There’s no denying the stranglehold that the Covid-19 pandemic had on the world for the last two and a half years, but the way it bodied the souls and minds of those with high-functioning anxiety (and similar quirks) is indescribable. Introverts already dreaded leaving their homes and now there was a literal killer on the loose, and it could come in through vents, windows, and who knew what else. Talk about absolute terror! Thankfully, most folks took a deep breath and allowed this time in lockdown as a way to look deeper inward and discover a new hobby or a new layer of themselves; for San Francisco musician Iva Toric, all of the fears and loathing that came with the pandemic went straight to the page and became their latest single “Time to Die.”
Grappling with a pandemic through the lens of doom metal is a brilliant start, and Iva Toric manages to give the genre a new highlight of a single with “Time to Die” dealing listeners a heavy dose of relatable lyrics and well-produced instrumentals. Toric maintains expert control over the vocals while also joining in on the keyboard, while Gregg Cash delivers exemplary work on both the guitar and bass. The guitar tone is a highlight particularly in the chorus, as it combats Toric’s vocals perfectly.
Dylan Howard blows the roof off of the place with his work on the drums, giving “Time to Die” the punch it needs to arrive on the scene. The back half of the single functions as an instrumental showcase that gives the entire band room to show off their respective talents, offering up an extended area for shredding guitars over indecipherable screams and vocals placed deep within the song’s layered production. For a song called “Time to Die,” there’s a nifty amount of optimism tossed around, but that optimism is similarly dealt a nihilistic hand as the chorus constantly reminds listeners of the song’s title.
Going beyond even just acting as a response to the global lockdown (as is the main focus of the song’s first verse), “Time to Die” doesn’t shy away from the various other historical events that have occurred since 2020 began. Sliding in references to Ukraine and worldwide peaceful protests on top of voicing frustrations about coronavirus gives the song legs to stand on without dating itself too much, and the unfortunate fact of the matter is that songs like this will always be relevant because bad things don’t seem intent on stopping anytime soon. To quote Iva Toric, I’m also over it. So over it.
Still, great music like “Time to Die” (and presumably the album it’s off of, Dead Reckoning) allows the world to continue spinning in a somewhat normal way — be it a “new” normal, or a variation of such, the fact that music can tie people together enough to make it through global catastrophes on a varied scale is enough to make things worthwhile. “Time to Die” is a stellar response to a global pandemic, and I think it’s time we all tell the virus that we’re over it; it’s time for the coronavirus to die.