It has been about four years since the release of Black Masses, and I have been really interested in seeing what Electric Wizard would come up with next. Their previous album and Witchcult Today saw the band being much more direct and straightforward than their earlier releases. So, if you are hoping for a return to the days of Come My Fanatics and Dopethrone, then Time to Die is not that. But it is a really great release. The band follows the same path that the two previous albums set upon and they expand even further on that. And now, with the inclusion of new bass player Clayton Burgess and the return of drummer Mark Greening (even though he recently departed), the expectations for the album are even higher.
The music itself is what you would expect from Electric Wizard. You have those fucking heavy riffs that are constantly beating you down from the point that “Incense for the Damned” comes in, making everything around you come crumbling down in “I Am Nothing” (in that case, being trampled by an elephant would feel less destructive), and in their most monolithic form in “We Love The Dead.” Then, of course, you also have those sickening melodies, which could easily be used as soundtracks for Hammer Horror films, making an appearance in the opening track and in the title track. As if things were not spooky enough, the band has even included a Hammond organ (something they had also used for Witchcult Today), which fits exceptionally in some cases, such as in “Destroy Those Who Love God,” in the intro of “We Love the Dead,” and is an absolute beast in the closing track, “Saturn Dethroned.”
It is just a case of a band that has been around for about twenty years now, and they know what works in their music. Electric Wizard is able to bring out songs that will make you bang your head to no end, with “Funeral of Your Mind” and “We Love the Dead,” and even “SadioWitch,” which feels like it just came out of the b-sides of Black Masses. But Electric Wizard also give you those moments when their music travels into much darker territories, with songs such as the Sabbath-ian “Lucifer’s Slaves,” the overwhelming “I Am Nothing,” and do not even get me started on the “Incense for the Damned” and the title track. And the amount of effects and sonic experimentation Electric Wizard are able to put in this album is just insane, with the solos and effects in the middle part of “Time to Die” stealing the show, as do the hazy effects in “I Am Nothing” and the chaos that lies within “Lucifer’s Slaves.”
According to the band, the main theme of Time To Die is that of death and rebirth, and that is also why the cover of the album features a phoenix-like image rising from the ashes. I am not going to compare the album to their earlier releases. That would make no sense. But when you put it next to Witchcult Today and Black Masses, then Time To Die is a superior album. And just as a treat, since death and rebirth is just a cycle, Electric Wizard closes the album with a very familiar sample. Not going to give it away, you will know when you hear it.