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The Flower Kings: By Royal Decree
The Flower Kings - By Royal Decree Album Art

The Flower Kings: By Royal Decree

Melodic Progressive Rock

The COVID pandemic has caused much pain, suffering, loss of life, and grief for a great many people across the globe. We all have had to adapt to a new world of a health care upheaval, economic crisis, and isolation from family and friends. But life is getting better, albeit slowly. While times have been trying, there are highlights, moments and occasions where we have thrived. One such occasion encompasses the world of music. A great many artists and bands used the time for respite and refreshment, exploring the depths of their creativity.

The Flower Kings - Click For Larger Image

The Flower Kings: bottom, center: he is not happy.

Roine Stolt and The Flower Kings are just one example. By Royal Decree, their fifteenth studio, is their second album recorded during the pandemic. Like the previous album, Islands, this is outing is another two-CD collection of their well-known and creative neo-classical melodic progressive rock. According Stolt, By Royal Decree is something of a "retro" album as some of songwriting dates before the their 1994 debut album. (As you may (or may not) know, The Flower Kings' roots are in Stolt's solo album of the same year, The Flower King. But his intent with the band was to explore his love for classic melodic progressive rock from the Sixties, Seventies, and beyond).

Stolt adds this about the new album: "It was great to dig into that old treasure island of 'forgotten TFK music before TFK ever existed and re-connecting made me realize why and what The Flower Kings are. This album is a journey through my history as a writer and my ‘middle age saga reflecting on that."

As with past TFK (and other very long albums from other bands), I'm not going into great detail about the songs. It's enough to say, as has been said previously, By Royal Decree is classic Flower Kings: The foundation of the sound is still drums, bass, guitars, and the proven iconic Hammond, grand piano, Mellotron and Moog synthesizers, Stolt’s lead guitars center stage with Stolt and Hasse Fröberg sharing lead vocal duties as usual. Yet, there are a few notable items to mention. One, Roine is reunited with his brother and founding member Michael Stolt who adds vocals and plays bass, sharing time with TFK veteran Jonas Reingold. One thing that has always been strongly self-evident across every TFK album is the predominant bass lines; expect more of the same. Second, one of the guests on this album is Jonas Lindberg on bass. (I don't know which song(s). If you don't know, Jonas Lindberg and his band The Other Side are a young, up and coming prog rock outfit who just released their second album, Miles From Nowhere. It's exceptional. Lindberg and friends are heir apparent to the modern neo-classical prog genre, perhaps soon to be peers with Stolt/TFK, perhaps even peers.

Musically, what you will find, beyond the fine bass lines, is The Flower Kings' mixture of classic rock, prog rock, jazz fusion, technical arrangements and, of course, Roine Stolt's signature guitar leads. The latter, also as usual, most often paired with keyboard work from Zach Kamins (and Stolt himself). Fine stuff. To conclude, my favorite song picks were: Evolution, Time The Great Healer, World Gone Crazy, and The Big Funk, with its jazz fusion instrumentation in the latter third.

Simply said, The Flower Kings' By Royal Decree is another creative and entertaining album of their ambitious classic, yet also contemporary, melodic progressive rock. Quite recommended. But I'm a huge fan and hardly subjective. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

Note: All Amazon advertising in this review first benefits the artist, then Craig Hartranft also receives a residual. Click, and thanks for your support.

The Take Away

Simply said, The Flower Kings' By Royal Decree is another creative and entertaining album of their ambitious classic, yet also contemporary, melodic progressive rock. Quite recommended. But I'm a huge fan and hardly subjective.

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