Cirith Ungol
I'm Alive


4.2
excellent

Review

by manosg STAFF
February 11th, 2020 | 41 replies


Release Date: 10/25/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A treat for fans and an ideal entry point for newcomers

Chances are that if you’re not well into your forties, you haven’t seen Cirith Ungol playing live. Hell, if we take under consideration the fact that up until their disbandment in 1992 they had only played around the West coast of the US, that limits the number of people who got to see them live, to a select few. That’s, of course, before 2016 and their reunion at the 2nd annual Frost and Fire Festival in Ventura, California.

For those who aren’t familiar with Cirith Ungol, this is one of the very first bands who played traditional metal with a strong epic flavor. During an 11-year period, they released four LPs, one of which is considered an underground classic, and vanished into thin air due to frustration from the lack of commercial success. However, these guys are not your typical heavy metal act. The Americans fused their music with proto-doom and ‘70s prog a la Rush elements, which is evident on their song structures and guitar solos, mainly on King of the Dead.

I’m Alive comes from the band’s third live performance since their reunion, at the Up The Hammers Festival 2017 in Athens, Greece, and it sounds as if the US act never disbanded. In terms of instrumentation, everything is better than on the studio albums; the guitars are beefier, the bass is audible and drummer Robert Garven doesn’t sound like someone who once swore that he “would never touch another drumstick or play drums.” However, the surprise here is vocalist Tim Baker’s performance; often metal vocalists don’t age well but this is not the case here. Granted, Baker’s vocals are an acquired taste, but Cirith Ungol just wouldn’t be the same without him, as he gives the band’s music an out-of-this-world feeling (just listen to him screaming on the chorus of “Chaos Rising”). The album’s setlist is amazing, as it contains almost the entire King of the Dead and the strongest cuts from the rest of their discography. In addition, it feels as if they are playing in their home court, as the Greeks’ love for epic metal and Cirith Ungol is well-documented throughout the years.

All in all, I’m Alive is not only a treat for longtime fans, but also a great choice for anyone who wishes to experience what makes this band so special. Plain and simple, Cirith Ungol weren’t supposed to be so good live after all these years, but somehow they might be even better than in their heyday. Now, all we need is a new album, to complete their comeback and gain some commercial success. Better late than never…




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user ratings (5)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2020


11832 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Hopefully this time around these guys will get the love they deserve.

Digging: Biff Byford - School Of Hard Knocks

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2020


8643 Comments


Thanks for reminding me to jam this some time soon.

Digging: Nightfear (ESP) - Apocalypse

KjSwantko
February 11th 2020


11759 Comments


Damn I'll have to check this. I literally just bookmarked their Sput page earlier today too to check their albums. m/

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2020


11832 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

They are on fire. Can't wait for the new album!

budgie
February 11th 2020


16867 Comments


cirith ungol bump!!!!! nice!!

WatchItExplode
February 11th 2020


7806 Comments


added to the list

TheNotrap
February 11th 2020


13194 Comments


I've never been a big fan of the band, but as you mentioned, it's an acquired taste. I probably listened at the wrong time and place, I'll give it another try.

It's interesting how simple everything flows in your writing, always to the benefit of the band. Great work, as always.
Were you at the show?

Digging: Marrasmieli - Between Land And Sky

budgie
February 11th 2020


16867 Comments


breh have you listened to king of the dead? knowing your taste notrap i'd imagine you would love that album to death

TheNotrap
February 11th 2020


13194 Comments


Hahah damn I didn't like it. I need to take another peek asap

budgie
February 11th 2020


16867 Comments


oh that album is totally killer, give it another shot yeah

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2020


11832 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Much appreciated Notrap bud! Unfortunately, I wasn't at the show. I moved far from Athens (capital of Greece) a few years ago and now it's quite hard to go to concerts, which sucks.



And yeah, King of the Dead definitely deserves another chance when you have the time. Also need to buy a King of the Dead t-shirt at some point.

budgie
February 11th 2020


16867 Comments


yeeeeeeah! i had a king of the dead poster in my room at one point. not sure if i still have it

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2020


11832 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Nice

budgie
February 11th 2020


16867 Comments


nice

sonictheplumber
February 11th 2020


10953 Comments


wish these fucks would cum 2 atlanta

Digging: Frozen Soul - Encased in Ice

zaruyache
February 12th 2020


21945 Comments


i think we've reached peak cheese with that album art

BallsToTheWall
February 12th 2020


49911 Comments


Dope!

Digging: Envy - The Fallen Crimson

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2020


2625 Comments


"Yeah come on join the legionnnnnn"

Always such an underrated band.

Digging: Obsidian Tongue - Volume III

Willie
Moderator
February 12th 2020


18440 Comments


I don't remember these guys, but I have one of their albums rated pretty low. I'll check this out, though.

Digging: My Dying Bride - The Ghost of Orion

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2020


11832 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

You have their best album rated pretty low, indeed. Hope you enjoy this one a bit more though.



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