Portal
Swarth


4.0
excellent

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
December 5th, 2011 | 135 replies | 13,113 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist


3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Portal's much touted return is no less sweet than one would expect. Outre’s suffocating atmosphere has been replicated, perhaps even bettered, and Swarth swarms and churns under the watchful eye of the Curator. Any signs of progression are merely found in the band’s refinement of their overpowering style, one in which nods towards technicality and furious tremolo riffage are melded into a thick ambiance. What drives Portal is their somewhat frightening image, which hugely complements their somewhat frightening sound. Anyone who has seen the film Silent Hill can perhaps relate the Portal sound and Portal image to the frightful first half in which Pyramid head dominates – the physical similarities seen between Portal’s Curator and Pyramid head are hopefully not just my imagination.

Portal’s amalgamation of death and black metal is truly unique – rather than your typical output of blackened death a la Morbosidad, Destroyer 666 or Diocletian, Portal endeavour to sonically devastate through an undefined and weighty flow. This flow is indubitably fluid and unhindered for the album’s entire length, and worms its way through your head and into your thoughts. Looking through Portal’s dense and murky drone, the band’s compositional class really shines through. At first glance, the meld of vigorously played instruments jumps out as one solid punch in the face, but to pick apart the varying elements of this king hit is an arguably enjoyable exercise.

Much like the recently released Everything is Fire by our sheep-cosy cousins from across the Tasman Sea, Swarth is at first a seemingly impenetrable and opaque composition – for those acquainted with Portal’s approach to music it may not be so much of a task to find the extent of its depth, but those uninitiated to Portal’s schizophrenic style should not allow first impressions to sway their judgement. Where Ulcerate create an intense wall of sound, its clarity is not subdued – this is where Portal differs. Despite the benefits of clear production, Portal’s focus on murk and grime gives it a terrifying sense of urgency, much akin to a slow choke – this is highly reminiscent of Corrupted’s Paso Inferior, albeit at speedier tempos.

The nature of Swarth requires it to be the object of great scrutiny – the satisfaction the album gives will not become apparent without focused listens. Its disturbing atmosphere will not truly disturb without the removal of lacklustre expectations regarding musical convention. The Curator will not get to you without you lowering your defenses.



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user ratings (191)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
B R A N D O N S C O T T (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
December 5th 2011



14538 Comments


written late 2009

Hawks
December 5th 2011



35603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My favorite Portal album.

Digging: Engraved - Before The Tales

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2011



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Coding error third paragraph last sentence

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

R6Rider
December 5th 2011



4563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this shit rules

Digging: Plebeian Grandstand - How Hate is Hard to Define

ShadowRemains
December 5th 2011



20533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

larvae and werships are just...yeah...

Digging: Banks - Goddess

rasputin
December 5th 2011



14538 Comments


Coding error third paragraph last sentence


cheers, fixing

BallsToTheWall
December 5th 2011



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good shit.



I need that Portal cover of Bloody Panda bad.

MO
December 5th 2011



18514 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules, great review rasp

ShadowRemains
December 5th 2011



20533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

puttin' this shit on in a pitch black room is a hell of an experience

rasputin
December 5th 2011



14538 Comments


thanks

I actually wrote this review for sputnik and I posted it way back when, but then I decided I wanted it on DC so I had it deleted and posted it there. and now it's back!

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2011



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hoping for new material soon.

rasputin
December 5th 2011



14538 Comments


yeah I think this coming year is going to be good

dead congregation, portal, didnt gorguts have one coming out?, worship, stench of decay, cruciamentum. all the good bands who released demos in 09 and 10 will be putting out LPs

BallsToTheWall
December 5th 2011



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Their 4th album is pretty much finished sans the vocal tracks I read from a article.

ffs
December 5th 2011



4865 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

PUPILS ... TO MASTER

ShadowRemains
December 5th 2011



20533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ya gorguts is comin' next year i believe

i'd like to see a krypts LP with their second EP's sound (although their first ruled as well)

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2011



16134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dead congregation, portal, didnt gorguts have one coming out?, worship, stench of decay,
cruciamentum. all the good bands who released demos in 09 and 10 will be putting out LPs


Gonna rule. Let's not forgot new Fell Voices and Ash Borer full-lengths either. Or Neurosis.

Snazzy review. Snazzy album.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2011



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dead congregation, portal, didnt gorguts have one coming out?, worship, stench of decay, cruciamentum. all the good bands who released demos in 09 and 10 will be putting out LPs

Gonna rule so hard

ShadowRemains
December 5th 2011



20533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

arghoslent probably as well

Relinquished
December 5th 2011



24922 Comments


plus neurosis and cult of luna

rasputin
December 5th 2011



14538 Comments


Let's not forgot new Fell Voices and Ash Borer full-lengths either.


oh yeah, there's just gonna be heaps of good shit. pretty much like every year. i like new years.



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