Electric Wizard’s drug-fueled doom immersed in misery, death on suffocating new ‘Time to Die’

Electric WizardWho out there feels like being miserable? Or maybe you’re already there and could use something to either keep you in the place or ensure you there is someone else feeling worse and more hopeless than you are at this moment.

I doubt anyone ever has referred to Electric Wizard’s records as pick-me-up music. If anyone ever has, they might be fantastic candidates for therapy, because there’s some deep-seeded shit going on there. But from the start of these UK doom legends’ run two decades ago, and across their world-shifting eight studio records, this band has developed the template for addressing everyday misery and how to remedy that, be it through mind-altering substances, dark rituals, violent intent, or a combination of all of those things. There is a drab pall over each one of the band’s albums, from their landmark 1995 self-titled debut, to their classic 2000 effort “Dopethrone,” to their cataclysmic last two efforts “Witchcult Today” (2007) and “Black Masses” (2010). They’ve been a haven for horror, pain, suffering, and self-medication all the way, with no apologies offered. They’re rotting through and through, and perhaps there isn’t a better example of that than their new record “Time to Die.”

Electric Wizard coverOK, first, look at the album title. That tells you everything you need to know philosophically. But if you think that title is hopeless enough, wait until you hear the music on this one. It’s misery through and through. It’s a dense, difficult record to absorb, and sitting front to back through this 65-minute behemoth might not be an option. It’s not inviting, it’s not warm, and it’s not simple. A lot of the time, their doom is buried in feedback and noise haze, making it sound like a record that was born to suffer. Through this thing, Jus Osborn (guitar, vocals), guitarist Liz Buckingham, bassist Clayton Burgess, and drummer Mark Greening (he was unceremoniously dismissed following the record, replaced by former drummer Simon Poole) create hell on earth. And they don’t back down from thirsting for an end as bloody and evil and possible. You really get the idea from this record that this band is ready for death, whatever form that make take.

The first three tracks on the record combine for nearly a half hour of music. Opener “Incense for the Damned” becomes clear just minutes into the 10:42 song, when its true meaning is revealed with Osborn’s detached calls of, “I want to get high before I die.” The track contains news report clips about “The Acid King” Ricky Kasso and his alleged satanic murders in Long Island in 1984, a subject that is stitched throughout this entire record. The song is drubbing and relentless throughout, and it could leave you exhausted. The 7:47 title cut opens with some murderous riffs and chilling synth slipping behind the terror. The track is total doom fury, with Osborn’s frightening howls of, “Wake up, children! It’s time to die,” as the band smothers you with their infernal power. “I Am Nothing” is just suffocating at 11:31, and at times, it feels like the band is in a druggy haze, delivering riff after riff, vocals that sound like they’re slithering from Osborn’s mouth, and noise weighing down on everything oppressively. It’s heavy and full of tumult, like they’re nodding off at visions of their own demise. “Destroy Those Who Love God” is an interlude that includes cuts from a “20/20” documentary “The Devil Worshippers,” and it’s a tremendously upsetting and morbid song. It’s also the ideal center point for this madness.

“Funeral of Your Mind” stretches 7:09, and it’s a damn fiery gallop, one of the most savage cuts from a tempo standpoint on the whole record. The lead guitar work is awesome, the vocals are effects laden and ghostly, though also more forceful, and the noise wails and eventually bleeds out into oblivion. “We Love the Dead” runs 9:05, and it devastates and penetrates right from the start. The doom crunches and leaves bruises, Osborn’s vocals have an alien nasal quality, and some great soloing emerges from a green cloud of smoke that aims to choke you out. “Sadiowitch” is one of the shortest cuts and also has been floated as the record’s first single. It’s thrashy, dark, and trippy, and it’s the only thing on this album that qualifies as catchy ion the traditional sense. “Lucifer’s Slaves” goes 8:40, and it’s their hellish devotional, with an ugly, heavy stomp pushed by the rhythm section, guitars absolutely bristling, ghoulish synth rearing its ugly head again, and everything coming to a head with psychedelic weirdness, culminating in Osborn’s wild shouts of, “Fuck you!” The track keeps wrenching you over and over again, twisting your guts, and making you see the face of real evil. Closer “Saturn Dethroned” is a brief ending statement, with blood-dripping organs, buzzing and ceremonial playing, and all sounds dissolving into the trickling waters and chirping birds that bookend the album.

A pleasurable record from Electric Wizard? That’s hard to fathom, though there are some parts on their past albums where you could crack a smile or get lost in their powerful fog. Not here. This is a pissy, downtrodden, depressed, angry, nauseated, disgusted record that begs for hell. It’ll make you feel like shit when it’s over. Some people may reject this thing outright for that. But if it’s nasty, death-obsessed, warped doom you seek, you won’t find a bleaker document than “Time to Die.” It’s decaying and worm infested, with the band having no interest in sugar coating a thing for you.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.electricfuckinwizard.com/

To buy the album, go here: http://electricwizard.merchnow.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://spinefarmrecords.com/gb/