We could sit here for hours and have a near-endless debate on the current state of heavy metal with all that it brings to the table and how rooted the style has been in its original sound for decades with just as many bands bringing justice to it as much as there are those that do it a great disservice. If you ask me, it’s the name of Portrait isn’t passed around nearly in those debates with many, myself included, failing to really give the band the proper credit they deserve as a modern powerhouse for the genre. For over ten years, this Swedish act has never once been one to ignore, but it’s arguably with their forthcoming opus that we’ve gotten something that can only be considered peak.
While it was their last album, “Burn the World”, that really showed us how this band was truly coming into their own despite proving their worth on multiple works before that, it’s the prospect of them perpetuating that very glory that had me curious given what we were given in that work. Plenty of bands can bring together all the elements needed to make for a halfway decent slab of heavy metal the likes of which one could really dive into, but it’s in every given ounce of “At One With None” that Portrait has carefully crafted a remarkably compelling piece that’s as satisfying as it is invigorating, dynamic, and downright gripping. Each of these eight tracks are absolutely massive with every one of them being beyond capable of standing proudly on their own as singles that are more than worthy of the term intoxicating for all that they bring to the table from the very songwriting chops that Portrait should be extremely proud of themselves for to the very production that makes “At One With None” exude an energy that’s the epitome of larger than life. It’s as though Portrait drew directly from the fantasy-esque world that classic bands like Manowar always seemed to pull from when making their most striking albums with that concept being done beautifully whether or not that’s what Portrait was going for here as the record marches forth with tremendous passion, talent, and exhilaration that seeps out of every possible moment of “At One With None” to make it not only one of the most sensational pieces in this band’s fabulous discography, but a need-to-know record for any modern fan of heavy metal.
There will always be a search for who will be the names to take up the mantles as heavy metal greats as we proceed forward, and I think we should all be charged as criminals should we not give Portrait a strong recommendation for all that they’ve accomplished in this album alone, not even to mention every other facet of their works beforehand. The very soul of “At One With None” is a big part of what keeps us coming back to heavy metal time after time, and it’s with immense gratitude to acts like this that we can still hope to find nothing but ultimate glory.
“At One With None” releases on September 3rd via Metal Blade Records!
PRE-ORDER “At One With None” via multiple sources here.
LISTEN to singles from “At One With None” on Bandcamp here.
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