All of us know that the fathers of Heavy Music Style are Black Sabbath. We all know as well, that Candlemass, cutting off some specific elements, are their best kids, the descendants who continued and expanded the vested, which existed until then, creating a new shade of sound, al least merchantly. Before them, however, there were some other groups, which played doom, prior to the leak and the spreading of this term. One of these groups, which are exremely few, is Cirith Ungol from Los Angeles USA, a group which although it adored Black Sabbath, it isn’t dedicated to them, indulging in the music hetirage of Hard and Metal british scene of the early 80s, as well in more classical styles. Let us be more specific.
Hearing the first notes of the album, one can realize that the group pays due honour to Black Sabbath. The influences are obvious and that’s right, but there is something more..The whole album is animated by a dramatic and lyrical air, which are underground influences from Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and Scorpions of the "Roth" era, early Manowar and progressive rock as well, with complex interchanges, which don’t bore the listener. On the contrery, they flatter! Faster, always melodic, with continuous quitar solo, most of them pure. The influence of the forst two albums of Iron Maiden, Di Anno era, is obvious, too. Finally, the weird, squeaky and unscanny vocals of Tim Baker are playing a leading part.
All of these are included in the "Atom Smasher" and "Black Machine", the first two songs of the album, just to have an idea of what Cirith Ungol stand for. "Master Of The Pit" begins with a strange, dark and sharp bass introduction and afterwards the lyricism of the quitar undertakes the first role . The song is full of quitar solos and some moments of drama. Doom in early work (before Candlemass and surely not to such an extend). A beautiful song. Afterwards is coming the homonymous song of the album "King Of The Dead", which having a classic introduction it leads toward a pick, which burst out in its dramatical refrain.
The second side begins with "Death Of The Sun" with a crazy rythm full of interchanges of quitar solos. The classic influences of the group are obvious the next two songs. "Finger Of Scorn" with which Cirith Ungol declares their love in the rennaisance music. Simple, plain, slow rythm with lyrical outbursts and a melancholical mood. In these songs one can realize how the early Iron Maiden have influence Cirith..In order to mention their love to classic music and especially baroque, they try an arrengement of "Toccata" (IN Dm) of J.S.Bach. It is a very good trial and surely unusual, at least in this way. The album ends with the song "Cirith Ungol", lyric, beautiful song with a melodical quitar solo, which travels you far away, a doom hymn.
Of course I couldn’t forget to mention the amazing cover of the album. It is one of the these times (and these are so many) you feel lucky that you managed to "grab" the album in its vinyl version. A real art work!!
Cirith Ungol (who date from 1972 as a group, while theit first album relaesed in 1980 under the title "Frost And Fire", which is an amazing album) have never made a great success, even though they deserve it. Without doubt, if Cirith Ungol has a better management and greater promotion, things would be different! They are always mentioned as a cult band...but this doesn’t matter us at all!
Tim Baker - Vocals
Jerry Fogle - Guitars
Michael Flint - Bass
Robert Garven - Drums
Translation in English: Aliki Maxoutoglou