Portraits is the debut full-length release from Fall Of Minerva and although at times it does seem to follow the same tired format as many other hardcore releases out there, that’s not to say that it also isn’t without its strengths.
Fall Of Minerva set the atmosphere well with the opening track Beyond The Pines, which feels like it has a slight Twin Peaksy vibe to it at first (but perhaps I’m looking into the title and Badalamenti-esque ambient instrumentation a little too deeply!) but when the vocals kick in, it feels like the track loses a bit of the atmosphere – the juxtaposition of the half-bellowed delivery against the gentler music beneath doesn’t quite work and it ultimately means that the album doesn’t leave the best initial impression on you. However things do pick up with the following track Novocaine, which has the energy and momentum to match the vocal delivery and the squealing dissonance from the guitars in parts is tremendous.
Another great inclusion is Green Ghost, which sees Fall Of Minerva take a more melodic approach with some clean vocals and a more melodic feel to the instrumentation as a whole, and later track Sguardi nel Buio builds on that even further, featuring a rather sorrowful-sounding string line. It’s something a little different and it really works for them.
However, it does have to be said that during the more ‘standard’ hardcore songs, there isn’t much that differentiates them from other hardcore artists – so it would have been nice to see them experiment a little more with their sound because the songs with a more melodic approach on the release gave a welcome bit of variety to the piece.