Irae – Dangerovs Magick Zpells from the Mesziah of Death Review

Getting dibs on albums is pretty rad when there’s a cool band with a new release I forgot about: a mini-Christmas in the otherwise lifeless dregs of the promo bin. That was my initial thought when I saw Portugal’s Irae new release. Last year’s Lurking in the Depths, while not terribly original, was a jolly fun batch o’ blackened tunes. It blended raw-ish tendencies with a healthy dose of groove for a subtle and consistent listen that perhaps held more promise than delivered but was good enough for my heart to leap at the newest installment. Does Dangerovs Magick Zpells from the Mesziah of Death deliver?

Irae is a veteran to the Portuguese black metal scene. Amassing a formidable catalog since 2002, sole member Vulturius has made a name for himself with splits and demos galore, alongside his usual full-length and EP output. In mini-album Dangerovs Magick Zpells from the Mesziah of Death, whose length hangs out in the purgatory between album and EP, Irae chucks caution to the wind with the grace of 50 Cent’s notorious Mets-Pirates pitch and departs from Lurking in the Depths‘ patience and deliberation in favor of painfully trve raw black. If you saw the new one’s title and cringed out of your skin, you’re not alone, as it ultimately becomes a bit of a metaphor: inconsistent, cringeworthy, and deserving of infinite eye-rolls. Riffs like barbed wire and melodies like tinnitus assault the ears in one of the most disappointing followups I’ve ever heard.

Offering four tracks, titled “Part I,” “Part II,” “Part III,” and “Part IV,” Dangerovs Magick Zpells… vast palette is haphazardly constructed and ridiculously inconsistent – incredibly difficult to score as a whole. “Part II” is the most forgivable, as its use of patient plucking and hypnotic rhythms recalls Lurking in the Depths‘ aptly pulsing darkness edged with overlays of melody. It’s patient and heart-wrenching, providing an intriguing vulnerability without sacrificing its blackened fury. On paper, Parts I and IV are aptly raw and scathing, guitar licks bathing in razor-blade edge with blaring clarity a la Ancient Burial and Messiah in the Abyss, while Part III’s quirky melodies fit the bill for Irae‘s past releases. However, aside from “Part II,” Dangerovs Magick Zpells… is so awkwardly contrived and poorly performed that it hardly feels like the same band that released Lurking from the Depths. The swaggering grooves of “Ratazanas” are starkly absent, while the melodic touches of “A Blaze in the Mist” are compressed, flayed, and funneled through the raw filter until there’s little left to admire.

To address the elephant in the room, “Part III”s stunningly bad DR 2 production is also a reflection of the song’s quality. By raw black standards, this makes some semblance of sense, but strangely, it tries to be Dangerovs Magick Zpells‘ most melodic track, complete with “somber” plucking, a thick haze of reverb, and DSBM-inspired melancholic vocals, but thanks to its absolutely abysmal production, downright awful instrumental , and Vulturius’ most awkward vocal performance to date, “Part III” may be the worst song I’ve heard this year. Vocals are painfully loud, the mix is so muddled and thick, and the melodies are warped and distorted through it. While rawness is the emphasis, Irae‘s uses don’t sound intentional by a long shot. To make matters worse for Dangerovs Magick Zpells…, Vulturius’ vocals, while fairly standard for black metal last time around, are painfully awkward, as he enthusiastically embarrassingly grunts, moans, shrieks, and howls his way through thirty-three minutes of choppy blackened slop. While bands like None and Amnutseba offer vocal variety in conjunction with an abstruse haze that emphasizes its blasphemous themes, Irae‘s vocals stand out like a sore thumb on the mutilated hand of badness.

Lurking in the Depths was not the perfect black metal album by any means, but it felt purposeful. It was well-written, smartly executed, and just plain fun – all the things that the arduous Dangerovs Magick Zpells from the Mesziah of Death is not. Cruelly inconsistent and a shadow of its former self, Irae suddenly makes offerings from middling to solid raw black acts like Funeral Fullmoon and Revenant Marquis feel like masterpieces, thanks to Vulturius’ awkward performances and painfully slipshod production. For every “Part II” groove that capitalizes on some semblance of promise, there are at least three “Part III”-esque cringes that take its place. It does not deliver, not even offering curbside pickup, and the cook fumbles the dish straight out of the oven.

Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 3 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Signal Rex
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: June 21st, 2020

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