Electric Wizard continue to advocate bad things on their newest record, 'Time To Die', which might be the best mission statement for their music since 'Legalise Drugs and Murder' -- sadly for Jus Oborn, no such referendum came to pass. At sixty-five minutes and nine songs -- the longest in their discography of thankless, gruelling punishments -- it's the same old story for this band of cruel stoners, who inflict their nihilistic metal guitar sermons on all of us for the eighth time. When will we learn? Death, incarnated on 12".
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Electric Wizard are a band who need little introduction. Jus Oborn's crew have been through constant line-up changes through their 21-year career but the records, when they come, are consistently awesome. 'Time To Die' is their eighth, the first since 2010's 'Black Masses', and notably sees them self-releasing after an apparently ugly break-up from Rise Above which almost saw the album shelved - Oborn said of this very album last year: "We have a new LP but it cannot be released. Rise Above Records have a lawyer to stop us releasing records or even using our name. Of course we are fighting...but with the law it is all money, money, money."
Also notable is the fact that drummer Mark Greening, who was with the band during their game-changing first four albums, is back in the fold here (although he has re-left since the record was finished). With nine tracks running to a mammoth 65 minutes, 'Time To Die' is among their longest records but like 'Black Masses' which preceded it the songs seem to be getting less sprawling, with only one track passing the 10-minute mark here, and sonically it's not a million miles away from its predecessor either, crunching Black Sabbath-meets-Bong doom riffs, searingly distorted solos, lyrics about horror movies and doing bad things.
It's probably not their best record yet - let's face it, improving on a record like 'Dopethrone' is a big ask - but these men (and lady) know how to make these snail's-pace distorto riffs groove, almost like a slowed-down Unsane or something. It's a mixture of pummelling violence and loose-hipped swagger which compared to some of their earlier material's determinedly intense theatrics can seem positively light-hearted and often sarcastic...or maybe I just didn't get the joke back then. 'Time To Die' is the business, in short, and you should buy it if you like loud guitars and drugs.
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