Portal closed tonight's day of metal, and I am almost without words to describe their set. Their performance was a singular event, one for which I have few reference points.
Part of my issue with most death metal is the weirdly strict adherence to a certain set of rules. Something about mid-to-fast-paced anti-Christianity screeds leaves me cold, and odes to slicing open a woman's womb leave me colder(Not in an awesome way, but in a bored way).
Portal invokes none of these cliches. They are the first death metal band I've seen live and left feeling unsettled and shaken, bordering on legitimately scared. Their show felt like the kind of thing you'd walk away from, with a new understanding of some kind of Ur-langauge, and a new willingness to examine the way human beings are put together(with a knife). The wall of noise is unrelenting, and the faceless beings creating it inspire no sympathy, no sense of humanity. At times The Conductor's eyes appeared to shimmer in the light, but this was merely the stage lights reflecting off his Black Bishop's hat. These were not humans, but instruments of beings beyond mortal ken. Raising the horns seems pointless in the face of all this bleakness, Satan a humanistic conceit of a self-absorbed society. Instead, I raised my hand, palm-upward, fingers curled like the tentacles of the Great Old Ones, in praise of their eventual reclamation of our spoiled world. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn!