The Flower Kings -
Banks Of Eden

(CD 2012, 93:42, Inside Out 0505868)

The tracks:
  1- Numbers(25:20)
  2- For The Love Of Gold(7:35)
  3- Pandemonium(6:05)
  4- For Those about To Drown(6:50)
  5- Rising The Imperial(7:40)
Bonus tracks:
  6- Fireghosts(5:50)
  7- Going Up(5:10)
  8- Illuminati(6:20)
  9- Lo Lines(4:40)
10- Interview(18:12)

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The Flower Kings (TFK) are one of the bands of which I possess all the albums; my favourite ones are Flower Power (1999), Unfold The Future (2002) and The Sum Of No Evil (2007), the latter being their latest release. So, after five years of silence TFK are back with a new album called Banks Of Eden, and I must say it's a true prog rock gem. The album opens with Numbers, an epic piece that lasts over 25 minutes. This track is in the vein of other monster songs on previous albums like for instance Truth Will Set You Free, Love Is The Only Answer, Garden Of Dreams, Love Supreme, Stardust We Are and Monsters And Men.

Numbers has been packed with amazing guitar solos and has so many twists and turns that it's hard to keep up with it. I love Numbers and some of Roine Stolt's solos belong to the best I've ever heard! The next track For The Love Of Gold is up-tempo dominated by a wild and fast guitar solo by Stolt. Pandemonium features a bombastic intro followed by disturbed, weird vocal parts and a sleazy, dirty guitar solo; again a wonderful song. In this track it's obvious that all band members have different musical backgrounds. You can enjoy a mixture of their influences like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Yes, Genesis, Frank Zappa, Deep Purple and even the classical composer Stravinsky! For Those About To Drown − a nice title by the way, hello AC/DC − and Rising The Imperial are two other great prog rock songs in the vein of TFK's melodic style, well-played and kind of familiar.

The limited edition, which is really worth buying, contains a second CD with four bonus tracks of which the instrumental Fireghosts is my absolute favourite as the guitar picking of Roine Stolt in this track is really breathtaking. Check this one out guitar lovers! It also contains an interview with the band in the studio during the recordings of this amazing new TFK album. My conclusion: Roine Stolt and friends did it again as Banks Of Eden truly belongs to the best of three TFK-albums ever! Highly recommended!

***** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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