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King of the Dead

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Album Review

King of the Dead, Cirith Ungol's second album, is actually something of a step backwards from Frost and Fire; the production sounds a little muddier, the song structures less focused, and the hooks less apparent. "Hooks," of course, refers mainly to the guitar riffs, because vocalist Tim Baker still hardly ever steps out of his shrill sing-speak delivery, which listeners generally find either deliciously evil or overdone and irritatingly silly. Cirith Ungol is actually a pretty ambitious band, but they're also somewhat amateurish and cartoonishly over-the-top. Those aren't necessarily reasons to dismiss their music, since bands like Venom and Celtic Frost — who were generally critically reviled during their existence — actually planted the seeds of the death metal revolution; however, Cirith Ungol doesn't have Venom's extremity or Celtic Frost's restless experimentation going for them, and they don't have the songwriting chops to make up for those deficiencies. It's apparent on King of the Dead that Cirith Ungol had a great deal of potential, but they don't bring it together here.

Customer Reviews

Real Deal, kiddies

High on Fire, Wolfmother, Danava, Teeth of the Hydra, Bible of the Devil fans: I give you......CIRITH UNGOL why listen to the rip-offs when you can hear the real deal?

Classic 1980's underground Metal Blade doom

Both King of the Dead and One Foot In Hell are fine examples of the sort of metal that was crawling around the edges of the 1980's. Both Cirith Ungol and Mercyful Fate (for instance) came from a background of banging out classic rock riffs in the garage, so naturally when they formed metal bands, the sound would be rooted in fine instrumental guitar, and great catchy riffs. Any fan of modern "doom" type metal will notice the Black Sabbath influence, and revel in the frequency challenged guitar tone. The bass is mid range, and blistering. Is there auto-wah? Yeah. And lastly, we come to the vocals. Perhaps this is why I love CU so much. The vocals are...well, its like making excuses to your friends for bringing along the annoying girl you are dating. You are a little embarrassed of her, but when you are alone, just you and your headphones...its magic. Because, Tim Baker sings in one voice. As stated in the fantastic sleazegrinder review, "he sings like he is being eaten by a shark...ALL THE TIME!" We made a lot of fun of Tim Baker in high school, but we kept on playing those songs. Just buy Death of the Sun, and listen to it a few times. Or even better, Chaos Descends, from the slightly better album One Foot in Hell. If you are a fan of Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, etc, you would do well to check out these two releases.

Brings back memories.

A friend introduced me to this album when i was a teen. I love the strong bass guitar in all the songs. I had to buy this again on itunes after finding it in my old cassettes.


Formed: 1981 in United States

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Los Angeles-based metal band Cirith Ungol formed in 1981, taking their name from a tower which played a key role in author J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. The lineup originally comprised singer Tim Baker, guitarist Jerry Fogle, bassist Michael Flint, and drummer Robert Garvin, and made its debut with the Enigma release Frost and Fire, followed three years later by King of the Dead. In the wake of 1986's One Foot in Hell, both Fogle and Flint left Cirith Ungol, and the band spent the next...
Full Bio
King of the Dead, Cirith Ungol
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Customer Ratings

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