The second album after the Flower Kings‘ comeback in 2012 came for me out of nowhere, especially because it’s released only a year after the Banks of Eden album. Bearing that in mind, with already known facts about their releases in terms of the album lengths, I received Desolation Rose with somewhat skeptical thoughts. That’s probably because in the recent years we have been facing with many bands releasing the new records only for the matters of expanding their discographies (with some other reasons aside).
Desolation Rose is the Flower Kings‘ twelfth album and second in the row with the new drummer Felix Lehrmann. It’s available in different formats including standard jewel case, 2CD digipack (with bonus tracks) and double vinyl + 2CD. For the purpose of this review I listened to the standard edition without bonus tracks.
There is no a 20+ minutes heavy-hitters this time around, the album consists of ten songs and clocks exactly an hour bringing the distinctive TFK sound built of wide symphonic arrangements. The presence of cinematic factor that adorns almost every of their previous releases is nothing less noticeable. Possibly the joker of this album lies in the sound of keyboards that establish a nice connection between Stolt‘s warm but still rugged voice, theatrical guitars and captivating rhythm section. Tomas Bodin brings back the spirits of late Camel and Pink Floyd‘s keymasters Peter Bardens and Richard Wright, but is also looking to the future with the inclusion of synth sounds. That is to be heard throughout the whole album, but probably the most emphasized in Sleeping Bones and White Tuxedos. Not to forget the huge impact Hasse Fröberg has in defining the Flower Kings music. Once again, he switches with Roine Stolt – doing the lead vocals in songs demanding the high range vocals, as well as playing the guitar solos.
Desolation Rose is a concept album that makes a strong political point where perpetual war, famine, environmental threats and religious conflicts dominate the media and our minds. It follows a story told by an angel who is looking to a desperate state of people and all the chaos they created down on the earth. Commented prior the album release, Roine told that Desolation Rose may be the band’s most involved, important and interesting album ever. We know that it’s become sort of a common thing to hear such statements, but considering everything on this album his statement proves right and it’s based on the following:
Although Banks of Eden is a big album, it left an impression of understatement back when it was released. But with Desolation Rose, the band produced a record that gives a lot from the HD progressive rock in the post-2010 years. Especially from the genre that’s been stuck for quite a while and definitely needs some transfusion.
1. Tower ONE (13:39)
2. Sleeping Bones (4:16)
3. Desolation Road (4:00)
4. White Tuxedos (6:30)
5. The Resurrected Judas (8:24)
6. Silent Masses (6:17)
7. Last Carnivore (4:22)
8. Dark Fascist Skies (6:05)
9. Blood Of Eden (3:12)
10. Silent Graveyards (2:52)
* Roine Stolt – guitar, vocals, keyboards, bass guitar
* Hasse Fröberg – vocals, guitar
* Tomas Bodin – keyboards
* Jonas Reingold – bass guitar
* Felix Lehrmann – drums