Monday, January 17, 2011


This morning's Clyde Caldwell post put me in the mood for some epic 80's fantasy metal. But rather than sharing Cirith Ungol's 1980 release Frost And Fire (which I unceremoniously name-dropped in said post), I decided we should all travel to the future (of the 80's) and revisit their second (and equally balls-kicking) full-length King of The Dead. Like its precursor, Dead sports awesome cover art by Michael Whelan lifted from the cover of a Moorcock novel (the book in question is Bane of The Black Sword, while Frost featured art from Stormbringer), and the album's contents, music-wise, are equal in epic-ness as well.

Can you think of another band as dirty and visceral as Cirith Ungol that could turn 180 degrees and throw a Bach cover at you on side B of their album (it's "Toccata in Dm", and it rules)? Can you think of a better Bro-Mosh anthem than "Master of The Pit"? Can you show me a better use of black leather in a band photo (below)? No, no, and no. Ungol is an anomaly.
Although their label debut came in 1980, Cirith Ungol formed all the way back in 1972, and made it all the way to '92 before calling it quits. That's two solid decades of grimy, Hessian-approved black magic, a legacy of thunder and an apic tale in itself. ELRIC APPROVES.

Download HERE
Purchase HERE

Dude second from the left appears to be wearing a Cirith Ungol T-shirt. This shit is starting to get uncanny.



Cory said...

also they are from ventura ca and one of em ended up in the bad samaritans

Spookywolffe said...

Cirith Ungol!!! I have my original album of FROST AND FIRE framed in my living room. Still got all the merch info I originally sent off for from the band inside. Goooood times!! Great post, man!!

The Thing That Should Not Be said...

Shit is getting pretty fucking classical 'round here.

Anonymous said...

This album fucking rules, bought it when it first came out and it's been a favorite ever since. Used to have the pic-disc version but I sold it years ago. The red & blue on the rear cover made me dizzy, though.

Aylmer said...

Elric rules!

Aylmer said...

Oh and while on the subject of fantasy art, Michael Whelan is fucking amazing...

Helm said...

This is one of the best records in the genre.

Nekromantis said...

Their best album for sure and one of the best albums overall. How cool is that guitar tone? How cool is that troll of a singer?

You know you'll never kneel
To the Master of the Pit
Feverish prayers of life ever after
As your doom driven blade drinks the soul of the Master

Helm said...

"You know you'll never kneel
To the Master of the Pit"

Normal time, riffing on E, on the beat for two measures and then

"Feverish prayers of life ever after
As your doom driven blade drinks the soul of the Master"

double time feel, a fifth up and emphasis on the upstroke!

Such a simple compositional trick, but the result makes me want to punch a mountain.

Asa said...

Brilliant record, one of my favorite mixes of all time, and for me personally musical dissection destroys the magic of records from this period of musical history. Just sayin'

However, I will also add that Good Bad Music has a vinyl rip of this record that is the warmest, tastiest thing since Cobras' mother.

Shelby Cobras said...

Asa, she will be either very flattered or very hurt to hear you say that.
I am sad to report that my own vinyl copy of this album skips. My life is a dismal failure.

Cory said...

can you link to that vinyl rip? cant find it.

Shelby Cobras said...

The Good Bad Music rip is expired. Asa, cough it up.

jethro))skull said...

One of the many albums I bought when I was a kid based on cover art.not as rockin as little me expected,but as my earballs matured it became sacred.if you ain't down w ghostly skeleton warriors you ain't shit.