Beast of metal...
Genre: traditional heavy metal
Portrait is another one of those Swedish retro metal bands, and portrait are very good at what they do. It seems to me that, while a lot of retro metal bands go back to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Portrait are more inspired by the legends in Mercyful Fate - even to the point that their vocalist Per Karlsson emulates King Diamond's singing techniques, but without being a rip-off. Karlsson is an excellent singer, and he has his own sound.
In addition to the king Diamond influences, Portrait also appear to drawn on 80s power metal and speed metal. There are a couple of neoclassical guitar patterns to be heard, and some tracks are played at early speed metal tempo.
While inheriting stylistic traits from Mercyful Fate, Portrait strike me as being less progressive than Mercyful Fate in the sense that Portrait have not adopted Mercyful Fate's complete disregard for traditional song structures, which means that the verse-chorus configuration appears on this album - not that that's a problem really.
Production-wise, Portrait manage to emulate a mid 80s sound, which is both good and bad. The good thing is that the sound is less polished than what we may be used to nowadays. The bad thing, to me, is that a lot of metal releases back then were drowned in reverb, and that also applies to this release.
Still, I think that this release is very good, and Portrait succeed in bringing back to life the weird and wonderful character of traditional 80s metal.