Not that I would usually advise arguing about a band's genre, but when it comes to Portrayal of Guilt, don't even bother trying. From the start, they've been just as much a screamo/hardcore band as a black/death metal band (and even those are too limiting), and as they continue to evolve, the lines just get even blurrier. Their sophomore LP We Are Always Alone follows their already-killer discography of one album, two EPs, and other miscellaneous releases, and it manages to stand out as the best thing they've done yet. Their approach on this album reminds me of the way Deafheaven broke down barriers between screamo and metal on Sunbather, or the way Inter Arma fused together as many styles of heavy music as they could on that same year's Sky Burial. But while those records were sprawling, lengthy offerings, Portrayal of Guilt get it all done in like 25 minutes. Like their debut LP, We Are Always Alone often squeezes three or four drastically different ideas into songs that clock in at around two minutes, and they've gotten even better at it in the two years since that first LP. They've pushed all aspects of their sound even further to the extreme -- the melodic parts are catchier, the heavy parts are more callous -- and yet, they blend everything together even more seamlessly. Like on the debut, Majority Rule vocalist Matt Michel lends his voice to We Are Always Alone, and this one features another legendary screamer as well: pg.99's Chris Taylor (who also designed the artwork for both PoG full-lengths). It makes sense that these are the kinds of artists who want to collaborate with Portrayal of Guilt; they both pushed heavy music to new limits two decades ago, and now Portrayal of Guilt is doing the same.

The album officially drops Friday (1/29) via Closed Casket Activities, but you can stream it full today (1/26) for 24 hours only HERE. Pre-orders are also available at that link, and the four previous singles are streaming below.

Update: The album is officially out now and you can stream it in full:

--

Best Punk/Hardcore/Emo/etc Albums of 2020

See #45-21 here.