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Band Name Portal (AUS)
Album Name Vexovoid
Type Album
Data de aparición 19 Febrero 2013
Estilo MusicalAtmospheric Death
Miembros poseen este álbum50


1. Kilter 05:46
2. The Back Wards 04:16
3. Curtain 06:57
4. Plasm 05:47
5. Awryeon 04:21
6. Orbmorphia 02:40
7. Oblotten 05:16
Total playing time 35:03

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Crónica @ VesselsOfBlood

24 Marzo 2013

Dismal Death Metal

The fittingly named quintet Portal is certainly a bleak giant in the face of the world of metal. Established back in 1994 from Brisbane, Australia, this band has gained a rather large following for their murky tunes of blackened and atmospheric death metal. Over the years, they released a fair number of EPs and demos, along with their 2003 debut full-length “Seepia,” until they were signed to Canadian label Profound Lore Records, where metallic marvels such as Agalloch, Mitochondrion, and Disma are signed. Afterwards, 2007 saw the release of the band’s second full-length album “Outre,” and later their third installment entitled “Swarth” in 2009. Through all this time, many fans have been drawn to the darkness this band has had to offer with sludgy and raw death metal bludgeon, and, subsequently, has led to Portal unleashing their fourth full-length beast in 2013, appropriately named “Vexovoid,” bearing seven tracks and lasting 35 minutes to ensnare its victims and drag them into the suffocating abyss.

As always, the musicianship is somewhat bizarre, but great nonetheless. The vocals are composed of brutal and frigid growls and snarls, credits to The Curator. They are half-faded into the thick fabric of the rest of the soundtrack and the instrumentation, which supplement “Vexovoid” therefore with a cryptic tone. The guitars perform muddy and aphotic riffs that add further to the dark, echoing, and thick atmospheres that this album succeeds in conjuring. Although, on occasion, they do tend to sound a little too muddy and are hard to digest or hear for full enjoyment, they do a wondrous job in invoking horror and tinges of ominous ambience among the senses. The drums assist in the hypnotizing sounds of the vocals and guitars, complete with fiery blast beats. The sound production make the vocals and instruments sound sludgy and dark, and, although there are times when it causes the tracks to sound a tad inaudible, it works in making the majority of this album haunting and unwavering in its violence. Overall, the musicianship and production play their parts generally well in this dark release.

If you have enjoyed Portal’s earlier releases over the years, there is a very high chance you will enjoy the sounds and musical concepts of this follow-up album. “Vexovoid” contains raw, blackened death metal that intends to hypnotize and engulf its listeners with thick ambience and creeping atmospheres. For the most part, the album hits this target well. The structures are oddly built, and it certainly makes the music quite unpredictable and allows for more room for some nice surprises. What helps reach this complexity to further heights is the overall atmosphere of the record, with the murky and pummeling production giving the tracks a cryptically brutal feel to it. As stated earlier, though, there are moments woefully peppered throughout “Vexovoid” where this muddiness does not do well in turning in the band’s favor, since it causes some parts to be rather difficult to make out and makes it appear that the group chooses volume over actual substance and versatility. Nonetheless, aside from that shortcoming, the thickness of the sound plays out like clockwork in making the album both obscure and brutally captivating. Accompanied by great musicianship, the record’s bludgeoning death metal formula does nicely in entrapping its audience in its sludgy assault.

As well as the haunting music itself, the lyrics are also very odd yet haunting in their concepts and manner in which they are written, along with the artwork. While a portion of them are written in English, the other half of them are written in Latin, along with perhaps a few other different languages. They also appear to not form any actual sentences or phrases, and are instead expressed in rather terse and mysterious lines that add up into some abstract lyrical passages. These passages are somewhat ritualistic in how they’re structured and written out, and the end result is fittingly strange lyrics for very bizarre yet deathly metal, and The Curator’s growls project the cryptic nature. The grotesque album artwork does a spectacular job in showcasing the band’s sound, being both haunting and bizarre. As a whole, both the lyrics and the artwork are well executed in how they are written and drawn out, respectively.

“Vexovoid” turned out to be a very solid death metal release. The musicianship is nothing short of stellar, the production is nicely sludgy and heavy, the blackened and atmospheric death metal is greatly planned out and executed, and the lyrics and artwork help in making the album all the more cryptic and unsettlingly powerful. Even though, once again, the muddiness does tend to be a bit of a burden on the total enjoyment of the release, but luckily, that’s the only true flaw that lurks in this album’s shadow. The songs are oddly structured, and therefore make it hard to pinpoint what will occur next in the band’s bludgeon, and they are overall quite captivating in their listen. As stated earlier, old, loyal fans of Portal will find nothing to disappoint them, and they are highly recommended to return to the band’s realm through this fine release, and any fan of raw, thunderous, and fearfully dark death metal will certainly want to try this album out. With its well-roundedness in musicianship and concept, “Vexovoid” unleashes hell upon its audience and leaves them wanting to be violently pulled into the darkness again and again to their hearts’ content.

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bobbyjo - 18 Abril 2015: Hal-lu-ci-nant. Jamais écouté un truc pareil. Découvert grâce à la playlist spotify du mec de Tombs. Complètement séduit.
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Albums in Atmospheric Death