Album Review: Portrait – Burn the World

By Ryan Falla

It’s been eleven years since Swedish heavy metal band Portrait’s debut, and they’re still making big strides in the metal world. With their fourth record, ‘Burn the World’, Portrait looks to live up to the namesake of their album and set the world ablaze with their furious metal stylings. Much like heavy metal of the ’70’s and ’80s there’s a hint of power metal with darkened vibes swirled into the thrash metal goodness.

Portrait does as any good metal band should do and mix the grooves with the speed; as balance is key in life so too it is in music. ‘Burn the World’ maintains a strong balance between the two elements, which in turn sets up some truly glorious riffs. One of the first tracks on the record, the title track shows off the mastery of balance between speed and groove. The tracks blows the door wide open, it’s one of those grooves that can only be described with a healthy dose of expletives.

On the other hand, when Portrait decides to turn the speed up to 10, there is no beating around the bush. You get tracks like ‘Flaming Blood’ which feature some over-the-top incredible drum work. The drum work on this track needs to be noted because that “wow” factor is completely explosive. The work being done with the ride beats is beyond comprehension, and this is highlight-worthy drum work if I’ve ever heard it.

‘Burn the World’ takes a standard style of thrash metal and adds just enough flair to give it life while keeping it in the realm of thrash. The second half of the album isn’t as memorable as the first half which is disappointing given the explosive start to the record. The second half still holds up the record, and although they’re quality songs, they don’t kick the door down. A lot of the flair from the first half hits the bench in favor of a power metal focus. It’s not so much a jarring shift in tone or genre, and to put it simply, the second half just isn’t as hot as the first.

There are still top-tier tracks like ‘To Die For’, yet the shine of previous tracks sets a looming shadow over the waning of the record. It feels a lot like a mixture of the songwriting becoming fatigued and the general similarities of the second half tracks creating more fatigue. When you open up your album with tracks like ‘Likfassna’ and ‘Flaming Blood’, the standard path of tracks like ‘The Sower’s Cross’ leave a bit of what was blowing it up behind. Again, I have to stress that the songs lining the second half are all solid, yet the trail away from the path set by the first half is very apparent.

‘Burn the World’ brings the fire with some seriously intense tracks, especially the title track, yet it couldn’t hold up the flame for quite the whole album. The fire never really dies out, yet compared to the heat brought at the beginning of the record it feels more like sitting in front of a fire pit compared to the heat of the world melting around you. The second half drop-off is apparent, keeping an otherwise strong album from entering great territory.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Record Label: Metal Blade
Release Date: August 25th 2017

Track Listing:
01. Saturn Return (0:54)
02. Burn The World (6:15)
03. Likfassna (5:58)
04. Flaming Blood (5:15)
05. Mine To Reap (5:20)
06. Martyrs (7:46)
07. Further She Rode (1:53)
08. The Sower’s Cross (3:30)
09. To Die For (4:33)
10. Pure Of Heart (8:49)

Total Duration: 50:13

Portrait links: website | facebook

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