Portal
Seepia


4.0
excellent

Review

by ffs USER (20 Reviews)
March 4th, 2014 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


So at some point in times of yore some really weird Australian dudes got together and decided that they were going to dress up like Victorians from outer space and play completely insane death metal with a militantly abstract and Gothic Lovecraftian twist. Imagine if all the members of Immolation lived their whole lives in Bedlam with access only to instruments created by the Old Gods and emerged one day to showcase the sounds that they had invented in their long and arduous isolation from the world and you might imagine what Portal sound like.

While conventional is not really a word you can use to describe Portal, on Seepia its clear that they hadn't quite nailed the dimension melting atmosphere that they are known for today. Still, Seepia boldly sets the foundation on which the twisted architecture that is Portal's discography has been built on. The riffs are tumultuously tempestuous and deliciously dissonant, with enough ligament ruining tremolos and violent seven stringed fret waltzing to make the likes of Erich Zann weep, but there is often some degree of orthodoxy to the song-writing. For example, 'Vessel of Balon' features a relatively traditional power chord riff as its centrepiece, the drummer rarely strays from the safety of blast-beats, 'Atmosblisters' feels a little lacklustre and doesn't really bring much to the album, and there is even something vaguely resembling a guitar solo towards the end of 'Transcending a Mere Multiverse'. All that said, the intelligence with which Portal forged their nightmarish atmosphere definitely emerges from time to time, such as the bells at the start of 'Tempus Fugit' which might be ringing from deep in some kind of temple in R'lyeh, or the foreboding if a little pointless drone interlude 'Antiquate'.

Indeed, the album itself starts with some strange obscure murmuring echo and the ticking of a clock or swinging of a pendulum, like some far-off doomsday device slowly counting down the precious last moments of sanity. When the riff arrives, it is precisely the kind of blistering mindfuck you expect. While some might complain that the production lets the intense riffery down a little, in reality it just makes repeated listens all the more rewarding, there is always some twisting vein of dancing notes that you didn't pick up on the last time.

The Curator's trademark gruff yet airy inter-dimensional death-rattle is as commanding and evil as ever, but lyrically he writes somewhat less uniquely, with many of the lines being compromised of actual syntactically correct English sentences rather than the bizarre soul shrivelling pseudo-latin ranting he began to adopt as the band refined their sound. Again, of course, his lyrics are still patently deranged, gleefully describing the likes of vast evil keeps or bewildering shrines to unknown gods.

Many people rave about 'Glumurphonel', but for me the best song on the album has to be the superbly cataclysmic 'The Endmills', which builds from a fairly typical swirling sea of sweltering swayying riffs tempered by the Curator's soothing rasps that consumes itself like an Ouroboros and devolves into the sound of utter and absolute disintegration of all matter into a dimension far superior to this one.

I think it goes without saying that this band and album are not for the unprepared, but if you have listened to much of this ultra-intense suffocating blackened death metal that seems to be emerging left and right these days, you owe it to one of that sound's originators to check this the heck out.



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user ratings (94)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ffs
March 4th 2014


4884 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hey

oltnabrick
March 4th 2014


31565 Comments


:cool

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2014


50959 Comments


This band is fucking crazy

Digging: Friendzone - Collection 1

Confucius
March 4th 2014


204 Comments


Craziness is an obstacle to wisdom

ffs
March 4th 2014


4884 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i aint give a heck about being wise

Wizard
March 4th 2014


19641 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like that opening paragraph a lot, perfect description. Great review overall!

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2014


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome album

PunchforPunch
March 4th 2014


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet rev for a sweet album

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2014


15205 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet review, album rules.

Digging: Blaspherian - Upon The Throne of Eternal Blasphemous Death

MO
March 4th 2014


19077 Comments


awww yea ffs nice. album is killer

FearTomorrow
March 4th 2014


1828 Comments


Still gotta hear this and their new one. Outre is my fav, album is dense, horrific and rifftastic.

Sweet review as always

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2014


19064 Comments


nice

Digging: Objekt - Objekt #2

Relinquished
March 4th 2014


25923 Comments


really good everything

ShadowRemains
March 4th 2014


21627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

opening line = automatic pos

TheRubberbandMan
March 4th 2014


151 Comments


excellent

CaptainDooRight
March 4th 2014


30334 Comments


great album

Avagantamos
March 4th 2014


2500 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This needed a review. Thank you ffs, very evil.

Digging: Nadja - Touched

alachlahol
March 5th 2014


7515 Comments


hmmm good writing,, i see you come from the same school as john keats and william butler yeats

Nikkolae
March 5th 2014


4870 Comments


rulz

Digging: Modern Witch - Unknown Domain

Avagantamos
March 5th 2014


2500 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Transcending a Mere Multiverse is a badass title



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