Well, it looks like we’re still in the doldrums of the slow part of the year. The releases SHOULD be picking up in a week or so, so stay tuned. What time is it? Well, Australian black/death metallers PORTAL are releasing their latest and perhaps best, Vexovoid on Profound Lore. Before I start here, let me say that by no means have Portal gone “normal” at all. They are still just a pecked up as ever -- melting riffs and sonic bombasts prevail still, and this record kind of marries the all-out aural hellscape of Seepia and some of the weirder moments of Outre. Sounding like an ode to H.P. Lovecraft, by playing this very record, some Cyclopean beast will materialize from beyond the stars and wreak havoc on mankind. The cover (done by Rev. Kris Hades) is a pulpy, nightmarish nod to the master of macabre, and the music inside matches up. There is a lot more clarity in the music here and the formerly beclocked “Curator” is downright audible, as are all of the instruments, instead of the past fare, which covered most of them in feedback. The listening experience gives both an immersive and atmospheric quality to the music, and I’ll be damned there’s actually a riff or two. Vexovoid bends and melts extreme metal into new shapes that are also recognizable. 8 Fucking Pecks.
Hungry? DEVOURMENT offer their latest, Conceived in Sewage, on Relapse, and wow, this is heavy, man. There’s a lot here that hardcore purists are going to hate, but as fun as Molesting the Decapitated and Butcher the Weak are, kudos have to be given to see a band progress a little more. Erik Rutan is spot-on with his production, and singer Mike Majewski doesn’t seem to just grunt his way through this -- there’s a little more depth there. The expected slams remain, but it seems like the band has moved or progressed into a slightly different direction, throwing in standard death metal, which sometimes seems to dilute the severity of the material being delivered here, but all in all giving the sense that this band's name could be uttered in the same breath as Dying Fetus or Skinless. Although I love the earlier material, this is a strong outing and one should be on the lookout for more from these guys. 6 Fucking Pecks.