Here’s a review of the ace Portrait album that ran in Metal Hammer a couple of issues back.
After being forced to reshuffle their line-up in the wake of the exit of guitarist/songwriter Richard Lagergren, heavy metal purists Portrait return with their tellingly-titled third record Crossroads and anyone who doubted that the Swedes were incapable of carrying on should reach for the ketchup now as the eight track offering will make them eat their words. Opening with the acoustic intro Liberation, the five-piece treat us to a plethora of timeless riffs and Halford-like high-pitched shrieks over 42 minutes and those in the thrall of Maiden,Mercyful Fate and Priest will find much to enjoy on the album. While the Spartan production lets the likes of In Time down (especially when it comes to Per Lengstedt’s vocals) the album provides plenty of old school thrills and Ageless Rites and the epic Lily are as sharp as their bullet belts. Black Easter mixes things up a little with a dance-indebted drum-beat during the main section and although they only just get away with it, it’s encouraging to see them push the boundaries of their traditional sound.