Light the incense, the candles and anything else you might want to light because the new Electric Wizard album “Time to Die” has arrived with 9 tracks of unbridled, drug-fueled, stoner riff brilliance. Electric Wizard albums have been a serious event on my calendar for the last ten years, and this one is no exception as they continue to raise the bar in the genre. I bought the CD on the day it was released, and the layout does not disappoint, with Coven pictures, Coffins, various Satanic images and BDSM themes to add to the dark feel. Half of these songs are over seven minutes long, so settle in, listen to the riffs and relax, because this is going to take its sweet damned time.
The album begins with the ten-minute epic “Incense for the Damned“. A long, eerie sample leads us to an ominous, repetitive snare roll that sets the mood. Then out of nowhere comes a monster fuzzed-out bassline guaranteed to make your head bang in that amazing 70s traditional groove that Electric Wizard has perfected. This is a rhythm section on fire, however, and I can’t recall an Electric Wizard album where the bass sound has been so prominent, or heavily fuzzed. And it works very well indeed.
The title track, “Time to die” begins with incredibly heavy riffs, and the addition of an organ just adds more to that loose, jamming late 60’s/early 70’s feel. Jus’ vocals are more yelled this time than the smoother style he has employed on earlier albums, but again, it works just fine, and it’s hard not to nod your head along to this one. “I am Nothing” is the longest track, clocking in at over 11 minutes. It exemplifies the Electric Wizard low fi, organic approach as they lead you deeper in the album, along dark and hypnotic passages of despair while he shouts insolently about peoples mindless slavery to technology. “Funeral of your mind” is more uptempo with plenty of wah effect and takes us to the halfway point. “We love the dead” begins with an organ and develops into an interesting offbeat type of dirge. “SadioWitch” actually has a film clip and starts with a chugging riff which is infectious, and Jus’ amazing vocals as he sings “Her venom, My blood” are looped in my brain at the moment along with those soaring guitar notes.
An event as usual, and Electric Wizard make it clear they are not just at the top of their game, but continuing to redefine the boundaries of their genre.
Electric Wizard: Facebook
Release Year: 2014
Label: Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Matt