Buy for
$10.95
(4 items)

Release date: 19 February 2013
Style: Experimental death metal

Rating:

7.6 | 57 votes

Owners:

58 have it
10 want it


01. Kilter
02. The Back Wards
03. Curtain
04. Plasm
05. Awryeon
06. Orbmorphia
07. Oblotten

Lyrics (6)


Line-up
The Curator - vocals
Aphotic Mote - guitars
Horror Illogium - guitars
Ignis Fatuus - drums
Brad "Omenous Fugue" Lee-Leong - bass

Staff pick by
!J.O.O.E.!

02.03.2013 Portal's brand of ultra-impenetrable death metal have afforded them a rare and paradoxical level of popularity for a band as extreme and unpalatable as they are. If you haven't heard them yet or found previous releases to be too much to handle then now's your chance to get to grips with them. Vexovoid eases up (very) slightly on the wall-of-noise approach and allows a rare glimpse into the structural mechanisms at the heart of Portal. Listen now before they submerge themselves back into the murk once again.



!J.O.O.E.!'s picks | More picks ››

Found in 19 lists
Top lists

MechanisT Playing To My Strengths: Facing Death And Its Technicalities  | #174
MechanisT XIII  | #64
!J.O.O.E.! !J.O.O.E.!'s___!2.0.1.3.!___!F.A.V.O.U.R.I.T.E.S.!  | #5
Neachy 2013  | #10
musclassia 2013 List  | #96
Diverge Gems From 2013, Now with Pad Thai!  | #54
3rdWorld २०१३ - Ex Mea Sententia  | #387
Red_Travis My Top Albums Of 2013  | #190
More lists with this album (19) | Create a list! ››



Comments

‹‹ Back to the Albums
Comments: 32  
Users visited: 291  
Search this topic:  


malaikat - 09.11.2011 at 23:53  
  Awesome.
Troy Killjoy - 10.11.2011 at 00:00  
  Presumably a Facebook announcement since Panzer added it.
theFIST - 11.11.2011 at 01:39  
Rating: 9 Looking forward to that
hopefully something faster like Seepia again
J. N. - 19.11.2011 at 14:23  
 
Written by Troy Killjoy on 10.11.2011 at 00:00

Presumably a Facebook announcement since Panzer added it.

Interview announcement, so hmph.
Troy Killjoy - 20.11.2011 at 02:47  
 
Written by J. N. on 19.11.2011 at 14:23
Interview announcement, so hmph.

Now you're trying to convince me you read stuff outside of Facebook? For shame.
Protostar - 12.01.2013 at 03:46  
  Crushing.
!J.O.O.E.! - 27.01.2013 at 00:25  
Rating: 8 This has leaked like a cheap, chlamydia-ridden hooker.
Pazdzioch - 27.01.2013 at 00:43  
 
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 27.01.2013 at 00:25

This has leaked like a cheap, chlamydia-ridden hooker.

I couldn't dream of a better end of the day. Thanks!
Alex Fenger - 27.01.2013 at 00:47  
Rating: 8
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 27.01.2013 at 00:25

This has leaked like a cheap, chlamydia-ridden hooker.

Damn already? Must. Find. Now.
!J.O.O.E.! - 27.01.2013 at 00:57  
Rating: 8 I don't think either of you will be disappointed...
!J.O.O.E.! - 27.01.2013 at 01:18  
Rating: 8 Just finished. Could be their best yet.
InnerSelf - 27.01.2013 at 01:45  
  @^
*shits my pants*
Pazdzioch - 27.01.2013 at 01:48  
 
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 27.01.2013 at 00:57

I don't think either of you will be disappointed...

Trve, we aren't. Another portion of fucked up DM which we all love!

PS. Abyssal beats everything that I've heard this year... even this (great) shit o.O
!J.O.O.E.! - 27.01.2013 at 01:51  
Rating: 8
Written by Pazdzioch on 27.01.2013 at 01:48

Trve, we aren't. Another portion of fucked up DM which we all love!

PS. Abyssal beats everything that I've heard this year... even this (great) shit o.O

I'm gonna have to go back and forth a few times before I decide which is the victor out of Abyssal and Portal, but I'd say Abyssal have the edge.
Pazdzioch - 27.01.2013 at 02:03  
  Thin line between them...

I love the production on this, much better than on "Swarth".
Alex Fenger - 27.01.2013 at 05:18  
Rating: 8 After listening through once and being half way through another listen I think I can say that this is almost better than any of Portal's previous albums (Outre' still wins) and is currently my favorite release of the year, even beating out Abyssal
Apatheria - 14.02.2013 at 05:32  
Rating: 9 A tad too short for my tastes, but an excellent outing from the masters of chaotic metal. I don't think this tops Swarth in my book, but wow, Portal's track record remains nearly flawless.
LeKiwi - 06.03.2013 at 13:22  
  Anyone know where I might be able to check this out? Not on Youtube, Spotify, etc....

Edit: Full album on YouTube:

mz - 30.03.2013 at 13:34  
Rating: 9 Too short, I was not satisfied when it finished. A 8.6-9 from me
a MasT - 06.04.2013 at 00:46  
  Enjoying the slightly thinner sound wall on this one
mz - 06.05.2013 at 15:14  
Rating: 9 What an excellent album, really impressive. Def a 9+.
Diverge - 09.05.2013 at 21:54  
Rating: 8 Really good stuff. Awreyon in particular is a beast!
For me, though, this is slightly better than Abyssal's newest album; I find this album a little more immediate and mesmerizing, to be honest. Glad I finally gave it a listen; this kind of experimental death metal is a great genre, and one I'm growing more fond of with every new album I hear. It's also one of the few genres where I keep seeing bands regularly "one-up each other"- I thought Mitochondrion's last album was incredible, but I've seen many groups release even crazier, more dissonant and more experimental death metal. It's seemingly one of the few genres that isn't stagnant right now.
!J.O.O.E.! - 09.05.2013 at 22:43  
Rating: 8
Written by Diverge on 09.05.2013 at 21:54

this kind of experimental death metal is a great genre

No idea why people keep referring to this and similar stuff as "experimental." It's not even progressive or avant-garde, let alone that. It's more or less old-school death taken to the next level with regards to production denseness and guitar tone. Structure wise it's certainly not really anything out of the ordinary. (and yes I'm aware MS has them down as experimental death, but that should, and probably will be, changed at some point).
Diverge - 10.05.2013 at 05:25  
Rating: 8
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.05.2013 at 22:43

Written by Diverge on 09.05.2013 at 21:54

this kind of experimental death metal is a great genre

No idea why people keep referring to this and similar stuff as "experimental." It's not even progressive or avant-garde, let alone that. It's more or less old-school death taken to the next level with regards to production denseness and guitar tone. Structure wise it's certainly not really anything out of the ordinary. (and yes I'm aware MS has them down as experimental death, but that should, and probably will be, changed at some point).

It's more just a convention than anything else, I think. I still think that they are doing things that are noticeably different in death metal, but doing a great job of incorporating it into the conventional death metal song structures- hence, why I believe the term "experimental" is appropriate. I certainly wouldn't characterize them as avant-garde or progressive, but they still find ways to stray from the beaten track (even the track covered by bands like Abyssal and similar bands).
!J.O.O.E.! - 10.05.2013 at 14:58  
Rating: 8
Written by Diverge on 10.05.2013 at 05:25

It's more just a convention than anything else, I think. I still think that they are doing things that are noticeably different in death metal, but doing a great job of incorporating it into the conventional death metal song structures- hence, why I believe the term "experimental" is appropriate. I certainly wouldn't characterize them as avant-garde or progressive, but they still find ways to stray from the beaten track (even the track covered by bands like Abyssal and similar bands).

Well by definition avant-garde music is experimental, and the term experimental is used for music which goes even further out in constructing compositions that defy the majority of conventions seen in music. For that reason virtually nothing about this is "experimental" as you only have to look at the likes of Incantation and such to see that what Portal is doing is little more than a minor tweak with some added emphasis on image. Terms like experimental and avant-garde are massively mis- and overused by metallers, using it with any band they think sounds vaguely different. I understand that this is "convention" and that people will always use terms where they probably don't belong, but with Portal I find the term "experimental" particularly inappropriate as people are focusing far too much on superficial elements, rather than the actual music.
Diverge - 10.05.2013 at 21:13  
Rating: 8
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 10.05.2013 at 14:58

Written by Diverge on 10.05.2013 at 05:25

It's more just a convention than anything else, I think. I still think that they are doing things that are noticeably different in death metal, but doing a great job of incorporating it into the conventional death metal song structures- hence, why I believe the term "experimental" is appropriate. I certainly wouldn't characterize them as avant-garde or progressive, but they still find ways to stray from the beaten track (even the track covered by bands like Abyssal and similar bands).

Well by definition avant-garde music is experimental, and the term experimental is used for music which goes even further out in constructing compositions that defy the majority of conventions seen in music. For that reason virtually nothing about this is "experimental" as you only have to look at the likes of Incantation and such to see that what Portal is doing is little more than a minor tweak with some added emphasis on image. Terms like experimental and avant-garde are massively mis- and overused by metallers, using it with any band they think sounds vaguely different. I understand that this is "convention" and that people will always use terms where they probably don't belong, but with Portal I find the term "experimental" particularly inappropriate as people are focusing far too much on superficial elements, rather than the actual music.

When most people classify music or wish to articulate what a band sounds like, they tend to group bands in with other groups; sure, a good description of what the band actually sounds like is important, but for the most part, we tend to say that band A is "clearly influenced by band B" or takes "the rhythmic backbone of band C" or generally uses some attribute like dissonance "in the same way that band C does." Almost every review on Metal Storm and EM does this, and I'm sure you are familiar with what I'm talking about. I'd be the first one to admit that I use the term avant-garde in a different way from most other people- I tend to think of experimental metal as being exclusively for bands who do interesting things within conventional song structures, whereas I use avant-garde to describe only music that is, to my ears, radically without comparison at the time of release (Orkenkjott, Unexpect, Ved Buens Ende, etc.). I think a gradation scale of "experimental-ness" is reasonable. It's not, by definition of avant-garde/experimental, correct, but it is the most natural way of classification that comes to me. It's neither entirely appropriate nor completely inappropriate, but it is simply adequate for my listening purposes, even with a bit of violence to language.

When I was talking about the band in my initial post, I was using this natural tendency to group artists with similar artists. Relative to Portal's other music, as you've mentioned, this is relatively tame and less murky; I definitely agree that this is not experimental, especially when you compare it to Outre'. But I'm still locked in this tendency to characterize, label and classify this music relative to contemporaries doing similar things (ie. Abyssal, a band I would almost certainly describe as experimental metal). Putting all these bands under a single label is a particularly hard thing to do, and there's obviously going to be some damage done to groups by labelling. For me, they are a member of a group of bands that I would call experimental and unconventional (Ævangelist, Mitochondrion,Impetuous Ritual, etc.), because in the extreme metal/death metal genres, less than 10% of band use the kind of dissonance, noise and percussive style than these groups use. They all manage to explore different territory with these common elements, however, and I don't believe any new listener would be harmed or led astray if I characterized Portal as an experimental band playing within a culture filled with bands like the ones I mentioned above. That's probably why Portal will keep being referred to as experimental death. Anyway, I think that the superficial elements you mention are far more prominent in Portal's music than simply a "minor tweak with some added emphasis on image"- look at the passage at 3:48 of Kilter, and great chunks of Awreyon, for example. The experimental elements are still in this album, though; although sparse and subtle, they are there.
!J.O.O.E.! - 10.05.2013 at 22:02  
Rating: 8
Written by Diverge on 10.05.2013 at 21:13

When most people classify music or wish to articulate what a band sounds like, they tend to group bands in with other groups; sure, a good description of what the band actually sounds like is important, but for the most part, we tend to say that band A is "clearly influenced by band B" or takes "the rhythmic backbone of band C" or generally uses some attribute like dissonance "in the same way that band C does." Almost every review on Metal Storm and EM does this, and I'm sure you are familiar with what I'm talking about. I'd be the first one to admit that I use the term avant-garde in a different way from most other people- I tend to think of experimental metal as being exclusively for bands who do interesting things within conventional song structures, whereas I use avant-garde to describe only music that is, to my ears, radically without comparison at the time of release (Orkenkjott, Unexpect, Ved Buens Ende, etc.). I think a gradation scale of "experimental-ness" is reasonable. It's not, by definition of avant-garde/experimental, correct, but it is the most natural way of classification that comes to me. It's neither entirely appropriate nor completely inappropriate, but it is simply adequate for my listening purposes, even with a bit of violence to language.

When I was talking about the band in my initial post, I was using this natural tendency to group artists with similar artists. Relative to Portal's other music, as you've mentioned, this is relatively tame and less murky; I definitely agree that this is not experimental, especially when you compare it to Outre'. But I'm still locked in this tendency to characterize, label and classify this music relative to contemporaries doing similar things (ie. Abyssal, a band I would almost certainly describe as experimental metal). Putting all these bands under a single label is a particularly hard thing to do, and there's obviously going to be some damage done to groups by labelling. For me, they are a member of a group of bands that I would call experimental and unconventional (Ævangelist, Mitochondrion,Impetuous Ritual, etc.), because in the extreme metal/death metal genres, less than 10% of band use the kind of dissonance, noise and percussive style than these groups use. They all manage to explore different territory with these common elements, however, and I don't believe any new listener would be harmed or led astray if I characterized Portal as an experimental band playing within a culture filled with bands like the ones I mentioned above. That's probably why Portal will keep being referred to as experimental death. Anyway, I think that the superficial elements you mention are far more prominent in Portal's music than simply a "minor tweak with some added emphasis on image"- look at the passage at 3:48 of Kilter, and great chunks of Awreyon, for example. The experimental elements are still in this album, though; although sparse and subtle, they are there.

This is this crux of my issue with you using the term "experimental"; you're using it in reference to a group of bands with a more or less a collective sound or approach. None of those bands: Portal, Abyssal, Impetuous Ritual Mitochondrion or Ævangelist are experimental. They are a collective of bands that might fall under the rubric of, at best, avant-garde or progressive (or even "post" if you wanted to use that neologism) death metal that are indeed creative and unconventional but to collectively classify a group of bands that could be considered similar as experimental is an oxymoron, and harking back to what I was saying about focusing on tweaks and sounds which make a band sound different but fundamentally are not. If we go by your definitions of "sparse" and "subtle" elements elevating something quite rudimentary to experimental status then we'd be reclassifying anything that used a random acoustic guitar or snippet of rap in the middle of a metal track.

You speak of a small percentage of bands using a particular approach that few others do, well that's why the term "avant-garde" is used in metal to highlight the forward thinking groups that adopt these approaches. You spoke earlier of convention, well convention would not hold this Portal album up to be experimental by any means, as there's literally nothing here that hasn't been done already (be it by Portal or other contemporaries), so taking the term experimental literally here to describe music does not hold up, especially when you consider how much more conventional it is to earlier Portal releases. Not everything that is dissonant or hard to palette is experimental.
Diverge - 10.05.2013 at 23:17  
Rating: 8
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 10.05.2013 at 22:02





Countless other listeners would classify the bands I have listed as experimental.
"Disturbing, experimental and almost wholly unwelcoming, Matron Thorn and crew have really written themselves something here that will paint the walls of sanity with the listener's cranial contents."- review by autothrall Ævangelist on E.M.
"Their [Mitochondrion's] sound is almost impossible to describe because it's so unusual and unique. How do you explain what (PL labelmates) Portal sounds like? Or Demilich? The terms "crazy", "bizarre", "experimental", and "completely fucked up" just scratch the surface. And those two bands are really the closest things out there to explain what Mitochondrion is all about."- FullMetalAttorney on E.M.
You initially said Portal wasn't avant-garde or progressive in your initial post, but now you're trying to classify them using those terms. A random acoustic guitar or a rap bit in a middle of a song would not be classified as subtle.
Classifying Portal as progressive death metal might be a decent option, but even then, Progarchives says: "The difference between many death metal bands and Portal is that the band mixes complex and experimental concepts, in the creation of a truly heavy and creeping sound." It's not a stretch of the imagination to conceive of them as experimental metal; lots of people do. Personally, I wouldn't classify them as simply progressive metal, since that would put them too close to groups like Disillusion, Edge of Sanity, Opeth, Cynic, etc., bands who play music with typical progressive musical structures and an aesthetic indebted to prog from the 60s onward. True, Portal play with conventional structures as well on this one, but to place them with that group seems out of place to me. Perhaps experimental prog is appropriate, since most listeners seem to find something "fucked up" about them relative to other death metal bands (referencing a comment made earlier in the thread).
Also, the term "experimental movement" is common, and by no means an oxymoron; hell, post-metal is really just an "experimental movement" generated in the '90s. If you go on Progarchives, this view is fairly standard, and few on that site would be quick to classify Portal as avant-garde. Looking at the page, there are 0 instances of that term being used in a review of Portal. I really don't think my schematization is that uncommon. Like I've said earlier, I just think it's better to use a gradation system to describe bands that are extremely avant-garde, and groups that do innovative, off-beat things while dwelling in traditional song structures. But that's just me- I can only speak for myself.

Feel free to continue discussing here or by PM if you feel like this conversation is still fruitful to you.
!J.O.O.E.! - 10.05.2013 at 23:36  
Rating: 8
Written by Diverge on 10.05.2013 at 23:17

Countless other listeners would classify the bands I have listed as experimental.
"Disturbing, experimental and almost wholly unwelcoming, Matron Thorn and crew have really written themselves something here that will paint the walls of sanity with the listener's cranial contents."- review by autothrall Ævangelist on E.M.
"Their [Mitochondrion's] sound is almost impossible to describe because it's so unusual and unique. How do you explain what (PL labelmates) Portal sounds like? Or Demilich? The terms "crazy", "bizarre", "experimental", and "completely fucked up" just scratch the surface. And those two bands are really the closest things out there to explain what Mitochondrion is all about."- FullMetalAttorney on E.M.
Classifying Portal as progressive death metal might be a decent option, but even then, Progarchives says: "The difference between many death metal bands and Portal is that the band mixes complex and experimental concepts, in the creation of a truly heavy and creeping sound." It's not a stretch of the imagination to conceive of them as experimental metal; lots of people do. Personally, I wouldn't classify them as simply progressive metal, since that would put them too close to groups like Disillusion, Edge of Sanity, Opeth, Cynic, etc., bands who play music with typical progressive musical structures and an aesthetic indebted to prog from the 60s onward. True, Portal play with conventional structures as well on this one, but to place them with that group seems out of place to me. Perhaps experimental prog is appropriate, since most listeners seem to find something "fucked up" about them relative to other death metal bands (referencing a comment made earlier in the thread).
Also, the term "experimental movement" is common, and by no means an oxymoron; hell, post-metal is really just an "experimental movement" generated in the '90s. If you go on Progarchives, this view is fairly standard, and few on that site would be quick to classify Portal as avant-garde. Looking at the page, there are 0 instances of that term being used in a review of Portal. I really don't think my schematization is that uncommon. Like I've said earlier, I just think it's better to use a gradation system to describe bands that are extremely avant-garde, and groups that do innovative, off-beat things while dwelling in traditional song structures. But that's just me- I can only speak for myself.

Feel free to continue discussing here or by PM if you feel like this conversation is still fruitful to you.

If you ask me people have a bad habit of throwing the term "experimental" at bands which are difficult to listen to so characteristics like dissonance and noisy, complex structures are often tied in with the idea of experimentation but I don't believe the two are synonymous, and people that do consider "fucked up" and "experimental" to be one and the same in all cases are just lazy in their choice of words. Then again I'm quite happy to use, and see used, the term "experimental" as an addendum to a much more official classification that more realistically looks at the structures and ultimately overall product at hand but people that outright class Portal (or at least recent Portal) as experimental are, as I say, lazy and letting affectations cloud their judgement.

An "experimental movement" is likely spearheaded by a particular band (likely a genuinely experimental one), which then spawned a following. That following wouldn't be much of an experiment if they're working off something already established. Post-metal was practically it's own area of music, there's nothing like that going on with Portal; it's just death metal but denser. Nothing new, nothing experimental, just great and interesting use of old ideas and paradigms. Even the so-called "post-death" movement is hardly ground for classing something as a whole new way of looking at metal (thus worthy of being called experimental) rather it's a nice fusion of two established sounds in metal.

By the way, I wouldn't regard Portal as progressive or avant-garde. To my ears there's not enough ingenuity to give them that tag. They're death metal, that's really it unless you wanted to start adding sparsely used flourishes, or "gradation" which is fine for personal use but completely impractical on a broader scale as you end up giving bands their own genre.
!J.O.O.E.! - 10.05.2013 at 23:54  
Rating: 8 But as you say, you're working off different values and rules with these definitions than what would generally be considered the consensus. The term avant-garde has a very specific meaning with metal and consists of a set of characteristics, mostly certainly not what you regard it to be. Same with experimental. Experimental metal bands are purely unique and does not consist of any preconceived sounds (which is why this collective band thing would never work in metal, and certainly does not apply to bands that dwell in conventions; to be that seems the opposite of what is regarded as experimental). For this reason we're not going to agree I would think.
Diverge - 11.05.2013 at 00:15  
Rating: 8
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 10.05.2013 at 23:36

If you ask me people have a bad habit of throwing the term "experimental" at bands which are difficult to listen to so characteristics like dissonance and noisy, complex structures are often tied in with the idea of experimentation but I don't believe the two are synonymous, and people that do consider "fucked up" and "experimental" to be one and the same in all cases are just lazy in their choice of words. Then again I'm quite happy to use, and see used, the term "experimental" as an addendum to a much more official classification that more realistically looks at the structures and ultimately overall product at hand but people that outright class Portal (or at least recent Portal) as experimental are, as I say, lazy and letting affectations cloud their judgement.

An "experimental movement" is likely spearheaded by a particular band (likely a genuinely experimental one), which then spawned a following. That following wouldn't be much of an experiment if they're working off something already established. Post-metal was practically it's own area of music, there's nothing like that going on with Portal; it's just death metal but denser. Nothing new, nothing experimental, just great and interesting use of old ideas and paradigms. Even the so-called "post-death" movement is hardly ground for classing something as a whole new way of looking at metal (thus worthy of being called experimental) rather it's a nice fusion of two established sounds in metal.

By the way, I wouldn't regard Portal as progressive or avant-garde. To my ears there's not enough ingenuity to give them that tag. They're death metal, that's really it unless you wanted to start adding sparsely used flourishes, or "gradation" which is fine for personal use but completely impractical on a broader scale as you end up giving bands their own genre.

Haha, well I think that most people are going to continue using that word to describe Portal, unfortunately. Our conversation has certainly allowed me to see more of the conventional aspects of their music, although I still think there are experimental things going on, even on this record. I must be letting my feelings cloud my judgment, haha. Ah well... At least I only have you to debate with, and not all of Metal Storm like Merchant of Doom sometimes has to contend with
I completely agree that they are using old ideas and paradigms in a really great interesting way. That being said, I think to define them as simply great, creative death metal is to do Portal a little bit of an injustice. Maybe I've just tempered my expectations over the years about metal, since every genre under the sun is moving towards stagnation (in my view, of course). To see bands like Portal creatively taking up this death metal tradition behind them and finding room for fresh and vital ideas and well-executed atmosphere seems to be a rarity these days, enough for me to perhaps over-value the group. I truly think they have enough ingenuity to be classified as progressive as well, but 'progressive' is not the primary impression: 'atmospheric experimental' and 'death' are, for sure.
Mr. Doctor - 12.05.2013 at 14:46  
 
Written by Diverge on 11.05.2013 at 00:15
At least I only have you to debate with, and not all of Metal Storm like Merchant of Doom sometimes has to contend with

Two users... Three tops. That ain't everybody.

Advertise on Metal Storm


Login or register to post here.



Similar topics

Forum Topic Similarity Started
Albums Cynic - The Portal Tapes 4.5 10.01.2012 by Opethshed
Albums Ne Obliviscaris - Portal Of I 4.5 12.10.2011 by JaimeLeonel
Albums Royal Hunt - Heart Of The City (Best Of 1992-1999) [Compilation] 3 16.04.2012 by Wes
Albums Ævangelist - De Masticatione Mortuorum In Tumulis 3 16.11.2012 by Alex Fenger
Albums Bell Witch - Longing 3 10.11.2012 by Pazdzioch



Hits total: 6311 | This month: 103