Portal - Outre'
Profound Lore Records
Experimental Death Metal, Dark Ambient
8 songs (36:36)
Release year: 2007
Portal, Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Probably the weirdest band you’ve never heard of, Australians Portal take the base Death Metal template as laid down by Morbid Angel and twist it into hitherto unknown realms of wrongness. Lyrically and thematically inspired by the Chthulhu mythos, the nearest and easiest comparison is to The Axis Of Perdition’s psychedelic horror – drums are bleak blasts, riffs don’t so much ring out as crawl towards you, whilst vocalist The Curator has a dry, choking snarl straight out of a nightmare. Songs are abstract constructions that form sickly towers, swaying from side to side in the wind and expelling great clouds of uneasiness at whoever approaches; never doing what you expect them to but possessed of a certain strange familiarity.

After an ambient opening track, Abysmill splatters forth, writhing on the ground for a moment before fading away to be replaced by the more upfront horror of Heirships, which is akin to the inhuman thing from the previous track suddenly sitting up and grasping you by the throat. The likes of Omnipotent Crawling Chaos do exactly what they say on the tin (‘Gateways open to a monstrous cataract/Explore drifting conjectural lands of ill‘ The Curator gasps) and it’s easy to slip into a hypnotic state, focusing on a strange drum frill or simply falling into the grey blur of the wall-of-noise guitars. Xasthur’s distant madness is brought up close and personal on Black Houses, a five minute-slice of dissonance that bears some kind of structure underneath the dust, but which will drive you insane as you bury yourself in search of it.

Moving onwards, for standing still would mean being swallowed alive, we’re greeted with a wordless primordial roar on the title track, returning to the uncanny ambience of intro Moil, and then 13 Globes appears, bearing deranged flashes of melody amidst the murky terror, heavily technical yet twisted beyond recognition. I’m not even going to begin to attempt to sum album closer Sourlows up, as it’s something that really, truly, should not be and the only sane response to it is to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Really, make no mistake, if you’re here looking for something to headbang to then move right along, because it’s almost impossible to headbang to Portal. Listen to this late at night, on headphones, in a dark room, in a state of extreme nervousness if you want the best effects, although like most atmospheric pieces of music the ultimate experience depends on you, and your state of mind whilst listening. You have to listen to the whole album to really ‘get’ it; as ever, there’s a MySpace link below for the samplers but if you enjoy the freak horrors of The Axis Of Perdition then you should love this.

This is not an enjoyable album, however; it’s the sort of thing you listen to every so often, shudder, and then move on to something more cheerful, rather like those pictures you keep in that hidden folder, something to be brought out when the sun goes down and you’re alone, something that you hide from those around you. Lovecraft’s imagination is perfectly summed up here, and if you have a particular desire to gaze into the abyss and see ageless beings of pure malevolent horror staring back, then by all means step into the Portal. Me? I’m going to go and listen to Edguy until the screaming fades.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Abysmill, Heirships, Omnipotent Crawling Chaos, 13 Globes, Sourlows
Goat quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Portal that we have reviewed:
Portal - Vexovoid reviewed by Koeppe and quoted 75 / 100
Portal - Swarth reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
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