[Review] The Flower Kings – Waiting For Miracles

The Flower Kings is one of the most talented groups that the current Prog scene can offer. In recent times, to be honest around the band there has been some confusion, with the release of an album by Roine Stolt, soloist but using the name of the band. Problem solved and the new lineup, which includes keyboardist Thomas Bodin and drummer Felix Lehrmann, records the thirteenth studio album “Waiting For Miracles” released November 8, 2019 via InsideOut Music. 15 medium-long tracks divided into a double album, available in 2xLP or 2xCD. An album that presents all the pleasant sound features to which they have accustomed us. Stolt guide the group and all the other performers offer an excellent, solid test and incisive. Even if it was not conceived as a concept, it still presents a main theme, a common thread for all the tracks. The album opens with “House of cards” which is a short introductory piece with a sweet piano melody that guides us to the next track. “Black Flag” is the first real song on the album, in classic TFK style, with the excellent voice of Fröberg, focused on political-social themes. Impressive progressions with the guitar and keyboards that create a unique combination, with excellent instrumental moments. A work of great impact, which shows how the TFK are one of the best bands in the world Progressive panorama. “Miracles for America” ​​is the longest track of all production, backbone of the first album. Start with a beautiful melody of organ and guitar, add the other instruments, elaborating a class song. Everything is perfect, with strong references to the 1970s Prog, and the personal characteristics characteristic of the band. Remember the YES style, with the addition of a more modern touch, a song that for structure, development and execution is one of the strengths of an already exceptional album. “Vertigo” is a softer piece, where the melodic voice of Fröberg takes the stage. The music is refined, harmonious, with the keyboards that mix well with the guitar on excellent fretless bass lines. A sweeter passage, and of rare beauty, and in the instrumental part the guitar takes over the sound with an excellent solo. “The Bridge” begins with a piano progression and the sweet voice of Fröberg, which create a more unique than rare atmosphere. It is a touching piece, which is completed with Stolt‘s guitar, half increasing the intensity with an exceptional solo and a deep bass to support. Another thick piece, a real pearl, which elevates the album to another level. “Ascending To The Star” has all the characteristics of the symphonic Prog, composed and executed in a superfine manner. After a long symphonic and choral intro, the guitar enters and develops on orchestral and pompous atmospheres. Powerful and elaborate, a great mix of classical music and Rock, an absolute masterpiece. “Wicked Old Symphony,” more linear and with a Pop setting, with a massive dose of harmonies that only a band like them can make it simple. The theme of the texts is a comment on evil and crime, a lighter and more direct passage. Although it’s simpler, the band’s class comes out even in a less elaborate song like this. “The Rebel Circus” opens with the synth melodies and an elaborate rhythm is more intricate. It is an instrumental track, with guitar riffs and 70s-style keyboards and a hypnotic bass line. All the instruments are free to express themselves and show the undisputed qualities of the band. This remarkable piece will be interesting to listen to developed live. “Sleep with the enemy” opens with a classic TFK-style intro, the voices of Stolt and Fröberg stratifying and the song takes shape. The atmosphere is passionate and melancholic, the compositional qualities of the band stand out again, elaborating the theme with the right amount of complexity and fluency. The first CD ends with “The crowding of greed” a piece focused on the guitar that takes the situation in hand with an excellent solo. Atmosphere exudes sadness, sadness for the conditions in which the planet is found and humanity, expressed also in the emotional and passionate vocal. The second CD opens with a more positive air than the closing of the first part, “House Of Cards Reprise” guides us to the following track with a theme full of hope. “Spirals” is an environmental track, full of interesting sound effects, programmed sounds, which soon leave room for the band and instruments. The synth offers remarkable inserts, a vocal appeal to the central theme of the album repeats “Save your miracle, for America.” Percussion are inserted, always with the background with effects and after a shaded finish it closes. Different from the usual tracks we have been used to, another proof of the versatility of the artists involved in the project. “Steampunk” focuses on excellent phrasing between keyboards and guitar, on which stands the voice of Fröberg. A test of both vocal character and melodies, sometimes heartbreaking, the rhythmic session is massive and supporting. “We Are Always Here” is a Jazzy track, with a joyful harmony with marimba and the drums that perform an almost tribal rhythm and the bass is deep. The joy pervades the song, which leaves us with a feeling of hope, a synonym that the long-awaited miracle can reach. After this cheerful ending the album actually closes with “Busking at Brobank” with the band recording a minute of fun in the studio. This album has everything a Prog listener expects to hear, elaborate, symphonic, majestic and flowing. Over 80 minutes of pure pleasure, with a fit band, which confirms to be a mainstay of the genre. The recent vicissitudes have been swept away with a record release that will leave its mark, expressing an artistic level of first order. “Waiting for miracles” is a work that best expresses the qualities of the band, an essential listening for all Prog lovers, a monumental record.

Tracklist

CD 1
1. House of Cards (1:58)
2. Black Flag (7:42)
3. Miracles for America (10:03)
4. Vertigo (9:59)
5. The Bridge (5:32)
6. Ascending to the Stars (5:45)
7. Wicked Old Symphony (5:47)
8. The Rebel Circus (5:50)
9. Sleep with the Enemy (6:02)
10. The Crowning of Greed (4:50)

CD 2
11. House of Cards Reprise (1:21)
12. Spirals (5:06)
13. Steampunk (6:34)
14. We Were Always Here (7:35)
15. Busking at Brobank (0:52)

Lineup

Hasse Fröberg / Lead & Backing Vocals
Roine Stolt / Electric, 12-String (2,13) & Acoustic (5,7,9,14,15) Guitars, Keyboards, Sequencer (4), Taurus Moog (8), Strings & Pipe organ (9), Mellotron & Ukulele (10,12), Synth (14), Lead Vocals (3), Co-Producer
Zach Kamins / Hammond, Mellotron, MiniMoog, Synths, Rhodes, Piano, Wurlitzer (7), Yamaha GX1 Organ (8), Glockenspiel & Marimba (10,12), Guitar & Orchestration (6), Theremin & Harmonium (15)
Jonas Reingold / Acoustic (5), Fretless (4) & Electric Basses
Mirko DeMaio / Drums, Percussion, Vibes (3), Timpani (3,6)

With
Michael Stolt / Bass & Taurus Moog (1,2,7), Backing Vocals (3)
John “Zach” Dellinger / Viola (6)
Paul Cartwright / Violin (6)

The Flower Kings |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|YouTube Channel|

InsideOut Music |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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