If you're a regular reader of this blog then you've probably realized by now that we're not exactly huge fans of contemporary music. With the exception of Sergeant D most of us here at Metal Inquisition stopped caring about new music right around the time Danzig released Blackacidevil. The fact of the matter is that, for the most part, new music--in particular new metal--sucks. I've tried to keep up with some of my favorite older bands and check out new ones, but nine times out of ten it leads to nothing but disappointment. It's for this simple reason that you're most likely to catch Lucho and I fighting over the ipod in his BMW with him wanting to listen to Steely Dan and me wanting to listen to Skrewdriver. From time to time, however, to my complete and total amazement a new band will come along and blow my mind to pieces. The most recent example of this that I can think of is the Australian black/death metal hybrid mindfuck that is Portal. They released their first album back in 2003 and have since then released two more albums, each better than the last, which leads me to their most recent album and masterpiece, Swarth, which was just released earlier this week by Profound Lore.
Maybe my expectations are just incredibly low now because of how shitty most new metal albums are, but of the handful of new albums I've heard this year Swarth is far and away the best. I haven't been this excited about a new album since Decrepit Birth's Diminishing Between Worlds, and I think Swarth might even end up surpassing that album's awesomeness. I'm not a poet, but I'll do my best to describe the music on Swarth--it's bleak, dense, twisted, and fucking heavy. It's one of the most unique and legitimately unsettling records I've heard in a long, long time. You can barely even make out what's going on musically; it's a whirlwind of sound threatening to collapse at any moment, but Portal somehow manages to hold it together long enough to create this ferocious and suffocating wall of sound that relentlessly marches on for a solid forty minutes. Words fail me at a time like this so if you've been as bored with recent metal releases as I've been then I highly suggest checking out Swarth and Portal's two previous albums.
Oh, and in case you've never seen what Portal looks like here's a couple of photos to pique your interest.