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Portrait: At One With None

Swedish Modern Heavy Metal outfit Portrait have set the bar high for themselves with a desire to further the development of classic Heavy Metal while creating their own unique take on the genre. Portrait have been working towards this goal for 15 years and have made a respectable name for themselves in the process. The band now returns with their next full length album released through Metal Blade Records entitled At One With None.

On At One With None the band has remained true to their goals. The music has plenty of the old school Heavy Metal throughout, referencing all the classics, for example, the Iron Maiden bass gallop in songs like “Curtains (The Dumb Supper)” and “Phantom Fathomer”, and the Judas Priest/ Halford theatricality and screams on songs Like “He Who Stands” and “Ashen”. As well as all the songs having a dark edge that is reminiscent of both King Diamond and Alice In Chains at times, while never being at all derivative of those bands. On top of that, unlike many of their contemporaries who are dedicated to the old school sound, they also have a heavy injection of modernity in the songwriting which works very well to complement the other elements of the music. Portrait have created a strong confident sound of their own while remaining faithful to the genre's past glories. The performances are all very strong. Christian Lindell’s guitars are played to heavy metal perfection, with some great melodic lines, interesting chordal movements and a rich warm heavy feel and tone. Per Lengstedt’s vocals are the standout on this album. He delivers a variety of approaches going from warm and throaty midrange to Thrash style growls and even Halford like high pitched soaring through the heavens. Lyrically they are focused on mainly Gnostic themes as penned by Christian Lindell. The bass lines handled by Fredrik Petersson rumble with power and confidence throughout and the drumming of Anders Persson is steady and dependable if perhaps a little too simplistic at times, however the drums sound organic and the production in general has a warm analog feel that is very well executed.

At One With None has a lot to like about it and a lot to offer for fans of both classic heavy metal as well as more modern fare. Portrait has been working hard at their craft and it shows and this album is a testament to that dedication. Heavy, melodic, warm and very enjoyable.

Portrait line-up:
Per Lengstedt - vocals
Christian Lindell -guitars
Fredrik Petersson - bass
Anders Persson - drums

Track Listing
  1. At One With None
  2. Curtains (The dumb supper)
  3. Phantom Fathomer
  4. He Who Stands
  5. Ashen
  6. A Murder Of Crows
  7. Shadowless
  8. The Gallow's Crossing

Added: October 19th 2021
Reviewer: Benjamin Dudai
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1274
Language: english

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Portrait: At One With None
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2021-10-19 18:32:45
My Score:

Having quickly evolved out of being a Mercyful Fate copycat act and into a serious heavy metal force in their own right, Sweden’s Portrait have now been running for an impressive 15 years and with At One With None, have just released their fifth full length release.

With singer Per Lengstedt still capable of pulling out some impressive falsetto moments, likenesses to King Diamond are still sure to abound and they are well earned and made favourably. He’s a real asset to this band and while this album will maybe not impress their hordes of followers quite as much as 2017’s Burn The World, I’d offer the thought that the reason for that could be more to do with a production that doesn’t quite have the same impact. Or maybe it has too much impact, with a more modern edge certainly bringing Portrait into the here and now, but in a way that I could have done without. It is, however, a minor quibble and now that it’s out of the way we can get on with admiring a keen mix of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond, traditional British metal and something more akin to Iced Earth.

Thankfully, Lengstedt isn’t just a wailer, and his lower register adds authority to the mid paced wallop of “Ashen” as it goes up and down through the gears, offering a smart variety in attack as it does so. One second it’s a pop-pop-pop-pop pound of snare that’s smashing your head, the next double kicks are fighting off a guitar swoop that pans from side to side, before a darting but remarkably tasteful guitar solo gets it right by playing it cool. And in many ways that’s why I like Portrait so much, because rather than simply hit you over the head repeatedly in a way that so much modern metal does these days, these guys are clever enough to realise that the past masters of this genre were so effective because they could switch things up and then pull them back down again at the drop of a hat.

From the incendiary mix of classic era Maiden and King Diamond like riffs and rhythms that pour forth from “Curtains (The Dumb Supper)” to the much more NWOBHM fixated “The Gallow’s Crossing” At One With None really does know how to play to its strengths and continues to do exactly that. I can’t tell you that there’s anything new here whatsoever but when the results are as sure footed as those found on this album, why should that matter?

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