Wraithrest – Path Of The Raven

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: August, 2018
Released: 2018
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Lee Carter

The dark imagery of black metal is a long and storied tale, but the debate rages as to how best to represent it through music. Should a band opt for a vast, epic sound that transcends time and space to commune with the Dark One; or is it better to have it recorded through a damaged second-hand walkie-talkie whilst the band play on an industrial site? Both have seen their respective methods used down the years, but still there is no definitive answer. So how do WRAITHREST approach matters?

The first thing that is immediately apparent is how right the production sounds. Straight from the opening stomp of “Azazel”, the vocals cut a mean path through the maelstrom whilst the guitars sit tight with a rumbling bass; the gain dialled back a touch to allow room to breathe. It still sounds raw and bloody, but there’s a distinct clarity that cuts through and makes for a slick, clean and polished sound. Odd, yes, but it works very well. Beneath it all, the drums have punch to them, providing a thumping pulse through bruisers like “Athame” and impressing when firing up the double-bass kicks. A very good first impression…

Musically, WRAITHREST purvey a more measured version of black metal. Think along the lines of the likes of SATYRICON and you’ll be in the ball park. It’s not quite like the black ‘n’ roll their Norwegian chums churn out, but it makes use of mid-tempo moments alongside those double-bass blasts. A prime example would be the slow burner “Do Ut Des” with its plodding dissonant riffs cut with pacey slabs of rage – the combination is measured but wholly impactful. An exception to the rule of the genre, but one that would be welcome to become a little more commonplace.

Elsewhere, the majestic “Primeval Source” lords it as the album highlight. Possibly the most “traditional” in black metal circles, it’s a slightly quicker affair that gets the blood pumping from the off with a discordant one-two riff. Yet, just when the blood pressure’s raised enough to reanimate that corpse you’ve been working on, the band stops almost everything for a slightly bizarre interlude that features a lion roaring. It does work, adding a strangely-absent sense of foreboding (like the beast is about to munch your knackers off), but just seems a little out of place. The only other sample used throughout was some bird squeaks earlier in the aforementioned “Do Ut Des”, so when a random miffed lion appears roaring through your headphones, you are left feeling a little jarred.

Nevertheless, WRAITHREST have produced a solid entry into the vast annals of black metal. Like most, it’s not trailblazing a new take on the genre, but then it’s not relying on the same old worn route. Whether that be a path laid out specifically by some dark-winged dinosaur-descendent or the band’s own intuition is up for debate, but on this occasion the destination is more important than the journey. “Path Of The Raven” is a delightfully dark affair, just the right side of raw, and with plenty to get one’s teeth into (just don’t let the lion out).




1. Azazel
2. Abyssus Abyssum Invocat
3. Athame
4. Do Ut Des
5. Mark Ov Emptiness
6. Primeval Source
7. Path Ov The Raven

Line up:

Nullifer Bones – Vocals, Guitar & Drums

Candy Bones – Bass