Town Portal

Of Violence

Written by: LL on 04/04/2019 21:47:32

The instrumental Danish trio Town Portal has always been mixing the best of heavy, almost sludgy post-metal with lighter post-rock sequences and mathy guitar riffs and odd time signatures. On their third album, “Of Violence”, they continue this but have managed to write a time-warping record full of even more pointed tracks than before. The effort has been mixed and produced by none other than Scott Evans of Kowloon Walled City, and it features both trumpet and saxophone in the rich soundscapes.

The compositions here have a tendency to circle around similar intervals and offbeat rhythms in ways that on the surface can cause the listener to lose track of the album as if it is one big composition with segments rather than 9 different songs. The magic of it is that this doesn’t translate to a boring listening experience but rather it makes it a very pleasant one, a sonic world to get lost in out of time. Of course, the great production is also to thank for this. Overall, the album sounds lush and full of auditive nooks and crannies for each riff and lick to find its rightful place in the mix. In this way, the album also retains an elusive, mysterious quality even after many listens while more dedicated time with it also seems to keep bringing out more and more layers and details to appreciate.

The first song to make an impact comes right off the bat, after the simple introductory track “Better Angels”. “Archright” presents many of the key elements that the album will circle back to in different ways: the particular odd groove of the drums, thick and playful bass lines, and not least the oddly chiming guitar figures with little melodies that will haunt your brain for a while. It features both trumpet and saxophone lines in certain places that play really well into the organic feel of the music overall. Another standout track is “Roko’s Basilisk” that marks the longest track of the record, and really echoes “Archright” in ways that feel oddly backward, twisting and turning the riffs. Its weirdly starting-then-stopping beginning, as well as the more jazzy feel in saxophone and trumpets during the ending, really help it to stand apart, though.

A song that has really grown on me through repeated listens is “Soil To Own” that, by now, stands as one of my favorites of the album. It has a slightly busier vibe than what surrounds it and pulls forward in a very alluring way. The bass is remarkably light right up until all hell breaks loose halfway with hammering drums and the reappearance of the brass instruments. And then it comes back down again, and I find it impressive that within a span of 5 minutes and 17 seconds, it manages to make this rise and fall movement without any part feeling too short or forced.

The rest of the tracks provide a range of more raw-sounding heavier takes on the same themes and a few lighter, dreamy ones with more open notes. Altogether, they contribute to an album that I think is definitely the best Town Portal has put together yet. It is a joyful and rewarding listen, especially if you check it out as a collective unit rather than as individual tracks. The winding nature of it, though, also makes it an album that is definitely a grower in that subtle way that will allow it to sneak into a special place in the heart of any dedicated math-post-rock fan.


Download: Archright, Soil To Own, Roko’s Basilisk
For The Fans Of: Alpha Male Tea Party, Poly-math, Kerretta, Russian Circles

Release date 05.03.2019
Small Pond Records/Art As Catharsis

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