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A Real Man's Music - 80%

TrooperOfThrash, March 27th, 2008

"...probably with the biggest dick ever. Seriously it's like a small child rolled up in a carpet."

This was the phrase a friend of mine uttered while trying to describe Cirith Ungol, or more particularly the physiology of the lead singer. While crude, it goes right to the point: Cirith Ungol is music for men, music for fans of real heavy metal.

This early demo is a bit different from their later releases; while Cirith Ungol took on a much more original sound with their mix of heavy and doom metal later on this demo represents them as more of a traditional heavy metal band. There are traces of doom, for sure, and some crushing riffs are to be heard especially on "Frost and Fire" (later the name of their first album) and "Better Off Dead."

The production is rather lacking, but on the whole it gives this demo a homegrown and unique feel that you will never find in a more popular heavy metal band like Iron Maiden or even Judas Priest. The most important part of this early Cirith Ungol demo is that is gives the listener a sense of what an amazing band they would eventually become. Every song is well written, and very enjoyable to listen to. It's a bit rough around the edges, but for the prize of strong, powerful, manly heavy metal the price of admission is well worth it.

Raw but rewarding - 75%

TrogBog, January 9th, 2007

Indeed a very rare find, I got this demo tape in a bargain deal a few years back on ebay, most songs here would appear on the debut Frost and Fire.

Cirith Ungol's music in their early years was not their well known epic sound, they were just slowly developing. Here we do have traces of classic doom metal and epic metal structures, but this is mostly just standard traditional 80's metal, very similar to a raw DIO, adding the fantasy literature lyrics and themes. It is also interesting to point out Tim Baker's vocals here are nothing at all like he later developed them to be, they arn't yet unique or croaky but to me just represent a typical males voice.

I would say the best songs are Frost And Fire, one of the only epic songs from this demo (later remastered for their debut album) and probably A little Fire, an interesting instrumental song.

Overall it's hard to rate this as it's only a demo, and a raw production. However it does have many good qualities that indicate how the band would transform. So i'm going to rate it 75/100.