English doom metal band Electric Wizard return for their eighth studio album, Time To Die, and what a return it is. It’s been four years since their previous album, and about 12 since their original drummer Mark Greening joined them in the studio. The album was recorded at Toe Rag Studios, and produced by Electric Wizard’s vocalist & lead guitarist, Jus Oborn.
Time To Die starts out with the sounds of a forest landscape; there’s a small waterfall, a churning, bubbling stream, and cawing crows. Shortly after, drums and an organ fade into the mix, all while an audio exposé on Satanism unfolds. The album officially starts about a minute and a half into the first track, “Incense For The Damned,” in which a heavy guitar and bass ring out to the sounds of a war cadence played on the drums. “Incense” quickly turns into a slow heavy metal jam, with a liberal use of drum fills and heavily reverberated vocals screaming, “I wanna get high before I die,” over and over again, before effortlessly fading into the aptly-named title-track, “Time To Die.”
“I Am Nothing” sees the album reach a climax at only three tracks; with much more sludge metal influence than the other songs, it is slow, heavy, chunky, abrasive, and sounds like something that would be in Code Orange Kids’ repertoire. On the other hand, “Funeral Of Your Mind” could pass off as an early Black Sabbath demo, with Oborn’s wailing vocals, scratchy leads, and atonal melodies. The penultimate track, “Lucifer’s Slaves,” sees a return to sludge about four minutes into the song. After going back to the original tempo, the song builds up and fades out to the same organ-drum combo from “Incense For The Damned.” Before long, the forest landscape returns, as does a final sample from the exposé on Satanism.
While doom metal might not be for everyone, Electric Wizard push on the borders of genre exclusivity with splashes of hard rock, sludge, and even ambience poured into their unique brew.