by Graham "Gruhamed" Hartmann
For a while now, Australian spectral doom band PORTAL has been seeing some serious underground support. Mostly through online metal forums and youtube, the band has developed an almost cult following of experimental metal enthusiasts. It's beyond difficult for an Australian act, especially an extreme metal act to make it over to the States, but after 16 years of chaos, Portal just played to a sold-out crowd in Brooklyn, New York. Even more impressive, they opened for death metal staple GORGUTS, who played their first show since their 5-year hiatus the night before in Boston, with Portal as their support.
The Brooklyn show began with New York's own BLOODY PANDA, who left the crowd in a daze with their signature brand of doom. Their duel vocal attack, whether utilizing horror-movie style screams or overtone singing, was met with a warm response from the crowd. KRALLICE was next, another New York band featuring Colin Marston of BEHOLD… THE ARCTOPUS who also played bass for Gorguts later in the night. Marston plays the Warr guitar in Behold… the Arctopus, but he dawned a six-string during Krallice's death metal assault. Unfortunately both his guitar and his backup guitar decided to break during their set, but that didn't stop the crowd from eating up their tunes. So with two bands down and the crowd pumped up, the anticipation for Portal started to grow. I could see the crowd staring at the stage with glassy eyes, trying to figure out if the human beings setting up were the same as the members of the hooded horror act. Luckily they didn't have to ponder for long, because as the lights went out, the dark figures took the stage. Tuned down to F, they started a barreling instrumental onslaught which let the crowd know that they meant business. As the deadly noise filled the room, their frontman known as The Curator slowly walked to the middle of the stage. Dawning a black robe and Pope-like hat, he raised his hands to they sky, and the crowd followed suit. For the next 45 minutes, Portal blasted their unique deathnoise throughout The Knitting Factory, and even after two years of studying music theory, I had no effing clue as to what they were playing. All I could say was, "Wow." The band even gained the approval of Terrance Hobbs and Derek Boyer of SUFFOCATION who diligently watched from the back of the crowd.
Gorguts finished off the night strong with a powerful set of their classic death metal. Luc Lemay delivered a guttural performance that could rival the most legendary metal frontmen. If Lemay hadn't announced that this was only their second show back, an idle metal fan would have never known it, because there was no rust to be heard. It was a great night for metal, and the fans came out in droves to support both local, headlining and international bands. So America, meet Portal. And boys, welcome to the states!