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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Electric Wizard

Time to Die

Review by Gary Hill

I am a big fan of Electric Wizard. You pretty much know what you are going to get with this band, but each album is a little different. So far, this is one of my favorites of theirs. Their blend of super heavy metal mixed with psychedelia and more might not be for everyone, but it sure works great for me. This one might even make my best of 2014 list. Yes, it really is that good. It’s very heavy, very trippy and also very cool.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Incense for the Damned

The sounds of rushing water start this. Then drums and keyboards bring in a real trippy, psychedelic rock sound. A news soundbite about a Satanic ritual is heard as this builds forward. Then some Electric Wizard sludge emerges. It’s glacially slow and extremely heavy. It works out to a killer Electric Wizard jam. This is nothing new or Earth shattering, but it’s just incredibly effective. If you are familiar with Electric Wizard, you’ll have an idea what this sounds like. It’s just that it’s one of the best examples of their brand of heaviness. For those unfamiliar, imagine a slow moving, gradually changing jam that’s like early Black Sabbath, but much heavier and more fuzz laden. Imagine a psychedelic vocal sort of nearly hidden across the top. You’ll have a good idea of what this is like. This segues straight into the next piece.

Time to Die
There seems to be more speed to this, but it’s far from fast. It also is a bit more straight ahead rock. Still, the Electric Wizard format only alters so much. That’s a good thing, by the way. This has some interesting alternating sections. It’s incredibly psychedelic and still very heavy. Yet, it’s perhaps actually a little closer to the early Sabbath sound than the opener was. This turns out into some seriously powerful jamming later. It’s still Electric Wizard, but it’s also really charged up and almost extreme metal in sound.
I Am Nothing
This is even heavier and more intense. It’s just so incredible. As good as the first two songs were, and they were great, this blows them away. There are some really powerful moments in this. Mind you, it’s Electric Wizard so nothing changes fast, but it definitely changes. Sludgy, fuzz-covered metal is the order of business here without a lot of the psychedelic end of the sound. I love the noise laden jam later in the piece. This segues straight into the next cut.
Destroy Those Who Love God
This comes in with a heavy, creepy psychedelia. The news feed from the first song is playing in the midst of this – or actually an extension of it. Keyboards dance around the arrangement as major heavy music creates the backdrop. This is very psychedelic. This is essentially an instrumental more dark soundbites are heard at the end, after the music is gone.
Funeral of Your Mind
This is faster than anything else we’ve heard. It’s got plenty of that psychedelic element, but is very much more of a charged up metal jam. This is about the best combination of space rock and heavy metal that I’ve ever heard. This gets very powerful later and ends in chaos.
We Love the Dead
Psychedelic feedback starts this. Then the heavy guitar sound joins and we’re on the way. While this piece is very heavy and very definitely metal, the whole main riff driving a lot of it is also quite psychedelic in construction. As good as everything else here has been, this might be my favorite track of the whole disc. It just gets everything right. It’s heavy, creepy and very trippy. This ends with another soundbite.
SadioWitch
Another heavy and very metallic piece, this cruises along in fine fashion. It’s one of the faster and more straight metal cuts of the set. Still, this is Electric Wizard, so it’s sludgy and fuzz induced.
Lucifer's Slaves
I love the heavy riff that drives this. It’s another that lands closer to pure Black Sabbath sound. It’s another on the more purely metal side of the equation, too. Still, there’s not a bad song here and this holds its weight and then some. It has some great hooks and just plain rocks. There’s a riff late in the song that sound so much like Sabbath that it’s scary. This is actually one of the most effective pieces here. Yet, it’s hard to pick a winner when everything is this good. The organ at the end of this lends a real horror movie vibe.
Saturn Dethroned
As this starts, it has a completely different sound than anything else we’ve heard. It’s as much Vanilla Fudge and Iron Butterfly as it is Black Sabbath. This instrumental isn’t very long, but it is very cool. It ends with the same rushing water we heard at the start of the disc. That sound fades away to take it to another soundbite that ends the album. .
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