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Cirith Ungol - Paradise Lost

Review: 223
Date: 16 Apr 05


Rating: 1 Stars
for effort & nice cover

Tim Baker - Vocals
Jim Barraza - Guitars
Vernon Green - Bass
Robert Graven – Drums

Tracks Listing:
Join The Legion
The Troll
Heaven Help Us
Before The Lash
Go It Alone
Chaos Rising
Fallen Idols
Paradise Lost


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 and weak.
The jackals are gloating with victory in hand,
but the last true believers rise up from the land."

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


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