Review CIRITH UNGOL ‘Half Past Human’ – EP

One of the good things, 2020 provided, was some extra time that allowed us to do things that usually have been pushed forward to nowhere in time or never seemed to be the first choice of activities. What goes for individuals has been also the case for bands. Ventura, California-based Cirith Ungol made good use of the provided extra time. Instead of being on tour the band went to the archives and swept the dust of time off some of their great songs that haven’t been properly released until today.

Four songs came to surface, tracks that are too good to end up as dust-collectors. Coming from a bygone time, the iconic quintet gave each of the tunes some new life and vitality. While keeping the original spirit alive, each of the songs was newly interpreted and recorded with John Anthony at the helm.

‘Half Past Human’ is a next chapter, the band adds to their musical offer, after the band returned to the scene in 2016. In a way, this EP bridges the two eras which makes the four-track release even more exciting.

The EP starts off with ‘Route 666’, a devilish masterpiece done in the typical Cirith Ungol fashion. Now doubt, Tim Baker’s vocals are iconic and a real trademark of the California metal pioneers. The song has been released already in 1978, was a part of ‘The Orange Album’-demo and shines in new brightness on this release. Next to the vocals, the mighty riffing, provided by Greg Lindstrom and Jim Barraza, is key. It adds the heaviness on the rock solid foundation that is provided by drummer Robert Garven and Jarvis Leatherby, the latter also know from his band Night Demon.

Cirith Ungol has the ability to perform traditional heavy metal in a way that it excites independently from time and space, manifested by songs like the very rhythm-driven ‘Shelob’s Liar’. What adds a lot to the positive excitement are twists and breaks that are weaved into these four anthems and the moment you think that you identified the pattern, you’re guided into a new direction, equally exciting.

‘Brutish Man Child’ is a more straight-foward treat on this EP before the title track shows the epic side of Cirith Ungol. An acoustic intro, doom-laden rhythms, a little Iron Maiden reference (‘Revelations’) and a cinematic expression is what makes the closer to a real name-giver for this EP.

Cirith Ungol’s second era is at least as successful as the early days in the ’80s. Since 2016, the band adds new highlights to their discography with ‘Half Past Human’ being the perfect link between past and present. Impressive.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Route 666
  2. Shelob’s Lair
  3. Brutish Man Child
  4. Half Past Human

Label: Metal Blade Records

Genre: Epic Metal

Release Date EU: May 28th, 2021

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