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1. Immanuel (The Challenger)
2. Saul Of Tarsus (The Messenger)
3. Nicodemus (The Seeker)
4. Joel (The Watchman)
5. Immanuel (The Redeemer)
6. Elijah (The Forerunner)
7. Benedictus (Song Of Zechariah)
8. Ezekiel (The Visionary)
9. Isaiah (The Willing)
10. Talmidim (The Servants)
“Portraits” is For Today’s second full length release. That being said, the band is further forging their path as melodic metalcore leaders. “Portraits” sees the band taking their sound from their previous release “Ekklesia” and expanding on it. Virtually everything has stayed the same between releases, same members, same studio/producer (Jamie King), which is ideal for developing how members write together. The structure on “Portraits” follows the For Today sound of melody/breakdown laden songs. With the foundation formed the band is free to create unique variations of their sound.
The songs on “Portraits” are undoubtedly For Today. From the first bass boosted, sweep picking intro to the last throaty low vocal, “Portraits” is For Today at the top of their game. Most tracks are filled with melodic guitar intricacies juxtaposing the crunch of the low end guitar chugs. Each instrument works well together to create soundscapes of bliss and elation that then quickly take a turn into darker territory, making heavy moments that are undoubtedly great for head bobbing. While every track has a similar structure there are moments where the band breaks their self cast mold and explores new territory.
In “Joel (The Watchman),” vocalist Mattie bursts out a low guttural that is fitting of any newer brutal death metal band. In “Immanuel (The Redeemer)” there is a guitar melody that I could easily see coming from a music box. “Benedictus (Song Of Zechariah)” is a nearly 3 minute long instrumental that features guest guitar by Dusty Waring of Between The Buried And Me fame. Finally, the album’s closer “Talmidim (The Servants)” could be sung at a church and I wouldn’t think twice that it sounded out of place. Production on “Portraits” is crisp, and everything is easily audible. Every last melody comes through loud and clear. Bass and drums are definitely back seat, but are also not out of the show. Vocals are throaty and up front as with their previous release, and are good at mixing with the rest of the band.
BOTTOM LINE: For Today have created a fantastic album that is worthy of attention from anyone looking for melodic metalcore or deathcore. “Portraits” can appeal to most everyone in the new metal scene. The melodies are beautiful, the breakdowns are punishing, and the vocals are raw. To not at least give this album a shot is letting a gem fall through your hands.