Dec 132012

I’m feeling like a man of leisure today. Which is to say I got hammered last night at a 12-12-12 bash to celebrate my wife’s birthday and am taking the day off from work in order to have my blood processed through a machine that will remove all the toxins in the hope of being able to function at a level better than slime mold by tomorrow.

And, while waiting for my corpuscles to finish cycling through the tubes, I sifted through NCS e-mails and the tangled pathways of the interhole to find what new metal this day hath brought. And holy shit, it hath brought a bonanza. In this post I’m including three new songs that are stylistically quite different from each other, but I thought they were all really good. So here we go:


I’ve experienced mixed feelings of dread, horror, and glee at the thought of a new album from Australia’s Portal. As previously reported here, it’s called Vexovoid, and Profound Lore is threatening to release it on February 19. Today brought the first song premiere from the album. I wouldn’t have guessed that Pitchfork would be the vehicle for the unveiling. Yes, Pitchfork has a big audience, but if I were PL I’d be worried about the liability risk of so many non-metalheads experiencing irreversible psychic trauma.

The new song is named “Curtain”. It’s the third of the album’s seven tracks. It’s a sonic plague of threshing guitars, booming/blasting drums, bass-level hammer blows, and grotesquely distorted abyssal vox. It’s a moving stormfront of boiling black bestiality, heavy as hell and mercilessly destructive. I fuckin’ love it. Go HERE to listen, and then come back and let us know your reactions. Continue reading »

Nov 282012

Time for another daily round-up of things I saw and heard this morning while snooping around the web that I thought were worth sharing. There’s one thing (and only one thing) that all three of the following items have in common: They all involve genuinely eye-catching cover art. The bands are Byzantine (U.S.), Portal (Australia), and KONGH (Sweden).


It was a very sad day when West Virginia’s Byzantine dissolved roughly five years ago following the release of Oblivion Beckons. The band broke a lot of ground while they were up and running, they had talent in spades, and they clearly weren’t the kind of outfit who were going to remain static in their musical approach as time passed. Much time did pass without new Byzantine music, but as we were thrilled to report much earlier this year, Byzantine have reunited.

They’ve completed recording a new album, self-titled, that’s currently scheduled for release on February 26 via Gravedancer Records. We’ve been tremendously fortunate to get an advance listen to the album, and all I can say at this point is that it more than makes up for those long years of silence. This is a mature band who have created something quite diverse and really special from end to end.

Today, they’ve unveiled a new song from the album by the name of “Signal Path”. I said the album is diverse, and so I don’t think any one song could really stand as representative of the whole, but “Signal Path” does display the kind of masterful integration of disparate elements that’s indicative of what the album brings — in this case, massive groove, infectious melody, soulful/gritty vocals, blazing guitar leads, and jazz-influenced soloing. Continue reading »

Nov 132011

This post is nothing more (and nothing less) than a bunch of fairly recent odds and ends I threw together about Portal. Portal is not a band whose music I immediately liked when I first heard it. It’s grotesque, rending, soul-shuddering noise; if there’s such a thing as avant-garde death metal, then I guess that’s what Portal plays. But the music has grown on me over time, and I’ve become fascinated by the band.

In this post, I’ve collected a Portal remix of another band’s music, news about Portal’s next album, a recently released video of Portal performing “Swarth” in 2008, a big batch of cool photos from a November 11, 2011 show in Brisbane, and — hot off the presses — a just-released video of the band performing at that same show.


Portal is one of several bands and producers who were asked by Bloody Panda to remix their 2009 album, Summon. The remix album, Summon: Invocation will be self-released by Bloody Panda on November 15. Brooklyn Vegan has been periodically streaming songs from the remix album, but the first one to which I paid attention was the one that Portal did — because it’s Portal.

The song is called “Saccades II”. Portal’s mastermind, Horror Illogium, described the remix of the song in a brief Brooklyn Vegan interview published last week: “This was the first and only remix that we have experimented on. In this instance, the eerie feedback on the bass guitar distortion became the epicentre of the mix in which we built around, we chose to use what tracks already existed and simply warp them into a kind of descent.” Continue reading »