PORTRAIT - Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae

July 14, 2011, 9 years ago

(Metal Blade)

Mark Gromen

Rating: 8.0

portrait review

PORTRAIT - Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae

Talk about timing! The Swedes debut came out of nowhere, mimicking classic MERCYFUL FATE (particularly King Diamond’s unique, baritone vs. falsetto range) while the retro-80s vibe was still in its infancy (see WOLF, ENFORCER, STEELWING and countless other countrymen, to say nothing of the rest of the globe). While this will make no one forget original singer Philip Svennefelt, the current version of PORTRAIT attempts to embrace the old, while still staking out new territory (a bit of a risk). If the King has a trio of distinctive ranges: low, mid and that impossible-to-reach high, the new guy, Per Karlsson (HEATHENDOOM/OVERDRIVE) definitely covers the lower two, yet struggles for the highest notes. Already sounds like his voice is strained, so can’t imagine night after night on tour! For me, the Fate influence overrides any intermittent vocal shortcomings. Wild undulations, keen sense of melody and even some acoustic guitar: for the 2:24 instrumental ‘The Wilderness Beyond’ and to close out ‘Darkness Forever’, these eight songs are a must for any 80s metal enthusiast. Not the Aqua Net, American defiled version of metal from that era, but the glorious decade that gave us unheralded foreign acts like TRANCE, ARTCH, BODINE or perhaps the greatest Scandinavian band, HEAVY LOAD. Underground, to the max! At 9:33, the mostly instrumental ‘Der Todesking’ closer is the lengthiest tune, although not by much. Definitely something beyond the usual black/death/core. Support wholeheartedly!


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