One of the most revered bands in the Australian metal scene, the mucky, mysterious musical cist that is Portal seems to be one of those ‘cool’ bands to like because they are such an anti thesis of all that is popular and trendy in metal. And with their third insidious album of churning, seemingly unstructured oozing death metal, these esoteric Aussies have furthered there stranglehold on being one of the weirdest, ickiest, murkiest and nastiest bands in death metal.

Portal are most definitely an acquired taste, only for metal heads that think the likes of Teitanblood, Incantation, Dead Congregation and Mitochondrion are simply too polished and clean. As with Seepia and Outre, Swarth is rife with crawling, squealing, filthy otherworldly guitars that sound like they were recorded in Cthulhu’s large colon (though they sound a little cleaner than Outre) and calamitous, seemingly chaotic and unruly drums. Then there are distant, eerie growls that are barely there, often making you question your sanity, and delivering incomprehensible lyrics like:

Stitch Of Seamless Theorists, Spool Anachronistic, Fleshing De Rigueur, Toil Over Tapestries, Entropique Wicker Sirque, Awyreon Riddle Spun, Phones In Threatre Seethe”.

(From “Illoomorpheme”).

It all comes together in 8 ‘tracks’ and 40 minutes of madness inducing noise and sanity sucking mayhem that once again pushes levels of extremity and what is typically recognized as music. Try as I might describing and listening to Portal is simply an almost impossible task, trying to tell you what tracks like “Larvae”, “The Sweyy” and “Writhen” sound like is like trying verbalize a near death experience, taking a human life or what being insane feels like- there are simply no words unless you’ve actually experienced it.

That all being said, Swarth is a difficult extended listen unless you are a supreme aural masochist. The soul withering nature of the music can often be too much, but if you are seeking a sonic descent into the mouth of madness, Portal and Swarth should be your soundtrack.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 23rd, 2009


  1. Commented by: Dr_Neo_Cortex

    awesome review, definitely going to be checking this one out, I loved the last one these guys put out

  2. Commented by: Infinite Death

    This band is really weird, haha. Good review though Erik. The best part about these guys is definitely the fact that the vocalist wears a clock on his head.

  3. Commented by: Biff Tannan

    Killer band, killer album!

  4. Commented by: timshel

    Woah, I gotta check out the band’s first two discs…how does this one rank?

  5. Commented by: seaofcartilage

    good review.

    unquestionably the best record of 2009 so far.

  6. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    great band. they’re playing in the states next year. exciting!

  7. Commented by: Deke'

    This album corks. No pullout, no asking, just violating.

  8. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    got this at Vintage Vinyl in Jersey a few days ago. it’s pretty hellish, even for someone whose main metallic interests are towards this sort of madness-inducing depravity. (Blut Aus Nord, Axis Of Perdition, Deathspell Omega, etc…) this disc is really, really good.

  9. Commented by: vugelnox

    love this band and this album. Along with Melechesh and The Chasm they’re the band I’m looking forward to seeing the most at Maryland Deathfest this year!

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