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What's going on her? The different groups celebrate a party together while the sound of "Crossroads" fills the room. This album, there can be no doubt, has brought them together, although the full-length does not deliver a grain of black metal. However, the dark aura of the songs has even convinced the Moonblood fans.

We Were Not Alone

Of course, they still look grim, but they seem to be lucky. A few years ago, Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae blew the minds of oldschool traditional metal fanatics worldwide with its deadly combination of high energy post-Painkiller high intensity driving force and classic King Diamond styled occult-themed dramatics. All the components for solid traditional metal are there but that same wild-eyed and vast sound they had on the predecessor is gone.

If anything this debut seems to be moving back to the simpler and more basic sound of the debut, albeit with a vastly improved production job with one of its strengths being that the basslines are more audible now. Some bands do benefit from dialing down the raw aggression a bit and focusing a bit more on songwriting and making sure all tracks have room to breathe.

However in this case, that vital energy would have been sorely needed. While Portrait were very aggressive, they were able to channel high tempos and a consistent barrage of molten riffing into ghoulish atmosphere and well paced songs. All the musicians here are talented and highly capable, but this is clearly not them at their finest.


There are the occasional flashes of prior glory and in truth this slower sound is not a bad idea inherently. However if they really are to make it work they will need to change up their approach to riffing and feature a more dynamic approach to songwriting direction. A much stronger production job would also be greatly welcome. As it stands this is merely somewhat above middle of the road at best. Originally posted on The Metal Observer. The Swedes know how to do heavy metal—no big secret there.

A masterpiece?


You better believe it. These tracks are multilayered and intricate, each exhibiting marvelous riffs and progressions that once again closely mirror the guitar work and structuring of Michael Denner and Hank Shermann of Mercyful Fate fame. The lead melodies and solos are similarly plentiful in number and enrich the package considerably. Every piece of every track is animated; the amount of care put into these songs is just unbelievable.

They have captured perfectly the haunting, ghostly atmosphere of their main influences while presenting meaningful slabs of celebrated heavy metal, stuffed from end to end with vibrant compositional patterns and some of the finest instrumental chemistry I have ever heard. This review was written for: www.

Swedish heavy metal band Portrait was, along with In Solitude, one of the pioneers of the Mercyful Fate worship trend that quite a few bands from that country as well as a couple from other countries have been undertaking. Despite its popularity, I haven't particularly liked a whole lot I've heard from this scene; not that most of it is actively bad, just mediocre or decent, with too many problems holding bands back. Even Portrait themselves, whose effort is highly lauded in many circles, didn't used to do much for me.

Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae CLMD felt a bit confused too my ears, over-the-top in all the wrong places and with songwriting that didn't always seem fully developed. Again, I didn't hate it or anything, just thought it was merely decent and didn't really reach the band's potential.

The atmosphere and overall sound are pretty similar to that of the previous effort, but everything just fits together so much better. Vocalist Per Lengstedt, who even on the last release I thought was awesome, is even more awesome, with a bit more of a refined sound but still wild and aggressive as hell, with chaotic shrieks and unholy multi-tracking that just melts your face off. In most of the songs, every note seems specially crafted for that particular moment, something I've said of Arch era Fates Warning and Slauter Xstroyes, which is the highest of praise for me.

Crossroads doesn't have that uber-progressive, constantly changing riff progression that those two bands possess, but that's not to their detriment in any way; that's not what they're going for here at all. The fact that every riff and vocal melody just seems perfectly in place is a testament to the band's seamless songwriting here.

The level of maturity between 's CLMD and this year's Crossroads is insane; in 3 short years, the band has gone from decent to top-tier classic. Even the acoustic intro feels just right, and I usually skip instrumentals. It's hard to pick specific highlights here, as the whole album is just of the highest quality, but "We Were Not Alone" which I couldn't help but quote earlier is a personal favorite, as the dark, vast atmosphere just sucks you in and doesn't let go.

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Unfortunately, the vocal lines seem a little out of sync with the guitars when they come in, the only time on the album that happens, and something I noticed frequently in CLMD, but the riff is sweet enough that it doesn't really matter much. A nearly flawless end to a nearly perfect album, really, and I can say with confidence that despite us only being five months or so into the year, this could easily be the best album of , as you don't here an album of this caliber very often.

With having the glorious Virgin Sails Satan's Host and this year producing the classic Crossroads , metal is looking to be the best it's been since the late 80s, I can't wait to see what album will blow me away next. If you're a fan of heavy metal, the Swedish MF-worship scene, or Portrait, get this album immediately, you absolutely will not be disappointed.

Annette said nothing as Christian headed into the house. Sitting on the swinging seat, she used her feet to create a gentle rocking. She looked down at her favourite sundress, which was white and flowed around her slender legs. She tried to get the most use she could out of them before she had to count dimes to buy a new package. There were no stores nearby, and Annette currently had no job, and it was the sort of thing Christian and Angel never thought to grab when they shopped.

Overhead, a plane from the Brantford municipal airport sounded like a cross between a Toyota and a Cessna. When the planes were small, as they often were, it was hard to tell whether the sound was a vehicle or an aircraft. The air show had been on, and large Bs had loomed overhead like menacing birds, their engines loud enough to rattle the dishes. Looking over now, she saw a lithe woman walk out with the movers and gesture toward the truck.

Crossroads - Portrait | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic

Annette leaned forward and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. That was one of the women who lived there. She looked tall, and her olive-toned skin bore a hint of a deeper tan. A tattoo of a vine climbed one of her lean calves. The tattooed woman turned slowly toward her and Annette realized she was staring. She took a quick breath and shifted her gaze to another cluster of cars lining up single file for the light.

They were mostly family cars: Chevys and SUVs. She sat back in the swing and rocked it with her bare foot until Christian opened the screen door.


Annette got up and headed into the kitchen, where Christian already had a pot of potatoes in the sink. Christian handed her a peeler and they stood at the sink, peeling potatoes in unison. For long moments, they shared the same comfortable silence Annette had always associated with her brother. The only vehicle they had was his motorbike, so when Annette needed to go somewhere, she climbed on the back.

When she thought of him, she thought of those long rides with only the sound of the rumbling engine between them and the wind that blew her shirt sleeves like sheets on a clothesline. They seemed happiest without words. An hour later, Annette sat in the backyard with Christian, Terri, Angel, and a few of their friends.

They all smelled of leather and fresh beer, and had colourful tattoos poking out of their shorts and shirt sleeves.

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Annette saw the woman next door standing in her backyard, her dark hair tied in a short ponytail, her hand shading her eyes as she looked upward. Annette turned and looked in the same direction and saw a small plane in the sky. Annette watched the dark dusting of stubble on his face as he took a swig of his beer. His bottle-blonde girlfriend sat next to him, her tanned breasts exposed by the low cut of her tank top. Behind him, Christian hoisted Terri over his shoulder and smacked her ass before she shrieked and he put her down. Annette looked over at the woman again, wondering if she would look back.

But she just nodded to herself, as if satisfied, and headed back into the house. Product successfully added to your Shopping Cart. Portrait of a Crossroads. Portrait of a Crossroads Author: Kelly Rand. Add to cart. This title comes with no special warnings. Sitting on her bed in her upstairs bedroom, Annette heard a moving van pull in next door. The one with the tattoos?