Twenty-nine years. How do you even think about coming back from such a time without putting out any new album with new material? For most people, they don’t because that’s just something that doesn’t happen even once a year. But, there are exceptions to every rule and to say that Cirith Ungol has defied odds and come back to only further cement their name as a legend would be putting their grandeur far too lightly. As one of the long-lasting kings of heavy metal, the return of Cirith Ungol is something that people still haven’t been able to get over for years now, and it’s with the godly offering of “Forever Black” that everyone will hear what it truly means to be a resurrected classic.
Oh, sure. We’re all acquainted with some sort of classic act that’s come out of the ashes for one reason or another or even just a band that’s been going for forever that has somehow managed to keep the talent spewing forth. When it comes to heavy metal itself, I always considered Judas Priest’s latest album to be the epitome of such an idea, but just listening to a single track off of “Forever Black” is enough to show that Cirith Ungol easily takes that throne and truly return to the world in such a way that is no less than exemplary! Quite literally, the only part about this record that I fault in is that it simply ends. Everything about “Forever Black” is so much of what made heavy metal great to begin with, and Cirith Ungol show us just how exactly it can be done without sticking to the seemingly strict rules of the style much like how they operated in the 80s when those rules didn’t feel set in stone yet. It’s through that classic way of doing things that this album really flourishes. We still get plenty of tropes throughout the grand excellence that is “Forever Black”, but Cirith Ungol doesn’t allow that to restrict their craft too much as you can really hear the original spirit that they became legends out of coursing through every note that these magnificent songs have to offer. There’s something for everyone all across this album as well whether you want something that’s balls to the wall heavy metal like “Legions Arise”, something with a more somber tone like “Stormbringer”, or an anthem that few others can touch like the title track, and to say anything other than the simple fact that Cirith Ungol brings majesty to every single one of them and more would be a true insult upon the crafted that they’ve so clearly mastered decades ago. This is quite possibly the comeback album of all comeback albums, and I know damn well many people aren’t going to disagree with it being a true mythical band being the subject here.
Was there really any doubt that these guys wouldn’t be able to deliver on their first full-length album in just under thirty years? If they didn’t pull off several kick-ass shows to prove to us that they’re still more than capable then maybe there’d be an argument for it, but it’s by the end of the third track that I can already tell people will be heralding this album for years to come. The kings, Cirith Ungol, have returned in full force and there isn’t a single thing that can stop them now! “Forever Black” is not only the epitome of classic heavy metal, but a love letter to their passion for the sound, the fans, and a lifestyle that stretches across several decades!
“Forever Black” releases on April 24th via Metal Blade Records!
PRE-ORDER “Forever Black” via multiple sources here.
LISTEN to the single, “Legions Arise”, on Bandcamp here or via YouTube below.
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FOLLOW Cirith Ungol on Twitter: @CirithU