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Town Portal: The Occident

Smashing second from Danish math wizards.

Question: what do you get if you mix the tech-metal titans Meshuggah’s rhythm section with the amphetamine-fuelled, freight train powered shoegaze of Swervedriver?

To answer ‘Town Portal’ would be to simplify this band down to the bare bones of their sound, but that’s the core of what makes them so unique. In the marriage of these two disparate styles, shot through with a healthy dose of Rush-esque prog, Town Portal have delivered a stunning second album, and a worthy successor to their 2012 debut Chronopoly. From its rhythmically complex opener Bonus Trigger, The Occident continually surprises, with its precise use of dynamics ensuring the record is not just a one-trick pony in the riff stakes. Segueing highlights Deep Error and Moon Treaty recall Failure’s atmospheric Fantastic Planet. Guitarist Christian Ankerstjerne favours an open tuning, and on World Core and Peripheral Islands its potential is fully realised, with melody lines drifting between meaty heavy rock riffs and expansive, sparse and evocative soundscaping. They’ve been criminally underrated until now, hopefully The Occident will secure the recognition this peerless band deserve.