Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review of Electric Wizard's Time to Die

Electric Wizard never really had a true fall from grace, but their first album in four years isn't quite the kick in the pants it was supposed to be. The band switched from Rise Above Records to Spinefarm and brought original drummer Mark Greening back in the fold, but recent disputes with Rise Above and Greening have soured this release's presentation. Fortunately, they still got a decent album out despite the unflattering aftershocks.

After a good decade of psychedelic flirtations, Time To Die sees Electric Wizard going out of their way to recapture the old Dopethrone vibe. The mix is dark and bottom heavy, the riffing is rougher, a healthy number of samples are placed throughout, and the lyrics abandon the Hammer horror in favor or a pseudo-concept revolving around the crimes committed by Ricky Lasso during the mid-80s Satanic panic. Of course, the band doesn't quite shed of their more upbeat approach as songs like "Funeral Of Your Mind" and "Sadiowitch" offer more straightforward playing and don't quite have the same misanthropic flairs. They even throw in some keyboards though they're used more for backing than anything else.
And while Electric Wizard has always been known for repetition and occasional riff recycling, they've reached the point where it's starting to work against them. The songs here all sound good but they get brought down by sounding too much like previous highlights. The chord progression on the title track feels like a bluesy update of "Funeralopolis," the drawn out chords on "I Am Nothing" recall "Eko Eko Azarak," and the Black Masses regurgitating gets really distracting on "Sadiowitch." Fortunately, "We Love The Dead" has some solid riffs to it and the two sample heavy interludes manage to sound pretty cool with "Saturn Dethroned" ending with the same sample that opened "Vinum Sabbthi."

Electric Wizard definitely hasn't hit rock bottom but Time To Die shows that they may need to evaluate their approach if they wish to stay relevant in the doom metal scene. Any fanboy's disappointments will likely have more to do with Greening getting the shaft than the musical content, but anyone else would be better off looking into Dopethrone or even Witchcult Today before this one. Maybe they could try bringing Tim Bagshaw back for the next one...

"Time To Die"
"I Am Nothing"
"Funeral Of Your Mind"
"We Love The Dead"

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