Cirith Ungol
One Foot in Hell



by Robert Davis USER (306 Reviews)
December 10th, 2013 | 8 replies

Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Whilst the previous album showed that Cirith Ungol had one foot firmly planted in epic, lengthy songs, One foot in Hell proves their other foot remains rooted in purely consistent straight edge heavy metal.

Of those who have ever listened to Cirith Ungol, many will tell you that the band's true career highpoint was found within their second album, the underrated classic that is King of the Dead. That's perhaps the reason then why One foot in Hell is often overlooked, even by the band's most devoted fans. Released in the same year as various thrash metal landmarks, One foot in Hell appears somewhat out of place for its time, but in no way does this mean that the output sounds dated. Far from it in fact.

Cirith Ungol's third album features less emphasis on lengthy, epic, prog-tinged material and more on the simplistic, more straightforward side of songwriting. That said, whilst many would fear the worst (the idea that the band would opt for a more half-hearted, chart-bothering affair must have seemed inevitable at the time of the album's release), the band's instrumental performance is still top notch and certainly consistent as always. Opener “Blood & Iron” is furious, the slow-burning heaviness of “Chaos descends" proves worthwhile and the closing title track features arguably one of the best Cirith Ungol riffs ever. The production also sounds cleaner and more polished than on the band's two previous albums, but instrumentation is still a key ingredient. The guitar work is solid enough to keep devoted “true” metal fans interested, and the constantly impressive solos add an electrifying energy throughout.

The songwriting, as said before, is notably more simplistic. This could also be called playing it safe, but Cirith Ungol manage to use the traditional heavy metal genre to their advantage, creating accessible albeit powerful tunes as a result. The rather silly “100 Mph” and equally as unnecessary “The fire” however show the band's tendencies to sometimes be too far in their own comfort zone. Yet this is more than made up for with those distinctive, almost shrieking vocals on the near epic that is “War eternal”, admirably one of the better examples of when Cirith Ungol enter epic territory and succeed as a result. The tight rhythm section on other songs such as the slightly eerie “Nadsokor” (covered later by Italian doom metal band Doomsword) and very dark “Doomed planet” makes for a very nice listen, inviting the listener to bang their head to the power of those mechanical, almost tribal drum beats.

One foot in Hell isn't quite as good as its predecessor, but still surely deserves a place in any metal fan's album collection. What we have here is simply another collection of more or less classic, consistent, straight edge heavy metal tunes from a band who were at this point in their prime, and once again you can see just why Cirith Ungol are hailed worldwide as a direct influence on some of the top doom/heavy metal bands today.

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user ratings (68)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
December 10th 2013


Kudos for reviewing this, will read asap.

I have yet to listen to this album.

Edit: pos.

December 10th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

You did a good deed by covering those two albums that needed a review, pos.

December 8th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

so sad to see this band with such low ratings. Cirith Ungol was definitely among the best bands coming from that wave of american epic/heavy/doom/power hybrids of the 1980's.

April 26th 2017


Album Rating: 3.0

the artwork for this is so sick. same with king of the dead.

September 14th 2018


i havent decided on a rating yet, but...

Chaos Descends!

January 16th 2019


Album Rating: 3.5

better than i remember but nothin touches king of de dead

January 16th 2019


Album Rating: 4.0

i always like this

April 14th 2023


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

wtf sonic why are we agreed

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