Nothing new from Electric Wizard

UK-doom metal veterans Electric Wizard are around for more than 20 years now. With ‘Time To Die’ they now present their eight full-length record and the first release since their last effort in 2010. Fans of the band will notice that ‘Time To Die’ marks the return of former band member Mark Greening on drums. Other than that the line-up is the same as it was on the last record. This should mean we are in for some further dark and evil guitar assaults by band mastermind Jus Oborn and partner-in-crime Liz Buckingham.

The opener ‘Incense For The Damned’ proofs exactly that. The 10-minute track starts with a 90-second sound collage before it develops its way into the actual songs with the typical slow and long-winded guitar lines. Jus’s vocals are as low-fi as they ever were which is true for the whole sound of Electric Wizard in 2014. The following title track ‘Time To Die’ provides more of the same but tends to get a bit bluesier than the opener. Extensive use of the wah wah pedal and some cleaner passages contribute to that feeling.

The following ‘I Am Nothing’ – yes, you guessed it right – provides even more of the same. In typical Electric Wizard manner the four-piece slows the tempo down and drags out the songs as long as they can. All in all the repetitive song structures result in a meditative effect of the album. Fans of the band will love the record as it gives them the typical Electric Wizard sound, full of darkness and evil.

This is where the album becomes a problem for me. The songs are repetitive and lack the creative and inventive spark that Electric Wizard might have had at the beginning of their career. Unfortunately they haven’t really evolved over all these years. Die-hard fans of Electric Wizard will hate me for that but to me this album lacks the heaviness earlier releases had. In the end the songs are just not strong enough. Even after the 10th time listening to the records not a single moment really sticks out or remains with me. The attempt to create a dark and evil atmosphere certainly is successful. However, the album leaves me without a sense of clear direction.

I guess this record is another one of the kind that you either love or hate. Fans of Electric Wizard will certainly take to the album. I have my doubts that ‘Time To Die’ will grow the fan base though. Electric Wizard overshot this time around by making the album too slow without having fresh and surprising ideas. ‘Time To Die’ is not Electric Wizard’s best work by a mile. Only for fans.

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