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Portal - Avow Music Album Reviews

Portal - Avow Music Album Reviews
The Australian metal band’s sixth album is dense and disorienting, collapsing the boundary between the human voice and machine-made clamor.

There is no escaping a Portal record. The Australian avant-garde metal band deliberately packs every bar of their music to attain maximum carnage. They do not yield to melody, space, or enunciation. Instead, they “selfishly explore the abhorrent side of life,” as guitarist Horror Illogium once put it. Portal’s sixth album, Avow, is especially punishing. Each of its six tracks is dense with mayhem—fast-flying shrapnel that tears through the temporal lobe and leaves you in a state of frenzied delirium. In Portal’s world, the path to transcendence is not meditation but the merciless bombardment of life’s ugliest shit. Somewhere in that thorny tangle lies divine madness—ecstasy bred from agony.

Portal shroud themselves in self-made mythology, swapping their real-life identities for esoteric pseudonyms like Aphotic Mote and Omenous Fugue. In concert, they opt for dark theatrics, shielding their physical forms with ornate and ritualistic costumes. Mysterious frontman the Curator has appeared as an evil pope, a grandfather clock, and a tentacled demon in Renaissance garb, to name a few. The same meticulous attention to detail exists within their music. As Avow unfurls, Portal find new depths to their technical, transgressive death metal. Ignis Fatuus pummels his drum kit at speeds comparable to the discharge of an automatic weapon. Guitarists Illogium and Mote sound like they are attacking their strings with hacksaws instead of picks. The Curator lurks in the shadows, waiting until you’ve settled in before unleashing his furor.

Technically, there is a break between each song on Avow, but you won’t find refuge there. (As if this music wasn’t extreme enough, Portal dropped a companion album—the unruly noise LP Hagbulbia—the very same day.) Like their best records, Avow blares and pulsates as a unified whole. With tracks ranging from five minutes to 10, it is an act of stamina that ends in elation. Opener “Catafalque,” the longest track, rides the ceaseless onslaught of guitar, disfigured by distortion and performed with calculated violence. It takes two whole minutes before the Curator storms in with his malignant growl—a guttural, subhuman sound that further defiles his bandmates’ noise.

Though it is half the length of “Catafalque,” “Offune” is Avow’s most distressing cut. Battered toms and the Curator’s breath-of-death are its major planes of sound, but it’s the prickling guitar riffs that burrow under the skin. High-pitched and clipped, they prod and poke at the psyche like subliminal messaging in a horror film. On “Manor of Speaking,” Portal play with psychoacoustics, the collective snarl of their instruments taking the shape of a disembodied scream in the song’s final moments. The inability to differentiate between machine-made clamor and the human voice is a natural evolution of Portal’s disorienting tactics. Sounds bleed into one another and bloom into a mammoth squall. The long-term side effects include a dizzying, unnameable dread, something that sticks in your gut long after you’ve turned off your stereo.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Portal - Avow Music Album Reviews Portal - Avow Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, June 11, 2021 Rating: 5


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