Thursday, October 9, 2014

Electric Wizard-“Time to Die”

Horror loving doom metal fanatics, Electric Wizard, are back with a new album titled, “Time to Die.” Their last full-length album, “Black Masses,” was released in 2010, so we have gone four years without a full-length Electric Wizard album. Oh no, what was I to do?!
    Well, in that four year period they did put out an EP that was titled something to the effect of legalizing drugs and murder, not surprising coming from this group. Also, they played a select handful of festival appearances while failing to tour North America. To be honest, they kind of annoyed me in the last four years by showing an apathetic work ethic. In all fairness they did go through a legal battle with their old label. Still, not touring North America! I had not been following the band as much, so this new album kind of snuck up on me. For this new album the band does carry over some qualities of, “Black Masses,” and even taps into their older catalog too. However, this album is a bit different in the way that it is presented, being based around a strong conceptual format. I actually think the band thought about how to incorporate the songs together rather than just get high, jam out some tunes, and then throw them all together on an album. I still think they got high, but the songs seem to have a certain flow.
    The introduction of this album starts with the sounds rushing water and are soon broken up by an audio news piece talking about a satanic cult murder. Those type of news sound bites are played often, solidify the satanic cult theme that this album has going on. That first song, “Incense for the Damned,” is one dark massive sounding track. The beginning organ part adds this old fashion horror vibe. Once the drums start building up the sinister atmosphere the guitars come pounding along cloaked in black robes of blasphemous distortion. Jus Oborn, singer/guitarist who is the main driving force in the band, sounds as though he is in a trance as he sings and hammers away at his guitar. Rhythm guitarist, Liz Buckingham, adds to the thick distortion sound with crushing backbone forming riffs. The band maintains that famous Sabbath like tone and the whirling feedback is unmistakable. On the second song, “Time to Die,” the band perfectly continues to pound out heavy grooving distortion filled jams. The two songs blend perfectly together in an unholy harmonious union. 
    Track three, “I am Nothing,” is the longest track on the album and contains plenty of long slow moving riffs. The beginning drum sound is thunderous and drummer Mark Greening decimates his kit with unbelievable force. There are times when the guitars explode into the soundscape with atomic sounding force. This song is great if you enjoy long heavy noise driven tracks, but I don’t think short minded music fans will be exactly enthusiastic. Track four, “Destroy Those Who Love God,” is a gimmicky instrumental that contains sound bites of more people talking about satanic cults. The band uses the organ again and this composition seems to be very chaotic. I personally like the next track, “Funeral of Your Mind.” Here the band comes up with a really heavy grooving jam that sounds similar to something that Saint Vitus would do. Good use of effect pedals and the guitar tone compliments the vocals well during the song.
    Track six, “We Love the Dead,” is another slow Sabbath like crushing jam and really no different than the first two tracks in style. It sounds a lot like the stuff from their “Come My Fanatics...” album. The next track, “SadioWitch,” is my least favorite track and sounds like a track that did not make it on “Black Masses.” The recording is subpar and the riffs are not as powerful as the other riffs on this album. “Lucifer’s Slaves,” is a return to the more crushing drawn out riffs and dark massive sounding atmospheres. The album ends with an instrumental piece called, “Saturn Dethroned,” and offers a bone chilling farewell to this distortion driven tale of terror.
    For an album that snuck up on me since I had not been expecting the band to do much besides continue to play festivals once in a blue moon, this album was an enjoyable listen. Is this their best album to date? No, but I would say that the way Electric Wizard approached this album was very creative and helps make it standout amongst the other albums in their discography. I think the longer songs over use guitar feedback at times, however, it does help in creating that sinister theme which Electric Wizard was going for. If you are a fan of doom metal and endless heavily distorted jams of satanic proportions, I believe this album will be your cup of tea. Now, hopefully Electric Wizard puts down their cups of tea and other substances, so they can do some touring in support of this album!

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