Sweden’s Portrait is a heavy metal band that began some 15 years ago and was heavily influenced by Mercyful Fate and King Diamond in their earlier years.
They have gradually developed their own sound over time and broadened the scope of their music to explore many variations and ideas which is evident in their latest album “At One with None”.
Guitarist Christian Lindell explains “One simple ‘rule’ that I have had personally is that no song written for this album and onwards should be similar to any song that we have already written and released”.
And the album definitely gives you a sense of individuality with each track, whilst still offering the foundations of heavy metal that metal fans are seeking.
The songs are theatrical, offering tempo changes, and riffs that fuse together the aura of each track. Garnished with Per Lengstedt’s vocals, the entire album is compelling. The vocals are a stirring blend of styles, they are soaring, and precise, and evoke the mood of the songs perfectly.
In particular “Shadowless” is a masterclass in heavy metal vocals, the power, and range Lengstedt displays are exceptional.
“The Gallows Crossing” is a track that stood out for me, the melodic intro and the angst in the vocals exude emotion. The song then surges into a vivacious riff with some absolutely smoking guitar solos. I have to say though, that there is not one song that disappointed me.
Portrait has managed to capture the bones of old-school heavy metal, but it is far from a clone of anything that has come before. They have matured into a force of distinctive style and musicianship, yes you can hear inspiration from the heavy metal history books, but the way they have cleverly combined these and added their own personal twist is impressive.
This album is superb, it elevates heavy metal to a new and exciting level, and I can’t wait to see what they will do next.
Release Year: 2021
Label: Metal Blade Records
Reviewed by ForsakenMisery