PORTAL

Technical Death Metal / Non-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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PORTAL Discography

PORTAL albums / top albums

PORTAL Seepia album cover 3.97 | 7 ratings
Seepia
Technical Death Metal 2003
PORTAL Outre' album cover 3.94 | 9 ratings
Outre'
Technical Death Metal 2007
PORTAL Swarth album cover 3.78 | 5 ratings
Swarth
Technical Death Metal 2009
PORTAL Vexovoid album cover 3.90 | 5 ratings
Vexovoid
Technical Death Metal 2013
PORTAL Ion album cover 4.15 | 6 ratings
Ion
Technical Death Metal 2018
PORTAL Avow album cover 4.00 | 4 ratings
Avow
Technical Death Metal 2021
PORTAL Hagbulbia album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Hagbulbia
Non-Metal 2021

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 Outre'

Album · 2007 · Technical Death Metal
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Along with Gorguts, Australia’s PORTAL was one of the earliest avant-garde extreme metal bands that started to expand the ever evolving world of death metal into ever weirder, creepier and more surreal territories. Founded in 1994 in the city of Brisbane, PORTAL developed a kindred penchant with Gorguts in experimenting with extreme dissonance, eerie down-tuned rhythms and a completely unorthodox methodology of composing its musical flow. While Gorguts embraced the more technical aspects of death metal, PORTAL favored dark depressive atmospheres that took a cue from the world of black metal and dark ambient music. The band also curated a surreal persona which kept the members shrouded in anonymity. The band’s unusual stage costumes were inspired by 1920s silent films with the intent of steering the focus on the music itself which included musical themes steeped in Lovecraftian concepts such as Nyalathotep, Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth and Cthulhu.

While the band would release its first self-titled demo as early as 1998, it wouldn’t be until 2003 that PORTAL its first bonafide album “Seepia” hit the scene which showcased the band’s unique display of seamlessly merging the worlds of technical death metal with the atmospheric bleakness of black metal. Unconventional arrangements, eerie atmospheric backdrops and a bombastic explosive delivery of blitzkrieg instrumentation made “Seepia” stand out like a sore thumb in the world of death metal that had in many ways become more formulaic as it became more popular. While the debut delivered a thunderous display of avant-garde death metal wizardry, the band was not happy with the outcome citing that the desire to weave in the atmospheric elements was unsuccessful due to the incessant pummelation of the senses displayed by guitarist Horror Illogium, original bassist Werm and drum abuser Ignis Fatuus.

The band spent the next few years honing its craft with a couple EPs before unleashing its masterwork, OUTRE, a title that literally means bizarre, eccentric and freakishly bizarre. This sophomore album found PORTAL coming of age with a much more expansive approach that took the world of technical death metal even further down the avant-garde rabbit hole. By this time the band had expanded to a quintet fronted by the eccentric chief growler The Curator who freakishly donned an executioner’s mask. Aphotic Mote joined Horror Illogium as the second guitarist and likewise bassist Elsewhere and newbie drummer Monocular joined the PORTAL team to craft one of the most startlingly mondo bizarro death metal dominant albums that the early 2000s had to offer. While initially inspired by the likes of Morbid Angel, Beherit and Immolation, PORTAL had expanded its sound into a world all its own which was as dystopian and far removed from what many would deem traditional old school death metal as one could possibly fathom at this point.

OUTRE wastes no time establishing its atmospheric presence with the short dark ambient intro “Moil” which cedes to the dissonant noise ferocity of “Abysmill” by implementing the same aggressive bombast as “Seepia” but with more nuance. While “Seepia” was a blitzkrieg of excesses, OUTRE immediately establishes an immediate emphasis on crafting a streamlined horrorscape of sound that features a more controlled restraint. A concerted effort to give each instrument its own role is the biggest leap of ingenuity on OUTRE with slow creeping bass lines, snare drum repetition and twin guitar dualities including slow slinking moments closer to doom metal than the world of frenetic death metal. The album also offers dark ambient interludes that connect tracks and place them into a more logical cohesive context which allows the Lovecraftian themes to bask in their own marinated ebullience. While the focus on atmosphere may have been firmly established, OUTRE refused to jettison the bantering sonic onslaught of fast reckless guitar riffing and resolute devotion to adrenalized speed rushes.

The band also developed menacing guitar tones that coupled with noisy production values offered and even further detachment from conventional death metal techniques, a term that some have referred to as “caverncore.”. Even The Curator’s vocal growls defied death metal conventionalities and lay somewhere between the emphatic raspiness of avant-garde black metal bands like Deathspell Omega and the guttural growls that death metal enthusiasts had become accustomed to. Attention to slower oozing bleakness as the emphasis allowed the aggressive elements to offer a more intricate contrast which heightened the surreal soundscapes even further. The use of varying tempos and moments of sluggish vagrancy allowed the atmospheric constructs to pierce the din and cast an overall tension that “Seepia” lacked. The album finds oddball moments such as the 2 1/2 minute title track that escape the world of all established metal norms and features a noisy display of unnerving chaotic din only to be followed by the most aggressive moments on “13 Globes” which reprise the “Seepia” styled pummelation effect only dripping in compositional unconventionalities and atonal dissonant guitar assaults.

In all its aggressive dissonant din OUTRE proved revolutionary in crafting a strange new style of death metal based extremism that utilized the technical aspects and abrasiveness of the world of death metal and married it with the atmospheric potentials that the world of black metal offered. The album straddles a strange line between many strains of metal and even adopts some of the characteristic of war metal in a battle-like procession into strange Lovecraftian realities where everything familiar seems twisted, mangled and intangibly mutilated into unrecognizable yet discernible patterns of technical wizardry. OUTRE is the album that put PORTAL on the world’s stage and it has become one of those landmark moments that prognosticated an entirely new strain of dissonant death metal bands that would follow. In the 2020s this may not sound as extreme with bands like Ulcerate, Gigan, Pyrrhon and Ad Nauseam having followed the lead but back in 2007 when this was released it really did take extreme metal into some of the strangest places yet experienced. This one is a grower. It took me a while and many listening experiences to wrap my ahead around it but after several years of soaking it in, i have to say that is is a cream of the crop release in the world of avant-garde metal.

PORTAL Hagbulbia

Album · 2021 · Non-Metal
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PORTAL isn’t exactly the world’s most prolific metal band ranging from three to five years between releases but 2021 has produced a shocking surprise from this most unorthodox extreme and expeirmental metal act, namely this freaky noise making band from Brisbane, Australia has released two albums in one year! Well before you get too excited, that is if you get excited at all about one of the most obnoxiously atonal and dissonant tech extreme metal bands in the market, i have to break it to you that HAGBULBIA is not a proper album but rather a companion release of sort.

Many bands have released ambient and industrial albums under alter egos. Neurosis did it with the Tribes of Neurot albums, Burzum released entire albums of just dungeon synth and Ulver went one further by dropping its metal persona altogether and transmogrifying into an electronic experimental band completely. Whatever the case, this is really nothing out of the ordinary but i doubt anyone was expecting a wildly electric and eclectic band like PORTAL to go this route. Unlike some such albums released simultaneously with a more standard album, HAGBULBIA isn’t really one to be played with the primary album as it sounds completely independent in its own little world.

Basically what we have here is PORTAL’s chaotic ambient and atmospheric sound effects without the accompanying technical death metal. It’s the closest thing you get to naked and unstripped PORTAL as you can imagine and HAGBULBIA gives a bit of insight into the sound effects and production techniques that often are accompanied by the extreme metal which give it that hazed over atmospheric doom and gloom effect. Given that PORTAL’s music is basically a mix of chaos meets some sort of order albeit complex avant-garde order, HAGBULBIA features the chaotic side of the equation and is really nothing more than 38 minutes of dark ambient fueled blackened death industrial sounds with swirling and often gurgling motifs of swarming sonorities accompanied by what sounds like vocal gargling and eerie splashes, looped static serving as percussion and other scary sound effects.

There is really no rhyme or reason to this one as it is simply a length procession of dark and disturbing sounds that are tweaked to emulate the scariest sounds possible and if there was ever a perfect candidate for a soundtrack for a Halloween party or dungeon then this is probably it. There are very faint aspects of metal especially on the track “Weptune” where you can here a death metal guitar riff try to break free from the turbulent noise above it but it is quickly subdued and thus thrown back into its cage. Really, the whole thing sounds like a frequency war in the bowels of hell! The scant vocal utterances keep it all from sounding too pointless and subdued aspects of “regular” PORTAL albums seem to provide just enough support from beneath the surface to keep this existing in the PORTAL universe.

This one is probably too much for even hardcore PORTAL fans and i have to admit that this is not the PORTAL i signed up for but to be fair, as a creepy ambient industrial album that evokes death and disease and utter despair, this one is quite a nasty sounding beast and therefore it has me intrigued to say the least! While i don’t consider this form of “music” my main staple, as supplemental sound it does have its appeal and if you are one of the tiny few who finds PORTAL’s regularly scheduled program to be a bit tame (does anyone think that?!!) then this will take all those deranged atmospheric mind fucks to the next level. Disturbing and deranged, this really does hit the spot for the most manic and chaotic swarms of sound ever recorded and for that i kinda like it but for your own safety do not listen on a regular basis or else!

PORTAL Avow

Album · 2021 · Technical Death Metal
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PORTAL, the modern masters of technical death metal dementia return with the sixth studio album AVOW and collectively continues the explorations of an alternative musical universe that somehow defies musical orthodoxies by crafting a terrifying mix of speed of light extreme metal ferocity with some of the most unnerving dissonance and atmospheric gloom ever crafted. Just one look at the album cover art will give you a creepy feeling that you are about to be sonically assaulted in complete darkness like a poltergeist invasion flooding your consciousness with terrifying stimuli. A place where escape is futile and only incongruous swarms of sound exist in a systematic attack of the senses that will unnerve all but the boldest and bravest musical explorers. Yeah, baby! Bring it on, hehe!

Stylistically PORTAL has remained rather consistent in its razor-sharp tech death metal assaults laced with ominous atmospheres since it debuted with 2003’s “Seepia” but really focused heavily on the possibilities of unorthodox production processes and even more crazed compositional experimentation when the band really set things in motion with 2007’s “Outre.” AVOW looks back to “Outre" after flirting with elements of thrash metal and more straight forward death metal moments on albums like “Vexovoid” and “ION.” To be honest i’m a connoisseur of all these mind-blowing experimental approaches but i consider this psycho blend of tech death acumen with atmospheric creepery to be PORTAL’s specialty and in that regard AVOW does not disappoint one little bit and offers a return to form in that direction.

While AVOW arrives three years after the band’s previous efforts, the year 2021 actually sees not one but two new PORTAL releases. AVOW is accompanied by “Hagbulbia” which takes the most abrasive and terrifying aspects of the dark ambient, noise and death / black ambient elements and takes them to the limit only devoid of the metal elements which still dominate on AVOW. Like any reasonable band, PORTAL doesn’t deviate too far from the formula that got them noticed in the first place and there is nothing on AVOW that will either initiate new members to cult or scare established followers away. In many ways AVOW is actually sort of a retreat to the comfort zone of “Ouvre” which wasn’t carried on to the following “Swarth” but even though PORTAL retains the expected elements which make them who they are, the band still is careful to craft each album distinctly as not to sound like simple retreads.

No doubt about it that PORTAL is an acquired taste reserved only for the most adventurous musical explorers who crave the most outrageous qualities of avant-prog, dark ambient, extreme technical metal and atonally ominous emotional feedback. PORTAL wastes no time with the opening “Catalfalque” which sounds like a swarm of restless poltergeists hungry for warfare with pummeling blastbeasts, incessant dissonant guitar and bass riffs and dark, brooding and even claustrophobic vocal utterances from the one and only The Curator. While sounding like an amorphous army of demons sporadically spewing hate in a haphazard rampage, somehow the band manages to keep an avant-groove behind the scenes from allowing the entire thing to collapse in an insufferable heap.

It’s fairly difficult to convey what PORTAL sounds like in words. This is truly the soundtrack of nightmares and many make may claim that this isn’t even music as it’s pretty much taken every possible element of more popular forms of musical composure and has thrown them out the window and that even includes the world of established extreme metal genera. While tech death metal is the closest thing to a tag you can conjure up, PORTAL must be experienced in all its wriggling noisy mayhem as the band deftly walks that tightrope act between composition and pure chaos but few bands deliver the goods in such an utterly satisfying manner. Too extreme even for many extreme metal heads, PORTAL remains defiantly a darkened underground act that AVOW will not erase as there is absolutely nothing on board that would suggest that PORTAL is on the verge of selling out. This is sonic terror metal from beginning to end and the kind of stuff that scratches that itch when everything else just seems too predictable and for that i gladly take this journey into the noise metal dimension.

PORTAL The Sweyy

EP · 2004 · Technical Death Metal
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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
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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.

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