Sunday, January 20, 2008

Portal - Outre

Portal – Outre
Profound Lore Records

Strange personalities and extreme ideas are not in any shortage from within portions of the metal community. However, it in the case of Brisbane, Australia’s death metal unit Portal, mystery and weirdness are taken to another level.

Upon hearing their previous full-length, 2003’s Seepia, I was floored. Portal has managed to capture concentrated ugliness and coupled it with brute force, forging their sound into a very original style of death metal. Trying to find out any information about the band in particular is just as mysterious…nothing seems to be revealed, which makes their music all the more intriguing. The imagery used both for their records and live performances play out in a cinematic fashion, exposing horrific visions in black and white and emphasizing the feel of the music quite effectively.

Portal’s latest release, entitled Outre, takes all the horror-like feel of their previous releases and concentrates on a more focused version of itself. The swirling, manic guitar lines are still present and the drumming is still just as incredible, but the arrangements hold a bit more clarity and repetition. This approach works well, as Outre sounds darker and more fucked up than Seepia and gives more of a platform for vocalist The Curator’s growls and raspy lines. The effect sounds like a series of invocations given over a death march. While the production is maybe even less crisp than Seepia, I can’t say this is a bad thing. Overall, I’d say this is Portal’s best effort to date and by far worthy of picking up (as well as the re-issue of Seepia, also on Profound Lore Records). Those with adventurous tastes or a need for real brutality will not be disappointed.