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Cirith Ungol: Servants Of Chaos

There are albums best described as for "Fans only" and with this re-issue of American Metal band Cirith Ungol's early, rare, demo and live recordings under the album title Servants Of Chaos, we are definitely in that territory. Often an under rated act when it comes to the creating of the very foundations of the Metal genre we now all know and love, Cirith Ungol are a band who managed to blend styles, genre and approach to form a uniquely individual sound which has been much copied and plundered over the years, if never quite mastered by others. That said for the uninitiated, disc one of Servants Of Chaos is not a good place to start, what with the sound quality varying between demo and home recording and the nature of the material suggesting that much of what is on offer here was not originally for fan consumption. Really the overall feel is that of a jam, or writing session from which song ideas could be plucked to be completed at a later date. That's not to say that talent and original ideas can't be deciphered, or that long term fans of Cirith won't be desperate to hear how their idols worked to draw together inspiration from which they built their music. But fascinating as it may be, interesting listening this is not. In all honesty I really struggle to imagine many people wanting to listen to this stuff on a regular basis - fan of the band, or not.

Disc two ups the standard considerably with the tracks on this half of the album being fully fledged songs and a much better indication of the quirky, uncompromising Avant-garde Metal Cirith Ungol could produce. Thick riffs and enigmatic, if somewhat acquired-taste vocals rule the roost, leaving no doubt that Cirith Ungol were at the time leaders of the innovative Metal pack. Add to that, five live songs that illustrate the vibrant, punch-packed stage attack the CirUng had and while the odd mix of swords and sorcery mysticism and motor car inspired lyrics may seem like strange bedfellows, they both became hallmarks of the band's sound. Even here though the recordings are uneven, being far too thin in places to truly show a snarling beast of a band in their true light.

So as I said right at the start of this review, Servants Of Chaos is undoubtedly a reissue that Cirith Ungol devotees will lap up and cherish, however if you are only slightly familiar with, or a complete novice to this band, then this is not and I repeat NOT the place to start your journey.

Too good to be bad, but too bad to be truly good approach with caution.

Track Listing
CD 1:
01. Hype Performance
02. Last Laugh
03. Frost And Fire
04. Eyes
05. Better Off Dead
06. 100 MPH
07. I'm Alive
08. Bite Of The Worm
09. The Twith
10. Maybe That's Why
11. I'll Met In Lankhmar
12. Return To Lankhmar
13. Darnkess Weaves
14. Withdance
15. Feeding The Ants
16. Obsidian

CD 2:
01. Death Of The Sun
02. Fire
03. Fallen Idols
04. Chaos Rising
05. Fallen Idols
06. Paradise Lost
07. Join The Legion
08. Before The Lash
09. Atom Smasher (live)
10. Master Of The Pit (live)
11. King Of The Dead (live)
12. Last Laugh (live)
13. Cirith Ungol (live)
14. Secret Agent Man
15. Ferrari 30SQV

Added: December 15th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Cirith Ungol Web Pit
Hits: 2841
Language: english

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