The Flower Kings. DAMN! Where have I been?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim_C, Oct 24, 2001.

  1. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,058
    Likes Received:
    13
    For those of you that follow the various prog rock threads here at HTF you may remember that I'm a big fan of this type of music, usually the heavier stuff though. My favorites include, among others, Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, Symphony X, Fates Warning and older bands like Rush, Queensryche, and Queen.
    Recently I bought SMPTe by Transatlantic and was floored. It was amazing and I had to have more. I had no idea that Transatlantic would be such a strong gateway drug, um...I mean band. Knowing that Transatlantic was made up of members of DT, Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings and Marillion? I took the next step and purchased V and The Kindness of Strangers by SB. Fantastic stuff! Needing another fix I figured that I'd try The Flower Kings. I've read many good things about them here so why not? Enter Stardust We Are and Retropolis. Absolutely, positively amazing!
    I'd always stayed away from these bands because I'd heard that they weren't as heavy as some of my favorites. Flawed thinking to be sure. I shouldn't be suprised that I am in love with these bands now. Talented prog rock bands shine through whether they're heavy or not.
    Any more suggestions from these two bands? I was thinking of picking up SB's Beware of Darkness and Day for Night as well as TFK's Space Revolver and Flower Power. Are there others that are better or are these the next logical purchases?
    This forum is bad for my wallet [​IMG]
    ------------------
    You want to upgrade again?!!
     
  2. Kevin Goodwin

    Kevin Goodwin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 1999
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just recently started downloading some samples of SMPTe & Spock's Beard. What I've heard is really good. I think I'm going to have to pick up Transatlantic for sure. I'm a big DT fan as well, and wasn't very interested in these groups for the same reason as you -- The were a little "lite" for my tastes.
    I haven't heard the Flower Kings yet, but it's on my list of bands to check out.
     
  3. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Oh man, could this thread have been any more tailored for me? [​IMG]
    DT, Spock's Beard, and Flower Kings are my favorite modern bands around, and I also love Marillion, so I can answer any questions you have on them.
    Spock's Beard: Kindness of Strangers and V are my personal favorites of theirs, though many disagree about that. I also love Beware of Darkness, which most Beard fans love. You will not be dissappointed. It's just great stuff. Day for Night is the album they released in between Kindness and V. It is great, but I would call it second-tier Beard. That is, it still kicks ass, but most wouldn't consider it their favorite. The only Beard album I don't like is their very first one, called the Light. They sound very immature and silly on that one, and hadn't found their sound until Darkness. However, many like that album.
    Flower Kings: They are a real pleasure to listen to. All of their albums are great. I also like heavier and darker music, and the Kings are so completely opposite of that, but they're great.
    Roine Stolt had been a professional guitarist for 15 or 20 years until he picked up on the prog revival about a dozen years ago, especially the vibrant prog scene from his own country, Sweden, lead by such great bands as Anglagard and Anekdoten (highly recommended). Seeing a market for symphonic prog and desiring to create music that was positive and "worked for the forces of good," he put together a solo album.
    The Flower King: This is the solo album discussed above. It was supposed to be a one-shot deal, but it was so successful, and he got on so well with the other musicians, that they decided to form a band called the Flower Kings. Therefore, this album is considered to be the first Flower Kings album. It's great, although it does sound a bit naive, but that's part of its charm. Symphonic prog written by a hippie. Fun stuff.
    Back to the World of Adventures: The first proper Flower Kings album. If I could only keep one, this would be it. Essential, classic Flower Kings.
    Retropolis: A collection of music written in the 70s and 90s, it purposely has a nostalgiac feel, but highly original. More classic stuff. Just great.
    Stardust We Are: A double album. Note that these albums were all released in the space of a couple of years. How this man can write so much and keep it all of this high caliber is beyond me.
    Alive on the Planet Earth: double live album. Excellent renditions of their material, as well as a cover version of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis. A fun listen.
    Flower Kings: This double album is pretty good, but it is my least favorite. The first CD is excellent, but the second disc falls flat. It's still worth owning for the first disc, though. I think they tried to get a bit more experimental here, and they sometimes fail, sometimes succeed. Also, I believe Stolt took all the writing upon himself.
    Space Revolver: My first FK album and still one of my favorites. It takes the experimentation of Flower Power, weeds out the bad stuff, and delivers it in a tight, beautiful album.
    Rainmaker: This one just came out, and it is as good as anything they released before. Also, Stolt is sharing the writing duties with another band member, injecting a fresh take on the music. Fantastic stuff.
    Hydrophenia: This is Roine Stolt's instrumental solo album. I haven't heard it, but have read rave reviews and plan on getting it at some point.
    Scanning the Greenhouse: A compilation. Don't bother with it, since you're going to get all the albums anyway. Trust me.
    FK recently toured the states. I found out about their appearance in my area literally the day after it happened. Needless to say, I was royally miffed. Reportedly, they didn't sell a lot of tickets and the tour is considered a financial failure, so it will be a long time, if ever, until they come back to the US. The fact that the Flower Kings can't sell tickets and Matchbox 20 concerts sell out proves that there is no sense of justice in the world.
    Ok, so that covers Beard and FK. Marillion is another great band, but very different from all of these guys. Basically, I like to think of them as Pink Floyd if they were good (I know, a prog fan who doesn't like Floyd. Bet you never thought you'd see one of those, eh?). Their first four albums feature a very powerful, dominating singer called Fish. He was replaced with Steve Hogarth as they changed their song writing. With Fish, the lyrics and mood were obstruse, complex, and obscure. With Hogarth, they were more direct, and occasionally they delved into pop, but it was always high quality. I like almost all of their stuff, but most disagree with me on that. There is certainly variety in their catalog, if nothing else. My favorite Marillion albums: Misplaced Childhood, Clutching the Short Straw, Season's End, Anoraknophobia.
    Well, that you should get you going for now [​IMG]
     
  4. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,058
    Likes Received:
    13
    Hey Mike, I knew you'd be along at some point [​IMG]
    Excellent info! I'm going to go out and get Beware of Darkness, The Flower King, Back to the World of Adventures, and Space Revolver. I'll get Day for Night, Flower Power, and Rainmaker later.
    Thanks for the advice.
    BTW, I just got the Echolyn CD that you recommended (As the World). Haven't listened to it extensively yet but first impression is that it's pretty good.
    In case you hadn't heard there's a new live CD from Symphony X coming out November 13 and a new studio album in the spring.
    ------------------
    You want to upgrade again?!!
    [Edited last by Jim_C on October 24, 2001 at 02:36 PM]
     
  5. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've never heard Symphony X. I've read mixed things about them, like that they're derivative or a lot like Yngwie Malmsteen. What albums do you recommend?
     
  6. Peter Mazur

    Peter Mazur Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    1
    Jim_C,
    Mike did an excellent job of describing the bands you mentioned. The one point he made though that I strongly disagree with is about Spock's Beard's first album "The Light". I personally feel it is by far their best album. The production gives it that classic early 70's prog feel. If you are a fan of Gentle Giant, I think you will like the first album.
    Marillion is my favorite current band. They are not as heavy a progressive band as they were with Fish but they are still excellent. I actually feel Steve Hogarth is a much better vocalist. There music now is much more passionate. Also their fourth album is called "Clutching at Straws" not "Clutching the Short Straw. It is my favorite of theirs. I would recomend you start with it first. If you like it I would recommend "Fugazi" and "Afraid of Sunlight" next.
    Some other bands you might want to look into are:
    Arena - "Songs From The Lions Cage" and "The Visitor"
    IQ - "The Wake, Ever" and especially "Subterranea"
    Pendragon - "Window Of Life" and "Not Of This World"
    Kevin Gilbert - "The Shaming Of The True"
    These are some of my very favorite albums from the past 15 or so years. Some other bands worth checking out:
    Magellan
    Enchant
    Threshold
    Pallas
    Some of these albums might be hard to find. If you want I could burn some for you. Just send me a private message.
    ------------------
     
  7. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0
    You might also want to try Neal Morse's self titled solo album. Neal is the singer/keyboard/main songwriter of Spock's Beard and Transatlantic. He played nearly all of the instruments himself and the album is quite good. I am especially fond of the last track - a 20 minute multi-part tune called "A Whole Nother Trip" which is reminiscent of some Transatlantic stuff (All of the Above, Duel with the Devil).
    ------------------
    JB
    "These go to eleven" - Nigel Tufnel
     
  8. Kevin Goodwin

    Kevin Goodwin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 1999
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jim -- the Echolyn CD will probably grow on you. They're really good. I read about a year ago that they recently got back together, and I think they might have new stuff available, FYI.
     
  9. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,058
    Likes Received:
    13
    >>I've never heard Symphony X. I've read mixed things about them, like that they're derivative or a lot like Yngwie Malmsteen. What albums do you recommend?
     
  10. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes, Echolyn is back. They cut an album last year called Cowboy Poems Free. I don't have it, but it's supposed to be really good and it's on my "to get" list.
    I've heard of but never heard a lot of the bands you listed, Peter. IQ and Pendragon are supposed to be like Marillion, from what I read, which has been mixed. I may check them out. I must say that I didn't care for Magellan, though. The guy's voice was grating, and what's with that trombone?
    lasercd.com
    This site has its own record labels and signs artists. Whoever is in charge there picks some real winners. I pretty much get everything new release that comes out. They also have a good catalogue where you can find most of the stuff we're talking about. The service is really good, too.
    synphonic.8m.com
    This is actually just some guy who sells CDs. It seemed weird to me, but the site was recommended by various sources. He has tons of old stuff from all over the world, and the delivery is really fast.
    Also, check out a label called Magna Carta. Among other things, they have some fantastic "super-group" albums, a la Transatlantic.
    Liquid Tension Experiment: super-technical and fun intrumental combo with members of Dreamtheater and Tony Levin (bassist extraordinare).
    Bozzio Levin Stevens: Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons, Steve Vai), Tony Levin (Gabriel, King Crimson, 50,000 other bands/musicians), and Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Atomic Playboys). Excellent instrumental stuff.
    Explorer's Club: written by Gardner from Magellan and features like a dozen prog people on it.
     
  11. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'll second Liquid Tension Experiment (both 1 & 2).
    Both albums start off with songs that come right out and slap you in the face!! There are some experimental freeform "jams" that at times drone on, but when these guys are "on", look out!
    Jim,
    Since you mentioned you like Rush, Symphony X, Fates Warning, etc. I was wondering what you thought of the "Working Man" Rush tribute with guys from Dream Theater, Symphony X, Shadow Gallery, Fates Warning ?
    I bought it when it first came out (1996) and liked the majority of it but then moved on to other things. I put back in the CD player last week and found that I still really dig some of the tracks (La Villa, Jacob's Ladder, Red Barchetta) but others (Mission, Anthem) I'll never get into.
    ------------------
    JB
    "These go to eleven" - Nigel Tufnel
     
  12. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    If tribute albums interest you, check out Magna Carta, they have a bunch. ELP, Genesis, Jethro Tull, and Pink Floyd all have tributes. The Floyd one is a recreation of Dark Side of the Moon.
    They're not my thing, but they're there if you like.
     
  13. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Rush tribute "Working Man" is also a Magna Carta release.
    ------------------
    JB
    "My baloney has a first name it's H-O-M-E-R, my baloney has a second name it's H-O-M-E-R
    "
     
  14. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,058
    Likes Received:
    13
    I've got the LTE disks, they're very good.
    I haven't picked up the Rush tribute disk. I've never really been a fan of them (tribute disks that is). I prefer the original recordings. I'm sure that it's good though considering the line up.
    ------------------
    You want to upgrade again?!!
     
  15. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've heard the Rush tribute. It's OK. Geddy's voice and Peart's drumming are so unique that it just sort of sounds weird.
     

Share This Page