Going forward I really don’t want to over complicate reviews, so I will henceforth keep them as simple and concise as I can, and because music is so subjective, I will recommend you give the album a listen anyway. Besides, it would be interesting to see whether or not you agree with my assessment.
On that note, A Portrait Of Madness by Florida’s Absolon is the subject of today’s review.
Ken Pike of Absolon or rather Ken Pike/Absolon is a talented individual, being almost or probably solely responsible for the vision of this album. And with the help of talented musician Marc Vanderberg and producer Thorsten Eligehausen, both of whom live in Germany, put together and produced what is musically a very good recording.
Upon first listen of a record not usually in my wheelhouse, this is what came to mind…
The intro is cheesy, the guitar sounds hollow and the vocals…oh dear….yet the music is quite good, and nicely varied. Then track 10 arrives and it is 57 seconds of absolute beauty! Unfortunately it is only 57 seconds long, but it is just beautiful!
After multiple listens, the intro is still cheesy, as it sounds like Pike himself trying to do a British accent. The hollow guitar sound actually works very well, and in fact you now wouldn’t have it any other way. And yes, Pike’s vocals are still…oh dear. Track 10 entitled ‘It Is Done’ is still absolutely beautiful! And the music is still very good and varied throughout and because of this, I tip my hat to Pike, he has done well, he had a vision for this album and he almost pulled it off. I say “almost” because the biggest issue I have with it is Pike’s singing. If Absolon had a better vocalist, this album would be excellent!
I keep saying this…vocals are key! You have to have a good vocalist or your band will never reach the heights or gain the recognition it should! It’s disappointing that so much time and effort is put into creating a great album like this, only to be stifled by Pike’s very average vocals, because this album really does have something.
Now although it seems I have been a little harsh in this review, I must stress this point… This is a well thought out production and as I mentioned previously, Pike is a very talented and creative individual, because the music, the songwriting (from what I could hear), the song structures and the entire album in general is actually very good. It would be fantastic if there were a vocalist with a decent voice.
As a conclusive overview I would say that this is a good album, musically it is well-executed and well-crafted, but sadly, it is Pike himself on vocals. Hopefully he steers clear of the mic on the next album if there ever is one.
Til next time!
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