Album Review: Electric Wizard – Time To Die
Genre: Stoner doom
Release date: 30 September 2014
Label: Spinefarm Records
Length: 1 hour 6 minutes
Recommended to: Fans of Crowbar, Witch, Primordial, Candlemass and other stoner, sludge and doom bands that generate earthquakes
Here’s what happened the first time I played “Time To Die”. My scrotum exploded and propelled my testicles towards the horizon at hypersonic velocity. They scudded across my part of the Indian Ocean, sinking three trawlers and a Korean freighter full of appliances. After several weeks and perhaps miraculously, I grew new, bigger, shiny testicles. My scrotum, now smooth and velvety, gently closed over them, leaving me with a warm and fuzzy glow.
Then Track 2 started. The experience was different this time. My recollection of what transpired is slightly blurred but it involved my medulla oblongata…
You get the idea. “Time To Die” is not merely ball-busting. It goes beyond scrotum-rending. It is totally mind-blowing.
Electric Wizard became my benchmark stoner doom band with their “Dopethrone” album in 2000. That was before the extraordinary Liz Buckingham joined the band. EW didn’t set out to redefine stoner doom. That happened because of them, however. For me, they set the bar for 21st century super-loud doom music. It’s a pretty high bar. See, I can’t reach it even if I stand on one of my Metal State colleagues, Irmelinis.
The band became even better when Mizz Buckingham joined them. Yes, they had some musical ups and downs. For a band as good as EW, that’s not a criticism. Weather balloons go up and down in the stratosphere but they’re still way above everything else.
It’s been a long four years since “Black Masses” in 2010. The foursome that did “Time To Die” has changed since then. Vocalist and guitarist Justin Oborn is there, as he always has been since time began. He’s better than ever. So is Mizz Liz, EW’s other guitarist. The synergy between her and Justin is an enormous factor in the power and the glory of the music. Mark Greening, the band’s drummer since the beginning of time in 1993 until 2002, rejoined in 2012. He turns sticks into magic wands. There’s a new bass player, Glen Charman. He also joined the band in 2012. This is his first full album with them. He scores big fat points for not trying to dominate. His discipline and restraint contribute massively to a fantastic rhythm section.
Where would I rate “Time To Die” in EW’s discography? Easy – it’s their best yet. It’s deep and emotional. No doubt some of the lyrics will be condemned as overly controversial. Hey, this isn’t froth metal, it’s about as hard and heavy as doom can be.