It's one of the highlights of symphonic progressive rock post 1990, at once totally true to it's roots and also exploring new ground. 5 stars all the way.

Report this review (#172301)
Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Back in the World of Adventures is the debut album from Swedish symphonic prog rock band The Flower Kings. Main composer, guitarist and singer Roine Stolt made a solo album called The Flower King in 1994 were many of the musicians in the lineup for Back in the World of Adventures were also featured. After it was learned that The Flower King was a success Roine Stolt and some of the musicians who participated on that album decided they would make a real band called The Flower Kings.

It´s hard to say if Back in the World of Adventures sounds more like a band effort because the style is very similar to the style that was played on The Flower King. Retro Symphonic prog rock influenced by the great symphonic prog bands from the seventies. Yes, Genesis, King Crimson etc..etc... The Flower Kings is also clearly influenced by Frank Zappa and other avant garde rock bands even though it´s not the dominant influence in their sound. Seventies hard rock bands like Uriah Heep and Deep Purple are also great influences.

Back in the World of Adventures has many great songs like the wonderful opener World of Adventure, the intense Go West Judas and the great epic Big Puzzle. Instrumental songs like Atomic Prince/ Kaleidoscope and Theme for a Hero are also good songs while I could have been without the happy My Cosmic Lover. There are also a couple of shorter instrumental songs spread throughout the album but I´m not too impressed by those short songs which works like interludes between the longer songs more than working on their own. They are a bit too ambient for me.

The musicianship is excellent. The Flower Kings are a perfect unit. Despite what many other reviewers think I think Roine´s voice is great. Pleasant and soothing. His guitar solos are melodic yet challenging. Tomas Bodin is a great addition to The Flower Kings sound with all his vintage keyboard sounds. The rythm section which consists of Michael Stolt ( Roine´s brother) on bass, Jaime Salazar on drums and Hasse Bruniusson ( Samla Mammas Manna) on percussion is excellent. What fireworks they create together.

The production is excellent. Warm and pleasant.

Back in the World of Adventures is not my favorite Flower Kings album but it´s certainly a great album that deserves 4 stars. This is highly recommended to fans of seventies symphonic prog rock.

Report this review (#182037)
Posted Monday, September 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Firstly, I was very fond of this album. Only after a while, when you get their sound the record isn't that interesting anymore. Still, the Flower Kings have good musicians and especially the longer compositions (the first and last track) are very well. Oblivion Road and My cosmic lover aren't that interesting. This is a good debut but they have made more interesting things (like 'unfold the future' for instance). I love the guitars and mellotrons here. The addition of a percussionist is also a good thing. This is technically a good album, but the album isn't timeless. Still, three stars
Report this review (#192491)
Posted Tuesday, December 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The superb thirteen minutes long epic World Of Adventure opens this album and there is no doubt that this is an adventure into symphonic prog land. The references to THE BEATLES, GENESIS and YES are obvious. The music superb with a lot of nice details. But still, pretty commercial. The soundscapes of ELP, it's most definate not. The music is based on guitars and keyboards. Pretty good guitars too. Roine Stolt's trademarks is pretty evident here. The guitars, the vocals and the arrangements. Add the epics too. All of them with a typical Scandinavian slant. The Scandinavian depression as they called the Ingmar Bergman plays. Is Roine Stolt in the playwriter Ingmar Bergman mould ? An interesting thought I just got..... The mood on this album is most definate depressive and moody at times. Which in my mind enhance this album. If my memory serves me right, KAIPA was in the same mould too. I need to investigate this further, me thinks.

This is the first official THE FLOWER KINGS album and it is a very impressive album too. Although I do not care much about the trippy jazzy new age soundscapes thrown in here, I very much like the songs here. The opening track is superb. The closing track Big Puzzle is superb too. In addition to the typical Roine Stolt trademarks, we are also treated to some funk on this album. Which makes this album even more interesting. Other and more knowledgeable people has written more and better essays/reviews about this album so I will not tire you with more talking. But to quote the big Kazak philosopher Borat: I like this very much ! That is my verdict about this album. That's why I am have flashed my credit card towards the rest of the outputs from THE FLOWER KINGS.

4 stars.

Report this review (#207862)
Posted Friday, March 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I want to go on an adventure.

The Flower Kings have done quite the service to music with this fine release. The melodies are entrancing, the lyrics are good, the playing is amazing, and the entire album is full of solid material.

You have their flight of fancy sections, where you could hear anythign from soft and pretty vocals to a massive keyboard solo. The guitar work is top of the line, and you get a vibe of Pink Floyd and Genesis at parts.

True, The Flower Kings hold a lot of influence from 1970's progressive rock bands like Yes, Pink Floyd, and Genesis (to name the most prominent) and they meld the styles, well. There are times when the melodies or main musical ideas seem too drawn out, or overextended, but they never offend (or even come close). The music is highly diverse, and can get quite accessible, without losing the experimental and complex edge. That keyboard sounds vintage in the best way, and nostalgia will run through here in fine lines.

Some of the melodies are a bit weak, but it isn't very often that one will pop in that isn't so great. And the music is never boring. Not once did I feel like I'd rather be doing something else while I was listening. The epic opening song and title track is one of the best representations of the mass amount of diversity and ample melodic merit presented within. There are jazz leanings, and deep progressive plunges. There are pop atmospheres, and rocking segments. Something for most anyone, really.

An excellent album in plain terms, and quite a joy. Some of the melodies are weaker, and not exactly memorable, and some of them are pushed a bit too far, but it is not enough to make the experience bad by any means. And a few of those keyboard lines are pure whimsy.

Best Song - Very hard to say, it is all so good.

Worst Song - Again, the music holds strong to a high level of quality in a consistent basis.

**** Stars, easily.

Report this review (#214276)
Posted Thursday, May 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album grew on me over time. It is the first "full band" Flower Kings album (shown here as the first Flower Kings album proper, since the album The Flower King was a Roine Stolt solo album.........though I consider it the first Flower Kings album personally), and is Roine Stolts first attempt to make his Flower King project a true band.

Needless to say, he dominates the album, writing all music and lyrics and putting his excellent lead guitar to the fore. For me, every track is worthwhile, even the ones that many consider "filler". Personally, I always enjoy these so called "filler" tracks as I think they are very appropriate and well done atmospheric interludes. Prog does not need to be all about songs, I think, and such pieces help as a breather between the more involved songs. A sort of cleansing of the palette for the next proper song. With the Flower Kings this is often necessary due to the broad range of styles they like to use from song to song.....especially on the earlier albums. When I first acquired all the available Flower Kings albums after discovering them (shortly after the release of Flower Power), this album fell just ahead of CD 2 of Flower Power for me in my personal other words, next to last. Albums like Rainmaker and Adam & Eve have allowed this one to rise in the ranks so to speak, and given me more of an appreciation for it.

It contains three tracks I consider absolute classics for this band: the title track, Big Puzzle, and Theme For a Hero (probably still my favorite Flower Kings instrumental). The title track features fantastic mellotron, great lyrics and vocals by Stolt, and some very nice instrumental sections featuring Tomas Bodin's great keys for the first time. Big Puzzle is a mini epic of sorts, with a minor key, moody beginning, followed by more upbeat sections, then into a cosmic Yes-like synth and guitar only section (think the middle section of Close To The Edge but without any tempo from the keys), then out into another upbeat section and back to the beginning part to finish the song in dramatic fashion. The guitar solo that ends this is quite possibly my favorite ever from Roine, which is saying something (at least one of his top 10 solos, if nothing else). Theme for a hero is just a great instrumental, going through various sections and featuring great playing from all concerned. Vocals are not missed, as the song tells a great musical story filled with interesting melodies.

Of the rest of the songs, only My Cosmic Lover seems a bit weak to me, though it is a fun song in some ways, with it's danceable beat and lively melody. Go West Judas is probably one of the heaviest Flower Kings songs ever, with an almost brutal middle section featuring Stolt's excellent guitar playing. Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope is a somewhat less interesting instrumental with a darker and more brooding approach, the Kaleidoscope section at the end being a pleasant, if somewhat nondescript, acoustic ditty. Train to Nowhere is a lovely power ballad type of song that has echoes of Pink Floyd, especially in the choruses. The jam that follows, Oblivion Road, is enjoyable to listen to though nothing particularly special. Finally, The Wonder Wheel is an almost ambient piece which I find delightful, but others probably would call "filler". To each his own I guess.

I like this album and still listen to it. Compared to their best albums, it probably is about a 3 star album, but on its own merits I give it 3.5 stars. Not the one to start with if you've never heard this band, but if you like already it is a must have.

Report this review (#215180)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Neo Prog Team
5 stars What a way for a band to introduce themselves to the world. This is a wonderful album, and one which sums up the essence of what makes The Flower Kings so special. The music, whilst influenced by the 70s prog giants sounds fresh, modern and dynamic, and the quality of the musicianship here is evident from the opening notes.

There's a great feeling of positivity about the music, something the band have carried on throughout their career. This though is symphonic prog of the very highest order.

World Of Adventures - A truly stunning piece of music to mark TFK's debut. It's choc-full of spine tingling moments from the incredible opening instrumental sequence through to the multi layered vocals that bring this to a goosebump-laden climax. This is a symphonic mini epic with more twists and turns than the Cresta Run. Laced with mellotron, the themes are magical and Stolt's guitar work is outstanding.

Kaleidoscope/Atomic Prince - One of TFK's finest instrumentals, a two-part piece of grandeur and majesty befitting the title. The opening part is mid-paced, the latter almost ambient. The combination of Stolt and Bodin is pure heaven.

Go West Judas - TFK keep 'em coming, another absolute stunner. This is a bit darker, and stands out because of this. The astonishing solo by Stolt here is one of his very best.

Train To Nowhere - Time for a breather! A quieter one, and probably weakest on the disc.

Oblivion Road - A very nice atmospheric, jazzy instrumental. A very moody piece, I love this. The sax is superb. A sign of things to come on Unfold The Future.

Theme For A Hero - Another instrumental, but my, what an instrumental. In my view this is pretty much as good as symphonic prog gets. Great themes, superb solos, and an amazing closing sequence. For me this is goosebump city throughout. An all-time TFK fave of mine.

Temple Of The Snakes - A nice keyboard instrumental, that's all I'm afraid!

My Cosmic Lover - One that splits the fans, it's usually a bit love or hate. A dance influenced poppy number, but quite hypnotic, and whilst I have to be in the mood to really enjoy this I certainly don't dislike it.

The Wonder Wheel - Another instrumental, another really good one too. Very atmospheric, and a great prelude to...

Big Puzzle - Another fantastic mini-epic to conclude. This starts slowly but soon picks up pace. The themes are great, the guitar work (as usual) is great and there's even a nice neo prog-influenced keyboard sequence towards the end too. A great finish to this fantastic debut.

There's six or seven tracks here that I would describe as absolutely top-notch and nothing that I dislike. A truly great debut album, and whilst it's not my favourite by the band, it's not far away. This is a criminally overlooked album, and how a disc of this quality has an average rating of less than 4 stars on PA simply beggars belief. In my view it is a masterpiece. This is a 5 star album without any doubt and is one that all symphonic prog fans simply must have.

Report this review (#229182)
Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars After the weak 80's when most people believed Symphonic was gone forever, came Par Lindh with the foundation of the Swedish Art Rock Society which impulse a Symphonic Renaissance in the cold Nordic country that soon expanded to the rest of the world.

Bands as ANGLAGARD and PAR LINDH PROJECT were immediately recognized as modern classics by middle age Prog fans who had listened their YES, GENESIS or ELP albums during a decade, but THE FLOWER KINGS found some resistance by people who claimed they were not Symphonic, but a late Neo Prog band who rook advantage of the Swedish musical bonanza. Even today is common to read reviews describing them as "B" class Retro Prog bands, a term that I find inadequate and extremely unfair for a band that is making NEW music in the genre they love, but this should be discussed on other forums, because we are here to review albums and "Back in the World of Adventures" is the starting point for a prolific and amazing career.

The album is opened in the best possible way with "World of Adventure", a 13 minutes epic with everything a Progressive Rock fan can ask, musicality, elaborate structure and interesting changes. After a short melodic intro, the band jumps into a CRIMSONIAN passage, in which they explore the sound that was started by Fripp & Co. and re-discovered by ANGLAGARD, but this time more melodic and a bit softer.

We can also listen some echoes from early GENESIS (Can Utility & The Coastliners) until the song morphs into a sort of ballad with Roine Stolt adding his particular voice, who's range is more or less in the central point between Peter Gabriel and Greg Lake, but don't expect THE FLOWER KINGS to stay there' the song keeps changing with a plethora of styles and moods, including elaborate sections, lush keyboard passages and some dark moments. Great starter for an album and a career.

"Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope" begins with a pompous almost martial keyboard and drums intro, but then is the turn for Roine to show his skills with a heavy and partially distorted guitar that demonstrates how unique is the sound of this band. The use of Mellotron is different to what the pioneers did, but still we can breathe the air of the 70's in this excellent piece with some Medieval reminiscences.

"Go West Judas" is one of the most radical expressions by a band clearly ascribed to Symphonic sub-genre; the vocals plus the aggressive interplay between guitar and keys take them to the border of Heavy Metal. but with the usual strong melody and a melancholic touch. They show us they can also rock when they want.

"Train to Nowhere" has a sentimental introduction where Roine's raspy vocals ft perfectly, soon he's joined by a distorted guitar and a soft piano in the background, and then joins all the band on an "in crescendo passage" to create a delightful power ballad in the vein of early Metal artists....The short and dark almost Gregorian chorus at the end is breathtaking.

As it names implies "Oblivion Road" is sad and full of remembrances, this time the band moves closer to Jazz territory, but without leaving behind the Symphonic elements, Tomas Bodin gives a fantastic piano performance and the Mellotron is the cherry on the top of the pie that adds mystery and suspense.

"Theme for a Hero" continues in this soft melancholic vein, even when the use of the guitar is much more aggressive, again THE FLOWER KINGS cross Symphonic and Jazzy passages with radical changes that keep the attention of the listener, just can't understand what is the problem that people find in this band.

"Temple of the Snakes" is an extremely short interlude the works almost as a mystic introduction for the frenetic "My Cosmic Lover", un which the band allows themselves to wander freely through long and strong instrumental passages with Roine Stolt singing in a softer and almost oneiric style, not as good as the previous because they seem to have some problems with the dissonances, but the idea is good and they will improve this aspect in their career.

"The Wonder Wheel" is a mysterious and dark song with clear similarities in composition and performance to STEVE HACKETT solo material, full of sound effects and Avant elements, is an extremely interesting song.

The album is closed with the 13:33 minutes "Big Puzzle" with it's stunning piano and guitar interplay, somehow reminds me of KING CRIMSON'S "In the Wake of Poseidon", but only at the start, because they later flow with the clarity and style of GABRIEL'S GENESIS, specially for the use of keyboards, a complete epic that ends he album with class.

Unlike most Prog bands that started weak and grew in quality or began their career with good material and then lost the magic, THE FLOWER KINGS are a band that from their first to last album maintained a good level without strong variations in quality.

Good debut, worth 4 stars for me.

Report this review (#231117)
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars My Last review - on their debut CD - This is another fine trip through the styles of yesteryear. From the title track - World of Adventures - the usual excellent mellotron, organ and impish guitar runs that swoop in and out, lots of time changes also - A bit of salmacis chucked in to annoy certain reviewers, mind you we are 10 minutes in so maybe not eh? Loads of interest and interesting melodies make this a peach of a track A+++ The instrumentals, Atomic prince and Kalaidescope have a delightful syth motif, some good bass riffs and some nice hackettesque guitar work Ace track A+++ GO WEST JUDAS - Has a bit of STOLTE GUITAR GENIUS - another winner A++ No 4 - A Train to Nowhere is a darkly themed ballad that I like despite it's content and shortness A. Then Oblivion Road - a bit of a filler instrumental B++ The next instrumental - Theme for a HERO is a much better composition - Starts a bit like the Enid and has some lovely guitar and synthesizer motifs also an ACE guitar solo A+++ Temple of the snakes - short synth based track A++ My Cosmic Lover - Very catchy bass line and the closest TFK ever come to a pop song - I lke this track though A++ The the CD goes up a gear - The Wonder Wheel - Excellent emotion laden guitar work and gorgeous use of the mellotron A+++ Then the Finale - BIG PUZZLE - I love this track More Hackettesque guitar picking up on the nice synth riffs with a cinema show rythym Some good use of Piano - Great instrumental passage A+++++

It's got to go into your collection - get it bought FIVE STARS

Report this review (#231553)
Posted Friday, August 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Back In The World Of Adventures was a great debut for this fantastic band. It served as an introduction to their brand of positive progressive rock. It is an amalgamation of many popular prog bands, most obviously Yes, Genesis and classic King Crimson, all wrapped up in Roine Stolt and The Flower Kings' own style.

The epics here are beautiful, but I happen to favor the first, World Of Adventure. It's quite possibly the best introduction to a band since 21st Century Schizoid Man. The album isn't perfect. Parts of Theme For a Hero venture into elevator music territory, but when songs get too light, the band seems to know it and doesn't stay in that territory.

This is a fine listen, and worth a solid four stars.

Report this review (#247180)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars i fell in love with this record almost instantly....this is the album i was introduced to the flower kings by....and is probably the best place to stunned that as im reviewing this that it has an overallreating of only 3.96...this album is so great!!!....the first track is a perfect blend of memorable guitar work and memorable vocals...songs like go west judas are tight and technical and quite heavy has a draker tone to it, while the introductory track was more happy and vibrant, provides a nice contrast...another highlight is theme for a hero.....what a piece we have here!!!!..its so uplifting and heartfelt it could almost bring one to touching and some parts are more technical and upbeat stuff as well.....this album is great cuz it really shows what the kings can do instrumentally...cuz every other song here is an instrumental!!!!......and not one of them are purposeless....exceptmaybe wonder wheel, but that serves a purpose for drama and emotion really...anyways i would go deeper into the track stuff but i would just ramble on forever :p
Report this review (#261343)
Posted Sunday, January 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I didn't come to this album until after I had absorbed several other Flower kings albums. Listening to it again, it sounds fresh and exciting, with a real progression from Roine Stolt's solo album, 'The Flower King', and a smoother, more polished performance. It is a great tatster for what is to come in later albums, and starts off with the superb 'World of Adventure' which is a typical TFK epic, and is up there with their best efforts. Indeed the whole album is one of their very best, having a consistency of quality which is missing occasionally in the later albums. It's a great place to start listening to TFK, but don't stop there!
Report this review (#261564)
Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've been rating a number of prog material, very diverse in sub-genres, but I feel I have to go for all TFK normal CD's (up to now there are 11), because this group is very special. I feel they are the strongest symphonic prog act since they appeared. They are a huge reference. They are perfectly symphonic, you cannot have a better modern example. Each production is super-quality, is each time characterized by the presence of a certain number of epics, which are almost always the best tracks on the outing, and by a very different panorama of music... which sometimes prevents them to reach the 5-star mark, in my view... If you go for a "best-of" with only epics from this group, you will fill a record of CD's, because they are the most prolific I know from any group, adding each time top-notch quality. Anyway, I see a lot of 'excellent addition to prog collection' marks (around 4...). Like this one.

As we all know, it is their first release as a group, even if the CD 'The Flower King' by Stolt is directly in line with TFK, being the predecessor with a similar line-up, quality and symphonic prog status. One of the best 'first-release' ever, as others pointed out very correctly. Here, the two epics are the best (the first and the last track), and there are about half of only instrumental tracks, where you can hear the beautiful talent of the musicians, featuring of course Roine Stolt and Tomas Bodin, both members being on all CD's, working beautifully together since the beginning. Those two are monuments in here, and this music is easy to listen, even in a prog context. Some very unusual tempos beautifully brought in, by these absolutely super-musicians, and with original composition.

I am in line with the comments posted by others here, as complexity, freshness, execution and variations of moods and tempos are excellent (you can complete by reading them on the actual CD' site... a suggestion, as a lot have been written, accurately). I particularly prefer the drum play of Salazar, in comparison with the others on newer material. On this one and up to 'Stardust', in my view. Very natural and with dexterity.

If you would like to discover modern symphonic-prog, this is the best way to start. If you like, I am sure that you will check for the remaining production of TFK... and like me, you will have them all, buying each CD automatically as they go out. And unlike some groups, you always have for your money, even without listening at first, because it is a sure group. I would say that from Rainmaker and on, there are a few weaker tracks, but there are always enough fantastic tracks, mostly epics, for a safe quality-production. Like this one.

In my book, in an intuitive way, I would say around 4.3 / 4.4. All tracks are good, all adding something original. A very interesting sympho-prog opus.

Report this review (#282499)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, how can I put this. I think this is a superb album. I have been introduced to the music of the Flower Kings with the album Adam and Eve. Since I enjoyed it very much, I decided to get to know this band better. And I am glad I did. I will express my views on each songs. So, here we go:

1. World of adventures. I think this song is perfect. The lyrics are great and the music is just right. 5 out of 5.

2. Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope. A good song. I really enjoyed the different moods. Especially the accoustic guitars at the end. Beautiful. 4 out of 5

3. Go West Judas. Not my favourite. Not enough atmosphere for me. 3 out of 5

4. Train to nowhere. Absolutly beautiful. I love Stolt voice in this one. Great song. 4.5 out of 5.

5. Oblivion Road. Ok song. Nothing to say about it. 3 out of 5.

6. Theme for a Hero. For me, the best song on the album. I am transported in another dimension two minutes into the song. Superb. Thank you Mr. Stolt. 5 out of 5.

7. Temple of the snakes. Excellent atmosphere. This is over way to soon. Give me more please!! 5 out of 5.

8. My Cosmic Lover. I don't like this one. The weakest one on the album. 1 out of 5.

9. The Wonder Wheel. Another atmospheric symphony. I love the Flower Kings because of songs like this one. 5 out of 5.

10. Big Puzzle. Amazing finish to an almost perfect album. You will enjoy this song. 5 out of 5

Report this review (#286039)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2010 | Review Permalink

This is one of the most respected progressive rock bands nowadays, but here on the site their albums never surpassing the score of 4.0. "Back in the world of adventures, " his debut album (or not?), is that most approaching that mark (3.97 at the moment).

It is easy to see why.Unlike his successors, no fillers here, but every song has something to offer us (except "The Wonder Wheel" and "Temple of Snakes"). The sound is clearly retro-prog, to listen to him because this album you are immediately transported to the 70 (or tell me you did not find the sound of bands like Yes, Genesis or King Crimson here?). Roine Stolt is a musical genius and highly prolific, but other members also shine.

Although I have a special appreciation for music, for me the best is "Big Puzzle", the epic final.This was the first song of The Flower Kings I heard (here on the site) and has always been one of my favorite band. Others who deserve special mention are "World of Adventures, " "Atomic Prince / Kaleidoscope" (which features a gorgeous guitar solo in the vein of Steve Hackett and Steve Howe), "Theme for a Hero"and "My Cosmic Lover. "

4,5 stars.If you want to know the modern progressive scene, this is a great way to begin.Highly recommended.

Report this review (#440069)
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Having been pleased with the results of the recording sessions for his solo album The Flower King, Roine Stolt decided to take the musicians who had contributed to them and forge them into a new band. The Flower Kings' debut album finds them drawing on a wider range of progressive rock traditions from the past than many other bands who, rightly or wrongly, have earned the retro-prog moniker over time.

True, the music of the likes of classic-era Yes and Genesis are a particular focus, particularly when it comes to the cosmic atmosphere of the former and Steve Hackett's weeping guitar from the latter. But occasionally the band will surprise me with an extended passage in a jazz-influenced vein, in which I can occasionally here a hint of the mellower end of the Canterbury scene - the early Caravan sound in particular. On top of that, the blend of all of these influences the band come up with isn't particularly nostalgic this time around - instead presenting a bold vision of what the future of symphonic prog could be, and slipping in a few influences here and there from contemporary material.

In the past I wasn't so keen on the Flower Kings, seeing them as a group who leaned too heavily on revisiting past glories of the prog scene, but I can clearly see from this album I've done them a disservice and I'd be well-advised to give them a closer look. Certainly, this album seems to be an excellent gateway to their music. That said, on all the material of theirs I've heard - new and old, including this one - relies a bit too much on the same basic trick of cramming a million different styles into a single song, so the compositions end up so busy that on the one hand there's plenty of surprises the first time you hear it, but on the other hand they don't slow down and focus on a particular mood long enough to really get into it.

Report this review (#622695)
Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
Jazz Rock/Fusion Team
5 stars This is the first official Flower Kings album, though I think Roine Stolt's solo album the year before this "The Flower King" is the true first album. Nonetheless, this album is on the same level as Roine's solo album, maybe better. This album contains some TFK classics, starting off with the first track "World Of Adventures". This is one of the best symphonic prog songs Ive ever heard. There's a lot of themes, but many are reprised. What I like about most about the song, and most of the album, is the energy level. Many Flower Kings albums rise and fall in energy, but this one stays upbeat almost the whole time.

The only thing missing on this album, is Hasse Froberg's vocals. I like Roine's vocals just fine, but he's the only one singing lead vocals, and I like that this band features 2 (sometimes 3) lead vocalists. What's cool is that, like the other early TFK albums, is there is more instrumental moments so this isn't really a problem.

The rest of the band is quite inspired here. Roine's solos are heartfelt, Tomas provides a great atmosphere that was lacking on "The Flower King", and the rhythm section of Michael Stolt on bass and Jamie Salazar on drums is solid. I prefer Jonas Reingold on later albums, but Michael Stolt is no slouche, he plays some of the best bass lines Ive heard from the early era of the band.

This album is upbeat symphonic prog, and great to listen to on a warm sunny day, but with enough rockin moments to keep it from getting cheesy, which is something this band is accused of being sometimes; but I think those moments are very rare in my opinion.

If you like Yes, and felt like their best years ended around 1980, listen to this band. They sort of pick up where they left off, but with more eclectic influences, like from other prog and rock bands, and a little jazz influence, though it's very small. This album is too good to miss, and should be in everyone's prog collection. And for the casual fan, this one is essential for understanding what 90s Flower Kings were all about.

Report this review (#659022)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Flower Kings was born around the figure of Roine Stolt, one of the finest guitarist of all prog scene, previously active in the Swedish prog act Kaipa. Initially a trio, consisting of Stolt (vocals and guitar), Jaime Salazar (drums) and Hasse Bruniusson (percussion), was soon chosen the name (taken from the recent Stolt solo album) and, with the lineup including Tomas Bodin (keyboards) and Michael Stolt (bass), the band, in 1995, releases the debut "Back In The World Of Adventures." The band's musical style is heavily influenced by 70's prog bands like Yes, ELP, Jethro Tull, Genesis, etc.., and classical music, with also a vein of eclecticism and contamination, especially later in their career, that only serves to make their musical offer more interesting. Despite their influences, however, the album is incredibly inspired in every piece, with the title track that immediately brings the listener into a world of fantasy and harmony. It has also an excellent balance between instrumental and singed songs, always played by the group with absolute accuracy. The drums of Jaime Salazar create a unique rhythmic base for the awesome guitar and synth phrases, and Roine's voice does nothing but make it just perfect, in an atmosphere of beauty and peace that can put everyone in a good mood. The album has influences beyond symphonic prog such as jazz, ambient, some ELP or King Crimson complexity and even pop. In general it is an average complex album but very accessible. Among the best we have Atomic Prince, Theme For A Hero, but also World of Adventures and Big Puzzle, the opening and closing track respectively. I personally think Back In The World Of Adventures is easily their best work and the right album to start from if you want to get into this band. If you like this stuff you should try some Kaipa, some Roine Stolt solo albums, the swedish symph prog band Anglagard and also some IQ, Marillion and almost all Neal Morse material.

Vote: full 5 stars. Absolutely outstanding.

Report this review (#761067)
Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although technically the first album by the Flower kings, Back In the World of Adventures is probably viewed by many as the successor to The Flower King by Roine Stolt. It's not surprising, as Stolt is still the dominating power on this album, (a trait that would be more delegated to other members in future albums) having lead vocals on all songs. It's hard to blame him when the songs sound THIS good. He was definitely at his creative peak here.

Roine's contributions aside, we see a few new members aboard, most notably Stolt's brother Michael on bass, Jaime Salazar on drums, and Tomas Bodin as the keyboardist. Of the three, Bodin is the only one who has been on every album since The Flower King's inception.

The album is, not unlike most other Flower Kings compositions, very upbeat, melodically rich and cheerful. It opens with the epic title track, 'World of Adventures,' which is currently my favorite TFK song. The song gradually progresses from an upbeat intro accompanied by Roine's unique vocals, into one of the best melodic sections I've ever heard.

The second song, aptly named the 'Atomic Prince,' is an instrumental that literally evokes the feeling of royalty (that's Stolt for ya), before segueing into the slow yet beautiful 'Kaleidoscope.'

'Go West Judas,' the third track is just a straight up rocker with blazing guitar work, mostly in 7/4 (as much of this album is in).

This is followed by the slow 'Train to Nowhere' and the jazzy 'Oblivion Road'. Both are decent, highly atmospheric tracks, but pale in comparison to the next track 'Theme For a Hero', an energy-filled, melodic instrumental with top of the line performances from each instrument.

'Temple Of the Snakes' is an unnecessary track that could have been left out, or at least been a apart of the following song 'Cosmic Lower,' a psychedelic Beatles-esque pop tune.

'The Wonder Wheel' is a nice atmospheric tune and feeds very well into the final track "Big Puzzle" an end to the album that rivals the strength of the beginning.

Overall, this is probably the Flower Kings greatest offering. The musicianship is amazing and the album itself is void of any real filler, something which is problematic in many of their future albums. Simply put, the album lives up to its name, it truly is an Adventure.


Report this review (#769937)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars An early but none the less inspired outing from Roine Stolt and crew. This is a fine example of Symphonic prog and would sit well in the collection of any fan of that general style. I came to hear of TFK through Transatlantic (and before that from Spock's Beard) and I can recommend them as at least the equally and generally the better of those comparisons. it did take me a while to get into as it is, at times, delicate and complex music with a fairly jazzy feel (at least for a prog loving meta-head).

i only recently purchased this album and can honestly say that it is of similar style and quality to The Sum of No Evil and Banks of Eden. There are some differences (it is less rocky than BoE but unmistakably the same band.

Report this review (#779554)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I stayed hesitating by a long time before to write a review about "Back In The World Of Adventures" from T F Kings and in certain form today I see that my hesitation was reasonable, because only after 12 years of career the band release another album who got a rate above 4 stars ( The Banks Of Eden ). In fact I think this first work from Ronnie Stolt and co. is close to perfection and was one of disks responsible to awake my interest about new bands of prog-rock (specialy after the 80's a almost total "lost decade". Across the 10 tracks of "Back in..." you can find countless moments of virtuosity, but this virtuosity comes with a strong dose of inspiration and creativity, without forget the precious lessons from the master of Progressive Rock like YES, GENESIS, CAMEL etc... . When I hear for the first time the album I could feel a delicious "mildew smell" due this "tribute" to old prog. The best tracks are track 1 "World Of Adventure" , track 3 "Go West Judas" , track 8 "My Cosmic Lover" ( with a clearly oriental ascendency) and track 6 " Theme For A Hero " one of most beautiful melodies in the story of prog rock. Although I must detach, which all tracks are great. My rate is 5 stars !!!
Report this review (#931897)
Posted Sunday, March 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars I thought much about this record and I really wanted to love it. The qualifications were there: a well liked symphonic rock band that keeps on doing records eighteen years after this debut, high rating amongst prog nerds, inspiration from the old time giants and a lot of skill.

So I wished this listening to be impressive and i thought it was in the beginning. Released 1995 with the name "Back in the world of adventures" this albums starts with a very impressive track: "World of Adventure". That long song contains everything you could want from a progressive song. The main theme is very nice and powerful and also we can discern inspiration from former heroes. Two secords reuse sounds from (I think) Genesis' "The return of the Giant Hogweed". I big shame the album didn't continue in the same way. In comparison with the first track, the rest is so lame.

There are hightlights in the rest too. "Atomic Prince/Kaleidoscope" is a strong track with nice acoustic waves and the songs "Go west Judas", "Theme for a Hero", "My cosmic lover" and "Big puzzle" contains interesting parts. In "My cosmic lover" it is hard to not notion the Beatles influences and that is a hightlight in my opinion.

Over all I would say this records feels extracted and it is hard to see/hear what new thay came up with. Perhaps I had liked this more if it was released in the 70s. My feeling about this is: Good music I want to continue exploring but I am absolutely not convinced about their greatness. Roine Stolt and his fellows maneged here to make two very strong songs(1,2) but a weeker full album. Even if no song from "Gardens of Eden" could compete with "World of Adventure" I think that album is slightly better than this. But my former high wishes for The Flower Kings has gone...

Report this review (#976342)
Posted Tuesday, June 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Before to say of this album is necessary to introduce a brief history of TFK. This band it's so important of new generation of symphonic prog bands of 90's. It's so difficult to define or compare with other band of style or sub genre, it's better to say that TFK create a new style symphonic prog rock and pattern for other bands as Magic Pie, Anima Mundi and others.

In this album, TFK shows as prog rock can be so funny and different, the voice of Roine Stolt contribute for define also the style of band. The sensation "prima facie" is something simple, but happened high levels of creativity; the melodies summon up somenthing of funny, exploring the possibilities of keyboards. Moments so heavy in guitar and voice, Roine Stolt has a clear interpretation. Sometimes looks that hear a soundtrack of a movie because facility to change of melodies. In fact, perceives a tribute to classic prog rock bands, mainly for the use of keyboards; as the paralel projects of members of the group, it' sonds like a instrumental bands that use prog rock influences, but hearing the complete album perceives that is just a sensation.

Welcome Back is a excellent debut album of a band that has a style and shows this in your carrer, and more: style and quality that shows is possible to make a new and good generation of progressive rock. Prog rock don't live only in the past but the past contributes for a new resumption. I think that TFK is important not only as progresssive group but a lot of projects that emerged of this band.

Report this review (#1635163)
Posted Sunday, October 23, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Decent Follow-up to The Flower King.

If it weren't for the title track. With the success of The Flower King album, Roine Stolt put together a touring band, which became The Flower Kings, and began a 20+ year journey and legacy. This album is a good follow-up to Stolt's Flower King. It contains some of the band's most classic compositions. The closer, "Big Puzzle", is one of them, and up there among the best of the band's catalogue. There are some great instrumental songs here too, with "Atomic Prince/ Kaleidoscope" and "Theme for a Hero" being the most notable. Unfortunately, most Flower Kings albums are a bit longer than they need to be, and in turn usually contain one or two songs that need not have been on the album. On this one, there are two songs that I am not as keen on. "Cosmic Lover" has quite a different style than the rest of the album (almost a dance groove) and for me breaks the flow, while the lyrics do nothing for me (lyrics are not usually the strong suit on Flower Kings albums). The other one is actually the title track, which I find too derivative of Crimson and other classic progressive rock bands, and the lyrics border on trite. However, even without these two tracks, the album is almost an hour long, and the quality of the rest of the tracks are very high. On balance, I give this 8.5 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars. If you like The Flower King album, this is the natural next up (but that debut is even better).

Report this review (#1703396)
Posted Saturday, March 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars This is a monster of a record (in a good way) and there's no use trying to find its flaws - they're surely there but it doesn't matter at all, as the final result will be pointless - what really mattters is: Roine Stolt very much inspired compositions served by an exceptional band of performers, his younger brother Michael on bass included.

Must be now my favorite album from the TFK, and it makes sense as a starting point for anyone beginning to discover their music - fresh and new yet sophisticated and ambitious.

A great first album whom I had once given 4 stars and now, after so much pleasurable listens along the years, reconsider and give a solid masterpiece status - 5 stars, no less !

Report this review (#1942797)
Posted Monday, July 2, 2018 | Review Permalink

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