Release Date: Feb 19, 2013
Record label: Profound Lore
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Heavy metal, as a genre, embraces and encourages strangeness. Works based upon eldritch, Lovecraft-ian evil are almost commonplace. Profound Lore has set itself apart as a label both by the quality and uniqueness of the releases it has put out. But even in this context, Portal stand out as exceptionally weird.
“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.– “The Call of Cthulu,” H.P Lovecraft Metal’s pantheon is inexplicably vast. The entities that reside in the depths of the abyss outstrip the heavenly host in variety, if not in devotees. Still, metal’s priesthoods tend to attract cultists with a deep commitment to the rituals, even though many refuse fealty to any god.
Musical density can falsely suggest volume: Listening to a two-sided, 40-minute, wall-to-wall extreme noise record, for instance, can seem like an hours-long gauntlet, especially compared to a 12-track LP of the same length filled with breezy pop songs, each guided by its own system of verses, a chorus, and a bridge. For the latter, the clear striation of parts lends a certain momentum to the listening experience, goading the music toward a clear finishing line, and then repeating the process. But that 40-minute noise record might stuff as much sound as it can into that equivalent space, supplanting pop's rests and dynamics with a barrage of musical information.
The collective malformity known as Portal have now returned from the netherworld (or Brisbane, Australia as it’s also known) with their latest malignant threnody entitled Vexovoid. One of the more severe attractions from Profound Lord’s indomitable stable, Portal—comprising five charming gentlemen known only by convoluted pseudonyms, their identities shrouded by executioner masks, and sometimes even a grandfather clock in the case of vocalist The Curator—have summoned an ungodly cult following over the course of their 18 year existence. Emerging beyond the subterranean extreme metal consciousness with their second LP Outre’, released in 2007 by the already well-established Profound Lord, Portal’s unorthodox amalgam of mysterious aesthetics, cavernous death metal, black metal’s atmospheric decay, and the perverse tonality of the avant-garde, plagued those foolish enough to expose their psyches to the terror this band evoked.
PORTAL “Vexovoid” (Profound Lore Records) Death metal usually has some kind of obscurantist content, secret messages to reward the listener’s desire to belong. In the Australian band Portal’s case, it’s the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft’s fiction, which inspires a great deal of the lyrics heaved out in guttural bursts by its singer, known as the Curator.