Album review: CIRITH UNGOL – Forever Black

Metal Blade Records [Release date 24.04.20]

Cirith Ungol are a band I have been aware of for many years (with a name like that, they are hard to ignore!) however until now I have been oblivious to their history or their music. The band formed back in 1981 and had success throughout the 80’s releasing a number of albums and building up a big fan base worldwide. The guys split in 1992 when musical tastes took a Grungy turn and heavy metal fell out of favour.

It took until 2015 and continued fan pressure for the band to reform with four of the five original members and after a successful return to the live arena the band have made it back into the studio. This then is the fruits of their labour and the band’s first album in 29 years, so was it worth the wait?

After a quick intro piece the band launch into ‘Legions Arise’ and it’s a proper blast of old school metal. Fast guitars are accompanied with bombastic drumming and the screaming vocals of Tim Barker. Subtle it ain’t but it’s all the better for that.

‘The Frost Monstreme’ takes the pace down a bit but there is no let up in the guitar work with great slab-like riffs being churned out by Greg Lindstrom and Jim Barraza. The album is well paced and at times reminds me of Twisted Sister’s heavier moments, think ‘Destroyer’ with a more tortured vocal delivery.

‘The Fire Devine’ rocks hard and very heavy whilst ‘Stormbringer’ slows the pace with a more sedate vocal at the start from Barker. The highlight for me was ‘Nightmare’ which starts with a majestic guitar intro before it explodes with another massive riff and Barker screaming out ‘I’m evil’ in the chorus, he certainly sounds demonic here.

This album is a great return from a band who have stuck to their roots and are once again providing their fanbase with exactly what they had hoped for. As drummer Robert Garven puts it on the accompanying blurb ‘Cirith Ungol remain a churning maelstrom of metal chaos descending’, couldn’t put it better myself!

***1/2

Review by Dave Wilson


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