Satan wept, lurking maybe but in typical one-man BM fashion Vulturius has been pumping out releases since 2002. There are somewhere in the region of 36 listed on Metal Archives and he has also been involved in no shortage of other acts, Kommando Baphomet & Morte Incandescente amongst them. Naturally he has been indoctrinated into The Portuguese Black Circle and would appear to be a very busy chappie. ‘Lurking In The Depths’ is his fifth full length under the Irae moniker and found him stuck in an airport at the start of the viral epidemic with nothing better to do than write some lyrics for the album on his cell phone. Depicting a weariness of the world we are told the album depicts a “picture of the will of self-isolation and the tiredness of this world, where everyone and everything wants its five minutes of fame.” I can’t honestly remember if musically our paths have met before, they certainly should have done over the course of so many releases but even if not, the album displays feelings of nostalgia and is easily identifiable within its genre allowing the listener to quickly get to grips with things. At first, I found it all a bit formulaic but with increased plays it has come out of the depths and has grown on me somewhat.

Foggy and crepuscular the ‘Nightshade’ darkly takes form and crashes and crunches away with craggy vocals amidst the mid-paced musical canvas. It’s quickly evident that the session drummer employed likes to smack the cymbal giving things an extra impetus and guitars build up the speedy flourishes and bring some melodicism to an otherwise raw and craggy sound. No denying where this comes from and it is proper black metal dished up the old way, no trends or deviations, the twirling riff work going back right to the Norse origins of the genre and the likes of Burzum. ‘Black Metal Violator’ is a cracking title and one surely overlooked by Satyricon. It downs tempo and settles into a mournful plod with some thick bass tones and evil goblin vocals. I guess by the title I was expecting something faster and indeed the pace picks up and it suddenly charges forth and gallops off, spurred on by the weaving riffs and a stomping feudal charge. There are some very faint keyboards apparently via another session musician lurking right in the background and I can’t help feeling the atmosphere would be added to if they were a bit more up in the mix. There are definite doomy parts to be found here and ‘Ratazanas’ has a ratty proto metal sound that is similar to recent Darkthrone and gets right in the head. Again, this is tempered by a burst of speed and Vulturius seems at his most comfortable adding pace to songs as they develop.

Despite the lack of surprises found on the 8 track ¾ of an hour album the passion and determination here is evident as the single-minded energy is flung into songs such as the rattling ‘Blaze In The Mist.’ Portugal has a fine tradition of black metal and although with albums such as this it is difficult to put own identity into things that deviate from how they were set up by the Scandinavian hordes there’s plenty to endear yourself to here. The outright savagery again spurred by those cymbal clashes on ‘Between Ruins’ moves into a brief and maudlin path of gloom and abandonment before plummeting off again and the longer tracks here definitely have a feeling of development. If this was a new act, I would probably say Irae could improve over time but I think he has been doing this long enough to be exactly where Vulturius wants to be. It’s up to you to decide whether his vision is for you and I probably would have benefitted here by hearing more of his past work. It is however a daunting prospect knowing just where to start.

(7/10 Pete Woods)