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Review: Portrait - Portrait

Label: Iron Kodex
Year released: 2008
Duration: 45:59
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: February 17, 2009
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
Readers Rating

Rated 4.13/5 (82.5%) (8 Votes)

With the new millennium, there are bands that try to explore new territories within Heavy Metal; some of them succeed while many others fail greatly. But other bands just play pure, ripping and unaltered Heavy Metal and that's were this Swedish band comes in. Portrait's music is like 80's Mercyful Fate, and that's especially true considering that the singer is an exact replica of King Diamond. Indeed, Phillip Svennefelt's falsettos can be easily confused with Mr. Trouser himself.

The rest of the band doesn't take a backseat either. Guitarists Christian Lindell and Richard Lagergren deliver riffs and solos that are very reminiscent of the golden era of metal. An example of this is "A Ghastly Silence" in which you cannot get that riff out of your head and their style is very comparable to Hank Sherman and Michael Denner. As far as the rhythm section goes, it gets the job done. David Stranderud's bass follows the guitars keeping everything tight, an example of this is "Consecration" and Anders Persson's doesn't try to show off in order to prove he's a good drummer.

For a debut the songs are first rate: beginning with the opener, this album is a collection of fast-paced songs, especially the impressive 9 minute closer "The Adversary". Portrait features a lot of hooks, speedy drum patterns, and great riffs and bass lines. Lyrically, Portrait songs are about the occult and horror tales that are not that much different from a King Diamond album.  All of these are the basic ingredients to make a great Heavy Metal album, no matter how many times it has been done before.

However for much of a great album that this is, there is a major flaw: this stuff here is not groundbreaking. There is nothing innovative or original here - it is just a very well done Mercyful Fate imitation. That is the main reason why this record cannot get a perfect score, but Portrait plays a very good brand of ripping Heavy Metal that every metalhead enjoys. I just hope that we don't have to wait long for their next album.

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