ABSOLON - DARKNESS RISING: THE TALE OF DEREK BLACKHEART (Independent)
(Review by Stefan)
Absolon’s a Florida based formation founded by lead singer Ken Pike, a great musician fascinated by Metal since the very early 80s. At the age of 7 he started with tickling on his grandmother’s old piano, afterwards Ken played guitar in several Garage bands but in the end, he ended up as a singer. He admits that his singing skills in the beginning went to nothing but that was then and this is now. As I hear Ken Pike delivering vocal duties to Absolon these days, I can only conclude that he learned his lesson very well. He has done over many years to become who he wanted to be - a world class singer. First professioinal band he could show his singing talents with was Vital Signs (Ken also played guitars in this band), later on he joined forces with Malachia… both were Chritsian Metal bands basically. But still, Ken was looking for some kind of a different sound, something more Euro styled with keyboards and loaded with darkened, emotional elements.
In some ways, Malachia changed its musical direction (as Ken wanted) and the band delivered the goods within the Christian US Metal realm. Unfortunately, he left the ranks due to disagreements about musical preferences and moved to Florida to join a Blues Rock cover band. Also here, he called it quits after a while and decided to form his own act called The Turnpike Band, a Pop Rock outfit who released two albums during their existence and again… the band ceased to exist. Ken had enough ofit for while and wentto take it easy for a fewyears. It must have been a musical break where he has had much time to think, time to think about his new band Absolon actually. Ken obviously can’t live without Heavy Metal music, Checking out Absolon’s debut effort “Darkness Rising – The Tale Of Derek Blackheart” I’m really glad he turned back to it’s roots, Heavy Metal!
“Darkness Rising: The Tale Of Derek Blackheart” is a very strong, dark and epic minded concept album about a young soul who separates into his own room with one goal, becoming a guitar wizard which is capable of delivering outstanding guitar tactics to the world. One day, Derek Blackheart sells his soul to the sinister Dark Master and is ready to take the world by storm, along with his band named Blackheart. Selling millions of records, every place they played became a sold out situation,… straight to the top Blackheart went but unfortunately, when the band reached the pinnacle, Derek came to the conclusion that it’s quite lonely at the top and took his own life in a Beverly Hills mansion.
The entire story is masterly displayed throughout the whole album. Featuring 16 songs, during the running time you will feel that fame, success and tragedy lies close to each other. Beautiful compositions let me enjoy with full force, thanks and appreciation to the five Absolon players taking my breath away on a regular basis. Ken Pike’s vocals are fantastic, very clear and every now and then, Geoff Tate (Queensryche) crosses my mind. Think of Geoff using his throat in a lower mode, warm and tender… this way of singing is often addressed by Absolon’s frontman Ken Pike. As rhythm guitarist of the band, Ken’s delivers the goods as well just like lead guitar player in charge Ed Dumas who conjures the most high musical skills from his electric machine gun. The keyboards of Dave Mikael provide the dark feeling while bassist/singer Will Cochran and drummer Axel are standby to give a bombastic value to the entire sound.
Very enjoyable are the constant change of tempo rhythms and the inner beauty of each song on “Darkness Rising: The Tale Of Derek Blackheart”. Also the inner sense that the songs are made of speak to my imagination. Heavy/Power Metal songs alternating with nice and easy, full of dark emotion laoded songs… awesome! The lyrics are purely fictional, still I have the feeling like it all happens for real… this is the end result of a well skilled band coming on real strong with a nice blend of both old and modern way of Metal music, melodic and technical offered. Fans of Queensryche (The Warning/ Operation: Mindcrime era), Crimson Glory, Savatage, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest better be on their guard. Defenders of nowadays, mainstream Progmetal better watch out for Absolon as well!
Darkness Rising: The Tale Of Derek Blackheart” is worlwide available and can digitally purchased via: CD Baby, Itunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3, Emusic and more. Physical copies can be ordered on Absolon's homepage (method of payment: PayPal), In California via Roxx Productions and in Germany thru Underground Power Records. Possibilities enough to purchase so act fast... the sooner you order, the sooner you can enjoy this masterpiece where Melodic, Classic Heavy Metal meets Euro Power Metal in a darkened epic manner … What’s stopping you to order this CD anyway? Check Absolon officially out via: http://www.absolonrocks.com/ - Absolon Facebook . Relive the rise and fall of the imaginative Metal God named Derek Blackheart, you won't regret at all!
My Points: 92 / 100