Cirith Ungol - Paradise Lost
Restless Records
Heavy/Doom Metal
9 songs ()
Release year: 1991
Reviewed by Thomas
Archive review

Granted, this is probably not Cirith Ungol´s finest hour, but given the circumstances could you expect it to be? They had major issues with their label who refused to promote them. The producer was set on being a proper dickhead from the beginning, letting only one band-member being present during the recording of their respective instrument. Drummer Robert Garven stated that the band had no artistic control over the production on this album, and that they unknowingly sold their rights to Paradise Lost by signing the deal with the label Restless Records. When Metal Blade wanted to re-release all their albums, Restless Records refused to let this particular record be re-issued. Unfortunately, that label became the doom of Cirith Ungol, and Paradise Lost the last piece of their cult legacy.

This is not the trademark typical crisp n´crunch doomridden traditional metal Cirith Ungol delivered on their first three albums. Yes, this is still them through and through, but gone are fleshy, juicy old school production and the high-pitched slightly nasal vocals of Tim Barker. It sounds a bit weaker due to the much polished sound, and the blunter, less edgy vocal work. That does however not mean that Paradise Lost kick any less ass than all the half-assed shit being released nowadays.

This album kicks off with Join the Legion, a picture perfect example of heavy metal done properly. Riffs chop away with brilliant edge that rip through flesh. The chorus is a fist-pump-fest that´ll get you on your feet, shouting along, pathetically trying to emulate Baker´s tough, surprisingly raspy, deep lines. Tim sounds rougher and goes lower than earlier, and for those who had problems with his vocals on previous albums, may like his style better here.

With new members come new ideas, and one of them wrote the following song. The Troll is a bit choppy, yet certainly one of the gloomiest tracks on the album. Fire ups the pace a little, and if it wasn´t for Baker´s snarls and awesome, slower, crushing passages, this would wander off into forbidden 80´s rock territory. Heaven Help Us is a straight up heavy metal tune with dominating, melodic riffs, clearly audible bass, gallopping passages and awesome leads.

Although this cleaner sound is a bit boggling and come off as a bit of a downer at first, it will eventually grow on you. Plus, you have the lovely, dirty doom moments like Before the Lash, and the Phantom of the Opera-esque Chaos Rising, which starts out slow and churning before exploding into a flurry of absolutely fantastic riffs, completely dominating choruses, and a lead section that will shred you to pieces. In other words resembling songs like Of Frost and Fire and 100 mph complete with a doomy intro.

All in all, given the circumstances this is a pretty damn great album. Sure there are some downers like the flowery Go It Alone, and less deliberate The Troll, but this is still Cirith fucking Ungol and everything with their stamp on is worth getting. Oh and did I mention that the song Paradise Lost is terrific? Yeah it is, and there´s some awesome stuff here that fans of Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Legend and Heavy Load should know and love even if it isn´t on par with their previous efforts.

Killing Songs :
Join the Legion, Chaos Rising, Paradise Lost
Thomas quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Cirith Ungol that we have reviewed:
Cirith Ungol - One Foot In Hell reviewed by Thomas and quoted 90 / 100
Cirith Ungol - Frost and Fire reviewed by Thomas and quoted 91 / 100
Cirith Ungol - King of the Dead reviewed by Dee and quoted 92 / 100
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