Review Summary: Minus some forgettable ballads, a very solid and exciting progressive power metal album.Portrait of a Dying Heart
is a neo-classical, progressive power metal album. This is the kind of album that makes any similar band sound like garbage in comparison - or at least when Secret Sphere aren’t playing arbitrary ballads. When they rip it up though, they blow the roof off with tight, catchy, technically played songs. You’ll certainly be banging your head to this one, or at least nodding in agreement to sensible melodic patterns, smartly structured songs, and an outstanding vocal performance. The only truly regrettable aspect of the album is its heavy implementation of ballads. With such vim and excellent song writing shown in their more upbeat songs, having neither in the ballads slows the album down, and makes the listener skip through tracks. Indeed, the inclusion of a few utterly forgettable songs robs the album’s potential to be a masterpiece, but the fact that it’s even close to perfection makes Portait of a Dying Heart
an excellent album.
Portrait of a Dying Heart
is a concept album based on a love story about our main character dreaming about an unknown person. While the premise doesn’t seem that exciting, the album has an appropriately epic soundtrack feel that follows the progression of a fluttering heart. It’s mostly the speed and technicality of the band that infuses the story with energy; the lead riffs, impressive guitar and keyboard solos, and dizzying piano parts create a sense of urgency. The band isn’t showing off, they’re just feeling the ups and downs of the music. A better sound mix would have been appreciated, however, as the symphonic elements are not given enough attention in comparison to the vocals or riffs.
Concept albums can be subjective. Even the most interesting ideas can fall upon deaf ears if the music fails. Thankfully, Portrait of a Dying Heart
delivers. This progressive power metal album is epic in scope, but still tightly written and very memorable. The choruses are fun (ex: ‘The Fall’), and you’ll undoubtedly have at least one of them stuck in your head. With the exception of a handful of forgettable ballads, and a confusing sound mix, Portrait of a Dying Heart
delivers the thrills, and one of Secret Sphere’s best albums.