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Portrayal Of Guilt - We Are Always Alone review

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Band: Portrayal Of Guilt
Album: We Are Always Alone
Release date: January 2021

01. The Second Coming
02. Anesthetized
03. A Tempting Pain
04. It's Already Over
05. Masochistic Oath
06. They Want Us All to Suffer
07. Garden of Despair
08. My Immolation
09. We Are Always Alone

Just to clear the waters: this is not the same band as Process Of Guilt.

To keep the story short: this is a screamo record. To make the story longer: this is so much more than just a screamo record. Though it is primarily such, it feels like it has quite a lot in common with something like Converge both with its visceral energy and its sense of atmosphere than simply just Pageninetynine. But it also has touches of black metal (think Deafheaven) and sludge metal (think Alkerdeel). And when I say touches, I mean more than just touches, it's pretty drenched in these two. Dig deep enough and you'll find traces of crust, electro-industrial, post-hardcore, emo or doom metal. It's a pretty healthy and consistent meal for just 26 minutes.

For such a short runtime and for an album this early in the band's career (which didn't even hit the 5 year mark), you'd expect Portrayal Of Guilt to go all in on the breakneck hardcore and barely leave any room to breathe, but We Are Always Alone is a more brooding beast that it would be assumed. Though it's not what you'd call melodic, it's almost everything but. It has it's moments of complete pummeling destruction, with varying decrees of controlled chaos. It also has some early Daughters' sense of dread even in its most crushing. It slows down the paces quite often, either for an equally crushing sludge section, or for some more atmospheric brooding passage, at times complete with angst-inducing clean vocals to contrast the blackened shrieks that cover most of the record. And all of it infuses We Are Always Alone with such a corrosive emotional impact.

You could almost say that We Are Always Alone is more comfortable in its slower paces than its faster ones. Its focus on atmosphere evoking is made more effective not only due to the songwriting, but the bass-heavy production as well. The production is the side of Portrayal Of Guilt's sound that has the clearest improvement from previous records, with its added sense of depth. And the songs that are showcased here certainly show a Portrayal Of Guilt that is more in control of their craft, and that know how to give said sense of depth, but with We Are Always Alone strangely being less than the sum of its parts. Simply it feels incomplete, either too short for how atmospheric and plodding it is, or too slow for how short it is. And I don't necessarily feel that the band even needed to write more material, but leaving most of the heavy hitters on the front half, made the more somber last half feel like it builds to something that doesn't ever come.

But Portrayal Of Guilt are young, reckless and restless. I can mostly attest to the first one. I wouldn't call We Are Always Alone a misfire, since it's a major improvement on most fronts, and a pretty good record anyway. There are no bad songs here, so I can only assume that whatever will come next from Portrayal Of Guilt will only capitalize on the qualities of this record.

Written on 09.02.2021 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 67 users
10.02.2021 - 00:02
Rating: 7

Saw these guys open for Deafheaven in Slovenia, decent band that brings some interesting ideas into their hardcore sound. Still, I wish Process Of Guilt would release a new album.
06.04.2023 - 09:34
Rating: 7

Definitely gives a converge and daughters vibe. Their music videos are great pieces of horror videos.
Leeches everywhere.

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