Portal - Vexovoid
Profound Lore Records
Experimental Death Metal
7 songs (35:03)
Release year: 2013
Portal, Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Koeppe

What is this sound that I am being subjected to? No, I’m no longer shocked by Portal’s shtick; I’m much too de-sensitized for that. Instead, this album bewilders me not through its atmosphere, but from the fact that it seems as if they have almost tried to write songs, not swarms. Well, maybe not quite, but this album seems more comfortable being crazy technical death metal rather than the sickeningly stifling ochestration that we have come to expect. For the uninitiated, though, this album will be an affront to your senses as their past albums were to the followers of these guys. Or gals. Or demons. Hard to tell with those damn hoods they wear on stage.

The album begins with Kilter and an opening drum pace that can’t help but remind me of SYL’s Skeksis. Those drums coupled with a palm-muted riff right out of a Hitchcock film is how the track opens up before entering into a spiral of tension-building and drops, broken up with bass chords that sound as if the bottom dropped out of the earth. And that was just the beginning. It seems as if the act has turned the chaos knob down from eleven to about nine, but that doesn’t mean the winding riffs can’t turn your stomach upside down, leaving you literally queasy in your seat. This is no Swarth, but it leaves you on the edge of your seat as each song seems to flow from the other; the oppressiveness of the music is no longer from the sonic brutality, but instead develops as you go down the rabbit hole with no exit in sight.

Their use of tremolo riffs to make death metal always reminded me of the dissonance of Deathspell Omega riffs, having a low-tuned twang that is simply unsettling, and this album’s predilection towards the construction of songs encourages that comparison. The repetition of the tremolo riffs drag the listener into the muck and smother them there; the album never has a break that relieves tension, only stalling to further build up anxiety. That’s why when Curtain nearly drops into a doom pace, it only leaves you anticipating with fright as to what they are going to do next. The closing drone of Awyreon truly gives you the chills. Despite the sheer weight of those chords, they’re the only relief for your ears before the whirring kicks up again. Those notes that drone bands use to challenge their listeners are the lighter moments on a Portal album. The second half of the album drops off in intensity comparatively speaking, seeming to rely on discordant noise rather than brazen intensity.

If you opt to succumb to the dissonance that these Aussie fucks create and challenge their listeners with, then be prepared: if you gaze into the abyss, it might just pull your ass in.

Killing Songs :
Kilter, Awryeon
Koeppe quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Portal that we have reviewed:
Portal - Hagbulbia reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Portal - Avow reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Portal - ION reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Portal - Swarth reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
Portal - Outre' reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 10 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:36 pm
View and Post comments