THE FLOWER KINGS – Paradox Hotel

THE FLOWER KINGS - Paradox Hotel


Release date: March 24, 2006

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Attempting a more dynamic expression and perhaps a more direct approach to the music, The Flower Kings return with yet another double album, Paradox Hotel. In the words of mastermind Roine Stolt, they have used a thicker brush this time, while painting their reflections on the existential questions.

The Music

The picture looks somewhat different to the now all familiar Flower Kings’ canvas, but rest assured, this is The Flower Kings all right! The vocal harmonies, the spiritual melodies, the snarling Hammonds, the creamy solo guitar, the jack-in-the-box bass lines, and the vivid drums and percussion … all bearing witness to the uniqueness of this band.

They prime the canvas with the slightly odd “Check In,” a short soundscape in NASA countdown fashion. As the 20+ minute monster “Monsters & Men” rolls in, a most familiar Flower Kings picture is being unveiled: good melody, heroic themes, dynamics and so on. Stolt proves his unique composing ability and the band proves the ability to interpret his vision.

The piano ballad “Jealousy” serves as a slightly anonymous break before “Hit Me With A Hit” enters with its uptempo, almost Funky groove. Then comes the definite highlight of the first CD, “Pioneers Of Aviation.” This mesmerizing instrumental is right at the peak of musical brilliance!

With “Lucy Had A Dream,” a set of psychedelic colors appears, and with “Bavarian Skies,” the album finds its obscure song. There is a Pop-ish feeling to the mostly acoustic, waltzing “Selfconsuming Fire.” Some of its softness is found in “Mommy Leave The Light On,” however, with a more pronounced ballad wrapping and an aura of fear of the dark. Ending the first CD is the uplifting “End On A High Note,” which also offers one of the album’s heaviest parts, and includes Bodin going wild on the keys towards the end.

With the second CD, The Flower Kings take on a rougher set of tools, replacing the brush with a sponge and a spatula, one could say. “Minor Giant Steps” has a gentle intro, but as the groove and crescendos come along, a more orchestral outfit takes shape. Sadly, the song extends way beyond its natural end. Following the ballad “Touch My Heaven” is a natural intermezzo, before the funky instrumental “The Unorthodox Dancinglesson” splashes all over with its bizarre 13/8 measure. This composition also boasts a fabulous drum solo, by the way.

“Man Of The World” sustains the tempo and some of the groove of the preceding track, but it appears far more soft and laid back. A quite elegant piece this is! Hans Fröberg is credited for “Life Will Kill You” and his odd-beat, Bluesy piece is a most welcome contribution to the Flower Kings’ palette!

The album’s second piano ballad comes along in “The Way The Waters Are Moving,” whereas “What If God Is Alone” at first sounds like another U2-hit, but turns Progressive with its 5/8 measure and dynamic drama. Title track “Paradox Hotel” lacks some of that good melodic feeling, but luckily, album finale “Blue Planet” has more melody, as well as a Flower Kings brand quality heroic instrumental theme. The spaceship-to-center talk at the end brings the album back to where it started. However, it’s hard to otherwise see the purpose or the benefit of this astronaut jargon.

The Band

Since their last album, Adam & Eve (2004), there have been a couple of line-up changes. The most apparent is, of course, the new drummer, Marcus Liliequist. He goes so well with the band, and in particular with Hasse Bruniusson (percussion), it’s a sheer joy listening to them! Bravo!

Daniel Gildenlöw’s absence is hardly worth mentioning, since the others all contribute with most convincing vocals. Stolt himself shines on this album, both vocally and with his emotional guitar solos. He seems to have relied on Tomas Bodin more than usual, and the outcome of this is quite liberating for the whole band. Finally, Jonas Reingold contributes with some simply stunning playing! He is truly the bass madman!

The Verdict

As usual, this Flower Kings album needs a few spins to win you over, but it’s definitely worthwhile, and apart from a few weaker songs, this is a most enjoyable album for all lovers of Progressive Rock.


  • 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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