The Flower Kings – By Royal Decree

8/10

Another year, another record by the floral majesties in The Flower Kings. The seemingly endless creative force that is the man himself, multiinstrumentalist/vocal mastermind himself, Mr Roine Stolt (Transatlantic, Agents of Mercy, Kaipa Da Capo, -ex Kaipa) has once again delivered a breathtaking deep dive into the Mariana Trench of progressive rock to find new and exciting songs for their hordes of fans the world over. “By Royal Decree” is the 15th album since the bands inception in 1994. Back then TFK was formed as a backing band for Roine Stolts’ third solo album, aptly named “The Flower King”. According to Stolt that particular album was created as a counter reaction to the self destructive, bleak and apathetic music scene at the time and to instead deliver messages of hope, peace and, well, prog. 

Similar to its predecessor, the fantastic “Islands”, “By Royal Decree” consist of 18 relatively short tracks so don’t go into this thinking it will be crammed with epics like the title track from “Stardust We Are” or “The Truth Will Set You Free”. And, as a few of you might know, I love me an epic every day of the week and thrice on tuesdays. 

But… 

The Flower Kings are so immensly good at their trade the lenght of the songs really doesn’t matter. They can fill a seven minute song with more grandeour, pomp and circumstance than most bands can in an entire album.  

Take album closer “Funeral Pyres” for instance. TFK doesn’t re-write the prog rock rule book but everything here is just so incredibly well done. Every little note, every beat, every arrangement is filled with passionate playing and singing. Throughout the record Roine Stolts’ warm, earthy voice blends in perfect unison with the vocal phenomenon that is the ageless Hasse Fröberg (who also handles rhythm guitars) whose stratosperic singing proves why he is considered one of the best rock singers out there today. 

I could bore you senseless by raining praise on pretty much every track here so I’ll skip that and instead focus on gently dissecting (is that possible? I mean dissections are generally really messy) the material and put a spotlight on the members for a while. 

By Royal Decree is steeped in nostalgia while also keeping a steady eye on the future horizon as some of the material was written all the way back in the 90s and you can tell. This is a call back to the bands much loved period when they released super classics like “Stardust We Are”, “Flower Power” and “Back in The World of Adventures”. Returning for bass duties is Roine’s brother Michael Stolt (Kaipa Da Capo, Desperados, solo) who shares the workload with the equally brilliant Jonas Reingold (Karmakanic, Steve Hackett). 

The “new” guys, keyboard phantom Zach Kamins and the groove machine Mirkko DeMaio have settled in and prove their worth on every song on the dual discs. Legendary percussionist Hasse Bruniunsson (Samla Mammas Mamma) also makes a welcome return and adds flair and a tiny bit of craziness whenever he pops up. 

Also guesting on quite a few songs is vocalist Jannica Lund whose smooth voice mixes beautifully with her male counterparts. 

While not the best in their vast catalogue of albums and live recordings, “By Royal Decree” is just a joy to experience and as per usual when it comes to progressive rock/metal, repeated plays rewards the listener immensly. 

Highly recommended! 

Artist: The Flower Kings
Title: By Royal Decree
Label: Inside Out Music
Releasedate: 2022-03-04
Rating: 8/10
Stand out tracks: The Great Pretender, World Gone Crazy, Moth, Open Your Heart
Country of origin: Sweden/USA

The Flower Kings – By Royal Decree

March 9, 2022

The Flower Kings doesn’t re-write the prog rock rule book but everything on here is just so incredibly well done. Every little note, every beat, every arrangement is filled with passionate playing and singing.

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