Whatever else they may be, Portal are one of the underground music world’s most enigmatic forces. Their music is both impenetrable and inescapable, twisted and obscure, murky and horrifying.
Like Vexovoid before it, Ion engulfs the listener in an atmosphere of dread, both Lovecraftian alien vista and Kafkaesque claustrophobic nightmare at once. Riffs swirl from the nebulous darkness, called forth by a demonic howl, surrounded by a dense, relentless blastbeat madness that pervades every haunted moment. Songs like ‘Phreqs’ shift and transmogrify, formless but structured, atonal and angular, shambling like a faceless horror where off-kilter drumming evokes a state of unease. ‘Spores’ is an amorphous blob of sonic terror where guitars gurgle like demonspawn and drums spiral into dark pits of nether.
With more structure and far cleaner production than Swarth and Vexovoid, Ion is no less arcane and unsettling, like glimpsing into the Abyss to find it rising up to meet you. The Curator’s unholy emanations range from a harrowing whisper to a sinister roar, and songs work more as individual pieces showing off the malevolent dynamics of Portal’s outre songwriting. The murkiness stripped away, every jagged cross-cutting riff gleams as they tear atoms apart, conjuring their twisted and unpredictable creations that teeter on the brink of collapse under the weight of their own strangeness while nonetheless evoking trepidation and unease; the clarity seems to enhance the atmosphere, rather than dispel it, sharpening the terror into focus.
Ion is a frightening new vision of Portal’s extraordinary and obtuse forays into the technical and obscure, both fascinating and captivating, and ugly and extreme beyond most limits of taste, as they have always been.
- ESP ION AGE
- Revault of Volts
- Olde Guarde