Portal
Swarth


4.0
excellent

Review

by B R A N D O N S C O T T USER (103 Reviews)
January 13th, 2010 | 453 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist


Most people who listen to black metal in today's world believe that bands like Anaal Nathrakh are the absolute heaviest a band can go. Blazing blast beats, fast guitars, screeched vocal, and only short bursts of melody as opposed to the black metal standard of subtly incorporating melodies throughout. While these types of bands are indeed heavy, avant-garde death/black metal band Portal would literally eat them all for breakfast. Taking metal to its most extreme limits and sacrificing nothing in terms of brutality for commercial appeal, the Australian quintet's third album Swarth is the heaviest, most extreme offering of music to ever be created.

For anyone who can't enjoy their black metal without symphonic flourishes, cleanly sung vocals and pristine melodies, then Portal's Swarth is absolutely not the album for you. Taking the raw energy of death metal, and transporting it into black metal style riffs along with adding some avant-garde experimental touches, Swarth truly a beast of its own. Take for example opening song "Swarth" which begins with a fast, pounding drumroll and severely down tuned tremolo picked guitars. As the track progresses however, the guitar embodies the sound of an oncoming tornado, ready to tear all your mental structures down. While the majority of this album consists mostly of dissonant tremolo picked guitar lines, it's not fair to say that this record doesn't contain its fair share of death metal type riffery, with songs like "The Swayy" and "Omenknow" both featuring savage, churning riffs, amidst lightning blast beat drums that just never seem to end.

While each song contains many different characteristics that separate themselves from each other, one thing each song has in common however, is a claustrophobic atmosphere. The riffs are so dense, and dark, they can't help but just capture your attention, and then literally take your breath from you. Some of the best examples are is in the song "Wership" where it's black metal style guitar meeting the chugs of death metal guitar for a truly oppressive sound and feeling. Also, it's no doubt that the ever so slightly muffled production contributes to the atmosphere, giving the instruments an extra distorted, dirty sound.

Technically, everyone in the band sets the bar very high on Swarth. The two guitarists Horror Illogium and Aphotic do a fantastic job of contrasting simple, yet harsh tremolo picked guitar lines, against more technical death metal type riffs. Vocally, lead singer The Curator takes his cue straight from death metal, with his hoarse, raspy growl inspiring fear in all who hear it. Even bass player Omenous Fugue gets moments to shine amongst the darkness, with his bass playing providing intense low-end in songs like "Writhen" and "Larvae". Drummer Ignis Fatuus throughout the record does a fantastic job, pulling off inhuman blast beats, interesting fills and helping the group perfectly transition through the numerous time changes within the songs.

With Swarth, it could very likely be said that Portal created on the heaviest, most brutal albums of all time. Refusing to add more mainstream elements into their music for the sheer hope of gaining popularity, Portal with Swarth deliberately created a record that would purposely turn people away instead of drawing them in, proving once and for all that they don't need the mainstream to survive, they can do it on their own, unique terms.



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user ratings (193)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
rasputin (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSpirit
January 13th 2010


17828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This thing just slays

Digging: Emarosa - Versus

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2010


16389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0


Most people who listen to black metal in today's world believe that bands like Anaal Nathrakh are the absolute heaviest a band can go.

Whoever thinks this is absolutely retarded.

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

TheSpirit
January 13th 2010


17828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

True, but i can almost guarantee, there's a lot of those people out there.

Dryden
January 13th 2010


12928 Comments


awsome album

DreamingOfSleep
January 13th 2010


46 Comments


I have yet to hear this. I agree with the Nathrakh comment, and for the most part its true; the heaviest black metal is blackened death, which Nathrakh have nailed. There are more kvlt and more symphonic bands, but very few beat a bit of nathy.

I enjoyed Outre, so I'll give this a spin.

ov420
January 13th 2010


300 Comments


the only thing nathrakh have nailed is butts

bungy
January 13th 2010


8843 Comments


"Most people who listen to black metal in today's world believe that bands like Anaal Nathrakh are the absolute heaviest a band can go."

"Whoever thinks this is absolutely retarded."

Most people are absolutely retarded. I listened to several girls talk today....

TheSpirit
January 13th 2010


17828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha that's mean

Wizard
January 13th 2010


19401 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I absolutely agree with this having a very black metalish feel. This is still death metal through and through. This and Ulcerate for best dm of 2009.....coin toss. Excellent review and about time someone did this.

Crysis, please, for the love of sweet Satan, check this out. Death metal like you've never heard before.

Most people are absolutely retarded. I listened to several girls talk today....

What the hell is wrong with kids today?

Digging: Khonsu - Traveller

Relinquished
January 13th 2010


25051 Comments


You don't even know, man.

SlightlyEpic
January 13th 2010


5780 Comments


album is pretty crushing

jingledeath
January 13th 2010


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album destroys

Essence
January 13th 2010


3585 Comments


death metal death metal death metal death metal

TheSpirit
January 13th 2010


17828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Blackened death metal Blackened death metal Blackened death metal

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2010


16389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Crysis, please, for the love of sweet Satan, check this out. Death metal like you've never heard before.

I have it and have listened to it a bunch of times just never bothered to rate it.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2010


16389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

These guys are also near the top of my list of band's I really want to see live. Their stage presence must be incredible.

Wizard
January 13th 2010


19401 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They would most likely put on a creepy show.

TheSpirit
January 13th 2010


17828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Considering how they dress and stuff, it would be creepy shit

TheSpirit
January 13th 2010


17828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They seem to be the type to have like pig carcasses and stuff on stage

Relinquished
January 13th 2010


25051 Comments


[img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_R6HG3-fLNZI/SxC39ugAVKI/AAAAAAAABeE/WecKZWep2zY/s1600/3906712631_205aa615d0.jpg[/img]

The singer on stage, I think it's pretty cool.



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