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An Offhand (Skeletal) Touch Of Ye Old Hande - 75%

CHAIRTHROWER, December 14th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, 7" vinyl, Decibel (Flexi disc)

Brocas Helm, Manilla Road, Slough Feg...archaically auspicious band monikers I'd picked up, here and there, whilst fondly skimming Metal Archives pages. T'was only matter of time before Ventura, California's decidedly-cryptic-in-name Cirith Ungol joined their select cult-status ranks...

I'm also very enlivened to learn our man Jarvis Leatherby (ne Jeff Hershey) of Night Demon, back in 2016 - a more breathable time - stirred its long dormant sonic potion in same manner as Sean Pelletier did for Bobby Liebling and Pentagram, the Atlantic Coast, yonder.

In other words, so galvanized was this aging crew of whip-cracking rivetheads by their newfound, youthful ingenu, soon proclaimed a rebirth before turning around with a rollicking, roaring obsidian Beast of a pentamerous full-length release conveniently titled "Forever Black". Indeed, it's a downright knavish cracker barrel of rowdy, mirthful anthems & bruising, Trilby toppling riffs which begs several self-oratory (if not farcical) returns.

Assuming the grizzled vets and valorous laddie felt it in their battle and metal encrusted, weary hearts, to pay tribute to Cirith Ungol's attributable golden age i.e. its humble/(g)rumble beginnings, what better way to coin it than with, ah, this slight vestigial remainder, Brutish Manchild, a super low-fi screech fest of trilling twin guitar harmonies, hearty, stomping power chords, flamboyantly roasting, snare n' drum bass-heavy skins and loud, pummeling bass clubbing along, markedly.

However, for a readily ripping, cutthroat style track, BM falters, construction-wise, about a minute in, when the riffing, rampant as may be, starts to go bonkers on a sloppy, haphazard path to haywire, outta sight soloing, only heightening its grimly defiant erraticness. Towards the end, once tempest (or tantrum) has abated and draws back in line, it sounds like Tim Baker is cawing, harshly, "British Metal!". (A quaint auditory hallucination - nothing more, nothing less.)

This 7" inch Decibel Flexi disc has a distinct "lost gem, relegated-to-utter-backburner" vibe, which lies somewhere between absolute collector necessity and primordial bonus fare. While it fails to supercede the fleshed out congruence of its bunched up brethren, still makes a per requisite listen for (m)any NWOBHM and/or USPM fan(s).