With their previous studio album “Adam & Eve” the band already left the path of combining complex Jazz Fusion influences with typical The Flower Kings music. This new double album is more influenced by the symphonic rock of the seventies.
Roine Stolt - guitars,vocal; Tomas Bodin - keyboards,backing vocal; Hans Froberg - vocal,guitar;
Jonas Reingold - Bass,acoustic guitar,vocal; Marcus Liliequist - drums,percussion,backing vocal;
Hasse Bruniusson - Marimba & assorted percussion
After some FK humor in “Check In” the first CD opens with the track “Monsters & Men” (21:21). One of the two long tracks with typical FK music in the style of their first albums. Not spectacular but great food for the fans. “Jealousy” has delicate piano and beautiful keyboard parts of Bodin with some classical influences. “Hit me with a hit” is an upbeat FK rocker with a freaky guitar solo on top of layers of keyboards. “Pioneers of aviation” opens like a song of the Dutch band Focus and develops into a track with all kinds of Yes influences. Jonas Reingold plays like a Chris Squire and Tomas Bodin mixes Moraz and Wakeman influences. He even throws in some church organ. The slow “Lucy had a dream” has some great melodies and the strange “Bavarian Skies” is slowly working towards a climax. I had to think of the work of the German band Grobsnitt. “Selfconsuming fire” opens with a classical guitar but develops into a typical FK song. “Mommy leave the light on” is a delicate lullaby. “End on a high note” is a happy song with acoustic guitars and some nice melodies. In those tracks you can always hear the influences Yes had on the music of The Flower Kings.
What “Monsters & Men” is for CD 1 is “Minor giants steps” for CD 2. A long (12:12) track full of typical FK music. The Bodin track “Touch my heaven” is very relaxed. But in the end it works towards a climax with a great guitar solo and Pink Floyd like vocal harmonies. “The unorthodox dancinglesson” has some Zappa influences. “Man of the world” is a typical FK song with a nice vocal refrain and a jazzy keyboard solo of Tomas Bodin. Hans Froberg wrote “Life will kill you”, a rock song with some burning guitar work. “The way the waters are moving” is another delicate short track with piano Mellotron strings and acoustic guitar. “What if God is alone” has some interesting lyrics and melodies. The title track “Paradox Hotel” is a blues rocker with some nice melodies in between. But I don't think that this is the kind of music that FK fans are waiting for. Together with the long “Monsters & Men” the last track “Blue Planet” is my favorite track of the album. Stolt's guitar playing has some Hackett influences. I like the instrument choice of Tomas Bodin (a lot of Mellotron and Organ) on this album but sadly the keyboards are not in the front of the mix.
“Paradox Hotel” a concept album that deals with the curiosity of existence, has not the impact that previous albums had. “Adam & Eve” the previous album of the band was for me also a little bit disappointing. But of course it is not fair to compare every album of the band with the masterpiece
“ Unfold the Future”. That album was packed with burning jazz rock and full of passion.
“Paradox Hotel” is a good prog album but a mediocre The Flower Kings album.