Before you immediately
rip this piece into little shreds, not
wanting to hear another word about, the
Lord of the Rings, Frodo, Bilbo, or that
'orrible green thing with a lisp, feel
like passing out if you have to view more
hoards of Orcs majestically sweeping down
from the mountains in all their computerized
glory, then just hold on a minute. Anyway
if Gandalf was so clever why didn't he
take the ring and chuck it down the gorge
himself instead of making that poor little
hairy footed thing trudge miles over all
that treacherous terrain?
Mott the Dog is still a music column
and these boys from California probably
thought it was bit of a wizzo idea to
take their name from Tolkien's masterpiece
for your up and coming heavy metal rock
band. (The gates of Cirith Ungol are in
some Tower or other that the little hobbits
and their bunch of reject mates had to
cross before reaching their destiny. I
don't really know as I'd fallen asleep
after the first hour or so, and used to
skip all the funny names when I read the
books.) How were they to know that by
the end of the Millennium this Jackson
bloke was going to turn New Zealand into
a film lot, use every actor presently
out of work and turn them into stars,
employ every Kiwi left in New Zealand
as an extra, and take up half a decade
making three movies of massive length
and change the history of the Cinema forever.
He probably not even mentioned the gates
of Cirith Ungol or its tower in the filming
to give the boys at least a bit of exposure.
Surprisingly they don't sue. Well, by
looking at the album cover they might
be thinking about it.
It was 1991 by the time Cirith Ungol
released this their little masterpiece
of ‘Paradise Lost’ to the
world of heavy metal music. As with all
bands of their ilk, they had been through
a few lineup changes while on the way
to this moment of stability. Way too many
to mention, but suffice to say that some,
if not all, escaped the nasty gardening
accidents, or being trapped in cocoons
(no, no, I'm not on about Fellowships
of Rings again), or could find their way
to the stage, either were or are going
to be in Spinal Tap.
The album opens up with ‘Join The
Legion’, which hurtles fairly out
of the speakers. Your woofers and tweeters
better be in pretty good shape to take
this kind of battering, I can tell you.
The band has been kind enough to inform
us of their intentions by displaying the
lyrics on the inside sleeve of the cover.
"Our comrades in arms lying dead
in the streets,
from choking on metal that's spineless
The jackals are gloating with victory
but the last true believers rise up from
All good stirring stuff as you can see.
The band carries on in pretty similar
fashion over the next eight songs, including
a stunning version of the Crazy World
of Arthur Brown's 'Fire', which, if Arthur's
not crazy about now, I expect he is furious.
'Before the Lash' I think is some kind
of political statement from the boys,
whilst 'Chaos Rising' certainly proves
that not only can they play their instruments
very loudly, but very quickly too. In
fact, I think you hear the poor old drummer
fall off his drum seat at the end.
If very heavy rockin' is your bag, then
Cirith Ungol will be the band you have
been waiting for all your life. Upon buying
this album it is always a kindness to
soundproof the dog house. Remember canines
can hear things many humans cannot. Good
luck to Cirith Ungol. At least they don't
go on as long as the movies.
Screamed by Mott The Dog
Muffled by Ella Crew