Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Portal - Swarth (review)

South of Heaven

I never knew that the down under was really down under. When the country of Australia who recently released a censored version of Left 4 Dead 2 with all the visceral visual elements mostly nonexistant, you would think they would be all goody two shoes on trying to censor more things like death metal. Luckily it hasn't happened and might never at all. It's appreciative that there are bands oceans apart from their big continent counterparts who love the craft. Portal being the most common recently with just providing a sound that feels like the fantasy iteration of Satan arrived on Earth and is fucking dirty and sludgy.

In a simplistic sense, it's death metal. Beyond the understanding of what they are trying to show the listener of what they want to do, it's what they actually do in Swarth which is the most intriguing. Someone who even just listens to Cannibal Corpse at the least will think of this as noise due to it's almost early Bolt Thrower sound that seems to be intentionally clouded to the max. If you listen to a minute of a song through a computer speaker and hate it, then there is a problem. Just get a good set of headphones and try to pay attention to how it's structured and the unity of the group's playstyle. It becomes easier at that point.

There is no clarity but there is subtlty to the songs. Guitars buzz with no signs of compression but excells in creating many fast and heavy grooves that can make the legends jealous. It feels like a constant wall of noise to where only the people who want to digest will appreciate it. The rhythm of both guitarists and the bassist's styles have no bounds and will devise any type of weird yet cool riff to create pure cacaphony. This is complimented by the drums which further make the evil sound more terryfying. Blast beats galore on the title track but it's unpredictable to which type of move will Ignis Fatuus will do next. The vocal delivery by The Curator completes the haunting circle with distanced growl of words that only himself can make sense of.

To be honest, this is my first record from Portal and was more or less a forced listen. It started to be an annoyance but would later become very likeable within more replays. I tried to describe as best as I could but the issue that there is so much content that it challenges the listener's orthodox approach to listening where it's about experiencing it than reading a review like this. It's a very difficult record to decipher yet if you want to dwell into a territory like this, Swarth is the excellent package. Portal solved the problem of that you don't need avant-garde sounding electronics or orchertra to create an apocalypse or Silent Hill.


Swarth is now available on Profound Lore records!

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