January 12, 2015 Electric Wizard – Time to Die (Album Review)
Doom Metal bands are notorious for their worship of Black Sabbath. Their style, image, and shock value is still being imitated today. After twenty or so years tinkering with the initial Doom Metal prototype presented on Sabbath’s first five records (1970-1973), one band emerged from Dorset, England who perfectly embodied Doom Metal in all of its listless glory: Electric Wizard. Nowadays, Electric Wizard is practically synonymous with Doom Metal, but when they first appeared in 1993, they did not yet have the effect they now employ that helped them to envision the gloomy empire they have since constructed. Their sophomore album Come My Fanatics… (1997) contained the blueprints for many future Doom Metal releases, as per the crushing guitar tones. The turn of the century saw Electric Wizard’s most celebrated album, 2000’s Dopethrone. Strewn with titanic Metal riffs, marijuana references, and horror movie camp, Dopethrone not only defined Electric Wizard’s sound and image, it also came to be recognized as one of the finest albums in the genre.
Following the successes Electric Wizard has seen with Come My Fanatics… and Dopethrone, the band released a string of solid albums from 2002 to 2010. Despite the various lineup changes, vocalist and guitarist Jus Osborn has been the only consistent member. The group issued an EP in 2012 entitled Legalize Drugs & Murder, which hinted at the tongue-in-cheek black humor listeners would receive two years later on their new LP Time to Die.
Time to Die, more than anything, is a tar pit. From the moment the first chord is struck in “Incense for the Damned,” the listener is and struck with a sudden jolt of Doom-induced paralysis and sucked in. Jus Osborn and fellow guitarist Liz Buckingham’s massive guitar tones, paired with Count Orlof’s chunky bass tones give the same creeping impression as that of a cockroach burrowing into one’s skin. Osborn’s ghoulish vocals add roughly the same amount of B-Movie cheese as would a silent horror flick from the 1920s. As is the way with the title track, the album’s first single “Sadiowitch” boasts a groovy Doom Metal cut beneath the layers of distortion and feedback piled on like soil on a shallow grave. “I Am Nothing” is another standout that will delight longtime Electric Wizard fans. The track demonstrates the band’s effortless proficiency in creating atmospheres that lie in the confused emotional chasm between malaise and despair. Not dissimilarly, “Funeral of Your Mind” would be fit to appear in an opium-induced blood sacrifice scene in a Dario Argento film. The two instrumental tracks on Time to Die, “Destroy Those Who Love God” and the closer “Saturn Dethroned” both feature samples of television shows regarding Satanism, murder, and drug use. The album ends with the now iconic sample of Dale Griffis, a police chief from Ohio on the television show 20/20, on the episode regarding “devil worshippers” that was previously used to open the album on Dopethrone. Griffis is quoted saying, “When you get into one of these groups, there’s only a couple ways you can get out. One is death. The other is mental institutions.”
This Doom Metal masterwork shows how strongly a part of the scene Electric Wizard still are today. A logical progression from the pot and occult-themed Metal outfit’s recent works, Time to Die is an excellent addition to the Electric Wizard’s catalog. CrypticRock gives Time to Die 4.5 out of 5 stars.