Band: Roine Stolt
Band Website: www.flowerkings.se
Label: InsideOut Records (2018)
Rating: Some Amazing Prog Ė Another 2018 Fave!
Riddle me this: When is a Flower Kings album, NOT a Flower Kings album? The answer is when itís a Roine Stolt solo album. All the more so for this release entitled The Flower King: Manifesto of an Alchemist. Depending on how you count these things, this release is more or less Stoltís eighth solo album and the follow-up to 2005ís Wallstreet Voodoo. Now for those of you not in the loop, and I canít imagine thereís many of you out there, Stoltís Progressive Rock credentials are second to none being the guitarist, singer, writer and ďchief cook and bottle washerĒ of The Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Agents of Mercy and Kaipa DC. Heís also known for his work with prog icon Jon Anderson and the new super-group The Sea Within. Itís a bit of a misnomer to call this a ďsoloĒ album because heís far from alone creating the music here, having enlisted the support of long-time collaborators Jones Reingold, Hans Froberg & Michael Stolt, as well as fellow The Sea Within member Marco Minnemann, Max Lorentz, Zach Kamins, Rob Townsend & Nad Sylvan. This new album features ten compositions all clocking in at seventy-minutes of music that has much in common with the music of The Flower Kings. And why wouldnít it, right? So we hear lots of long musical adventures that have a polished symphonic prog sheen, weaving through various musical segments and motifs; softly, sweetly moving elements rub up against more bluesy, rocking riffs. If anything Stoltís solo work places a bit more of an emphasis on the latter. Melody envelops each tune and yet thereís lots of straight forward musicianship and instrumental sections abound. In fact all the sonic hallmarks are here from searing guitar solos to icy Mellotron accents. Adding a nice touch and moving ever so slightly away from the Flower Kings sound are a few tunes that inject a little more jazziness and angularity to the musical flow. Never fear however as everything returns soon enough to sounds that are at once familiar and ever so pleasing to the ear. This is quite an amazing record, in so many ways. Itís everything you would expect from Roine Stolt (and crew) and then a little bit more. This is another disc Iím adding to my 2018 favorites list and Iím recommending it to Prog fans of all stripes.