Pictures Of Pain – The Reckoning [2011]

Band: Pictures Of Pain
Album: The Reckoning
Release year: 2011
Genre: Melodic Metal

Pictures Of Pain are described as a “melodic metal band with a unique sound”. They hail from grim and frostbitten lands of Norway, a country renowned for its history, mythology and black metal. Originally, forming in 2005, Pictures Of Pain have gone on to support bands such as Kamelot, Ensiferum and Leaves’ Eyes.

The introduction of “Betrayal” is certainly a unique one. Its calm, melodic and slightly progressive with sudden, short-lived sections of heaviness which are combined with black metal styled vocals. The track does turn aggressive. The vocals are different to how one would expect them to be to they sound to be a combination of both power metal and black metal styled vocals. There is a major use of clean vocals throughout the song as well, which helps keep the track interesting. The drums are precise and intelligently played. In some sections, the cleaner vocals do spoil the song a bit when they begin to scream in the old skool metal way.

”Far Beyond” begins in a similar fashion, only the introduction has more of a hypnotic yet eerie sound to it. The vocals are more clean on this track as well, whilst the guitars have lightened up a little bit but still bring that driving force of metal with them. The melodic riffs are also featured, which is a good thing for those who are fond of the more melodic sections. “Eternal Rage” is more slow paced to begin with, with a slight progressive feel to the drums. The vocals can be scarcely heard to begin with which is slightly disappointing, though they soon become more audible. They contrast brilliantly between harsh and bloodthirsty to clean and powerful-sounding. The slow, calming section towards the middle is certainly a refreshing sound from the onslaught of heavy, face-melting metal found in the majority of the first track. The guitar solo is well composed and a brilliant addition to “Eternal Rage”. The only issue as such with this one is the length, as the casual listener would possibly get bored after the first half of the track.

”Deviator” blasts its way next, with a an old skool meets modern metal sound. The vocals are reminiscent of Judas Priest and Venom. The riffs and drum work are very savage yet well composed at the same time. “Sign Of Times” is another slow-paced song yet just as epic as the tracks before it. The melodic riffs are just brilliant and the drums certainly bounce off the guitars very well. However, the clean vocals are lacking a fair bit compared to the music. The clean and eerie introductory riff of “Years Of Disgrace” which suddenly transforms into an aggressive and barbaric assault of metal upon the listener’s ear drums. Interestingly, the track switches between the soft, clean sections and the heavily aggressive sections very well.

Next is the title track, “The Reckoning”. The intro is more brutal than expected whilst keeping the smoothness of the melodic riffs. The vocals are strong and powerful, almost operatic sounding. “The Reckoning” certainly has a very power metal sound to it. The screams aren’t too bad on this track, they just don’t seem to go with the riffs. The drums are almost machine like in their precision and power. “Final State” follows after with a majestic intro. The vocals are mesmerising and epic. The riffs can only truly be described as sagaic whilst the screams are somewhat demonic sounding, mixing well with the more aggressive sections of the track.

The final two tracks of the album are demos form 2005 and 2006. “From The Ashes”, the demo from 2006, is next. It certainly is very different from the rest of the album and shows how much Pictures Of Pain’s sound has evolved. “From The Ashes” seems to have more emphasis on the harsh screaming and the rough and raw riffs as opposed to a clean and crisp sound. The final song of the album is “Guardian Of Tears”, the demo from 2005. Again, it is different to the rest of the album due to the raw, untamed sound of the guitars and drums. The sound is also more distorted as well, giving it a more underground and in-your-face sound.

There is no doubt that Pictures Of Pain have a very unique sound. Each track seems to be different from the other whilst retaining that certain sound that Pictures Of Pain are working hard to create. Even the vocals seem to be different on each track. “The Reckoning” is clearly an album for those bored of the same old generic sound that most bands seem to have these days as it is fresher and more exciting than most albums out at the moment.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

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