ALBUM REVIEW: Portrayal of Guilt – We Are Always Alone

Who decided to file Portrayal of Guilt under Screamo? Where should we file them? I don’t know, that’s for folks who spend their time and energy in the endless heavy music genre debates and on websites like Encyclopaedia Metallum to decide. You know, the type of people that will insist that Annihilator isn’t a Thrash band as they really fall under Speed Metal. They are truly doing the Lord’s work. But to slap the screamo tag on Portrayal of Guilt, particularly on We Are Always Alone (Closed Casket Activities) seems a bit simplistic.

Sure, The Washington Post told me that Portrayal of Guilt was one of the bands delivering “new life” to screamo, but I never heard Underoath or Thrice goes this deep into a moody atmosphere and straight-up Black Metal. Let’s examine one of the lengthier tracks ‘Garden of Despair’ and attempt to keep track of its shifts from Industrial vibes straight into a blackened barrage of blast beats and noisy riffs right out of the Nachtmystium playbook. Oh, and don’t forget about the gang vocals that are peppered throughout. Hold onto your butts as ‘My Immolation’ picks right up and slams the listener with another blackened explosion while vocalist Matt King politely reminds us to “breathe in, breathe out.” Thanks, mate. And just because they can, these Texans wrap up that aforementioned tune by going all Shoegaze and making it work seamlessly.

Here’s the part of the review where we point out the shortcomings on a given album or EP, but We Are Always Alone really may just be guilty of not being longer. Weirdest nitpick in the world from a writer that has complained of albums going too long in the past. The passion here is so palpable and the songs so well put together by those who would be opposed to going for a couple more rounds.

So, is it screamo? Don’t care and feel free to get into as many forum skirmishes as you’d like. We Are Always Alone has made a claim for album of the year and it’s only the first week of February.

Buy the album here: