Portrait
Discography


5.0
classic

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
October 4th, 2007 | 83 replies | 14,195 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Beautiful.

and he said it wasn't built upon anything.
and he said it wasn't worth it if i made you feel this way.
and he said it wasn't worth it if i made you feel like you're everything.
i don't want to help this knowing how far we've gone.
if it wasn't worth it i'm ready to feel for the last time.
then no one could touch me.
love is not for me.
no one could save this from me anyway its my everything.
for the last time i'll ask you why

There are 16 minutes on Portrait’s discography where its hard to imagine anything being more remarkable. Whether it’s the hypnotic viola lulling you, the harsh vocals rousing you, or the melodic yet dynamic guitar and drum combination, the songs “Missing the Shore”, “Constellations of a Stargazing Iris”, and “North Ebony” are the perfect emo songs. They take you through a range of emotions, through a range of musical ideas, and in the end leave you with a sense of awe that something so clearly harsh could still be that beautiful.

That’s the kind of band Portrait was. Taking the formula established by bands like Moss Icon and Indian Summer, and adding in their own unique touches like a viola player (think Smart Went Crazy) and generally harsher vocals in addition to a more Heroin influenced sound, and bam you’d have name drop formula heaven to describe Portrait. While the whole viola aspect of the band could end up overwhelming everything else, as so often happens with bands that add in a “foreign” instrument to a genre, it works out for the best with the viola adding lush backdrops instead of demanding attention as an almost third guitar.

The two guitarists meld seamlessly throughout the album, sometimes picking up an acoustic for parts of songs like “Junction at Barcelona”, punctuating the beauty/chaos border even further on tracks like “North Ebony” where acoustic riffing infects the first half of the songs, which then transforms into an intense hardcore song. With the addition of a drummer who knows when to be melodic and when to blast, Portrait had all the key components necessary to create special music.

The movement through all of the songs is absolutely superb, with none of the abrupt shifts you see in bands like Saetia or Circle Takes the Square, but more tasteful and extended transitions. Pacing themselves from slow, viola based movements to guitar driven rockers by often including the ever popular interlude, Portrait expanded on the imprint left by Indian Summer by taking the ‘soft build to climax” formula and injecting it with more melody and a greater stress on differentiating the two sounds.

So yeah, they had the beauty within madness thing pinned perfectly. There’s still one more thing Portrait had going for them; lyrically, they were pretentious and at times brilliant. Not dealing with the social issues that most of their contemporaries and predecessors dealt with, Portrait were an intimate band that focused on friendships and relationships. Instead of going for a completely direct lyrical approach or one too full of metaphors to be meaningful, they used metaphors to accentuate the blunt meaning of songs like “Constellations of a Stargazing Iris”.

take these wings and fly away.
because i've abandoned all of them.
i was waiting for you to show me up and around
take me on latch me now.
i know the best way out of here.
for what i fear is missing.

take our last breathes together.
is this the way home.
forget my name judge me and call me nothing

If their discography is any indication (and it, of course, is), Portrait’s career should be the stuff of legends. They perfectly encapsulate both the intensity and the sincerity of the genre that bands like I Would Set Myself On Fire For You and the Kodan Armada have been trying to capture for years now (with varying results). One of the most enthralling, interesting, and overall excellent bands I’ve ever heard. What Portrait did in their short time together stands as one of the greatest outputs a punk band had in the mid 90’s, and a cornerstone in the screamo world.



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user ratings (80)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
October 4th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am going to listen to this very soon.
Review is good.

Bron-Yr-Aur
October 4th 2007



4405 Comments


i am going to listen to this before the jungler

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2007



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for the insight guys. I might be overdoing it on the rating but I've been consistently amazed by this record for a long time and recently started hardcore digging it again, so eh.

chimera908
October 4th 2007



713 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Where could I find this or have someone send it to me. Great review by the way.This Message Edited On 10.04.07

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2007



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

IM me for it you want it. I finally found a copy to buy this past weekend but it still hasnt come in the mail.

MeowMeow
October 4th 2007



662 Comments


i actually came across this earlier looking around the internet. I should go try to find it again.
Good review blah blah blah

cbmartinez
October 4th 2007



2525 Comments


always thought this band sucked big time

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2007



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I've heard people say this sucks but usually I just pretend they don't exist.

cbmartinez
October 4th 2007



2525 Comments


yeah dude emo is really good I onced talked to the drummer from ampere I almost got his autograph

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2007



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah dude once i like went to a house show i am really cool arent i

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2007



17914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah!

SubtleDagger
October 5th 2007



737 Comments


Since this is sixteen tracks it's the complete discography, which is what you should call it since they have a s/t 10", debut album and an album called "All My Chances"; you even mention it's the discog all the way through the review so I don't know why you didn't call it that instead of s/t'ing it

Either way, this is great but a lot like most emo or hardcore discogs in that it's too frigging long to be anywhere near perfectThis Message Edited On 10.05.07

Fort23
October 5th 2007



2469 Comments


yea this looks cool


Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2007



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I really don't have a problem with the legnth at all really. And somebody else added the album before I did, and didn't even really pay attention. I'll change it.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 5th 2007



3995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ya this is a pretty great album. Iluv, do you like how all the tracks and artwork were already imported?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2007



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh ok you were the person to do it then.
I'm going to get rid of the tracktimes because thats just utterly tacky.

The Jungler
October 5th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is good, definitley agree with SubtleDagger about the length though.

As it grows on me the length probably won't be as big a deal, I'm sure.This Message Edited On 10.05.07

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2007



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thats how I felt for a long time, but then eh, everything clicked with me. I think its just excellent through and through.

astrel
October 5th 2007



2613 Comments


This sounds quite interesting.

chimera908
October 5th 2007



713 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

After my initial listen this is like a 4-4.5 but I defintely need to spend more time with it. Thanks Iluv for sending it, it's a great album.



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