Published Jan 21, 2018Portal are not a band — they are scientists experimenting with the limits of death metal and the constitution of their audience. Since their inception, this anonymous convergence of deranged minds have presented wondrously skewed death metal that is not meant to invigorate or enrage, but inundate. ION furthers this cause and represents yet another worthy addition to Portal's array of cosmic horror consummations.
Much like the gorgeous cover art, ION is a world of arcing, unhinged energy in perpetual spasm, always on the verge of losing control. The comfort of the low end in the mix has been nearly erased, with bass and guitar unified in brittle coldness and feeling like a swarm of ravenous insects over a hotbed of tribal drumming. Songs like, "Phreqs" and "Revault of Volts" stand out in their ferocity, even as the majority of ION tends to blur into one long assault without much drastic variation, which wears you down, for better or worse. And while ION stands out when compared to past albums, Portal's unorthodox approach to playing, combined with the Curator's abhorrently hissed vocals, maintain an element of familiarity.
ION shares the tendencies of freeform jazz and Beat-era writers, in that it is unhinged, raw creation. No doubt, it will test even the most open-minded of metal fans, but for those who can ingest the insanity and feel the power that lurks within Portal's arcane sound, ION will be remembered, and should be. (Profound Lore)