Electric Wizard

Time to Die

Written by: EW on 05/10/2014 21:57:10

A new Electric Wizard album is nominally a cause for celebration within the doom metal community and coming off the back of two thoroughly decent albums before this 8th full-length outing I continued to possess great expectations for the British legends, but the pre-release premieres of "I Am Nothing" and "Sadiowitch" did little to enhance those feelings. The suggestion borne from these two tracks of a doom monolith reverting to type, shorn of their historic potency and nullified by their own successful formula was the opinion gathered from them; thankfully the album as a whole is a little more enchanting but still suffers too much from the tiredness and drug-addled paranoia that has been the core of Jus Oborn’s resolutely anti-mainstream vehicle built up over the last two decades.

Once the opening trickle of water in "Incense for the Damned" subsides the classic EW tactic of sound FX culled from classic horror movies and news reports concerning drugs, Satanism and rock music leads us into an organ-lead intro for the song proper. That slow, ominous introduction gives way to the most inviting tempo in the whole album: a lead, wah-ing guitar track provides the impetus for the bass to join in a confident march, ably supported by the drumming of Mark Greening (marking his first performance with the band since 2002’s "Let Us Prey”) as the song resists change for 5 minutes until a withdrawal in tempo is a reasonable excuse to bring the riff back with the addition of a wailing lead over the top. Vocally Oborn remains, as ever, buried deep in the thick muddy sound of down-tuned distorted guitars and rumbling bass as he relegates his delivery to that of a instrument although it could be argued he is more prominent here than on the band’s defining earlier works where there was even less definition.

The title track slowly emerges with strong resemblance to Windhand’s recent efforts (more a reference to the American’s dedicated following of Wizard than anything) with the hammond organ adding a pleasingly heritage, occult-ish vibe to proceedings while "Funeral of Your Mind" flails around briefly before launching into the catchiest riff of the album, backed as ever by that very recognisable distorted guitar tone which sounds as if it could be lost at any moment to the effects of an over-indulgent session of wah wah pedal histrionics. But like a disappointingly considerable part of the overall LP it falters into a state of nothingness, content with playing the ‘stoned’ card at every turn as an excuse for not finding the subtleties and variations that have previously marked them out as a great band. These long rambles through the outer recesses of the known universe/rehearsal room in Dorset are liberally spread through the aforementioned “I Am Nothing”, which feels like a hazy jam session caught in first take, closer psych-prog organ-fest of "Saturn Dethroned" and the frustratingly annoying "Destroy Those Who Love God”, which is basically three minutes of news clips atop a melange of droning background riffs.

Maybe if I had smoked anything in my life, let alone a healthy portion during repeated listens to "Time to Die”, I would grasp these wandering diversions for their tendency to blow stale smoke is in contrast to the sharper, more invigorating moments in both this record and Electric Wizard’s discography at large. Much was made in the build-up of this album being Oborn & co’s angriest, filthiest yet but I’m not sure how well this comes across. The Wizard have never sounded anything approaching happy for starters, but anger would be better represented with greater dynamics, not meandering jams. Whether this is all a case of believing the hype that surrounds their every move these days, the sense of having become legends of their own self-created scene or being too frazzled to care, a lingering smell of disillusionment hangs over "Time to Die" like unwanted police presence at a loft cannabis factory.

Download: Incense for the Damned, Funeral of Your Mind
For The Fans Of: Windhand, Sleep, Bongzilla
Listen: Facebook

Release date 29.09.2014
Spinefarm Records

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXX Rockfreaks.net.