Album Reviews - Reviews

Electric Wizard – Time To Die


Rejoice, rosy-eyed Neanderthals, for your patience has been well rewarded. It’s been an age and a score (or four years to be precise) since last we were gifted with a new Electric Wizard LP, and anticipation has been boiling for months since it was announced that Wizard original, Mark Greening, would be taking a seat behind the drum kit for the first time since the trance-inducing Let Us Prey in 2002.

It has already been an absolutely stellar year for doom metal with cumbersome offerings from favourites such as Conan and EyeHateGod, so it’s hard to not feel spoiled filthy rotten when the mighty Wizard arrived back on the scene. Not only have they showed up to the party, but they’ve brought with them the very psychoactive party tricks that had the zines calling them “the heaviest band in the world”. Very rarely does anything manifest into a solid shape on Time to Die, rather the sounds trudge along in dreary, formless discord swathed only by enduring percussion.

It hasn’t all been hearts and flowers, however, as dissolution within the band was already visible before the album’s release with the departure (or firing, depending on who you ask) of drummer Mark Greening. It can certainly take the wind out from under a release like this when one of the returning heroes of the band’s fabled history suddenly withdraws, for whatever reasons, and bursts the collective bubble of an eager and yearning fan base. It’s a bit like watching mummy and daddy fighting, except mummy and daddy are characters from Northville Cemetery Massacre. Was it our fault?

‘Incense of the Damned’ serves as the onset into this hour-long sensory pounding with a prolonged exhibition of the kind of sleepy riffage that the band have been peddling sincetheir inception, with lyrics like “We’re gonna get high before we die” coming off as a warm, familiar greeting. The album’s titular track, ‘Time to Die’, sustains the heavy-eyed, guitar-driven psychedelia before ‘I Am Nothing’ strides forward with the kind of grotesquely primitive furor that wouldn’t have seemed out of place on the band’s seminal Dopethrone.

Eerie sound bites and Hammer Horror organ work takes us through ‘Destroy Those Who Love God’ until the tempo picks up significantly with something of a more traditional groove from ‘Funeral Of Your Mind’. Having just about tuckered itself out, ‘We Love The Dead’ sighs and drones before flowering into a kaleidoscopic wall of sound completed by shrieking guitars and vocalist Jus Oborn’s despondent moaning. ‘Sadiowitch’ returns to something resembling solid ground with more sluggish aggression until the murky grooves of ‘Lucifer’s Slaves’ brings the riff wizardry to its end. Finally, ‘Saturn Dethroned’ acts as the end credits with a delightfully ominous organ outro to this fuzzed-out pilgrimage to the grave.

Time to Die is not the trip through time that many fans had hoped for, it’s more of a meeting between old and new that, even when synthesized, sounds familiar and exactly what you’d expect from an Electric Wizard album. It may very well be much of the same, but for the devoted, it has yet to become stale. Liam Doyle