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ABSOLON: "Darkness Rising"
ABSOLON - 'Rise Up' - With a blend of old school European and US heavy metal and todays Symphonic/Goth metal, Absolon has exploded onto the metal scene with their debut opus Darkness Rising: The Tale of Derek Blackheart. Coming in at just under one hour and with a total of 16 satisfying metal tracks, Absolon has put together an epic of a CD that is reminiscent of Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime. Darkness Rising is a concept CD and tells the story of a young man, Derek Blackheart, who sells his soul for fame and riches. He gets what he desires and, after years of being the biggest metal artist in the world, Derek decides he wants out. He takes his own life, only to find that even in death there is no escape from what he has done. Find out more about the album and their influences, here's the singer and former Vital Signs member: Ken Pike
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
So far, the reaction has been super. I had no idea if it would be accepted or if people would think it sounded dated or the songs weren't very good. I put it out there and crossed my fingers. LOL But, it paid off and the fans love it and the reviews of the CD have been really good. I've been really happy and relieved.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
After we finally found a drummer, it took just about a year to write and record. I didn't realize at the time how involved and complicated a concept CD would be to create. There were a lot of stops and starts and times when I was ready to throw in the towel and give up.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to recording
Well, I was shooting for the same feel as Queensryche Operation Mindcrime. I wanted that same dark moody feeling that put you somewhere else while you listened to it. I didn't want a carbon copy of Operation Mindcrime. I just wanted to recapture that feeling I got when I first listened to it and that it give me still to this day.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process
He added a lot of different ideas and suggestions along the way but, I pretty much had the entire album in my head. I knew what I was looking for sound and feel wise. But, I hear whole orchestra's in my head . . . when I'm not listening the voices. LOL
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
For a debut CD and considering the limited budget we had to make it . . . I am very happy with it. Dave Mikeal (MPG), the engineer/producer really did a great job with what he had to work with. Any lesser engineer would not have pulled it off.
Did the producer (or you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Not really. We used a lot of different keyboard sounds, stuff off of sound effects CD's. Then there were the speaking pieces. That was fun.
Please inform us about your favourite songs off the album
There are a few but, by far, my favourite is Even Heros Fall. I love metal ballads anyway and I feel that one shows off my vocals. Next in line would be Screaming In The Dark.
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
Yes, dark. The storyline is very dark and gloomy so the songs had to be dark too. So, I wrote the songs, considered sound effects and speaking pieces, from the standpoint of the character Derek and his decent into self destruction.
What's the story behind "Darkness Rising: The Tale of Derek Blackheart" -a true story? :)
LOL. Not a true story . . at least not that I know of. I based it loosely on the classic story The Portrait of Dorian Gray and little on the story of the the blues musician that sold his soul to the devil to be big. They made a movie called Crossroads about that. It's really an old tale but, I put the heavy metal twist on it.
You're not afraid of turning away potential metal fans with the epic concept release as your debut?
I thought about at first. In fact, I had not originally set out to do a concept CD. I was just going to do a four or six song EP and see how things went. As I wrote, it turned into this epic tale and I decided to go with it. I figured either people would like it or they wouldn't but, I was going to put out the metal CD I wanted to hear...the kind of music I like. I thought, I'm a metal head. I love Queensryche and Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. So, I knew there had to be others out there that felt that way too.
What's the story behind your monicker? (Absolon)
No big story there sad to say. I read the name in a Stephen King book (I think). It was spelled Absalon. I took out the 'a' and replaced it with another 'o'. I liked the way it looked. I think there was a real bad scifi movie called Absolon too. LOL
Do you feel it's (un)fair that people tend to compare your product with the 80s era? (considering budget, exposure, marketing, etc)
Not really. We haven't really gotten a lot of comparisons to 80's metal to be honest. I thought we would but, I think we blended the old with the new symphonic/goth/power metal just good enough to make it sound a little more modern. I haven't gotten a lot of remarks saying we sound like a total 80's retro band.
How would you describe the new CD to any potential new fan?
Easy. Old school European heavy metal (i.e. Maiden, Priest, Queensryche, Dio) combined with today's symphonic/goth metal (i.e. Kamelot, Pagans Mind, Threshold, Lacuna Coil).
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
Wow, so many. As a singer, my influences are, of course, Geoff Tate first off. But, there is Bruce Dickenson, Rob Halford, Dio, Roy Khan, the singer from Pagans Mind is incredible.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
Well, we are in the process of tightening the songs up and putting together the show that will go along with the CD. We plan on getting out in front of audiences in September. We signed a record deal with Liquid Tree Records out of Germany recently and there is a lot of good things happening there. Plans are being made for a 2014 European tour and then, of course, another CD. We are super excited with what the future holds for Absolon.