• Vince

Cirith Ungol - Forever Black

Band: Cirith Ungol

Album: Forever Black

Genre: Heavy Metal

Label: Metal Blade

Location: Ventura, California

FFO: Manilla Road, Omen, Brocas Helm 

Cirith Ungol is as classic heavy metal as you can get. Production is exactly what you’d expect from a band like this. It sounds right out of the 80’s with more clarity. Mix on the other hand could use some more work, specifically on the drums. And the vocals can get a bit out there at times, but perhaps that’s just his style. They without a doubt wanted to give their fans that sonic nostalgia and feel. 

‘The Call’ starts us off with some interesting picking and melody to lead into the first full song. From the get-go, I knew exactly what this band was all about. They have a very, very 80s metal sound. That can be seen as a good or bad thing depending on who you are. If you were already a fan of these guys or this very classic style, it’ll be perfect for you. But if you’re looking for any hint of modern/innovation, you’re in the wrong place. Nothing featured in this album hasn’t been done a million times both during the bands previous years, and during the hiatus. With that being said, I’m going to take this as it is. When looking at it in that light, the music itself isn’t terrible. Even then though I can’t help but think that this is as standard of an album as you could get in the metal world. Not to modern standards, but to classic standards. You have the standard riffs, drums, vocals (which seem to struggle at times).

As mentioned, there’s even the standard production, which at least is better than what it was 30 years ago. This probably won’t come as a surprise but yes, even the lyrics are as standard as you can get. Now none of this means these songs are bad. They just aren’t interesting to me. I love some 70s and 80s metal. But listening to Cirgil Ungol gives me a feeling of how I wish I was listening to something better, more exciting. All of this makes it rather hard to go from song to song knowing I’m getting pretty much the same thing over and over again.

There’s very little to unpack in terms of reviewing, but also listening. I don’t see myself diving back into this album considering halfway through I honestly was waiting for it to end. Fans of this band already will love this and think the “standard” sound is just what they want. To me, it’s the least appealing aspect. When looking back all those years, I can compliment them on making an album that fits right into their catalog so perfectly. Overall this album seemed a bit slower than previous records, but the core sound is spot on. 

The best thing ‘Forever Black’ has going for it are the OG fans that will love this classic sound and vibe. Other than that, nothing stands out. Nothing grabs me and gets me into the music in the first place. However, I’m glad this reunion and new album is such a celebration for many that can appreciate it. 

Rating: 5/10

Strongest Song: Fractus Promissum 

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2qOoh1ofQZoX9XMXglJDcR?si=nkfKgGEiSAqN-sjPy1Bm8Q

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/forever-black/1496053857

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