Friday, January 2, 2009

Portrait (SWE) - Portrait

Hailing from Sweden, Portrait plays heavy metal very reminiscent of Mercyful Fate, but it’s accomplished in such a way that it’s much better than Mercyful Fate worship.

What makes Portrait so great? It’s the amount of awesome heavy metal riffs. The freelance style of their riffs is absolutely what you’d want in a heavy metal album. Every sing riffs I catchy, dark, fast, and perfect for headbanging. The approach of the riffs are similar to Mercyful Fate, but there is never a time throughout the album where it sounds like a Mercyful Fate riff; however, the vocals are quite similar to King Diamond, but the vocalist uses it in such a great way. The vocals are filled with loads and load of falsettos, but the vocal lines and melodies are absolutely stunning.

If you want an album that is filled with heavy metal riffs, superb vocals, and all around great song writing, Portrait is the band for you. What can be better than listening to a bunch of heavy metal riffs and singing about Satan?

Faustcoven (FIN) - Rising From Below the Earth


Faustcoven plays a type of black metal heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, Trouble, and Saint Vitus; Rising From Below the Earth has everything you’d except in a black metal album, but accomplishes through doom metal riffing. There is a slight change in riffing on Rising From Below the Earth compared to Faustcoven’s debut, but the album still contains a good number of traditional doom riffs.

Faustcoven takes the traditional doom riffs in this album and plays them slower and mixes the doomier riffs with slower dissonant riffs; with the combination of the two styles of riffing, the atmosphere comes through thick and dark. Gunnar definitely has a knack for putting together blatantly catchy riffs in a sinister way; however, the riffs are played in a such a way that it creates more of an atmosphere rather an album filled with loads of catchy riffs. But what makes the album so interesting is the desolate, absent approach of the music; its production, song writing, and vocals make the listener feel distanced from the actual music, creating an atmosphere that is completely unique. The atmosphere comes through like a sea of zombies slowly marching after their prey. A change from the first album is the vocals, but it’s definitely an improvement. They now are deep and filled with a huge amount of reverb, which is very reminiscent of Hail.

With the album clocking in at 67 minutes, the album goes by rather quickly; however, the one complaint I have is the lacking of oomph in the guitars, and I think a slight tweak on the production and this album would have much better bang for its buck. This album is for fans of black metal, yet enjoy a traditional doom riff.

Faustcoven's Myspace