Label: Enigma / Metal Blade Records (reissues)
For the longest time, Cirith Ungol were a band that didn’t so much do nothing for me, as actively pushed me away. The reason is simple: Tim Baker’s vocals are very much a “love them or hate them” proposition, and for years, I hated them. But recently, something clicked, and I now feel that they make total sense within the context of Cirith Ungol’s doomy heavy metal. The result is that I’ve spent most of the past week listening to almost nothing except King of the Dead, which is surely their best album.
It’s also quite an unusual album. A lot of these compositions have the feel of blues-drenched proto-metal, something that’s aided by the guitar tone and prominent bass in the mix. It’s an album that isn’t, all in all, that loud – but the end result is an album that is certainly very, very heavy. It’s a timeless album in multiple senses – not only does it have the quality to stand the test of time, but it doesn’t sound like it belongs to any one era of metal. Cirith Ungol really struck gold here, and I’m glad I finally realised that.