Portal (not to be confused with the video game of the same name) are a technical/avant-garde death metal band from Australia known for their chaotic sound, Cosmic Horror inspired lyrical themes, and being Darker and Edgier even for death metal. They are an Anonymous Band, known only by various stage names and dressing in executioner hoods (or in the case of lead vocalist The Curator, a bizarre outfit made to look like a grandfather clock) when playing live. Their sound is an immensely dense, dissonant, and noisy fusion of Death Metal and Black Metal, characterized by extremely distorted guitar riffs, Uncommon Time, and vocals that range from guttural growls and grunts to menacing roars. Their anonymity and legitimately evil, hideous sound have led to them being acclaimed as one of the few truly frightening bands in the world of death metal.
Band members: note
- The Curator - Vocals
- Horror Illogium - Lead guitar
- Aphotic Mote - Rhythm guitar
- Ignis Fatuus - Drums
- Omenous Fugue - Bass
- The End Mills (EP, 2002)
- Seepia (2003)
- The Sweey (EP, 2004)
- Outre (2007)
- Swarth (2009)
- Vexovoid (2013)
- ION (2018)
Portal provides examples of the following tropes:
- Anonymous Band: The Curator, Horror Illogium, and Aphotic Mote have never been identified,note and all members perform with their faces obscured live.
- Black Cloak: All of them when playing live, though the Curator has a more elaborate outfit modeled after a grandfather clock.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Their lyrics and artwork are very heavily inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, and their music sounds like what would happen if an Eldritch Abomination formed a band.
- Creepy Long Fingers: The Curator has long, tentacle-like fingers as part of his stage outfit.
- Drone of Dread: Used very frequently, especially for intros and outros.
- Epic Rocking: "Olde Guarde" is almost 10 minutes long.
- Also, "Werships" is 8:36 (the EP version is 6:15), "Sourlows" is 7:18, "Marityme" is 6:53, and "The Endmills" is 6:41.
- Harsh Vocals: The Curator's vocals are somewhere between a standard death metal growl and a sort of sinister, whispered spoken word.
- Guttural Growler: The Curator.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Some of the Curator's vocals are actually quite intelligible, but they're generally hard to make out from the chaos of the music.
- Kayfabe Music: A much more serious example than most.
- Last Note Nightmare: The last five minutes of "Olde Guarde", which are pure, creepy dark ambient.
- Longest Song Goes Last: "Olde Guarde" and "The Endmills".
- Mind Screw: Their music is incredibly technical and difficult to decipher, and their surreal Lovecraftian aesthetic and Word Salad Lyrics combine to make them a musical version of Surreal Horror.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: 10-11, easily. They sometimes dip lower for ambient segments, but even those are incredibly dark and abrasive. A few of their songs, such as "Spores", almost sound like Harsh Noise.
- New Sound Album: ION has more concise arrangements with a far more prominent bestial black metal undercurrent and a cleaner production style.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The last few minutes of "Olde Guarde", which are dark ambient Drone of Dread with distorted voices and something that sounds like a phonograph skipping.
- Retraux: The music video for "Curtain" is done in the style of an old silent movie.
- Surreal Horror: They are this trope distilled into music. Their extremely abrasive, hideous sound and surreal imagery combine to give the band a literally nightmarish feel.