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Portal - Seepia CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.87 | 14 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
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.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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