"Time to Die" is the 8th full-length studio album by UK doom/stoner metal act Electric Wizard. The album was released through Spinefarm Records in September 2014. It´s been four years since the release of "Black Masses (2010)", and quite a few lineup changes have happened in that period. Bassist Tas was initially replaced by Glenn Charman, but he was replaced by Clayton Burgess before the recording of "Time to Die". Drummer Shaun Rutter has been replaced by original drummer Mark Greening, who has recorded the drum tracks on "Time to Die". His tenure would be relatively brief though (2012-2014), and he has since been replaced by Simon Poole. The usual suspects at this point are bandleader/frontman/guitarist Jus Oborn and guitarist Liz Buckingham.
Since Electric Wizard has always been led by Jus Oborn, the lineup changes really aren´t that noticable once you get going with the album, because this is unmistakably the sound of Electric Wizard. Fuzzy heavy distorted guitar riffs, psychadelic oriented parts, spoken word samples, repetition to build bleak and eerie atmospheres, ultra heavy distorted bass, hard rocking doomy beats, and Jus Oborn´s effect laden aggressive vocals in front. His snarling angry delivery sometimes reminds me more of punk singing on half speed than a doom/stoner metal ditto. In other words he´s got attitude.
The material on the 9 track, 65:26 minutes long album, is of a relativey high standard throughout, but you´ll find little here that´ll surprise you if you´re already familiar with the band´s back catalogue. The most repetitive parts, can be a bit too much, and some of the psychadelic elements aren´t necessarily the band´s biggest strength either. The occasional addition of organ is pretty great for the dark atmosphere though, and it it generally in the more dark and bleak parts of the album that Electric Wizard shine the brightest. They are just so incredibly good at sounding mean and evil, that it´s almost a shame when they turn some of their tracks into more psychadelic tinged stoner/doom metal.
It´s good for the variation of the album though, and "Time to Die" is overall an entertaining album with a good flow. The musicianship are as always strong, and the sound production is organic, raw and powerful, although the drums could have packed a bit more punch. The guitars and the bass are superbly produced though. They are placed perfect in the mix, and you can hear every note that´s being played. So upon conclusion "Time to Die" is another high quality release by Electric Wizard. The only issue here is the lack of development of the band´s sound. In that respect "Time to Die" sounds like a very safe album and I could have wished that Electric Wizard had spend some of the 4 years between "Black Masses (2010)" and "Time to Die" trying out a couple of new tricks. Still a 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved and it´s maybe even slightly too low.