This is the first actual Flower Kings album, but it is a return to the Flower Kings concept that Roine Stolt (leader of the band) envisioned on his recording from the previous year, The Flower King. The title of the CD is prophetic as the first cut begins, welcoming you back to a “World of Adventures.” This cut has everything that’s right about the Flower Kings. Big vocals, grand symphonic keyboards, wild guitar stylings… it’s all here folks!
I remember when I first heard Roine’s band and what I thought they sounded like. I described them to friends as: The band Yes with John Wetton on vocals and Frank Zappa on guitar. Today that description does not seem as fitting, but it actually works for someone not initiated to the Flower Kings sound. Of course there are other influences that pop up as well. The Return to Forever-style jazzy fusion thing that happens in cuts like “Oblivion Road” and the medieval march of “Atomic Prince,” the Pink Floyd-like spacey feel of “Temple of the Snakes” and the sax solo in “Oblivion Road,” the Genesis Lamb-like instrumental “The Wonder Wheel.” These kinds of pieces are what give every Flower Kings recording (along with the beautiful acoustic guitar cut “Kaleidoscope”) its stamp as part of their catalog.
Do you want to hear some amazing fretwork? Listen to “Go West Judas.” You want to listen to big vocal harmonies? Try “My Cosmic Lover” (a favorite of mine along with the first cut). A nice quiet ballad? That
would be “Train to Nowhere.” Grand keyboard symphonic beauty? “Theme
for a Hero.” This song also feature a signature guitar riff that is
unmistakably Roine, and would be nicely featured on the closing or
opening credits of a modern day action picture.
All these varied, almost schizophrenic musical themes (sometimes within
the same song) are what makes every Flower Kings album unique, yet most
assuredly a product of the band. Some albums they have done have
featured more jazz, some more pop, some more symphonic, but always The
Flower Kings. It’s like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial. “Oh,
you got some pop in my prog!” “Hey! You got jazz in my symph!”
Several tastes that go great together.
Reviewed By Terry Jackson on July 17th, 2010