Words About Music
Electric Wizard “Time to Die”
When it comes to the great doom metal bands of the ’90s, many of them have cemented something resembling a legacy by not quite making it past the ’90s. Sleep is back with some new material, but part of what makes them so legendary is how little material they released when they were together and how amazing that material was. Kyuss has three phenomenal records under their belt, and they knew when to call it quits (let’s just forget that Vista Chino ever happened). Electric Wizard, though, is sort of an exception. They put out some great stuff in the ’90s, but didn’t really come into their own until 2000, when they released the modern classic that is “Dopethrone.” Much like Sleep, Electric Wizard’s music focuses heavily on marijuana as well as occult-like themes. Electric Wizard’s sound is much louder and harsher, though. Vocalist Jus Oborn’s signature hell-scream is as much an essential instrument as the low-tuned, distorted guitar. After a four-year break, the abrasive Brits are back with their eighth studio album, “Time to Die.”
It seems that with Electric Wizard, you’re always going to get pretty much what you expect. Wickedly long songs, heavy riffs, noise, feedback, and odd samples. With “Time to Die,” it’s pretty much that. But, what makes Electric Wizard a worthwhile band is their dedication to their own sound. They know what they do and they know that not many bands do it like they do, so they keep doing it. It’s actually sort of amazing that the project has gone this long without really releasing anything that I would consider abnormally terrible. Sure, they’ve got their high points and their low ones, but the high points aren’t that much higher than the low. While there is a bit too much filler on “Time to Die” for my tastes, it ultimately comes out sounding just as decent as a good portion of the band’s work. I wouldn’t put it up there with “Come All Fanatics…,” “Dopethrone,” or “Witchcult Today,” but it’s a good record nonetheless.
In the year 2014, which is this year, the one we’re all in right now, there are tons of new, young, fresh, excellent heavy metal bands I could recommend to you. Pallbearer, Indian, Panopticon, Woods of Desolation; the list goes on. Electric Wizard is exciting because they show a refreshing consistency that makes them pretty good eight albums and twenty years in. “Time to Die” isn’t a life-changing record, nor does it blow me away having heard them before, but it’s good enough. While I can’t think of anything I’d ask Electric Wizard to do to freshen up their sound, it would be a nice change of pace, though. Even Neurosis has Tribes of Neurot to screw around with whenever they get tired of making post-metal noise assaults. Assuming we get one or two more Electric Wizard albums before Oborn calls it quits, it would be nice to hear some new things tried out. Until then, though, Electric Wizard does one thing pretty well. “Time to Die” is another example.
SCORE – 6.9
FAVORITE TRACKS – Incense for the Damned, Time to Die, Funeral of Your Mind, We Love the Dead, Lucifer’s Slaves
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