(9/10) This band was ahead of time when releasing the original version of this underground classic. "King of the Dead" was Cirith Ungol's second release. The longplayer was published in 1984 and the band didn't achieve much more than a cult status in the metallic underground.
It took many years, actually decades, for metal fans to realize the brilliancy of the California-based band. These days it's Metal Blade that re-releases some of Cirith Ungol's pearls and the band is also active again. After having brought back "Paradise Lost" to the record shops a few months ago it's the re-issue of "King of the Dead" that pushes up the heartbeat of epic metal fans.
There are a few things that made the guys unique. It's the epical progressiveness which is a crucial trademark of this powerhouse. These songs demand focus in a fast-moving time. Only while taking time to listen to songs like "Atom Smasher" and "Master of the Pit" unveils the full beauty and depth of these classics.
What's also unique with the band is Tim Baker's unique voice. High pitch vocals with a special phrasing makes each of the tracks to a demanding experience. Also here things need time. This voice and these songs are not a lead-off homerun. Cirith Ungol's music needs space to develop...and if it takes more than three decades.
And last but not least it's Bach's "Toccata in Dm" that was unique at that time. Interpreted by guitar and bass only gave this classic composition a new appeal in days when classic and metal were still more a kind of two poles than something that goes together very well. This quartet proved that it's possible.
All in all, in case you missed the band's first era it's time to catch up and the Metal Blade re-releases are the perfect opportunity to do it.
- Atom Smasher
- Black Machine
- Master of the Pit
- King of the Dead
- Death of the Sun
- Finger of Scorn
- Toccata In Dm
- Cirith Ungol
- Last Laugh (live)
- Death of the Sun (Alternate Mix)
- Master of the Pit (Live 2016)
- King of the Dead (Live 1016)
- Cirith Ungol (Live 2016)
Label: Metal Blades Records
Genre: Epic Metal
Release Date EU: April 28th, 2017