Portal's New CD, "Element" - HTTP://WWW.CDBABY.COM/PORTAL3
Portal's Full Catalogue - HTTP://WWW.CDBABY.COM/ALL/PORTAL
Portal is a vessel - a corporeal incarnation of progressive musicality and esoteric introspection - for which Thomas is both heart and soul. It is, however, the tangible aspects of a band that allow its music to be shared with audiences, and Portal's somatic element is far from a one man show. Portal is a foursome of free-thinking individuals, each actively seeking to challenge themselves and their listeners through intense and provocative performance. Drawing inspiration from such varied influences as progressive metal, trip-hop, and good old-fashioned rock and roll, the band has developed a sound transcendent of trends or labels - a propulsive hybrid destined to flourish, with or without a mainstream market appeal.
The band's first full-length studio recording, The Vast Expanse Diminishing, is an emphatic demonstration of this collective resolve. A dark carnival of moods punctuated by progressive structures and unparalleled musicality, it is a brilliant testament not only to Thomas' gifted craftsmanship, but also the exceptional talents of the Portal collective. The album was recorded with studio time the band won at the 2001 Adopt-A-Band Challenge in their hometown of Edmonton, Canada, and from the pre-production stage onward, breaking barriers was the intent. Structures were redefined and timing eviscerated, their successors meticulously interwoven with incisive lyrical mantras, and placed on a bed of emotionally charged requiems. The result is a sobering sacrament for listeners raised on predictability and repetitious clichés.
From the progressive genius of the lead track, Severance, which won acclaim at the National Songwriting Competition in 2002, to the edgy, echo-chamber lament, With You, The Vast Expanse Diminishing undulates with a raw complexity, skilfully harnessed by the band's members and packaged into a seamless collection of groove-laden tunes. Riding the strength of surging anthems like Insurgent Few and Remnants with their pulsing intimations of electronic menace, and the beautiful lifting melodies of A Cleansing Breath and its epic counterpart It's Time We Let Go, Portal delves into realms of rhythmic intricacy few artists ever dare.
"It's easy to sink below the surface in a sea of six-billion faces," says Thomas. "You have to find your niche. And, if our niche is to be the band that budding intellectuals with an appetite for edgy, progressive, electro-rock listen to when they're hungry to expand their vocabulary and feed their minds, then so be it."
In an era dominated by over-hyped redundancy and catch-phrase frenzies, Portal's latest effort strikes a knockout blow for the things that really matter: for marvellously packaged creativity, for having an opinion, and most of all, for the true art of music. With an agenda so infused with artistic integrity and passion for their craft, Portal is destined to be, for many years to come, "the vast expanse diminishing."