Released: 2013, Profound Lore Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Portal are back with their fourth full length record ,“Vexovoid”. Fans of the band may be relieved to know that the band have not lost their chaotic approach to Death Metal, though they now have a more controlled approach to the music here and there. The record follows their tradition of noisy, chaotic blasting music but with a few areas where the band slows down to add a more atmospheric sound to the music. The production is still dirty and ugly, with the band providing a suffocating wall of sound.
“Kilter” immediately reminds us of what this band is about, with its mixture of Immolation-style riffing with a rhythm section that may recall Obscura-era Gorguts. There are some areas where guitars play more discernible riffs than before, which is really a plus for this record. “The Back Wards” begins to build up from some tribal style drums and Death Metal riffs, and the track is very dark with some nice atmospheric stuff. The band eventually moves into the faster blasting sections, but keep the suffocating atmosphere throughout the song.
“Curtain” builds up into a Black Metal like riff, which whispered growled vocals. The song uses a lot of open chord riffing, but then slows down for slower, more Death Metal riffs. “Plasm” on the other hand, begins with a fast Grindcore drumming that actually gets faster as the song moves along, then the song drops into a keyboard effect of some sort that ends the song, leading into the next track.
“Awryeon” is also a fast song, with dissonant guitar work going on. The song features many start/stop sections, and lots of fast drumming.
“Orbmorphia” is another fast track, though it tends to slow down when the vocals kick in. The guitar work is pretty dissonant here as well. Album closer “Oblotten” kicks off with a distorted bass riff and some samples before the rest of the band come in after the one minute mark.
At one point, the drums stop, and the guitars start playing this fast picked riff that has an almost Black Metal vibe to it, while the bass plays around that. Drums eventually re-appear, but only to accentuate using the cymbals. This last song is actually quite effective in that the guitars and bass play some awesome memorable stuff while the samples add more depth to the sound.
This new Portal record shows some areas which I enjoyed more than with their previous records. For one thing, some riffs are definitely more memorable than in the past, thanks to the fact that the band has actually tried to branch out a bit from their typical, full-on blasting which did not really leave room for memorable riffs in the past. While the record still has some songs that are not that memorable, it is in my opinion a step up from their previous releases.
Review by Titus Isaac