7 Songs, 34 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

At times, listening to Portal’s complex music is a bit like enlisting in sonic boot camp. “Kilter” opens the Australian death/black metal band’s fourth studio album with a relentless pummeling of near-mechanical rhythms. Combined with similarly ferocious attacks of guitar distortion, this may leave listeners feeling exhausted. But it’d be a rewarding kind of exhaustion—one bound to leave smokers grabbing for their packs of cigarettes. There are some magical moments during the following song, “The Black Wards,” where a barrage of guitars, bass, and drums sounds like it’s folding in on itself, creating ambient overtones similar to those made by Wolves in the Throne Room. But any inadvertent beauty created within these soundscapes is violently ripped apart by the demonic vocal incantations of Portal's frontman, who goes by the stage name The Curator. Describing someone who mostly hisses and growls as a "lead singer" might be insulting to him. The evil sounds and textures he creates in “Plasm” (and throughout Vexovoid) can be considered another integral instrument of the band, rather than a traditional centerpiece.

EDITORS’ NOTES

At times, listening to Portal’s complex music is a bit like enlisting in sonic boot camp. “Kilter” opens the Australian death/black metal band’s fourth studio album with a relentless pummeling of near-mechanical rhythms. Combined with similarly ferocious attacks of guitar distortion, this may leave listeners feeling exhausted. But it’d be a rewarding kind of exhaustion—one bound to leave smokers grabbing for their packs of cigarettes. There are some magical moments during the following song, “The Black Wards,” where a barrage of guitars, bass, and drums sounds like it’s folding in on itself, creating ambient overtones similar to those made by Wolves in the Throne Room. But any inadvertent beauty created within these soundscapes is violently ripped apart by the demonic vocal incantations of Portal's frontman, who goes by the stage name The Curator. Describing someone who mostly hisses and growls as a "lead singer" might be insulting to him. The evil sounds and textures he creates in “Plasm” (and throughout Vexovoid) can be considered another integral instrument of the band, rather than a traditional centerpiece.

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5:46
4:16
5:57
5:46
4:21
2:40
5:16

About Portal

Ever since their inauspicious founding in 1994, and beginning in earnest after the turn of the third millennium, Brisbane, Australia's Portal have attempted to demolish the boundaries of extreme metal with a death/black/grindcore hybrid style as technically ambitious as it is purposely mired in waves of distortion. As a result, and like most musical mavericks, bandmembers the Curator (vocals), Horror Illogium (lead guitar), Aphotic (rhythm guitar), Omenous Fugue (bass), and Ignis Fatuus (drums) have been alternately hailed either as groundbreaking visionaries and no-talent hacks -- a polarized situation not helped by their mysterious identities and masked performances. Nevertheless, Portal have steadily built a decent local and small international following via their legendary concerts and consistent output throughout the 2000s, including 2002's The End Mills EP, 2003's Seepia LP, 2004's The Sweyy EP, 2007's Outré LP, and 2009's Swarth LP. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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