Conceived from the ashes of Abaddon (another previous extreme metal project from the members), Wraithrest stands as a black metal duo from Italy with quite a bit of merit and notability. The band incorporates some elements of other extreme subgenres, specifically death & thrash metal, and features its lyrical focus on themes related to the Occult, witchcraft, Paganism, etc. And, since just last year, the husband-and-wife project's been carrying on with the Wraithrest persona.
Path ov the Raven serves as Wraithrest's debut full-length release that was unveiled independently by the band in June of 2018. The 40 minute album consisting of seven tracks is a somewhat continuation of the ole Abaddon formula, albeit with some tweaks and changes made. Path ov the Raven is available both digitally and physically in limited CD format via the band.
The album unfolds with a rather unorthodox opening made up of some death/thrash chord riffing and fast-paced shredding altogether. It threw me off a bit, but I can't say it didn't surprise me in a positive way. The vocals are also somewhat distinct for the style of music, with there being more deep growls and mids than highs throughout. Most of all, however, I took a liking to the boldly creative addition of thrash/death influences (i.e. riffs, breakdowns, etc.) as well as the nostalgically low-fi production quality, clean-to-distorted transitions within the songs, and the overall stellar instrumentals.
Each track in Path ov the Raven had something to offer that I enjoyed. For instance, 'Azazel' has strong eclectic influences from other genres in addition to a fast pace; on the other hand, 'abyss abyssum invocat' is more structured and typical black metal with tremolo riffs, dramatic interludes and great transitions throughout. I especially thought the ad-libbed "spoken word" vocals were a nice touch in some songs such as 'Mark ov Emptiness'. The outro track 'Path ov the Raven' is a bit of a slow burn, but it has a cool ending to it.
Not much negative to say in the way of the music itself. Aside from some of the mixing being questionable and the lack of those signature black metal high vocals (which is more of a personal preference at the end of the day), this release is a solid debut.
All in all, Path ov the Raven is a surprisingly bold and original, yet at the same time nostalgic and down-to-earth, black metal release that is worth your time if you're into the genre. It's got its own little quirks and, while it's not the perfect album, it's got quite a bit of stuff that's noteworthy to say the least.
Fave Tracks: 'Azazel', 'Mark ov Emptiness'
For Fans Of: Abaddon, Immortal, Necrophobic
**This release is available now here!**
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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