Review: Cirith Ungol “King of the Dead”

Review: Cirith Ungol “King of the Dead”

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Cirith Ungol “King of the Dead”
Metal Blade records

So here we have a re-issue of 1984’s King of the Dead, which was unleashed by Metal Blade a few months ago to tie in with the bands first ever European live appearance.

Unfortunately my digital version is just the album with some live bonus tracks, but there is also a bonus dvd version, as well as various vinyl pressings… so plenty of choices for the diehards amongst you.

I have no idea why, but I’ve never really taken the time to get to know Cirith Ungol. I think I reviewed one of their albums many years ago, probably a re-issue as their last studio album was way back in 1991… but my knowledge, is ashamedly, very limited on the band.

But as soon as I hit the play button, I instantly recognized Atom Smasher… so our paths have definitely crossed at least a few times in the past.

To my surprise, the album doesn’t feel dated at all. 1984 is actually my favourite year in Metal, so that may explain why I’m instantly at home with this album.

Musically, if you’ve not heard Cirith Ungol, just expect everything to be epic. Huge swathes of fantasy Metal… kind of NWOBHM meets Doom meets Conan The Barbarian and a vocalist that sounds like a bitch fight between Rob Halford and King Diamond. Tim Baker’s high-pitched vocals won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but they are a perfect foil for the epicness of everything around him. And his scream on the title track is just monumental… not quite up there with Bruce on Hallowed Be Thy Name, but simply amazing, nonetheless.

Back in 1984 I was drooling over the likes of Powerslave, Sign Of The Hammer and Don’t Break The Oath. And now I have another classic to add to the list of greats from that year.

I’m just gutted I never discovered it back in my teenage years. But better late than never, I suppose.

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About the author

Metal, gaming, sport and cats, that just about sums my life up. And growing a big beard....

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