The Sweyy EP
posted on 9/2004 By:
I like noise as much as the next guy, but this album is a bit of a chore. The Sweyy is the second release from Australian avantgarde death metal band Portal, and follows their 2003 release, Seepia. The band shares some members/ex-members with another Australian death metal act, Invocation. Portal seem to be as interested in challenging the listener as entertaining them. That is sometimes a good thing. This is not one of those times.
The five tracks on The Sweyy are mostly cluttered, noisy compositions with little melody. Some of this is intentional, but one of the main weaknesses of this album is the poor production, which just compounds the muddiness and jagged sound. Its possible that some better songs are under there somewhere, but it sounds a bit of a mess. The guitar is much more prominent than the other instruments and seems to often consist of frantic strumming of a few chords before a punctuating dissonant open chord or a zig zagging run. Tracks like “Werships” and the title track benefit from more prominent drums which help give the songs shape. After a few listens, some actual “songs” appear, but just ‘cause its recognizable doesn’t make it good. Vocals are often quite sparse and are delivered in a sort of understated death metal style.
“Werships” is probably the stand out track on the album, mainly because it is the most structured song, while continuing to make use of the noise and chaos. The instrumental “Doors” is also a decent track, utilizing a dark, ambient approach which is a welcome change from the nonstop buzzing of the rest of the album.
Full marks to Portal for trying to do something unusual. The concept of avantgarde death metal is appealing, and with a better combination of metal and atmosphere, and much better production, these guys could be entertaining. Unfortunately, this cluttered effort doesn’t get the job done, and should be avoided. Pass the fuckin’ Tylenol.
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