Cranked right up, these tracks have real elemental force. The unforgiving stomp of "Portal 1" sounds like it could have come from the Cretaceous period as much as early '90s Berlin, and the album as a whole seems as monolithic as a slab of stone. Sometimes it's a bit too cold: "Portal 6" might make you feel like you're repeatedly smacking a brick wall. Yet much as the vril in The Coming Race was a liquid with magical powers, so Vril can create real marvels when he bends some of the more rigid structures and lets things flow, as he does on "Portal 3," where melodic stabs carve space around whip-cracking percussion. Vril's talent for making something fluid out of solid sounds is best displayed on "Portal 7," where a track that begins murky and fogbound eventually opens up into something echoing, cavernous and vast.
It's that sense of scale that makes moments of Portal near-sublime. It needs powerful speakers to really do it justice, and even then, many might regard these tracks as little more than the bedrock for a remorseless techno set. But the crushing heat and pressure Vril brings to his productions means that, in the right hands at the right times, this music can feel as thrilling, fiery and dangerous as dancing on hot coals.