It lies deep within the cold vastness of space. A distant, inhospitable land that exists at the farthest reaches of an unforgiving, lonely planet. Cast adrift and surrounded by an ocean of venomous, fanged, and tentacled monstrosities lies an island of such unimaginable manifestations of horror that madness and fear await every nervous footstep with eager, slurping lust. Crawling, slithering, scuttling, swimming, hiding. It waits.
Yes, not content with inflicting a countless horde of horrifying creatures upon the world, the seemingly otherwise benevolent land of Oz has overseen the slow and insidious corruption of the human mind by means of an almost uncategorisable brand of avant-garde experimental death metal. For twenty-seven years now, the cryptic, secretive sect of Portal have been quietly but ruthlessly exerting their malignant will upon a growing and devoted the number of worshippers. Once again, five acting as one reach gleefully into the soft, pliable vulnerability of the human mind, squeezing inexorably until all hopes and dreams are extinguished forever.
Barely even describable as songs, the illogically structured, screeching dissonant terrors of Avow (Profound Lore Records) almost defy description. ‘Catafalque’ is a repeated crescendo of molten chromatic bludgeoning while ‘Eye’, and ‘Offune’ are churning quagmires of jellified, tentacled malevolence. The scything, eight-string barbed-wire riffs of Horror Illogium and Aphotic Mote slash their way into the subconscious while the cavernous and indecipherable voice of The Curator gargles wretched promises of hopelessness from the void.
As the non-euclidean structures of ‘Manor of Speaking’, ‘Bode’ and ‘Drain’ collapse into a single shrieking planetary orgasm, the cephalalgic rhythm section of drummer Ignis Fatuus and bassist Omenous Fugue thuds and pounds relentlessly until all prayers for release are forgotten.
Claustrophobic, murkily atmospheric, and utterly inescapable, Avow – like every other Portal release to date – is an uncompromising and non-conformist challenge not meant for the faint of heart. A discordant clangor of abstract static, repulsive soundscapes ooze thickly between distorted, inhuman tentacle-fingers only to be absorbed hungrily into the blackened dimensions below. At this point are we even sure Portal are actually human anymore?
Buy the album here: https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/avow
10 / 10