2018’s Loyal to the Soil was an enjoyable slice of vicious nastiness, so I knew that checking out The Path of Wrath was definitely on the cards.
Combining dark, violent hardcore with an even stronger blackened streak, elements of sludge metal intensity, and even a touch of death metal and doom, the Wolf King of 2021 is a darker and filthier incarnation than it was previously. In fact, on The Path of Wrath it sounds as if Wolf King have truly taken their black metal influences to heart. If Loyal to the Soil was the sound of a hardcore band with a blackened coating, then The Path of Wrath is the sound of a black metal band with hardcore elements sewn into its walking corpse. This is blackened hardcore that’s heavy on the blackened.
The Path of Wrath is a longer album than its predecessor, (53 minutes vs 43 minutes), but makes up for this by having a greater breadth of material than the band’s debut album. As Wolf King have increased the blackened components in their sound, there’s consequently more room for the exploration of atmosphere and old-school melodic black and death metal workouts. Both of which, they do rather well, (I especially like the At the Gates-isms that I can hear). The savagery of old is still here though; the band are even more ferocious actually, and their sound is rawer overall.
Wolf King’s new album is a darker and well-developed expression of blackened hardcore. The band have doubled down on their extreme metal influences and created something that has their personality stamped on it more than their last album did. A strong, confident step forward into the shadows, The Path of Wrath is a very strong release.
Very highly recommended.