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Review: A Portrait Of Flesh And Blood – Gallery Of Sorrow

by Miloš Šebalj

 

A Portrait Of Flesh And Blood – Gallery Of Sorrow

  1. I: Alone
  2. II: Anxiety
  3. III: Hopeless
  4. IV: Lost
  5. V: Sorrow
  6. VI: Hollow
Label: Zero Dimensional Records
Release date: May 25, 2018

Globalization in practice! Three countries, three continents, one band! Can I also add three races? Not that it matters at all, but it is still worth mentioning. Especially since we are talking about a very good band. Or should I say project, for all the members of A Portrait Of Flesh And Blood have their own bands.

The elongated band name (with a very cool logo) hides a vast array of influences on the second album. The label claims we are dealing with Melodic Depressive Black Metal. Weird confluence of genres, you must agree. The same source says that this material is pointed towards both fans of DSBM and second wave Scandinavian Black Metal. I must agree with these pointers. This album has 5 songs with a short intro and lasts almost 47 minutes, which makes the songs pretty long. However, they are not boring or repetitive. And “Gallery of Sorrow” is as far away from minimalistic approach as it gets. Each track here is more like an atmospheric journey through a variety of emotions, somewhat coinciding with the titles. Strictly musically speaking, we have here a masterful combination of 90’s Symphonic Black Metal, reminiscent of early Cradle of Filth creations and slow, depressive, almost Doom Metal passages, dominated by the keyboards. Interestingly, I find these parts similar to another British band, My Dying Bride. Well, aside of the fact that A Portrait Of Flesh And Blood uses only the traditional Metal instruments (if you are counting keyboards among those). The songs are guitar dominated, which does seem like a mission impossible for most bands trying to achieve such sound. When I say guitars, I don’t mean those two chords we have heard millions of times. These guys do have enough creativity to make their riffs stand out. Keyboards take the lead only in those slower sections, but serve as a great inductor of extra emotion the whole time. The weakest link here are the vocals which do lack some more power. They are fairly versatile, sound good enough when they are simply spoken or in chorus, but the screams are on the borderline of irritating. That is especially noticeable in such cleanly produced work. I would also like to see a better cover artwork, since this cliché shown here fits to the general idea behind the album, but doesn’t hit the target when it comes to the execution. Other than that, this release really does fit my taste for Symphonic Black Metal. I’m not a big fan of DSBM, but it just seems I have been listening to the wrong bands this whole time, since A Portrait Of Flesh And Blood plays a great version of the genre.

The album was released on a Japanese label so it might be a bit hard to find. But, as the above mentioned globalization in Metal is ever-present, there should be a way to find it in every corner of the globe. And trust me, you should give it a try.

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