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Portal Seepia album cover
3.89 | 17 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Glumurphonel (5:08)
2. Vessel of Balon (2:43)
3. Tempus Fugit (4:21)
4. Sunken (3:13)
5. Atmosblisters (4:13)
6. Transcending a Mere Multiverse (3:05)
7. Antiquate (2:45)
8. The EndMills (6:42)

Total Time 32:10

Line-up / Musicians

- The Curator / vocals
- Horror Illogium / lead guitar
- Aphotic Mote / rhythm guitar
- Werm / bass
- Mephitic / drums

Releases information

Full-length, Black Talon Media

Thanks to J-Man for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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PORTAL Seepia ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(59%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

PORTAL Seepia reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog Sothoth
4 stars 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 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.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "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. Itīs fast, itīs 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 (Iīm 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. Itīs 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. Itīs 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.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars 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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