Cirith Ungol - Forever Black review




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Reviewer:
7.0

60 users:
7.45
Band: Cirith Ungol
Album: Forever Black
Release date: April 2020


01. The Call
02. Legions Arise
03. The Frost Monstreme
04. The Fire Divine
05. Stormbringer
06. Fractus Promissum
07. Nightmare
08. Before Tomorrow
09. Forever Black


Cirith Ungol's last album came out in 1991 and shortly after that the main cogs of this heavy/doom machine gave up making music altogether. You can read about how the sleeping giant was awakened here. For Forever Black's cover art the band once again collaborated with longtime friend and fantasy artist Michael Whelan, and it is one that directly hints at the music; that is, ballsy heavy metal saturated with ominous doom.

Following a short intro track, "Legions Arise" opens the gate in a 'call to arms' type of way, and it makes as powerful an impact as "Join The Legion" did 29 years ago. "The Frost Monstreme" that comes straight after is my personal favourite from the album, blending Dio's "Holy Diver" riff in half the speed with '70s Black Sabbath majesty. The album in general is chock-full of thick, bass-boosted, and throbbing riffs that are sure to please the doom-paced chuggery crowd, but I also really enjoy the solos, not because they are the most technical I have ever heard in my life, but because they have soul and fluidity, and they serve the purpose of each song without trying to be flashy and narcissistic. "Fractus Promissum" and "Nightmare", for example, are both adorned with lead guitar ingenuity that adds melodic variety to the dynamic rhythms. The guitar work in general slightly emphasizes on the 'heavy' over the 'doom' element, just like the case was on Paradise Lost, but Forever Black has almost none of the Iron Maiden affiliation that was observed on the previous Cirith Ungol LP, which is a good thing in my book.

It's difficult to be original and unique, especially in the style of metal that Cirith Ungol play, but Tim Baker's brooding and soul-searing crooning has always made this band instantly recognizable among a thousand others. Getting into his vocals is not an easy feat for many people though, including myself, and there is no doubt in my mind that the band would have had more success with a more conventional vocalist (or even with him, if he just opted for a less off-kilter approach, like he does in the beginning of the magnificent "Strombringer" maybe?). Although I can't deny that he does sound convincing when he sings about impending doom, oftentimes I feel that he is overwhelming to my ears and overshadows the very worthwhile music.

Forever Black succeeds in what I see as being the most difficult thing to achieve when releasing a comeback album; it features at least three or four tracks that fans will be glad to listen to at gigs, instead of persistently asking only for the 'classics'. This is a great accomplishment on its own, especially if you take into account that the best cut since their reunion, "Witches Game", is not even featured here. Forever Black is stronger than what most people might have expected and, if Tim Baker's vocal eccentricity is to your liking, you should add an extra point to my final score.

"Today we live in anger
Today we live in fear
Someday before tomorrow
Today the end is near"


 



Written on 03.06.2020 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 81 users
03.06.2020 - 21:16
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Probably the best of the somewhat underrated 80s bands along with Manilla Road and Vicious Rumors. So glad they're now getting part of the attention they deserve. This album is powerful as fuck.
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- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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03.06.2020 - 21:24
Ansercanagicus
I like the singing, but it's true that it gets tiresome after a while. I don't know if it comes from the long reverb covering the music, or if it's the lack of melody. Or he's just holding notes for too long. But killer voice and style anyway
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2019
2020
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03.06.2020 - 21:35
nikarg
Mod
Written by RaduP on 03.06.2020 at 21:16

So glad they're now getting part of the attention they deserve.

We can thank the internet for that. It is the same for all the reunions and comeback albums of the last 20 years or so. All these bands wouldn't have tried for a second time if it wasn't for the internet to rekindle the fire and for many people to become familiar with their music.

Written by Ansercanagicus on 03.06.2020 at 21:24

I like the singing, but it's true that it gets tiresome after a while. I don't know if it comes from the long reverb covering the music, or if it's the lack of melody. Or he's just holding notes for too long. But killer voice and style anyway

I was listening to the latest Tyrant (USA) album the other day. Similar style, similar kind of music but inferior songwriting compared to Forever Black. However, a lot easier to listen to simply because of Robert Lowe.
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03.06.2020 - 21:38
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 03.06.2020 at 21:35

was listening to the latest Tyrant (USA) album the other day. Similar style, similar kind of music but inferior songwriting compared to Forever Black. However, a lot easier to listen to simply because of Robert Lowe.

I guess that incentive to finally listen to that. DIdn't know Lowe was involved.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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10.06.2020 - 06:06
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
I'm going to tell people I like this album just because of the cover art.
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I have no memory of this place.
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