Album: Desolation Rose
Review: Diego Camargo
Thoughts: I’ve been listening to The Flower Kings music since 2005 when I bought Adam & Eve (2004). Since then I’ve been following every release of the Swedish band.
In 2008 they went on a hiatus after 14 uninterrupted years, so that every band member could focus on their own stuff.
Roine Stolt (vocals and guitars) went away and recorded 3 albums with his new project Agents Of Mercy, Jonas Reingold (bass) released albums with his band Karmakanic and The Tangent, Tomas Bodin (keyboards) recorded solo and Hasse Fröberg (vocals and guitars) formed a new band called Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion which released 2 albums.
The five years pause the band had was absolutely essential for their musical wealth. Many other bands should have done the same in the last years.
When they returned they were fresh and even though their sound didn’t change it was new in some way. Banks Of Eden (2012) was a welcomed return and was among the best albums released last year.
Now, exactly after a year, the band returns with a new album called Desolation Rose (2013). I’ve got the special double edition to review from Radiant Records but I will focus only on the CD 1.
First thing I noticed was that, once again, the artwork was done by Silas Toball. Not just the cover but the whole package. Previously Roine himself was doing this job and he did some really ugly artwork for the band’s booklets. I’m thankful he gave up on this.
Desolation Rose (2013) starts absolutely magnificent with the long ‘Tower One’. This is TFK at its very best with so many details, twists and turns. Absolutely superb from beginning to end!
Track 2 ‘Sleeping Bones’ shows the results of the band writing together, which is unusual on their discography and it’ll happen again on the album. The song could easily be recorded on Agents Of Mercy The Black Forest (2011).
The title-track brings Hasse as the main voice and by now a nice surprise can be noticed: all the tracks are glued together as one piece.
And that’s exactly how ‘White Tuxedos’ comes, without warning and with weird machine kind of vocals.
Good to see the ‘new’ drummer Feliz Lehrmann playing away as if he has been with the band since the beginning!
In ‘The Resurrected Judas’ we see a composition that once again belongs to all band members. This is a typical TFK ballad with some Jazzy moments towards the end of it. And it’s always great when they end up using both Hasse and Roine’s vocals in the same song.
Next track ‘Silent Masses’ is Roine’s Beatles influence speaking louder, including a quote from ‘Hello Goodbye’ from the fab four.
‘Last Carnivore’, on the other hand, shows us the band’s heavier side. The initial riff is just great and the song follows with a ‘spoken word’ kind of vocals that Roine uses every now and then.
‘Dark Fascist Skies’ is the last track composed by the whole band and to reflect the lyrics we have a melody that is heavy and dense. Great final bit!
‘Blood Of Eden’ is a full ballad that quotes previous songs of the album with already established ‘hippie way’ of writing by Roine. The guy just wants peace, and who can blame him for trying with his music?
To finish Desolation Rose (2013) we have ‘Silent Graveyards’, almost as a prayer with layers and layers of voices in an epic ending!
As I mentioned in the beginning, my CD version is the double one. Disc 2 includes 8 unreleased tracks in a bit more than 30 minutes, all tracks were recorded in the same sessions as the ones on the main disc.
‘Runaway Train’ is a powerful song that could have been on the disc 1. But when it comes to the next songs… the material isn’t really worthy. Most of them are instrumental songs that were not good enough to be used on the main disc.
The artwork of the double edition is stunning, but if you don’t care about ‘bonus’ content, go for the single edition.
Desolation Rose (2013) is an absolutely superb album that puts the band where they should be anyway, on the top.
If you’re a fan you should have bought it already, if you’re a newbie to the band and are looking for the best album to start… you should have bought it already. And finally, if you’re a Progger that loves Symphonic kind of Prog… you should have bought it already!
A classic and easily on my top 10 of the year! Go for it without fear!
The band was included in our Podcasts #1 HERE and #32 HERE.