ABSOLON – A Portrait Of Madness (2023)

ABSOLON - A Portrait Of Madness (2023) - full

A Portrait Of Madness” is the second album from American progressive hard rockers ABSOLON, another epic concept album inspired by Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime. Released via Sliptrick Records, the album tells the tortured story of WWI English soldier Randolph Bathery, after he returned from the war as a broken man.
ABSOLON is the project of singer / songwriter Ken Pike. Pike is a name well remembered fronting CCM hard rockers Malachia and cult AOR band Vital Signs back in the mid ’80s. ”A Portrait Of Madness” has that Operation Mindcrime vibe, riffs, atmospheres, synths and effects.
The songs are split between traditional rockers with melodic hooks, atmospheric calmer tracks with keys and clean sharp guitars, and short interludes creating the interesting story.

Here’s the concept’s synopsis; “The year is 1920, London England. It has been three years since the end of WWI when Randolph Bathery, a soldier in the English army, returned from the war a broken man. As the years passed, Randolph grew more depressed, his personality dark, foreboding and menacing. Those around him came to believe he had brought something back with him from the war and that he was, in fact, possessed by a dark entity.

After a terribly botched exorcism leaves Randolph near death and utterly insane, the Catholic Church has him secretly committed to the Lancaster Mental Asylum in order to cover up their failure and incompetence. Now, not only is Randolph trapped inside his own mind, but he’s also trapped with the entity that still possesses him.
The doctors and staff of the Lancaster Mental Asylum, thinking he is just another insane mental patient out of many, are unaware of the danger they are in until it’s too late. Accepting that the entity is now part of him, and no longer being able to handle life as a prisoner in the Lancaster Mental Asylum, Randolph Bathery wreaks havoc and chaos upon the staff at the asylum and, with the help of the entity inside him, finally escape into the night.

While confessed as a Operation Mindcrime inspiration, on “A Portrait Of Madness” Absolon has managed to create a sound and style that is all their own, yet a familiar one.
Ken Pike is not a sky-high shouter ‘ala Geoff Tate as he sings in a clean lower mid-range mode, however, the man is a top notch performer & vocalist, and all is very well arranged, mixed & produced.
Highly Recommended


01 – Into the Darkness
02 – This is My Dream
03 – Breath Again
04 – 1916
05 – The Demon Waltz
06 – Let Me Be
07 – We Drive You Out
08 – Men in Black Robes
09 – Blinded by Lies
10 – It is Done
11 – Into My Hell Your Cast
12 – Forever One
13 – Out of the Darkness
14 – Randolph’s Story

Ken Pike – vocals
Marc Vanderberg – guitar, bass
Ryo Pike – keys, synths, piano, orchestration, drums


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