PORTRAIT To Die For

Swedish occult heavy metal maniacs Portrait are back with their fourth full length aptly titled Burn the World, and as usual they have come up with one stunning album. We just had to get them for the interview to find out all the information about this release…

Please, could you tell us something more about your latest offering Burn the World? Could you give us a brief presentation for readers of Metal Sound pages from your point of view?

It is our most focused and dynamic effort so far. We have developed closer and closer by each release towards something perfect and original, and to me the new album is a huge step up both when it comes to song writing and production. All earlier aspects are still there, the aggression and the dark atmosphere and so on, but we have taken it all to higher levels. It should please all true headbangers and scare off all posers.

Portrait’s latest studio album is the 4th full-length offering since 2011. Could you compare your previous two albums (which were quite successful) with a brand new issue?

The essence is still the same but we have gotten to learn and understand this essence more for every release and thus expanded upon its different angles, like mentioned in the first answer here. In the beginning of our “career” the influences came mostly from the outside, bands we like and so on, but nowadays we look within instead to channel what we find there and that gives a more personal touch to the music and lyrics. At least to me personally.

Where did you record Burn the World and who was the producer? Also, could you compare the working on a new album with the composing and recording sessions with previous three records?

We recorded it in three different studios. The drums in a studio called JFK, guitars and bass at my house and the vocals plus some acoustic guitars at Per’s place. Then everything was mixed and mastered by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm, he has been responsible for the production on the last three albums. For Crossroads we worked in the same manner as this time, but Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae was recorded completely at Necromorbus Studio except for some vocals that Per did at home. With the first album we recorded it at Philip’s studio (the singer of the time).

Were there any changes in the band during the time between two latest records? Could you tell us something concerning that topic?

Mikael and David quit the band during the writing process, and we also lost our rehearsal place and had to find a new one etc. Myself, Anders and Per decided to write and record everything ourselves and then search for new members. We found Robin Holmberg (guitar) and Fredrik Petersson (bass) and both are now full-time members of the band.

Who has done cover artwork this time and what did you want to express by cover?

The artist is Adam Burke. The cover depicts a visualization of the creator-god of this world, blind and blinding, with six angels shackled to his arms to symbolize cosmic tyranny and madness. Below him stands the man that has seen through all illusions of this world, broken his chains of fate to walk another path than the one imposed upon him by cruel fate. This concept runs through all lyrics of the album as well, from different angles but with the same stance.

Do you plan know to continue the promotion of the brand new effort with some live shows? If there are some plans please could you give us some info?

Yes, we want to do as many gigs as possible and hopefully we are able to announce a European tour very soon. We also have festival shows in Sweden, Greece, Norway and Germany confirmed.

Once again Portrait worked with Metal Blade for a new release. Already you are on MBR for some time so please could you tell us do you have some favorite bands from MBR roster?

Obviously Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, but also RAM, Desaster, Artillery, Exumer, Gehennah, Fates Warning, Bolt Thrower and many more… I think they have a great roster.

During last 9 years Portrait has released 4 full-lengths. Could you tell us what was the most important moment in the band’s history or if you have several moments that were important as well for the band?

Even though we have had several setbacks throughout the whole career so far, I would say that the most important step was when Per joined the band. If people don’t understand why. Just listen to the new album. Another great thing was hearing Rob Halford’s nice words about our Judas Priest cover (“Mother Sun”). Also the release party some weeks ago for the new album was fantastic, and it felt like we sounded better than ever with the new line-up. It feels great to have defeated the setbacks with line-up changes yet again, and having shown again that we won’t let nothing stand in our way.

Since Portrait comes from Sweden could you tell us how did it happen that your country is well-known by many bands that have just recently during last 5-10 years based their style on traditional heavy metal?

Sweden has been a trendy country when it comes to metal ever since the 80’s at least, and as soon as some band does something “fresh” (for example The Final Countdown…) everybody tries to do the same. Same thing with old school death metal, and the Gothenburg melodic metal, and now this “traditional” metal. I’m not very impressed by any of those bands and it is easy to see which ones will keep on doing it for a long time and which ones that does it for no other reason than being “cool”. Heavy metal has to be developed and not face stagnation. You don’t have to change the instruments involved or any of the other general outer aspects, but you have to imbue the music with something powerful that is important to you personally, otherwise it will become nothing but a tribute to the past and that is completely unnecessary in my opinion.

I would like to thank you for the interview and I wish you all the best. Hope to see the band somewhere live soon. Thanks! Hope to see you on the road soon!

  • Answers by Christian Lindell
  • Questions by Marko Miranovic
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