The Flower Kings


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The Flower Kings must be the most stable, consistent progressive rock outfit of the 1990s. A year after the release of Space Revolver, they released The Rainmaker, featuring the usual lineup (although the liner notes announce it is Jaime Salazar's last recording with the group) and Don Azzaro at the mixing desk. In general, this album remains very close to the Flower Kings sound and could be traded with any of their previous efforts. There is one difference: it sounds just a bit closer to metal. Is the fact that it rocks harder a sign that the Inside Out Music America roaster is beginning to rub off on Roine Stolt's writing? The album opener "Last Minute on Earth" could even scare a few fans or lure newcomers into believing a conversion has occurred. But this impression fades away quickly upon listening to "World Without a Heart," a typical FK ballad. As usual, the music gets wider and more symphonic on longer numbers like "Road to Sanctuary" or "City of Angels" but these lack the majesty of earlier opuses. "Elaine" and "Thru the Walls," on the other hand, will delight fans and introduce a jazzier element. The Rainmaker is not as gripping or rewarding as Flower Power or Retropolis. It misses a strong anthem and sounds as if the musicians were going through the motions. All the ingredients are there, except maybe the passion we are used to.

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