PORTAL

Technical Death Metal • Australia
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Portal are a technical and experimental death metal band hailing from Brisbane, Australia. Formed in 1994, Portal has forged a path in the minds of many metal fans with crushingly heavy, complex and obscure death metal. Portal is not a band for the faint of heart, this is true, raw death metal, complete with gut-wrenching vocals and obscure lyrics shrowded in abstract horror and the occult. The difference between many death metal bands and Portal is that the band mixes complex and experimental concepts, in the creation of a truly heavy and creeping sound. Listening to Portal is a truly unnerving and yet compelling experience. Complementing the suffocating noise, Portal are known for their elaborate live visual elements as well, mixing Industrial era melancholy with dark nightmarish imagery - like a horror film in an old antique shop.

( Biography originally written for Prog Archives by Any Colour You Like)
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Thanks to UMUR for the addition and graphix, Wilytank, tupan, Nightfly for the updates

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IonIon
Profound Lore 2018
$19.49
$18.00 (used)
SeepiaSeepia
Osmose Productions 2008
$12.70
$14.16 (used)
Outre'Outre'
Profound Lore 2007
$17.98
$11.95 (used)
SwarthSwarth
Profound Lore 2009
$13.52
$13.18 (used)
VexovoidVexovoid
Profound Lore 2013
$99.61 (used)
Blood Red TapeBlood Red Tape
CD Baby 2016
$9.99
$5.96 (used)
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Lingua Lustra - Portal [New CD] Lingua Lustra - Portal [New CD] USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3h
PORTAL RARE VEXOVOID BLUE BLACK MARBLE + ION GOLD COLOR AVANT GARDE DEATH METAL PORTAL RARE VEXOVOID BLUE BLACK MARBLE + ION GOLD COLOR AVANT GARDE DEATH METAL USD $45.33 Buy It Now 4h
KULT MOGIL Anxiety Descending CD Portal Dead Congregation Bölzer Cruciamentum KULT MOGIL Anxiety Descending CD Portal Dead Congregation Bölzer Cruciamentum USD $7.55 Buy It Now 5h
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Poulenc: Chamber Music Francis Poulenc, Michel Portal, Amaury Wallez, Patrick G Poulenc: Chamber Music Francis Poulenc, Michel Portal, Amaury Wallez, Patrick G USD $4.29 Buy It Now 10h
CHAOS ECHOES tank top T size S, one-off design (bloody sign, portal) CHAOS ECHOES tank top T size S, one-off design (bloody sign, portal) USD $9.99 (0 bids)
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CHAOS ECHOES T-shirt size M (bloody sign, godflesh, portal, disembowelment) CHAOS ECHOES T-shirt size M (bloody sign, godflesh, portal, disembowelment) USD $6.66 (0 bids)
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Brahms,Brahms,Causse,Brahms,Brahms,Causse,Portal,Brahms,Brahms,Causse,Brahms,Bra Brahms,Brahms,Causse,Brahms,Brahms,Causse,Portal,Brahms,Brahms,Causse,Brahms,Bra USD $3.99 Buy It Now 14h
Original Game Soundtrack - Portal 2: Songs to Test By (4 Disc Collectors) CD NEW Original Game Soundtrack - Portal 2: Songs to Test By (4 Disc Collectors) CD NEW USD $27.99 Buy It Now 17h
DEATHSPELL OMEGA The Synarchy Of Molten Bones DIGIPAK ULCERATE GORGUTS PORTAL DEATHSPELL OMEGA The Synarchy Of Molten Bones DIGIPAK ULCERATE GORGUTS PORTAL USD $12.00 Buy It Now 18h
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PORTAL (AUSTRALIA) - ION USED - VERY GOOD CD PORTAL (AUSTRALIA) - ION USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $11.70 Buy It Now 22h
THE OMINOUS CIRCLE Appalling Ascension 2LP death metal dead congregation portal THE OMINOUS CIRCLE Appalling Ascension 2LP death metal dead congregation portal USD $24.99 Buy It Now 23h
PORTAL (AUSTRALIA) - ION NEW CD PORTAL (AUSTRALIA) - ION NEW CD USD $15.92 Buy It Now 1 day
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Portal Game OST Soundtrack Vinyl Mondo Con Exclusive Limited Blue Orange Valve Portal Game OST Soundtrack Vinyl Mondo Con Exclusive Limited Blue Orange Valve USD $49.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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PORTAL / RITES OF THY DEGRINGOLADE PORTAL / RITES OF THY DEGRINGOLADE "Split" CD diocletian negative plane USD $14.22 Buy It Now 2 days
PAROXSIHZEM PAROXSIHZEM "S/T" LP portal cobalt diocletian USD $18.10 Buy It Now 2 days
CHAOS ECHOES CHAOS ECHOES "Parisian Sessions / Rehearsal I" LP teitanblood portal USD $19.39 Buy It Now 2 days
SCYHIAN SCYHIAN "Hubris In Excelsis" CD *NEW* spearhead portal USD $12.93 Buy It Now 2 days
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ABYSSAL ABYSSAL "Antikatastaseis" 2 X LP portal cruciamentum leviathan USD $25.86 Buy It Now 2 days
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New South Wales Machine : Jamming at the Portal: Retrospective 200 CD New South Wales Machine : Jamming at the Portal: Retrospective 200 CD USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2 days
STU 71159 Brahms Trio For Violin Horn & Piano Dalberto Lodeon Del Vescovo Portal STU 71159 Brahms Trio For Violin Horn & Piano Dalberto Lodeon Del Vescovo Portal USD $12.91 Buy It Now 2 days
Various Artists Portal 2: Songs To Test By 4 CD NEW sealed Various Artists Portal 2: Songs To Test By 4 CD NEW sealed USD $30.68 Buy It Now 2 days
BAD RELIGION The Riot Caught Live at El Portal 1990 DVD   SirH70 BAD RELIGION The Riot Caught Live at El Portal 1990 DVD SirH70 USD $7.10 Buy It Now 2 days
East Portal Express (CD Used Very Good) East Portal Express (CD Used Very Good) USD $14.70 Buy It Now 3 days
Time Portal Various Artists CD Time Portal Various Artists CD USD $30.77 Buy It Now 3 days
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QUATUOR EBENE MICHEL PORTAL-ETERNAL STORIES  CD NEW QUATUOR EBENE MICHEL PORTAL-ETERNAL STORIES CD NEW USD $39.92 Buy It Now 3 days
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CELLPHONES siempre in my portal SINGLE VINYL 7 CELLPHONES siempre in my portal SINGLE VINYL 7" SPAIN PROMO 45 WEA 1987 USD $10.73 Buy It Now 3 days
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Brookes Brothers-Portal/Desert Island-W10 Recordings-Rare Drum & Bass Vinyl Brookes Brothers-Portal/Desert Island-W10 Recordings-Rare Drum & Bass Vinyl USD $21.96 Buy It Now 3 days
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Various Artists, Mik - Portal 2: Songs to Test By (Original Soundtrack) [New CD] Various Artists, Mik - Portal 2: Songs to Test By (Original Soundtrack) [New CD] USD $19.64 Buy It Now 4 days
MONDO PORTAL SOUNDTRACK BLUE ORANGE SPLIT VINYL 12 MONDO PORTAL SOUNDTRACK BLUE ORANGE SPLIT VINYL 12" LP NEW SEALED USD $79.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Insect Ark - Portal/Well (CD Used Like New) Insect Ark - Portal/Well (CD Used Like New) USD $14.70 Buy It Now 4 days
Gene Sequence / Portal 12in Kemal + Rob Data 2001 Vinyl 15301 Gene Sequence / Portal 12in Kemal + Rob Data 2001 Vinyl 15301 USD $15.75 Buy It Now 4 days
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The New South Wales - Jamming at the Portal: Retrospective 2000-2006 [New CD] The New South Wales - Jamming at the Portal: Retrospective 2000-2006 [New CD] USD $14.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Alexander Tucker - Portal (CD Used Very Good) Alexander Tucker - Portal (CD Used Very Good) USD $15.12 Buy It Now 4 days
IRKALLIAN ORACLE-GRAVE EKSTASIS-CD-death-black-portal-impetuous ritual-abyssal IRKALLIAN ORACLE-GRAVE EKSTASIS-CD-death-black-portal-impetuous ritual-abyssal USD $14.24 Buy It Now 4 days
QUATUOR EBENE.MICHEL PORTAL-ETERNAL STORIES-JAPAN CD F83 QUATUOR EBENE.MICHEL PORTAL-ETERNAL STORIES-JAPAN CD F83 USD $28.99 Buy It Now 4 days
PORTAL, AMOYAL, LODEON - BRAHMS trios op.40 & op.114  ERATO LP EX+ PORTAL, AMOYAL, LODEON - BRAHMS trios op.40 & op.114 ERATO LP EX+ USD $10.80 Buy It Now 4 days
ABSU 2014 Australian Tour Poster A3 PORTAL DENOUNCEMENT PYRE Abzu Tara ***NEW*** ABSU 2014 Australian Tour Poster A3 PORTAL DENOUNCEMENT PYRE Abzu Tara ***NEW*** USD $15.66 Buy It Now 4 days
INFERNAL COIL TAPE IMPETUOUS RITUAL PORTAL BLOOD INCANTATION UNDERGANG BOLZER INFERNAL COIL TAPE IMPETUOUS RITUAL PORTAL BLOOD INCANTATION UNDERGANG BOLZER USD $11.00 Buy It Now 4 days
INFERNAL COIL TAPE IMPETUOUS RITUAL PORTAL BLOOD INCANTATION UNDERGANG BOLZER INFERNAL COIL TAPE IMPETUOUS RITUAL PORTAL BLOOD INCANTATION UNDERGANG BOLZER USD $11.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Vives - Dona Francisquita / Domingo, Arteta, Mirabal, Del Portal, C. NEW Vives - Dona Francisquita / Domingo, Arteta, Mirabal, Del Portal, C. NEW USD $28.49 Buy It Now 4 days
Fairley Holden 612-a Port To Portal Pay Fairley Holden 612-a Port To Portal Pay USD $4.60 (0 bids)
5 days
Alta Tensão – Portal do Inferno CD Alta Tensão – Portal do Inferno CD USD $11.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Portal - Swarth [New CD] Portal - Swarth [New CD] USD $15.27 Buy It Now 5 days
PORTAL / RITES OF THE DEGRINGOLADE Split BROWN LP LTD Deathspell Omega Gorguts PORTAL / RITES OF THE DEGRINGOLADE Split BROWN LP LTD Deathspell Omega Gorguts USD $14.99 (0 bids)
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Portal 2: Songs to Test By Original Soundtrack Audio CD Portal 2: Songs to Test By Original Soundtrack Audio CD USD $26.51 Buy It Now 5 days
Portal  ‎– Seepia LP BLACK VINYL TEST PRESSING #7/10 Hells Headbangers Portal ‎– Seepia LP BLACK VINYL TEST PRESSING #7/10 Hells Headbangers USD $45.00 Buy It Now 5 days
PORTAL - Ion LP - Black Vinyl - Death Metal - NEW COPY - Fancy - Album + Poster PORTAL - Ion LP - Black Vinyl - Death Metal - NEW COPY - Fancy - Album + Poster USD $24.99 Buy It Now 5 days
The Portal Tapes Cynic Audio CD The Portal Tapes Cynic Audio CD USD $32.23 Buy It Now 5 days
Drought by Deathspell Omega Rare Mgla Gorguts Emperor Portal Aosoth Drought by Deathspell Omega Rare Mgla Gorguts Emperor Portal Aosoth USD $6.66 (0 bids)
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MIKE MORASKY/APERTURE SCIENCE PSYCHOACOUSTIC LABORATORIES - PORTAL 2: SONGS TO T MIKE MORASKY/APERTURE SCIENCE PSYCHOACOUSTIC LABORATORIES - PORTAL 2: SONGS TO T USD $19.63 Buy It Now 5 days
MONGREL'S CROSS sins of Aquarius CD sadistik exekution portal grave upheaval MONGREL'S CROSS sins of Aquarius CD sadistik exekution portal grave upheaval USD $6.45 (0 bids)
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PORTAL Seepia GATEFOLD LP PORTAL Seepia GATEFOLD LP USD $16.00 Buy It Now 5 days
PORTAL Swarth DOUBLE GATEFOLD LP PORTAL Swarth DOUBLE GATEFOLD LP USD $20.00 Buy It Now 5 days
MICHEL PORTAL & MASSON BOULEZ DOMAINES BASF HARMONIA MUNDI ED.1 STEREO NM MICHEL PORTAL & MASSON BOULEZ DOMAINES BASF HARMONIA MUNDI ED.1 STEREO NM USD $14.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Obscene Eulogy - A Portal Into Fire [CD] Obscene Eulogy - A Portal Into Fire [CD] USD $8.96 Buy It Now 5 days
Deardorf/Peterson Group - Portal - Deardorf/Peterson Group CD RMVG The Fast Free Deardorf/Peterson Group - Portal - Deardorf/Peterson Group CD RMVG The Fast Free USD $18.49 Buy It Now 5 days
THE MELOS QUARTET- BRAHMS Quintettes Op 111 & 115 Gerard Causs/Michael Portal CD THE MELOS QUARTET- BRAHMS Quintettes Op 111 & 115 Gerard Causs/Michael Portal CD USD $2.22 Buy It Now 6 days
Fragments Of Unbecom-Perdition Portal (UK IMPORT) CD NEW Fragments Of Unbecom-Perdition Portal (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $14.27 Buy It Now 6 days
 Schengen ‎– Schengen | Portal | Innerise | Weyland  CD QUALITY CHECKED Schengen ‎– Schengen | Portal | Innerise | Weyland CD QUALITY CHECKED USD $5.16 Buy It Now 6 days
Fragments Of Unbecom-Perdition Portal (UK IMPORT) VINYL NEW Fragments Of Unbecom-Perdition Portal (UK IMPORT) VINYL NEW USD $23.69 Buy It Now 6 days
Fragments Of Unbecom-Perdition Portal (UK IMPORT) CD NEW Fragments Of Unbecom-Perdition Portal (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $12.99 Buy It Now 6 days
BEASTMASTER II THROUGH THE PORTAL OF TIM BEASTMASTER II THROUGH THE PORTAL OF TIM USD $17.89 Buy It Now 6 days
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PORTAL Discography

PORTAL albums / top albums

PORTAL Seepia album cover 3.97 | 6 ratings
Seepia
Technical Death Metal 2003
PORTAL Outre' album cover 3.50 | 5 ratings
Outre'
Technical Death Metal 2007
PORTAL Swarth album cover 3.62 | 4 ratings
Swarth
Technical Death Metal 2009
PORTAL Vexovoid album cover 3.75 | 4 ratings
Vexovoid
Technical Death Metal 2013
PORTAL Ion album cover 4.21 | 3 ratings
Ion
Technical Death Metal 2018

PORTAL EPs & splits

PORTAL The End Mills album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The End Mills
Technical Death Metal 2002
PORTAL Our Dreadfull Sphere / The Sweyy album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Our Dreadfull Sphere / The Sweyy
Technical Death Metal 2002
PORTAL The Sweyy album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
The Sweyy
Technical Death Metal 2004
PORTAL Portal / Blood of Kingu album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Portal / Blood of Kingu
Technical Death Metal 2014

PORTAL live albums

PORTAL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

PORTAL Portal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Portal
Technical Death Metal 1998
PORTAL Lurker At The Threshold album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lurker At The Threshold
Technical Death Metal 2006

PORTAL re-issues & compilations

PORTAL singles (0)

PORTAL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

PORTAL Reviews

PORTAL The Sweyy

EP · 2004 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
THE SWEYY is an EP released by PORTAL between their debut “Seepia” and their second album “Outré” that was limited to a mere 150 copies on CDs.

This EP contains 5 tracks, 3 new studio tracks, 2 of which (“Werships” and the title track) would be reworked and appear on the third album “Swarth.”

The last 2 tracks are live performances from the Bloodlust III Festival in 2003. Both “Atmoblisters” and “Transcending A Mere Multiverse” were taken from the debut album “Seepia.”

The studio tracks of the EP would also find their way onto a split with the band Rites Of Thy Degringolade titled “The Sweyy / Our Dreadful Spire.”

The only track that never would appear elsewhere in any form is “Doors.”

The studio tracks continue the same brutal and technical blackened death metal submerged in a dark ambient atmosphere and comes off as some of the most surreal tech death metal to be experienced, however the riffs are slowed down a bit from “Seepia” and don’t sound as chaotic. These are clearly easier to follow than the unrelenting bantering and jagged zigzagging delivery of the debut.

The live tracks display the band in a reverberant concert setting which shows an adaptation of the surreal extreme metal quite well to perform in front of a audience. Absent are the ethereal and otherworldly production effects that exude dark ambient doom and gloom but on the metal side of the equation they deliver the bizarre formless compositions exquisitely without missing a beat. Only the audience screams at the end reveal a live setting.

This is one of those that’s interesting to experience but not particularly essential either since nothing on here is better than the studio albums that sandwich it. Well worth a listen or two for fans as it’s played quite well and offers an insight into another dimension of the band’s music but hardly a must-have.

PORTAL Seepia

Album · 2003 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
PORTAL emerged from the land down under back in the early naughts and has become one of the underground extreme metal’s most celebrated disturbers of the peace (and sanity) ever since they released their debut album SEEPIA back in 2003. These masked musical miscreants and lovers of all things Lovecraftian deliver an angsty approach to horror filled lyricism dressed up in some of the most disturbingly caustic metal music imaginable. They also perform live as deranged Victorian space age cowboys. Now how’s that for disturbing?

While following in the steps of bands like Gorguts and Morbid Angel, musically speaking, these guys take the distorted guitar riffing of death metal, black metal lo-fi production and turn them into experimental formless rhythms that ebb and flow like a Salvador Dalí painting exploding into a million pieces not to mention the bizarre dark ambient segments that begin each track as they melt your mind before pummeling it with bombastic bantering bliss.

With a name like PORTAL, one can expect a type of sound that transports you far away into interdimensional hyperdrive, like a wormhole inside a jackhammer that sounds as if a tsunami has devastated an electrical plant and all that remains are hissing sizzling live wire cables flailing around like freshly decapitated chickens on a poultry farm. One can hardly find music so off-kilter that’s it’s practically impossible for the non-initiated to grasp any bearings whatsoever.

Yes, this will surely come of as the most chaotic of noise for even lovers of melodic death metal. This “music” is a formless, chaotic glob of intensity that wriggles around at speeds so dizzying that one could easily lose one’s soul in the process. This is the kind of musical madness that is designed to overwhelm the senses, to suffocate the soul, to reign terror and destruction into the hearts of mankind and ultimately succeeds profusely.

SEEPIA is utterly brilliant in how it takes protoplasm shaped dark ambient sounds that struggle to remain stationary as they pulsate and melt into oblivion only to be replaced by the pyrotechnic bombast of the swirling undulation of death metal pummelation. The sole exception to this formula is the completely dark ambient “Antiquate” which preludes the entirely tech death finale “The EndMills.”

PORTAL devilishly portended an entirely new slice of tech death metal in 2003 with SEEPIA as they effortlessly amalgamated the most surreal aspects of dark ambient and applied them to an extreme metal context. While bands like Esoteric tread similar arenas in the context of funeral doom metal, PORTAL provided the proper entry into the quickened and unforgiving alienating worlds of psychotically derived death metal taken into wildly psychedelic and insanely unnerving worlds. This is a short album just short of 32 minutes.

While criticized for what some deem a lackluster production, the band has stated that this very production is what allows the effervescence of the swirls of sound to all emerge from the volcanic explosive underbelly of the beast. If the metal were catapulted into the forefront, all the freakiness would be buried beneath the din. The production is quite unique and most evokes the raw and primeval aspects of underground metal. If surreal extreme metal is what you’re craving, then PORTAL will help you drift off into unimaginable worlds where absolutely nothing is what you expect it be, except perhaps disturbing.

PORTAL Ion

Album · 2018 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
The stygian band PORTAL has emerged from its secret Australian outpost after a five year gap following their previous release “Vexovoid” (which ironically has already spawned a new band with that name). Following in the footsteps of their extreme surreality that some call avant-garde blackened death metal comes the followup ION which continues the brash brutality fix that they have been known for since the beginning. While their influences may have emerged from Morbid Angel, Beherit and Immolation, PORTAL have long since found their own comfort zone of death metal reality to call their own by becoming one with a parallel musical reality that sounds as if they are somehow trapped between a hyperdrive dimensional shift and in the process something went really, really wrong. Drowned in darkness and delivered in dense undulating waves of sonic fury, ION finds PORTAL churning out their most frenetic and brutal release to date.

As the intro track “Nth” slinks into existence as if a subtle hazy brume has wafted into your room, the ghostly fortifications of muffled tortured screams emulate with backmasked effects creating a dark ambient horrorshow soundtrack and thus insinuating a return to the impenetrable layers of atmospheric darkness that had created their wickedly new realm for extreme tech death metal. However, as the first blistering notes of “ESP ION AGE” rage into the scene, we are confronted with a new interdimensional rage and fury usually reserved for only the most brutal of death metal beasts more often heard in bands like Suffocation, however the angular nature and complete detachment from traditional old school standards allows a sepulchral wall of sound that allows each wailing formless riff to pierce the soul like a dagger flaying a adrenaline fueled beating heart. Add the pummeling relentless percussive overdrive with groaning guttural growls and the divinity of chaos has been reached.

The name ION is a fitting title if you know chemistry. An ION is an atom or a molecule with a non-zero net electrical charge, meaning it is either positive or negative and very susceptible to energy changes thus creating a potential for massive instability. As such PORTAL have constructed the perfect soundtrack for a state of energy easily activated by entropic changes and thus erratic and unpredictable shifts in magnetic fields. The noises emerging from the freneticism of the guitar, bass and drums are tantamount to the ionizing effect of a built up electrical charge bolting down from the thundering skies above with pulverizing consequences for any hapless atoms in the line of fire. PORTAL simulates the same sort of lightning bolt reality with jagged undulating waves of sound that capture brutal metal instrumentation in flux with atmospheric dungeony bleakness.

PORTAL remains an enigmatic and mysterious beast. Graced with faced masks and alter egos (such as The Curator on vocals and Horror Illogium on lead guitar), the band more than lives up to this alienating image with the brutal angularity and interdimensional avant-garde compositional constructs of ION. Once the dark ambient intro cedes into the frenetic chaotic metal meltdown the album remains relentless in its caustic between-realities surrealism that culminates in the harsh noise sonic terrorism of the instrumental “Spores” and then after one more shovel in the face with “Phathom” ends the album with the psychically damaging metaphysical dark ambient horror theme outro of “Old Guarde.”

While many tech death bands try to deliver the goods by creating sonic impressions of otherworldly atmospheres and moods, nobody does it quite like PORTAL. Perhaps the strange landscapes of their land down under have given them an alternative view on reality where their angular riffs shape shift like restless sands in the great deserts that cover most of their homeland. Whatever the case, PORTAL have perfected their sonic surrealistic terrorism with nine undulating tracks that despite sounding like no other band, remain utterly distinct from each other as one seemingly formless riff frenzy somehow ekes out a series of recognizable patterns that barely allow it to be classified as music as if the band are in the process of creating a whole new grammatical paradigm for death metal. One that the listener learn this new diabolical language and lexicon before being admitted to the club. Yes, this is an acquired taste reserved for only the seekers of the most technical sort of earache music possible, but if that’s what you crave, PORTAL delivers like a charm.

PORTAL Seepia

Album · 2003 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Seepia" is the debut full-length studio album by Australian death metal act Portal. The album was released through Blacktalon Media in November 2003. Portal have made quite the name for themselves in the extreme metal underground during their existence as a band and already this early on in their career their abstract horror/occult concept and theatrical live performances (the band perform wearing costumes) were fully developed. The same can be said about their unique approach to playing death metal. They obviously had a fully developed conceptual plan from the get go and followed it.

Portal play an incredibly dense, almost suffocating, murky, dissonant and experimental form of death metal. It´s fast, it´s brutal, murky and dark, but from there most "conventional" ideas of how death metal should sound are thrown out the window. The tracks feature unconventional structures, the riffs are twisted, distorted and dissonant and the unintelligible growling vocals are placed low in the mix. The album features a sound, that to the untrained ear, might sound like utter chaos and dissonant noise, but upon closer examination is meticulously crafted. I guess a more experimental and dissonant sounding Incantation could be mentioned as a reference, but "Seepia" is overall quite unique sounding. The abstract/occult horror atmosphere (I´m thinking a more abstract and beastly H.P. Lovecraft) provides the album with a little extra too.

If words like experimental, odd, abstract, dissonant, intense, murky, uncompromising and chaotic spark your interest, "Seepia" is the kind of album that applies to those words. Portal skillfully weave the meaning behind the above mentioned words into their own unique take on death metal. It´s not an easy listening experience and upon initial listens it might come off as uninviting, but "Seepia" grow upon repeated listens and I dare say I have even discovered hooks in the music over time. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved. It´s nice to hear that there are still artists able to challenge the rather strict conventions of death metal and thereby helping the style to expand.

PORTAL Seepia

Album · 2003 · Technical Death Metal
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Yog Sothoth
I can safely say that none of these songs will ever be used in a Volvo or a Gap television ad. If you're not a death metal fan, this is actually a good album to own if for no other reason than to play it to certain death metal fans just to hear them say things about the music that you and most of the world say concerning death metal in general. To say this album is a difficult listen is like saying Victoria Beckham is a velociraptor in disguise. That's just how it is. This may be one of the most entertaining extreme albums I've ever heard. The overall impression one would get from a first listen would be a swirling miasma of unusual and brutal chaos interspersed with morbid creepy ambience. It has all the elements of death metal: distorted down-tuned guitars, bass, a drummer on speed, cocaine and Turkish espresso, and guttural roars for vocals. Thing is, what Portal does with these blueprints is throw them all in a nuclear blender, stir in a darker sense of atmosphere and a few spoonfuls of gloomy soundscapes, and carefully pour the results into eight wine glasses. The result is Seepia. It's delicious to the few and the proud, and a great way to clear the house of unwanted guests. It's also quite technical without being a blatant showcase of virtuosity due to the chaotic wall of sound, and it's even further removed from grindcore than death metal, although there's maybe a bit of black metal seeping through on a purely aesthetic level. The lyrics, when actually read, veer towards the Lovecraftian in nature, which adds to the final package.

The production here is a notable factor that personally elevates this album above their other efforts. The music is ridiculously chaotic, but thanks to the lack of reverb on the guitar tracks, there are plenty of instances where the horrifyingly bizarre and fast melodies rear their mottled heads to fry the brains of the listener. When the guitars do play chords on the heavier strings, they are so down-tuned they sometimes sound like a school of sharks devouring Captain Crunch (the cereal and the pirate). At other times, lower chords are dismissed in favor of weird atonal high note patterns and tremolo riffing. "Transcending a Mere Multiverse" has a multitude of decipherable musical moments showcasing the dual guitars playing some of the weirdest note patterns in sync that I've heard, even on an avant garde scale. There are no pretty arpeggios to be found anywhere near this creation. "Vessel" of Balon is notable since it's the only track to even remotely flirt with more conventional death metal, if briefly near the song's end.

The vocals aren't completely buried in the mix, and when occasional outbursts are accented with a liberal dousing of reverb, the effect is monstrous. The opening track utilizes reverb to maximum effect. The rhythm section is where these tracks are barely held together with the drummer pummeling away in a precise manner. Occasionally he'll do some odd things like accentuate certain "riffs" with high tom rolls and slow down the pace in a gradual fashion before lurching into some crazed blasting or stopping altogether. Nothing is really predictable, even the promise of extreme noise in every track since one of the numbers is basically morbid ambience. The ending of the last track is particularly unsettling as the music morphs into some weird soundscape of horror music and looped samples warped to levels by the mixing board that offer an effect of being sucked into a vortex. Fun stuff.

I enjoyed this album a great deal, even though a part of me says it's not wise to find pleasure in this piece of music. The band name is apt, since hearing Seepia is like being hurled through a portal to a terrain where music is played "wrong" yet sounds so "right". The Old Ones would boogie to this.

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