“Time to Die” by Iva Toric

The second single from Iva Toric’s new album Dead Reckoning, “Time to Die”, builds on the album’s anticipatory buzz. It’s set for a fall 2022 release and these early “sneak peeks” at what awaits interested listeners will go a long way toward stoking their enthusiasm for the impending release. Toric and her band conjure full-throated power from the beginning without ever falling into mindless crashing and thrashing. The San Francisco Bay area-based singer, multi-instrumentalist, and performer has impressive nuance for a metal songwriter and the wherewithal to bring it to life, but she also has an unshakable connection to metal’s raging heart.

It’s a genre where purity tests are important. I believe she passes every one. “Time to Die” and its video are both keyed into doom metal’s foundational themes. It’s never parodic or imitative. Toric has her own voice because she has mastered the talent for fusing her personal life into her art with a language all her own. She does not rely on others’ turns of phrase. Her musical collaborators share her vision for realizing the song’s potential and provide far more than your standard cookie cutter metal backing.

It has symphonic aspects, there’s no question of that, but Toric and her band meld those elements with metal’s staccato riffing as well as anyone writing and performing today. This is a song that seems ideal for live performance as well. It is a studio recording, but there is not a single instance during the song when you hear even a hint of Toric’s voice weakening and it is a demanding track.

She doesn’t lean on sheer voice muscle. I love how Toric tailors her vocal to the arrangement rather than attempting to impose her will and leading the way. The song may bear her name alone, but her instincts work exceptionally well within the band context and her comfort in such a configuration is clear. She’s working with excellent lyrics as well and she delivers them with the sort of phrasing you’d expect from an older veteran performer.

The jump cuts in the video help strengthen its foreboding atmosphere and its use of color heightens the emotional tension. I felt it was near claustrophobic at some points without ever feeling oppressive and Toric’s contributions as an on-screen performer command the viewer’s attention. At the risk of cliché, she’s a born stage performer and her vocal abilities give her an abundance of riches.

She has a wealth of talent likely to carry her through a decades-long career. There are undoubtedly achievements equal to or greater than this to come, but the first two singles for Dead Reckoning suggest that Toric’s pending album will always rank high among her career highlights. “Time to Die” is the sort of song that becomes a mainstay of a singer’s setlist because it has showstopping properties that present her gifts in the best possible light. If you love metal and impassioned female singers with technically superb voices, Iva Toric’s music will meet your needs.

Michael Rand

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