Prog Report Ranking – The Flower Kings Albums

A ranking of The Flower Kings’ albums.

6. Back in the World of Adventures (1995)

In 1994, Roine released his third solo album called The Flower King – an excellent album on its own, featuring the amazing epic “Humanizzimo”. Singer Hasse Froberg and drummer Jaime Salazar also appeared in that album. A year later, Roine officially formed The Flower Kings and released their first studio album Back in the World of Adventures. Along with the aforementioned members, Stolt also recruited one of his main co-composers Tomas Bodin as well as his brother Michael Stolt on bass.

This first album already had a mature style behind it, so the dynamic of the songs and compositions comes to no surprise. Even sounding closer to the 70s prog bands such as Yes and Genesis, this album still managed to establish The Flower Kings’ own sound and identity. One of the band’s most well songs, “My Cosmic Lover”, debuted here as well as other epic songs such as “Big Puzzle” and the title track that opens the album.

5. Banks of Eden (2012)

Another entry from their modern era, Banks of Eden stands out for its ‘less is more’ philosophy. With barely over 50 minutes of run time, it’s a short album for The Flower Kings standards. However, every one of its 5 songs is a winner – especially “Numbers”, one of their strongest epics showcasing the band’s prowess and technicality. So many strong riffs and melodies, impeccable transitions and an impressive performance by then new drummer Felix Lehrmann.

Banks of Eden was released to critical acclaim after a 5-year hiatus between studio releases. Right after its release, it paved the way for plenty of special performances from the band around the world. I had the privilege to watch them a few times during that tour and it amazing to see how mature and well rounded the band sounded in their shows. Watching one of their most graceful ballads, “Rising the Imperial”, live will always be a personal highlight to me.

4. Space Revolver (2000)

When someone asks me which of TFK’s albums they should start with, I usually recommend Space Revolver. Ranking at #4, you may notice it is not necessarily my favorite, but it is the record that more succinctly encompasses all of the band’s strengths. Following their usual formula, they have the prog epics with “I Am the Sun” and “Monster Within” full of technical skill and complexity. “Rumble Fish Twist” is one of their strongest instrumental tracks and you can hear the diversity in the band’s influences, Jonas’ insane bass solo – and to top it all off, a beautiful solo from Roine. Plenty of the more mellow moments are also top notch, including Hasse’s “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got” with a beautiful message.

As I mentioned above, The Flower Kings are not afraid to go all out with album runtimes – for better or for worse. In the case of Space Revolver, it’s definitely for the better!

3. The Sum of No Evil (2007)

A little over a year after their double album Paradox Hotel, The Flower Kings released The Sum of No Evil. With its focuses on longer songs, this tracklist may scare any non-prog listener. One of the band’s releases with most consistent high quality through every song, it is a bit heavier than some of their other albums. Hasse’s vocals really shine in this album, especially in the epic “Love is the Only Answer”.

My personal favorite here is “The Sum of No Reason” – a powerful, heavy and emotional song. It is hard to recommend any one track from this record – all of them are amazing, so I guess your choice should be based on how much free time you have.

2. Stardust We Are (1997)

Even before you clicked this article you knew this would be in the top 2! Stardust We Are is The Flower Kings’ first double album. Packing more than 2 albums of music, this record is exceptional in every way. Opening with “In the Eyes of the World”, we are introduced to the band’s great sense of humor and wacky sound effects in one of their most entertaining tracks. The same applies to the instrumental “Circus Brimstone”, which also shows great musicianship but with a darker tone.

But you know why Stardust We Are ranks so high in everyone’s lists – the epic title track. “Stardust We Are” is, in my humble opinion, The Flower Kings’ best song to date. The song is an emotional journey with very coherent song writing and substantial instrumental music. With all its different twists and turns, “Stardust We Are” packs everything there is to love about the band. The highlights of it for me are the middle piano solo section as well as the choruses, which are incredibly catchy.

1. Unfold the Future (2002)

With another double album to close out this list, Unfold the Future ranks as my favorite The Flower Kings album. Although their first records were more guitar focused, Unfold the Future was released after the band has been in line with itself for longer. The result is a very balanced record with every instrument and vocal parts shining bright in unison. With impeccable production and sound mix to complement the amazing music. You can notice this with the classic “Truth Will Set You Free”, one of the songs that helped define The Flower Kings as one of the most legendary bands in the genre. Just the opening crescendo shows how each musician compliments the others with their own different interpretation of the main theme.

Percussion is also an important aspect of TFK’s sound and it is very noticeable in songs like “Silent Inferno”, another long song with great themes and musicianship. Every band member’s performance is exceptional and would not be fair to highlight one over the other. But I must mention that Daniel Gildenlow also features in this record and has some impressive vocal performances in songs like the rocking “Fast Lane” and epic “Devil’s Playground”. The latter compliments the opening track in both theme and mood, however it still maintains the same quality musicianship and songwriting.

Final Rankings:
1. Unfold the Future (2002)
2. Stardust We Are (1997)
3. The Sum of No Evil (2007)
4. Space Revolver (2000)
5. Banks of Eden (2012)
6. Back in the World of Adventures (1995)
7. Flower Power (1999)
8. Waiting for Miracles (2019)
9. Adam & Eve (2004)
10. Desolation Rose (2013)
11. Retropolis (1996)
12. The Rainmaker (2001)
13. Paradox Hotel (2006)

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