Released: 2014, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Helias Papadopoulos
In a past album review I said that being able to observe the entire evolution of a band is a rare privilege and this goes for Portrait as well. CROSSROADS is their third heavy and dark sounding and dark themed heavy metal album.
You don’t know them? Hold up! How would you feel if Mercyful Fate would release a new album in 2014? What? You don’t know them? Oh well, never mind. For those who didn’t get the chance to meet their music, if you go back in old encyclopedias you will find out that I am referring to one of the most characteristic and occult bands heavy metal spawned in the 80’s. On the other hand, for those who know them will get happy because you will find a band that is definitely one of those devil seeds of King Diamond and his gang…and their name is Portrait.
Why are they related with the above master-band? Listening to Portrait music you will understand how right I am. Three years ago, Portrait punched metal society in the face with the amazing CRIMEN LAESAE MAJESTATIS DIVINAE, shouting that there are still some guys around playing music whilst respecting the past and monster-master bands. This year was the slap punches to beat mercilessly. The proof of how the first album affected metal community is the signing with Metal Blade, known for being the record house of many metal behemoths. With the new effort, CROSSROADS the band makes one more massive step up, not to a new musical style, but keeping the old and enriching it with more mature compositions. Maybe what you read is highly controversial, but it is completely true. With their new album, Portrait put stronger bases to stay in the pantheon of metal music. Based on the synthetic and audio patterns of Mercyful Fate and touches of W.A.S.P. (“Lily”), they created a record that might be envied by themselves. Eight compositions, marching in occult black trails, transmit an insurmountable "terror" in the hearing with the whole atmosphere resulting in the end.
This is what made Metal great.