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Electric Wizard Returns with Time to Die

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In the world of heavy music, there are two types of people: the chosen ones who recognize Electric Wizard as the heaviest, most evil, most decimating, most exciting, most bad-ass purveyors of heavy rock band of all time, and those unfortunate souls who are yet to receive enlightenment ~ enheavyment, as it should more accurately be termed.


Electric albumThere is hope for the latter, however, as they can soon be saved from their misfortune, soon have their ears and minds rendered blessed, and that can mean only one thing:   The Wizard have returned with Time to Die, their first new album since 2010, set for release on September 30.

Their remarkable eighth album ~ their heaviest since magnum opus Dope Throne (2000), their most evil since fan favorite Come My Fanatics (1997), and the most psychedelic, acid-tinged of their career thus far ~ emanates a malevolent energy like that of a giant black sun obliterating the sky.

Liz Buckingham

Liz Buckingham

The might impact of the twin guitar assault of Jus Oborn and Liz Buckingham has been augmented by the temporary return of an old face from the distant past: Mark Greening, the original Leccy Wizard drummer. On that subject, Oborn reports, “Our relationship is still volatile and can blow up at any time, so the recording process has been about tapping that negative energy and making something primitive out of it.”

Listen to NPR’s 2011 interview with Liz Buckingham here.

Bringing a less volatile vibe to the band is relative youngster and now full-time bass player/new face in Hell Clayton Burgess. Oborn jokes, “We brought Clayton in to be a good influence on us in lifestyle terms. But of course we will end up corrupting him with 1970s sadoporn, vintage doom, vicious in-fighting and endless touring.”


Jus Oborn

Jus Oborn


Addressing their new Witchfinder Records imprint, the result of a worldwide deal with Spinefarm Records, the frontman announces, “For us, Witchfinder means, ‘We are the inquisition, we’ve come to burn poseurs and fakers; to sacrifice them to the gods of rock ‘n’ roll’.”  A threat and a promise both…

Time to Die, from its very first note, is proof that this current line-up is that rarest of musical gems, a coming together that inexplicably works and allowed the musicians to pull all the elements they’d perfected in the past and form them into one crushing, doom-laden sonic slaughter.  

Electric Legalise singleOborn goes into more depth: Time to Die has a more hateful vibe than our last single, ‘Legalise Drugs & Murder’ (2012), and our last album, Black Masses (2010). Those two are kinda tripped-out stoner epics, but this is way harsher and darker. This album is cursed… almost evil. All of our albums in the past have had a theme – revenge, drugs, black magick – and the theme of this one is death. Of course, death to us really means rebirth, so this album is a manifestation of a very primal occult belief in the final sacrifice. We have gone full circle – it was inevitable, but we had to do it. We had to kill the band so we could be reborn. It was the only way to ensure we could come back even stronger.”


The album’s artwork reflects this phoenix-like rise from the ashes: the exquisite gatefold photography displays a corpse dressed in classic biker gear and an Electric Wizard jacket lying face down in what seems like the most isolated of country rivers. Oborn explains that “The album is really about the meditations of a dying man… or should that be dying band? Liz worked on this amazing shot for the gatefold, which set the scene for the whole album. We were in the river for a day trying to get the perfect photograph.”


The artwork may very well be metaphorical, but at one point it came far too close to becoming terrifying real.  Oborn laughs and brushes off the incident with “Yeah, I fell in a few times… but we had to get the right shot!”


The album, recorded primarily with Liam Watson at Toe Rag studios, East London, and finished off at Skyhammer in deepest, darkest Cheshire by Chris Fielding, opens and closes with the sound of a gurgling river and a haunting organ ~ perfectly reflecting the artwork and the band’s rural roots.

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Oborn talks about how the choice of location and the organ were both integral to the creation of Time to Die: “We needed to get out into the country to finish it. We aren’t an urban band, and I think East London influenced Black Masses a bit too much negatively. The organ is a classic Hammond B3 played by Mark – we’re big fans of Italian giallo horror movies and really dig that Bruno Nicolai, Ennio Morricone sound. It’s always been a big influence on Electric Wizard.” 

As for some of the individual tracks: the title track “Funeral of Your Mind” and the track “We Love The Dead” will leave live audiences no choice but to bang their heads to the classic doom riffology, while “I am Nothing” reanimates the dark underground death metal spirit of 1984.  As Oborn recalls, “It was the year I became a metal-head. It was heavy shit for real – there was no way you were ever going to get a decent job. So I became a Satanist, I dug up a grave, I got into tape trading, I had a one-man noise/black/death metal band called Regurgitated Guts, and there were loads of documentaries on TV warning us not to listen to the devil’s music…”

Electric-Wizard 2014 bAfter 21 years of damning themselves to remaining outsiders in the eyes of all but that group of chosen followers mentioned at the beginning of this article ~ or this re-introduction to the band, as that’s what it truly is ~ in order to stay faithful to the darkness, despair and ferocious assault on everyday reality that consumes them and their music,  Electric Wizard are finally getting their hard-earned, well-deserved dues as one of the great British bands. Oborn agrees that there has been a shift and that their dark star is on the rise ~ and that the time for them to reach a broader audience because of their refusal to change has arrived. “Obviously, we want everyone to listen to Time to Die because we want to achieve total world domination through doom, drugs and heavy metal! We’ve always strived to be regarded as a classic British band, like Sabbath, Motörhead or Hawkwind, y’know? We have never fitted into any scene and have never really been embraced by a single genre, anyway. We’ve always had that wider appeal. Our gigs have consistently flown the flag for any kind of freak culture or underground movement. We have punks, skaters, wasters, metal-heads as fans… which I guess is what has kept us going over the years. We are Electric Wizard, we don’t really fit in anywhere. We are outsiders and freaks, just like you.”

Electric Wizard 2014 is Justin Oborn — Guitar & Vocals, Liz Buckingham — Guitar & Feedback, Clayton Burgess –Lead Bass, Simon Poole – Drums.

“A misanthropic, acid burnt nightmare from deepest Dorset, England, Electric Wizard have led the charge for caustic doom metal rebellion for over two decades and, at this stage, are simply one of the finest rock ‘n’ roll bands around. They’re proud carriers of a viral lineage that stretches from the late 60s to the present day, deserving of mention in the same breath as Black Sabbath, The Stooges, or Venom.” ~ Noisey

 

Let the enheavyment commence.

 

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Electric Wizard Ultimate bundle

To pre-order the album and browse through various options and bundles, click here or here.  

 

Electric I am nothing

 

Watch Electric Wizard’s “I Am Nothing”  Acid Video here  and check out some fan-filmed footage of the band playing this year’s Hellfest here.  









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Electric Wizard

 

Special thanks to John Doran, London, June 2014

 

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