Review Summary: A very enjoyable, near perfect, essential metal classic.
Cirith Ungol are not a very popular band but they have made several albums that are considered classics in the genre. This was the first album I had heard of this band and is often thought of as their greatest album.
I do not have much info about this band other than it was formed in 1972 by Jerry Fogle
and Tim Baker
. Since it was formed in the 70's and came to light in the early 80's the influences of Black Sabbath, Tank, Deep Purple, Sir Lord Baltimore
and a few others can clearly be heard in their style of playing.
Tim Baker - vocals
Jerry Fogle - guitar (R.I.P. 20th August 1998)
Michael Flint - bass
Robert Garven - drums
The album starts off with "Atom Smasher"
. The melody is catchy and the riffs are adequately implemented throughout the whole song with some impressive guitar solos. Another great song is "Finger of Scorn"
which has a really good acoustic passage. There are some extended lead breaks in "Master of the Pit"
which in my opinion is the best song on this record and also features a great instrumental classical, "Toccata in Dm"
. The music is dark and very sinister, akin to Doom Metal with strange guitar melodies and solos. It is these elements that made this album so unique because it was exactly what they wanted to make until they signed up with Metal Blade Records
and were forced to commercialize their music a little more.
Many don't like the nasal voice of Tim Baker, but by listening the album several times, I understood that Tim's voice was the only correct voice for these songs. His wails really suit the music well and I can't imagine anyone else doing a better job for this kind of music.
Some may even say that the production isn't very good. The album was recorded on really low budget, the band never got any money for their previous album but the somewhat low production here fits the dark and sinister atmosphere perfectly. "Master of the Pit", "Finger of Scorn"
, and "Cirith Ungol"
are my top three tracks here with some truly amazing solos. Every song is unique with great riffs by Jerry Fogle and very good bass line by Micheal Flint. Robert Garven is not too bad on the drums either.
This band was around for over a decade but sadly could not make it too big, mainly because they disbanded when they were just getting recognized by the masses, Jerry Folgle's drinking problems led him to leave the band. In 1991, Garven and Baker reunited he band to make the last album, "Paradise Lost"
which was outdated and uncommercial music by then at which point the band called it quits. Sadly, Fogle became an alcoholic which eventually claimed his life in 1998.
However the legacy of Cirith Ungol will continue to live on as long as Heavy Metal exists. This is an essential masterpiece of dark gloomy metal, so in short, get this album because it kicks ass, it offers memorable lyrics and melodies and is filled with crushing riffs and powerful solos.
Master of the Pit
Finger of Scorn
Toccata in D minor