Swedish hard rock and heavy metal is a fine thing – it could very well be the finest thing in existence – and with releases in 2017 from Coldspell, Europe (yeah, they’re heavy!), Blazon Stone, Night and forthcoming releases from Air Raid and Ram, we’ve been inundated with quality and Portrait’s Burn The World is no exception.
Drawing inspiration, as always, from the band that put Sweden on the heavy metal map – we refer, of course, to the mighty Mercyful Fate – Portrait have at least stopped mimicking their heroes and Burn The World finds them finally nailing their own identity. This time around, the Mercyful Fate influence is tempered by a little Judas Priest here and a little Iced Earth there, resulting in a classic sounding album that taps the well of power metal, thrash and traditional metal with aplomb.
The constant Mercyful Fate/King Diamond comparisons are tiresome so we’ll concentrate on the songs and it’s the mid-album epic, “Martyrs”, that stands as Burn The World‘s undoubted highlight. A full on Iced Earth moment that builds in intensity before bleeding into the gentle acoustics of the Opeth-esque “Further She Rode”, this sublime one-two truly showcases Portraits breadth of talent and consigns those Fate/Diamond tribute act accusations to the history books.
You’ve heard this sort of thing a million times before but if speed metal riffs, intricate guitar interplay, thundering drums, wailing vocals and no end of heavy metal mastery is your thing (and why the fuck wouldn’t it be!) then Portait’s Burn The World will tickle your trad metal lovin’ fancy no end! 7/10