The Flower Kings
is a Swedish progressive rock group. Formed in August 1994 by veteran guitarist Roine Stolt as a touring band to support his solo album The Flower King
, the band stayed together after the tour and have gone on to become one of the most prolific studio recording units in rock music of their era. In thirteen years they released nearly 18 hours of music spread over 11 albums. Their music is similar to early symphonic progressive rock groups such as Yes, marked by sharp dynamic changes, polyrhythmics, heavy bass, vocal harmonies, abstract and occasionally nonsensical lyrics, and extended song lengths.
History and Band Notes
The Flower Kings have seen frequent personnel changes. The original line-up for Stolt's solo album consisted of Stolt (vocals, electric guitar, bass, and keyboards), Jaime Salazar (drums), and Hasse Fröberg (vocals). They later added Michael Stolt on bass and Tomas Bodin on keyboards for the supporting tour. Michael Stolt was replaced by Jonas Reingold in 2000, and Jaime Salazar by Zoltan Csörsz in 2002. Daniel Gildenlöw of Pain of Salvation joined the band the same year as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist.Other contributors have included Hasse Bruniusson (percussion) and Ulf Wallander (saxophone).Roine Stolt has written the vast majority of the material the band has recorded, with Bodin contributing most of the rest. The music is best described as symphonic progressive rock, bearing a strong resemblance to the music of Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, and early Genesis, with jazz fusion and blues influences. The band's lyrics are almost uniformly positive and uplifting, affirming such values as love, peace, and spirituality, and furthering their association with Yes.Their 1999 album Flower Power
contains one of the longest progressive rock tracks ever recorded, the eighteen-section, nearly 60-minute "Garden of Dreams."Roine Stolt recorded four albums with supergroup Transatlantic, with members of Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, and Marillion, in 2000, 2001, 2009, and 2014.In June 2007 they released The Road Back Home
, a compilation of remixed songs from 1994 to 2006, plus "Little Deceiver" (a previously unreleased track) and the full version of their cover of Genesis' "The Cinema Show".Zoltan Csörsz was replaced by new drummer Marcus Liliequist for one album, but returned for the 2007 album, The Sum of No Evil
. He was subsequently replaced by Erik Hammarström in 2008. In 2008, Ola Heden, previously of Reingold's side project Karmakanic, joined on guitar, vocals and keyboards.In November 2008 the band were the opening act of the Ecco Prog Fest in Moscow.On February 2, 2012 it was announced that the band will release a new album in 2012. Due to be released June 18, it will be featuring new drummer Felix Lehrmann.Roine Stolt stated about the long break The Flower Kings took: "It was a very positive and productive break - as all comes down to inspiration and being creative. We were running out of steam around 2008 so it was crucial to take a break and recharge batteries. We were going on and on for years making new albums and playing tours and after a while we felt lost without a clue why we kept doing it. I think it is extremely important to make music for the right reason, and money, while important, shall not be the prime reason to go on"...Roine Stolt also talked about the recordings of Banks of Eden
: We always record live in the studio nowadays, it gives the music more muscle and an organic elasticity in groove and dynamics that is sorely missing in many modern prog bands production when they use sequencer and build it up around drum- machines. We want it to be like a really good live recording, but of course the old vintage equipment help us to sound less “digital” and one dimensional"...