Release Date: July 26, 2004

User Review
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With musical and literary influences and references spanning over several centuries, with ten tracks (of which two are just a little short of 20 minutes), and with a total playing time close to 80 minutes, Adam and Eve is an album hard to ignore, but also hard to appreciate. The album does grow on you a little more every time played, but it is undoubtedly quite a challenge to digest this partly conceptual piece of art rock.

According to Flower King mastermind, Roine Stolt, this is not an album with a biblical focus. Adam and Eve represents a contrast, like good and bad, or light and dark. They also represent the mutual dependent existence between such contrasts. The lyrics on the album tend to spin around these contrasts and around “the great boomerang of love” (read all about the background for the album at, in Roine Stolt’s own words). The band has announced a tour with an enhanced show this fall. If this means a staging with all the characters involved from this album, this would definitely be something worth checking out!

Opener “Love Supreme” was originally the title track of the album. The song drops in on so many musical themes and references, it’s hard to keep track of them all. It’s a strong and long track (nearly 20 minutes), which suffers from a weaker chorus repeated way too many times … but then again, there are highlights and beauty. Indeed a song of contrasts and thus possibly serving its purpose?

The next two tracks are seamlessly joined. “Cosmic Circus” is melodic and warm. The intro is kind of naive and simple, like something from a nursery rhyme. This song is followed by “Babylon”, a more or less instrumental extension or variation of the main theme in “Cosmic Circus” — this opening pair adds a very romantic and joyful mood to the album.

“A Vampire’s View”, track 4, is, on the other hand, very demonic! This is the most theatrical piece on the album. The musical arrangements are so rich in detail and so vivid you could easily picture this as a stage act when closing your eyes. Hats off to the voices that carry the theatrics forward! In “A Vampire’s View” we get a rather interesting – well, view on a vampire’s life or actually lack of such: an everlasting cycle of death and hunger. Just listen to this: “There’s no man in the mirror, just me and I hate what I see. All the things that are sad are saved inside my madness, all I touch will die before the summer storm”. The song walks hand-in-hand with the next track, “Days Gone By”, which is a piano instrumental with a very “classical” character.

Track 6 is the album’s title track, “Adam & Eve”. It also offers a theatrical style, along with elements of blues, contemporary instrumental music and a frenetic bass solo. All in all, however, it tends to be boring, and the song seems to not go anywhere. It’s actually a shame for a title track, isn’t it?

Unlike most of the other tracks, “Starlight Man” is a not so much a rock song. It’s actually very pop orientated. It resembles “Cosmic Circus” with quite a joyful melody, but it lacks some of the same charm.

“Timelines”, track 8, has a bass-spanking opening, sounding something like a Gotham City merry-go-round, but soon turns into a ballad with roots in early 70’s British progressive rock. Good melody, great arrangements and the mellotron is so soothing, along with a nearly spiritual choir … and not to forget a brilliant and soulful guitar solo! The song has a truly beautiful ending, after a short revisit to the brutal opening theme.

“Drivers Seat” starts with a symphonic theme, serving as an overture to this album’s second long-runner. The words spin around how we all would like to be in the driver’s seat and thus being in control. The music takes you through a number of movements and leaves you with the feeling that at least The Flower Kings are in control. Especially after the ambient sounding middle part, where a baroque theme surfaces: this is The Flower Kings at their best. Overall, the best track on the album, possibly only threatened by “A Vampire’s View”/”Days Gone By”.

Closing the show is “The Blade of Cain”, a sore and longing instrumental piece, which from its frail beginning grows and grows and grows and ends up … where? It seems as if the highly creative chord progression, which appears halfway through the song, grows out of their control, and to cover it up they throw in a reprise of the lyrics from “Love Supreme”. A pity, really, since it is otherwise a musical highlight of this album.

As the curtains close, one is left with the feeling that Adam & Eve suffers from it’s length, no matter how superb the individual compositions are and no matter how important they are to the concept. In fact, the conceptual idea of the album is itself a little weak, since the songs are more loosely tied together through a few common denominators, rather than being all parts of a true concept.

To make the album a little less tedious, you might play tracks 1 through 5 and take a break, during which you can get up and stretch your legs a little and perhaps have a drink, mingle with the rest of the audience, before getting back to your seat for the second act of the show, just like in a theatre … or just like a hypothetical vinyl version of the album.

Still, this is an album worth listening to, but do prepare yourself to spend some time before the effects kick in! The Flower Kings have a remarkable ability to find small, melodic pieces and play them for everything they are worth. On this album, it seems, they have taken this to an even further extreme, as the small, melodic themes feed on each other, creating a symbiotic relationship between them. This leads to great moments when it works, but to yawning when it fails …


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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