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Download Manifesto Of An Alchemist

by Roine Stolt's The Flower King
  • Release type: Album
  • Year: 2018
  • Tracks: 10
  • Duration: 69:18
  • Size, Mb: 158.87
  • Bitrate: MP3 320

Review

With Manifesto of an Alchemist, guitarist/ vocalist/composer Roine Stolt looks all the way back to his 1994 solo date, The Flower King (hence the singular band name). His list of collaborators on this ten-song, 70-minute outing includes proper Flower Kings' members bassist Jonas Reingold, guitarist/vocalist Hans "Hasse" Fröberg, and Michael Stolt on bass and vocals, with Marco Minnemann (from Stolt's other collaborative project, the Sea Within) Max Lorentz on Hammond organ, Zach Kamins on assorted keyboards, Rob Townsend on reeds and winds, and Nad Sylvan on lead and backing vocals. Stolt claims that this is both a new and old album; most of these songs were developed from riffs, melodies, and arrangement ideas from more than a quarter-century of demos and notebooks grafted on to newly composed parts, most of which were created in the studio. Perhaps because of the treasure trove of older material he rummaged through, Manifesto of an Alchemist was completed exceptionally fast: it took only a month from first recordings to final mix. That quick turnaround time presents listeners with a clash of impressions. First, it is uncharacteristically "raw" sounding. The artist told an interviewer that, "A lot of the guitar work is actually my spontaneous 'demo' guitars ... I didn’t want to process ideas too much...." A case in point is the first single, "Lost America," in which Stolt's lead vocal bears a startling resemblance to Bill Nelson's. It's a nine-plus-minute construction with knotty prog guitars and melodies that transition to a hard-rocking blues vamp melded to funky Hammond B-3, and bassline groove underscored by Minnemann's breaks. The set's true gem is the 12-minute-plus "High Road," a labyrinthine suite-like construction that recalls Stolt's work with Jon Anderson, as well as the early Flower Kings, with slippery interplay between synths, lead guitars and basses, and stacked multi-part vocal harmonies. There are also three fine instrumentals here. The wonderful "Rio Grande" commences with tribal rolling tom-toms and dissonant guitar noise that mutates into jazz-prog fusion with brilliant flute work from Townsend. "The Alchemist" is a funky fusion instrumental with overdriven guitars and a serpentine soprano sax solo. "Stolen Money" closes in a gradual unfurling of musical themes and segments that alternately crisscross and highlight hard rock, prog, psych, and funk, with lyrics that mirror "Lost America"'s in that they reflect the apocalyptic tragedies of greed and the political and corporate lust for power. There is more than a nod here to the influence of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Manifesto of an Alchemist is the album Stolt needed to make at this juncture in his career. It sums up the past (without abandoning it) while pointing toward new musical horizons with a plethora of engaging, delightful surprises.

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