Electric Wizard
Time to Die

Time To Die is Electric Wizard’s eighth proper full length in a little over two decades. Reading some of the press releases, interviews, and reviews for this album leading up to its release (and afterwards), I was anticipating an album that would be wholly abrasive and pissed off. I misunderstood because this album isn’t so much angry in it’s sonic presentation. It’s very much an Electric Wizard album in that it’s very groovy, doom as fuck, and evil in all the right places. The anger, though, stands out in the lyrics. Electric Wizard has always had satanic passages, odes to murder, and despondence in their words. Never, though, has it been this full of baneful pabulum. Whatever they went through as a band in the past few years has certainly fueled a level of disdain that normally doesn’t materialize in a band so far into their career and it’s refreshing. They are who they are and there are no apologies.

I’ll be the first to say that Dopethrone was the first album of theirs that I go into and I hopped on that train very late. It wasn’t until about 2006 that I first heard it and I’ve felt that each subsequent release (after Let Us Prey) showed a progression towards psychedelia that fits into their sound so perfectly. They haven’t forsaken the doom nor embraced the psych aspect fully as to be completely just one. They’ve married those two aspects completely and on Time To Die, it really shines through. It is their longest album to date with two of the songs breaking the 10 minute mark and four of them being between 7-9 minutes. Even though it breaches 60 minutes, the album is never tiring; each song is necessary in length which allows for an organic flow. The riffs on this album are plenty with a plethora of understated solos (I really don’t know how to describe them because they are never front and center in the listening experience. The groove and riff are always the belle of the ball while the solos meander about as if they are the under-appreciated servant girl just going about her business to make sure the floors are cleaned and the cigarettes are disposed of properly). The drums are very Sabbathian and remind me very much of Bill Ward from the first two Sabbath records. It’s very groovy with lots of cymbal and tom interplay which brings a sense of swing to the songs. That is another aspect of Electric Wizard 2.0 that I think is highly under appreciated. Doom is a style that has its characteristics and qualities that other forms of metal can’t attain. Within this genre there is a subtext of rhythm that I find very satisfying and Electric Wizard has exploited that in full and expanded upon in it greatly in this release.

Jus Oborn’s vocal delivery has started to become a little more drawn out and pronounced in the last few realeases and I think that really fits the progression of the band. It’s almost a wail but not to the point that it is grating or annoying. It’s very haunting, sorrowful, and angry and necessary. It adds a sense of drama to the sound and helps promote the anger this album so fully endorses. I find that when vocalists alter their delivery, range, and timbre, it can be almost detrimental. It’s a necessity in most cases because when a human ages, their voices change. The alteration has to happen because there is no escaping that aspect of humanity. Most times I find that vocalists aren’t great in that change but Jus has adapted his so perfectly that it has become a redeeming quality in their minute transmutation of sound and form.

Time To Die doesn’t really stand out as a monumental release. From beginning to end it flows only as Electric Wizard knows how. It’s rife with samples (in true Electric Wizard fashion) mainly pertaining to the Ricky Kasso incident of 1984. I had no clue who that was so I did a little research and found out the exact specifics. The samples of news clips really help add atmosphere to the album and give it a sense of age that betrays it’s 2014 stamp. There can’t really be a song construed as a “single” but some standout tracks are “Funeral of Your Mind” (a very upbeat groovy monster that exudes head movement at its fullest), “Lucifer’s Slaves” (a psychedelic blues track that brings enough groove and distrortion to the table that it’s hard to distinguish the two), and of course “I Am Nothing” (the first track released for this album. It’s a caravan of riffs marching in tandem with elephantine swagger and megalodonian weight; a satanic ritual of the animal kingdom waiting to unleash the unholy patriarch from his netherworldly slumber). This is probably the heaviest song Electric Wizard has released in a few years and it is a great represntation for the coda this album keeps. Put these songs into context of the album and they fit very well. They don’t necessarily stand out but certainly highlight a very great release by the UK’s premier doom band.

If you like Electric Wizard and don’t have any preconceived notions about what the band should be, check this album out. It’s a good listen that doesn’t blow minds. It does keep in line what they’ve been doing since We Live and they shouldn’t offer any apologies for doing what they do. If you don’t like Electric Wizard, well….there’s nothing here that’s gonna change your mind. They aren’t here to please the naysayers though. They just want everyone to die.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris S
January 8th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jason

    Great review. Still not sure why this one doesn’t grab me.

    Like every Wizard album I still pick it up and I’ve been a fan since they came storming onto the battlefield. I’m not sure what turns me off with their recent work. I certainly play them plenty hoping to catch the feel, yet I don’t feel their writing has the replay value it once did.

    Love the band, really, my recent jabs aside but I haven’t been wild over anything since Let Us Prey with the exception of Witchcult.


  2. Commented by: chris

    Thanks for the kind words. I certainly understand why this one isnt as impressive, in your opinion. It’s definitely not as much of a statement as their early works.


Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Kiova - Empty Fields and Smoke-Filled Skies EP
  • Mors Principium Est - Seven
  • Eternal Champion - Ravening Iron
  • Angerot - The Divine Apostate
  • Carnation - Where Death Lies
  • My Dying Bride - Macabre Cabaret EP
  • Witchtrap - Evil Strikes Again
  • Décembre Noir - The Renaissance of Hope
  • Ossuary Anex - Obscurantism Apogee
  • Killer Be Killed - Reluctant Hero
  • Stormkeep - Galdrum EP
  • Atrae Bilis - Divinihility EP
  • Draconian - Under a Godless Veil
  • TON - Ashes Where They Stood
  • Furies - Fortune’s Gate