It’s pretty widely known that just about every metal band, no matter how impossible it is to imagine, has Black Sabbath as their root. Even if bands don’t realize it. Often times these bands don’t realize that these bands that they admire started off playing Sabbath covers or grew up admiring Tony Iommi‘s guitar riffs etc. Some bands, however, hold their Sabbath influence on their sleeve and embrace it. To slightly paraphrase Tony Iommi, a lot of these bands just take one ingredient from Black Sabbath’s early years. That ingredient is the slow doomy and gloomy sound of many of their songs, but very rarely do I hear a band and an album that captures the true roots of heavy metal the way Electric Citizen do on their recently released Higher Time album.
Right when Higher Time‘s opening track Evil kicked in, I knew Electric Citizen would something interesting to write about. Even if no other track really compared to it, this track alone had enough to carry my interest in the whole album. Such wasn’t the case, as other songs like Social Phobia, Devils in the Passing Time and Golden Mean, to name a few, also carried a great classic hard rock sound and spirit that I find unique compared to any other band coming out today. Still, none compare to how Evil switches from a slow doom metal intro to a faster, more up tempo main riff with an attitude that shows that Electric Citizen came to rock.
Vocalist Laura Dolen lacks power in her voice. But what she lacks in that department she makes up for in how trance inducing her voice can often times be, especially in the middle section of the title track Higher Time. Electric Citizen‘s loose rhythm section behind her, which consists of Randy Proctor on bass and Nate Wagner on drums, gives every song the feeling that each song is just one very well thought out jam and that we’re listening to them play in one of their garages. Guitarist Ross Dolan comes out swinging a few times, such as when he plays the simple yet very effective main riff to Crux. Just about every song has a good riff, with influences from the likes of Tony Iommi and Ritchie Blackmore just coming out the wazoo without sounding like he’s ripping anyone off.
While the songs on Higher Time sound great for those nostalgic lovers of 70s hard rock analog sounding tape mixes, as well as those who love riff heavy hard rock, I feel like Electric Citizen put much more spirit into their music than they do heart. That feeling that the band is doing well synchronized gets them so far before I start to feel that songs Natural Law or the (albeit bluesier than the average Electric Citizen) closing track Two Hearted Woman don’t sound different enough from other tracks on the album to truly stand out. There are only a very select few songs on the album that I can’t describe by simply saying they are riff heavy hard rock tracks with listenable vocals and head banging rhythms.
It’s what Electric Citizen does with these songs that makes the difference. Some of the songs on Higher Time truly have something more unique about them beyond the skeleton underneath it all. Some I’ve already talked about like Evil and the title track, but there’s also the onslaught that is Ghost of Me as well as other previous songs mentioned such as Golden Mean which have the odd vocal hook that stays in your head.
Electric Citizen aren’t out to rehash the old Sabbath sound. It’s just obvious that such a band, as well as other early hard rock bands heavily influenced their sound. There is also a touch of psychedelia to just about every song on Higher Time. But one thing is for sure, they sure don’t really embrace much of a modern touch, which is good. Lately so many bands have been making classic rock/metal influenced music with a modern touch, so much so that Electric Citizen’s lack of a modern touch actually makes them more original than these other guys. It’s just great to know a band like this exists and is making music that sounds like this. For a band that is still very early into their career, Electric Citizen are quite far along and Higher Time shows so much promise for their future.
Thanks for reading!
7 (Out of 10)
|4||Devils in Passing Time||3:59|
|7||Ghost of Me||3:26|
|10||Two Hearted Woman||2:51|