Portal - Ion
The Australian, avant-death metal cult lords Portal have certainly left their craterous impression on the metal scene at this point. The murk and technical atmosphere of their albums are profoundly respected and not easily imitated. They are a singular organism in the metal world. They create music so warped, intricate and harsh, that the fans (such as myself) pride them on creating albums that are truly hellish. While I was pretty bored by their last album, Vexovoid, their 5th full length ION, is certainly a big step forward in performance and fidelity, but is it a good one? The dense and foggy production and atmosphere that made me love their early albums has been buffed clean! The guitars are bright, sharp and totally legible, the endlessly changing, tom-heavy drums are clear and pronounced. Even the vocals are much more upfront in the mix this time (sounding more whispery and breathy than ever). It's definitely the most accessible sounding LP that Portal has ever made. However, they seem to be focused on making the riffs more brutal and interesting than on Vexovoid. It is a double edged sword for me. The record sounds great, and when the band decides to go truly hellish and noisy, (the track "Spores" is basically just distorted noise and blast beats), they succeed as only Portal does. However, I do miss being pummeled by a rougher production, that Portal employed in the past. The kind that leaves you blackened and in a charred wasteland. Regardless, IONis their best record since Swarth, and I recommend it for sure. (VII)
Check out a track here.