Portrait: Crossroads

Sweden’s heavy metal diehards have a devil of a time

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After being forced to reshuffle their lineup after the exit of guitarist/songwriter Richard Lagergren, heavy metal purists Portrait return with their tellingly titled third record.

Opening with the acoustic intro, Liberation, the five-piece treat us to a plethora of timeless riffs and Halford-like shrieks over 42 minutes and those in the thrall of Maiden, Mercyful Fate and Priest will find much to enjoy.

While the spartan production lets the likes of In Time down – especially when it comes to Per Lengstedt’s vocals – Ageless Rites and the epic Lily are as sharp as their bullet belts. Black Easter mixes things up with a dance-indebted drumbeat and although they only just get away with it, it’s encouraging to see them push the boundaries of their traditional sound.