Cirith Ungol retrospective part 3: One Foot In Hell

 

After the release of “King of the Dead”, Cirith Ungol managed to make enough of a rumble to get signed to Metal Blade records  and in two years they released their third album entitled “One Foot In Hell” in 1986. Now this album whenever I am discussing this band is one that is least talked about usually. I have always been curious considering the band were still thriving rather alright at this point. However, the band definitely had again a bit of a change in their sound. As 1986 was essentially the year of thrash, the band definitely took note and added a bit more well Speed to this release.

Track Rundown

1.Blood & Iron- Right away you can see the band have gone with a faster pace right from the get go with this song having that Maiden like gallop and it works damn well as an opener. The growling vocals are still a mainstay and highlight with Baker really belting it out with the verses being very up beat and making this a memorable tune on its own. The soloing sounds sonically better than the last two records being more smooth and less fuzzy. Overall, this is a great opener even as straightforward as it is from the band, it still is very powerful and catchy.

2.Chaos Descends- This is one of the more well known songs on the album and goes back to that more mid paced heaviness of the bands earlier material. This song would have fit well on King Of The Dead but has a bit higher production(or has more reverb im not sure what it is). The chorus is simple with Bakers voice multiplied left and right. Again it is simple but it works. Another good  simple but grooving song that really goes into speed metal territory toward the end.

3.The Fire- I love the bass line in the opening of this song but it almost feels too buried in the mix at times and it can be. The doom influence is still clear on this song as well but with a bit more edge to it especially in the soloing aspects. The song sticks to a mid tempo mainly and doesn’t pull many surprises but is solid overall.

4.Nadsokor- This song highlights the bands more creative and progressive side as well creating more interesting vocal choices and time changes with the drums being the most dominant instrument throughout pounding through relentlessly. It is probably the most interesting song on the album with a lot going on throughout but never has you fully lost.

5.100 MPH- This song is just straight up heavy metal with very cliche lyrics that are just dumb fun honestly. However as much as I enjoy this song, the production bothers the hell out of me. It just feels so inconsistent with the rest of the album and is kind of tinny and doesn’t reach the full epic nature that the rest of the album has through it’s production. Besides that, it is a fun as hell song that is at this point one of the fastest songs the band had released.

6.War Eternal- This song is my favorite on the album with a very big yet raw performance from the band that actually kind of hints at the sounds the band would have on their next album. The bouncy main riff is very catchy and the chorus again being just a simple chant of the title, works great and should be a live staple. This song also contains some of the most lively soloing from Fogle ever. It honestly was a shame that this was his last album before me was out of the band.

7.Doomed Planet- That fucking main riff! It is so dirty and groovy I love it. This is another of my favorites on the album and definitely a tune meant for a live setting. The chorus is another one of my favorites the band ever has written as well it is just a heavy heavy fucking chorus.

8.One Foot In Hell- As a closer, I think this is song does justice but the main riff feels a bit off. Im not sure why but I feel that a note or two shouldn’t be there but the chorus is really damn good with the lower evil vocals coming into play. Its cheesy but it works and fits the song. Overall, a straightforward and decent enough closer that leaves you satisfied.

 

Overall, this album is just all over the place. While the band definitely show their sound on the last album throughout, they also show some elements of straightforward traditional heavy metal and even speed metal at times. The songs are good but not great like the previous album. The album definitely isn’t a bad album, it is still worth a listen and definitely has some major highlights and for that I give the album a good 7.5 out of 10. However, the band would take the more Traditional influences a few years later with one of their most ambitious albums and unfortunately last entitled “Paradise Lost”.

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