Good news for all of those who love drugs, doom and the demonic one, metal’s favourite stoners Electric Wizard are back with their eighth album Time to Die. Once again taking their trademark evil heavy sound and combining it with their love of all things seventies doom, it’s another fantastic album for fans of the mighty riff.
Spoken word samples of suicide, drug abuse, satanism and the occult are used throughout the album, bringing to mind everything Electric Wizard and setting the scene for the heavy drugged up atmosphere to come. From the opening slow barrage of drums on Incense of the Damned bringing to mind metal classic Am I Evil, they dive right into their trademark riff-fest. Not as luidicrously heavy as the classics Dopethrone and Come My Fanatics, what The Wizard excel at this days is slow catchy Sabbath and St Vitus style riffs combined with their own brand of drugged up heaviness that they do so well. Jus’ vocals aren’t as ferociously apocalyptic as the aforementioned classics, instead his effects laden Ozzy impressions sound as drugged up as his doom hero, and combined with the slow heavy riffs they create a brilliant occult atmosphere. It’s a continuation of the Black Masses sound, but it’s a massive improvement over their last outing.
It’s their longest full length outing to date, showing their ambition with the new album, and opener Incense of the Damned pushes the ten minute mark with ease, the vocals, riffs and production creating the atmosphere of the occult and the thick guitar sound invoking the smell of incense (or perhaps a different herb) hanging heavy in the air. The lead guitar and mammoth riffs of the title track combine with the synths to continue that occult atmosphere further, while Jus’s brilliant wails are brilliantly seventies, equally as good as that wailing lead guitar at the end.
I am Nothing is the highlight, the eleven minute behemoth is the heaviest, slowest and nastiest track, with vitriolic lyrics and thick sludgy riffs. Downtuned chugged guitars and, a slow pounding assault on the drums make it ludicrously evil, and the great lyrics and vocals as Jus sings “I Am Nothing, I Mean Nothing, I See Nothing, I Feel Nothing….as I kill you” is fantastic. It’s great to have Mark Greening back on the drums, and it’s his best performance on the album here, even if it was a short lived reunion, having left since the recording. More murder, drugs and satanic samples on the heavy Destroy those who love God continue the atmosphere, while Funeral of Your Mind is more straight up seventies riffage through the distorted haze of Electric Wizard’s guitar tone and it’s a lot of fun. There’s not a bad track to be found, each one a great example of modern stoner doom.
The only criticisms to be had here are that I am Nothing aside they just simply don’t reach the pure evil of Dopethrone, and that might not appeal to those who haven’t accepted the band’s change in sound – it’s also not highly original. But for great catchy stoner doom with a strong occult vibe, and melding of the seventies vibe with their classic heaviness you can’t go wrong and it’s perhaps the best they’ve released since Dopethrone.
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