Cirith Ungol has been around since 1972 formed in California, there sound is what one might expect from the bands at the time a fusion of metal and classic style rock riffs. “Servants of Chaos” was originally released in 2001 and Metal Blade, in conjunction with drummer Robert Garven Jr, decided to re-release this as a three disc special edition. The original audio discs with an added DVD of a live performance circa 1984. An interesting combination of instrumental and vocal tracks are also contained on the release.
As these guys were busy making their mark in the seventies and eighties, this reviewer was to busy listening to the likes of KISS Alive and Destroyer, to have discovered Cirith Ungol and combined that with living in a small town in Iowa there was little or no chance to discover this band until later. Cirith Ungol has always had a chain of catchy groove laden tunes and almost crossing into the space metal type of writing (‘Obsidian’ for example). This re-issue is packed with 31 tracks of some time cheese heavy lyrics with some serious glam band riffs and grooves. Each of the tracks are not band but rather provide a trip back to the nostalgic arena style music of the 80’s even though this was out in 2001. Arena style rock is very distinct, high energy easy to sing along lyrics and plenty of fist pumping good times. Cirith Ungol has captured these elements to near perfection.
‘100 MPH’ is certainly one of the best example of this, a riff and solo heavy song with some fantastic keyboards and bass lines that would make any hair band member green with envy. Opening lyrics “They call it heavy metal, comes on hard and fast, we are the boys who play it, we are here to kick your ass” exemplifies those glory days of pure arena rock fun. The interesting thing about this track is that at one point or another in this track each of the instruments, bass, keyboard, percussion and guitars all get a part to shine. This giving way to two very guitar solo filled tracks ‘I’m Alive’ and ‘Bite of the Worm’ demonstrate that Cirith Ungol is reserved for pure fun arena rock but is capable of laying down some serious metal music. These three tracks taken collectively show a musical side of the band that doesn’t often come through in other tracks. One might even pick out some rather progressive sounding parts in these three tracks. Its a side that this reviewer would have liked to see more of on other tracks.
All in all an enjoyable release to listen to, great nostalgia for people that grew up in the 70-80’s time frame to go back to in the 2000’s when it was released. The listener gets a full dose of catchy hard metal driving riffs through the album. There are even some great high points of musicality. All in all the hardcore fans of Cirith Ungol will love it, the casual fan will love it for Saturday keg parties. There is something for everyone on this release, so if one is looking to hear a great mix of arena rock with classic style overtones and hints of progressive tendencies this may be just for you.