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Portrait
Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae
December 2011
Released: 2011, Metal Blade Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Ever since Hammerfall opened the floodgates 14 years ago, it seems that everyone has been looking to the past for inspiration. To wit, we’ve seen a deluge of “old school” albums – death metal, black metal, traditional metal, ‘80s metal, ‘70s metal…the list goes on and on. Despite all of this backward-gazing and stylistic plagiarism, very few bands have been able to actually make an impact of their own merits, which is why a band like Sweden’s Portrait is so refreshing. These guys are undeniable Mercyful Fate fans, which includes not only vocalist Per Lengstedt’s clear attempts to copy King Diamond’s vocal style, but also in the sinister, labyrinthine riffs the band unleashed throughout CRIMEN LAESAE MAJESTATIS DIVINAE.



As I alluded to above, Portrait’s music is so invigorating because, although they make no attempt to hide their influences (and when you’re inspired by such a godly band as Mercyful Fate, there’s no shame in that!), they still manage to have a sound that is entirely their own. Make no mistake; these are pure ‘80s head banging riffs that, despite their complex, almost prog nature, never sacrifice heaviness for technical showiness. The menacing “Beast of Fire” sets the tone for the entire album, which only gets better after track three, the “The Wilderness Beyond” interlude. From there the band opens up their bag of riffs and unleashes everything in a fury, growing in strength before finally culminating in the absolutely captivating epic that is “Der Todesking”. This song is something to behold as the band opens with their catchiest riff and moves into about 12 others that are equally as good before bringing it back to the opening riff to close the song off in grand fashion. It’s brilliant and easily one of my top songs of the year. Portrait is the real deal, and CRIMEN LAESAE MAJESTATIS DIVINAE is one of the best albums of 2011.
Track Listing

1) Beast of Fire
2) Infinite Descension
3) The Wilderness Beyond
4) Bloodbath
5) Darkness Forever
6) The Nightcomers
7) The Passion
8) Der Todesking

Lineup

Per Lengstedt: Vocals
Richard Lagergren: Guitar
Christian Lindell: Guitar
Joel Palvarinne: Bass
Anders Persson: Drums

Other reviews

» Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae
by Waspman

» Crossroads
by Helias Papadopoulos


Next review: » Portrait - Crossroads
Previous review: » Portnoy, Sheehan, MacAlpine, Sherinian - Live In Tokyo (Blu-Ray)





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