Hey tasters it’s Terry the Ancient One and I’d like to tell you about an underground power metal band out of Utah called Judicator that I began following when i worked the graveyard shift at a homeless shelter back in 2012. With three albums and an EP under their belt and fourth album scheduled for release in early 2018. Judicator has made it a long way in a short period of time.
Founded by Tony Cordisco and John Yelland who met through pure serendipity at a BlindGuardian concert were they both expressed their interest in making music and a shared love of power metal. Originally a two man project made up of vocalist John Yelland vocalist, lyricist and sometimes actor whose acted frontman for (Disforia, and Principum) and Tony Cordisco whose many talents include playing guitars, bass, drum programming, harsh vocals and every thing else of (Project Rowenwolfe and Vermiform)Judicator was to be a fire and forget project. That however was not what fate had in store for the band.
After the band released released it’s concept album King of Rome about the final days of Napoleon on October 30th 2012 which had a sound reminiscent of bands like Blind Guardian and Helloween. A marvel produced on a laptop by Tony Cordisco, the duo found the album had gained an underground following. With favorable reviews in underground metal magazines from as far away as Poland if I am remembering my facts correctly and with all the positive feedback they decided to do a second album….
For it’s sophomore album Judicator still used historical events for the theme of it’s second album. Yet they sought to do something different than pay homage to Blind Guardian. While John and Tony may not realize, they created a Rock Opera. Calling on their friends and fellow musicians to take part in the album doing guest vocals as characters in the tale of Frederick the Great King of Prussia called Sleepy Plessow Judicator showed it’s fans it had a second act 7 months after its first album. For me what stands out most is the change in playing styles and the collaboration of other musicians allowed Tony Cordisco to stand out more and not be overshadowed by John Yelland’s vocals.
Sleepy Plessow – Guest Musicians
**Bryan Edwards (Soulmass) on “Blut vom Himmel”
**Patrick Hoyt Paris (Project Rowenwolfe) on “The Philosopher King” “Gedenkstätte” and “Blut vom Himmel”
**Elizabeth Hall on “Release me” “Blut vom Himmel” and “Sea of Fire”
**Austin Bentley (Machines of Man) on “Release Me” and “Saphire”
**Paul Black (Turned to Stone) on”Thirty Years of Terror” “Memory of Shame” and “Release Me”
After Sleepy Plessow, John and Tony’s desire to legitimatize Judicator as more than a hobby and establish themselves as professionals lead them to bring in drummer Jordan Elcess (Atresia) and later Tyler Sherill (Steamforged) on Keyboards, in 2013 and begin work on a third album, and plans to tour as well were spurred on by 2 successful performance at the DeLand Rock and Metal festival in 2014. In the time leading up to the album I recall John Yelland expressing an interest in prog, and as time went on it became evident he and Tony were planning to try something completely new when Judicator announced it’s plans to cut their album third album. Rather than produce the music on a laptop Judicator chose to do a crowdfunding campaign that was a roaring success allowing them to Record the album and have it produced by Dirty Viking Audio and Tower Studio and gain the attention of Divebomb Records allowing for a wider release of the band’s music. A concept album At the Expense of Humanity was to be catharsis for John Yelland as he told the gut wrenching story of the loss of his older brother to cancer. A complete left turn musically and lyrically At the Expense of Humanity proved to the metal underground Judicator was no one trick pony.
Looking ahead, Judicator plan to return to historical based speed/power metal with The Last Emperor which is to be a historical fiction set in the second crusade. They will once again have it produced by Dirty Viking Audio and Tower Studio. Also in the works are music videos for King Of Rome and The Last Emperor all of which has me elated because I’ve been waiting for a new Judicator album and for them to do a video for the ages. This is a band that is truly on the rise and for people to take notice to The New Masters of Metal!!
Self Released + Crowdfunded – released May 25, 2017
Album Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr
Formed – 1992
Location – Los Angeles, California USA
Members – kaRIN – vox / Statik – sounds
Previous Releases – “Beneath The Skin” (1996), “Distort” remix collection (1998), “Chasing The Ghost (2000), “Some Kind Of Strange” (2003), “Vortex” remix collection (2004), “Like The Hunted” DVD/Live CD (2005), “Two Headed Monster” (2008), “These Eyes Before” (2009), “Counting To Zero” (2011), “Bent And Broken” (2012)
COLLIDE is a duo founded in 1992 incorporating elements of electronica, trip hop and synth-pop combined with a darker edge to create something esoteric in nature and ethereal in execution, delivering a hybrid that is like nothing before. They have worked with artists of the highest esteem during their existence including the likes of Charlie Clouser, Dean Garcia (CURVE) and Danny Carey (TOOL), and they keep pumping out their own flavor of music to the masses.
“Color Of Nothing” is the first offering in almost five years and kaRIN and Statik decided this time out to fund the album publicly, citing this move as a way to gauge if anyone still cared… with this release, the answer is a resounding YES and the result is amazing!!
Eleven tracks clocking in at just over an hour, this collection of songs represents the BEST yet to come from this powerhouse and shows they are in top form and ready to take their place in your library. From the opening track ‘Wake Up’ through to closer ‘Pale Blue’, the edge is right there with all the ‘fixings’ to make this a feast for your auditory senses, including twists and turns to keep you moving all along. Flavorings of bands like KMFDM and MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT are sprinkled throughout with a splash here and there of LORDS OF ACID type progressions all serving kaRIN’s existential voice that cuts through with razor-precision and hits you between the eyes with her haunting delivery. ‘Soul Crush’ is a great example as she reminds us that “We are all human” in her signature siren-song voice.
‘Fix’ shines extra bright for ME, as the standout track from this album. Soft and slow for the first 40 seconds before the drum line hits between your eyes and then kaRIN grabs hold and drags you along, willingly through the guitar lines and floating hypnotic melody of the rest of the body of the song. Even as drum fills jump out at you here and there, making the flow seamless as you traverse along Statik’s masterful arrangement. I could go on and on about each track here as they are each as strong as every other composition brought together here, but the BEST way for you to understand this record is to go GET IT, share it with every pair of ears you come across. Support Collide in the live format if you are blessed with the opportunity and most importantly, keep it LOUD!!
The Sign Records // Caligari Records – released April 7, 2017
Reviewed by Santiago “Chags” Gutierrez
Demon Head was formed in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2012. After releasing a couple of demos and a single, they released a rather impressive debut album, Ride the Wilderness, in 2015. They quickly followed that album up with a split single, sharing the release with their equally impressive country-mates Alucarda. The common factor here is vocalist Ferreira Larsen who provides his drumming talent to Alucarda as well. Upon listening to “Menneskeӕderen”, the first track off Demon Head’s Thunder on the Fields, it was clearly obvious that this release was going to be just as equally impressive, if not more so, than the already absorbing Ride the Wilderness. Their Facebook page says their rhythm section, which consists of Fuglsang (bass) and Jeppe Wittus (drums), swing much like “Bill Ward and Geezer Butler had a loose, jazzy rhythm style that made Sabbath’s songs swing no matter how hard and heavy they got.”
Listening to Thunder on theFields, and all their previous work for that matter, it’s hard not to agree with that statement. The expressively captivating vocals of Larsen adding to the overall ambiance of their sound. Add to that the seamless guitar work of duo Gjerlufsen and Gjerluff Nielsen, and the record just flows from one track to the other.
“We are Burning”, “Thunder on the Fields”, and “Older Now” resound with a deliberate prominence found in early proto-doom/diabolic rock, yet with a sensibility all their own. “Hic Svnt Dracones” and “Gallows Omen” are longer, more drawn out tracks with sheer musical sections that transfix the aural senses. “Hic Svnt Dracones” featuring a fantastic, soulful solo. Final track, “Untune the Sky”, showcasing their theatrical, impressive flair.
Demon Head’s version of nefarious proto-doom, is a welcome throwback for the modern age. They have a way of admirably channeling that vibe much like early Witchcraft did. There is a certain charisma to this band, a somewhat soulful swing to their sound, whether it be on harder and heavier tracks like “Menneskeӕderen”, or on slightly more subdued tracks such as the masterful closer that is “Untune the Sky”. There is an underlying mood to this record that you hardly find anywhere else.
Worth another listen? I’ll let Demon Head answer that question: “Lose your way, we are burning, we watch the sun rise, still with stars in our eyes, lose your way, we are burning, we watch the sun fall with the fire inside. And I’d do it all again with you.”
For fans of heavy rock and doom, there are two words in the lexicon of all their language that has a shared, universal significance. No matter what country you are from, what your native tongue may be, those two words have such massive historical density to them that they instantly evoke reverence upong hearing them: CIRITH UNGOL. Anyone that has been around as long as I have (for the record, I am 47 years old) and has been entrenched within the underground music scene understands the legacy of this longrunning band. Taking on the name of Cirith Ungol in 1972, the four musicians that comprised the band a decade plus later, vocalist Tim Baker, guitarist Jerry Fogle (R.I.P.), drummer Robert Garven and bassist Michael Vujea, made music history in 1984. That was the year that the quartet released their game-changing sophomore album, King Of The Dead, on Enigma Records and simply put, music would never be the same again.
This landmark album went on to inspire and influence untold numbers of musicians, bands and more over the next three-plus decades. It would eventually ascend from the underground and become an iconic, audible bastion in the annals of music history. Cirith Ungol the band would share in this glorious acquisition of reverence and respect as well. They too obtained a state of high honor among those that were enlightened to what greatness this band wielded and so it came as no surprise when Metal Blade Records revealed their plans to pay homage to the band and their King Of The Dead album. Releasing the bonus-laden ‘King Of The Dead – Ultimate Edition‘ mere weeks ago to coincide with the band’s playing their first ever European show at this year’s Keep It True Festival, Metal Blade sparked something in us all. I’d already had an interview with Cirith Ungol in the works but I recognized the opportunity to capitalize on circumstances and thus we at Taste Nation LLC began brainstorming. What we came up with is, what you are in the middle of enjoying right now, the fruits of our labors to properly pay the mighty Cirith Ungol their due.
You’ve seen Matthew Thomas‘ unboxing video and pictorial, you have read Ric ‘Suisyko‘ Dorr‘s review (both here) of Metal Blade Records ‘King Of The Dead – Ultimate Edition‘ and now we present you the coup de grace of today’s event. Without further ado nor hype, no more anxiety from anticipation and want, I and my fellow TNLLC teammates present to you the following: The Taste Nation LLC Interview With CIRITH UNGOL (vocalist Tim Baker, guitarist Greg Lindstrom, guitarist Jim Barraza & drummer Robert Garven)!!!
Pat Riot:The origins of Cirith Ungol date back to at least 1972..what was the inspiration for starting the band? How did it first form at that time and is it true you all began playing as solely instrumental? Fans always debate the correct pronunciation of the band’s name..care to give us the official one?
Tim: As the real historians of the band I will let Rob and Greg answer the first couple of questions. They remember a lot of that stuff better than I can!
Greg: Rob and I met in 7th grade and instantly became friends. He and Jerry Fogle and Pat Galligan (who later joined punk band The Angry Samoans) decided to start a band to play Beatles songs, and I think the only reason they got me involved was that I had an amp. We called ourselves Titanic. Three guitars plugged into one 15 watt amp and Rob with just a snare drum and hi-hat trying to play Beatles and CCR songs. Anyway, Rob and Jerry and I wanted to play heavier stuff like Cream and Mountain, so we quit Titanic, and the three of us formed Cirith Ungol in 1972. Almost immediately we started doing some originals (“Radiation Blues”, “Flesh Dart”) along with our versions of songs by Sabbath, Budgie, Ursa Major, etc. Around 1975, Neil Beattie (aka Terry Dactyl) became our lead singer. He was a little more glam inspired than the rest of us, but he put on a really wild live show, with black widow spider fingertip extensions to go along with our six-foot wide black widow spider for “Shelob’s Lair”. Even though he was a great performer, his voice didn’t quite fit our style, and we parted ways after about a year. We spent the next couple of years writing a lot of songs and playing all the LA clubs as an instrumental power trio, playing along side bands like Quiet Riot, Y & T, and Van Halen, going over amazingly well. We tried out a number of singers, but nobody clicked until 1979, when Tim Baker, our head roadie at the time, tried singing lead on “Hype Performance”. That version is the first song on “Servants Of Chaos”.
Jimmy: In 1972 I was 6 years old living on a farm in Lincoln, Illinois. I thank these guys for starting the band while I was so young, ha-ha. To be part of this reunion at 50 years old is amazing. It is rare, but I have only met a handful of people that I’ve heard pronounce the name correctly and have read the Lord Of The Rings books many times over. I still have not read the books. Maybe one day.
Rob: I was inspired by Greg, because he would always turn me on to new music. I remember him showing me a copy of Mountain’s Climbing, and saying something like, “You have got to hear this!” We incessantly combed the LA area record stores mainly searching for new imported music. There we discovered Thin Lizzy, Scorpions, Lucifer’s Friend, Night Sun and many other heavy bands years before they were even on the radar in the US! There were very few that heard as much early hard rock and metal as us back then. I remember picking up Deep Purple “In Rock” at the local Sears the day they put it on the shelf!
Pat Riot:What took the band almost a decade to get the debut album, ‘Frost And Fire’, recorded and released in 1980?
Greg: Remember, we were only 14 years old when we started, so it took a few years and a lot of jamming to get proficient on our instruments – in my case I’m still working on it! But we wrote songs almost from the beginning, and in 1978 we actually self-released a home-recorded cassette album with a completely different set of songs than F&F. None of the songs on F&F were more than a year old when we recorded it. Some of the songs on KOTD like “Atom Smasher”, “Death Of The Sun”, and “Cirith Ungol” actually pre-date the F&F songs.
Jimmy: In 1980 I was 14 years old. I had taken guitar lessons at a local music store for about a year then. I didn’t hear Frost And Fire until 1987.
Rob: Like Greg mentioned we started pretty young. After the cassette demo we did, commonly known as the “Orange Demo” due to its orange cover, we were ready for something bigger. Since we never received a response from the numerous demo tapes and letters we sent out, we wanted to create a complete album of epic proportions, to show the record companies that we knew what we were doing.
Pat Riot:Speaking of ‘Frost And Fire’, how do you process the fact it is such a hugely monumental, revered album now in 2017? So much there’s even a festival bearing its name, which you all played in 2016. How was that experience?
Tim: For something that was never really suppose to be released as an album, it turns out to have been a great starting point! As far as playing at Frost And Fire II it was a remarkable experience! To actually get on the same stage where we had played our final concert, those long years ago was incredible. Of course the best part was seeing and getting to meet so many people from around the world that came to the Festival – a truly awesome and inspiring thing.
Greg: I think because of Tim’s voice, our quirky playing style, and our inexperience in a real studio, F&F doesn’t really sound like anything else, not even any other CU album. I can hear a bit of Rush and Y&T in there, but for better or worse, it’s pretty unique.
Jimmy: I have to mention that the song “Frost And Fire” is one of my favorites to play live. The experience playing live for the first time in 25 years was so amazing. Although there was a little bit of stressful moments just prior to going on stage due to technical issues (faulty tuner) that could have been unnerving had it not been detected. But, it was promptly remedied. We were 100% ready and played with really minimal issues. It was a success and we also learned a few things in the process.
Rob: We had a great time recording it, and I knew the material was good, and pleased with the result. I love Tim’s voice on that album, it reminds me of a razor blade, thrashing its way through the songs. We had a private tour of the DW drum factory before they built me the greatest sounding custom oak drum set in the world, and I asked the gentleman giving the tour if he had ever heard of our band. I was shocked when he said, “Of course, who didn’t have “Frost & Fire” growing up! As for the Frost & Fire Festival II, it was an awesome experience, playing in our hometown in front of a packed audience from around the world! The next day during the meet and greet there were people who came from as far away as China & Russia just to see the band!
Pat Riot: I understand Cirith Ungol are playing more festivals this year such as Days Of Darkness and Psycho Las Vegas..What is your take-away from seeing the band hold such a spot of reverence with music fans now? Would or will the band undertake any full-on touring plans in the future?
Tim: It’s all about the music – I think the stuff we did holds up well, and with the resurgence of what is now called “classic metal” the timing couldn’t be better! And no – we are not really planning a full on tour, just a bunch of the metal festivals – at least the ones that will have us, hahaha!
Greg: We didn’t have the opportunity to play outside of southern California back in the day, so a lot of folks have been waiting 30+ years to see us live.
Jimmy:I’m very excited for the band and to be part of this journey. The fans are the best, and I am blown away at the ranking position at these festivals. We just gotta stay healthy and motivated.
Rob: We did play a special show in Mexico City after “Frost & Fire” was released and did a radio interview with a pirate radio station that was literally on top of the presidential palace! We are all very excited to be playing so many heavy festivals* this year, some which are still unannounced. You forgot to mention, “Keep it True Festival“, “Up the Hammers“, “Defenders Of The Old“, “Chaos Descends“, & “Hammer Of Doom“, where we are headlining! It is going to be epic an “A Churning Maelstrom Of Metal Chaos Descending!”
*See the Flyers and Promotional Posters for them at the end of this Interview
Pat Riot:Back in the 80s when Cirith Ungol was playing the L.A. circuit, a scene dominated by many lighter fare ‘glam’ type bands, how was CU received at that time?
Tim: We had a fan base back in the day, but really the LA scene for the most part had no idea what to make of us – especially that “singer” lol. We played all the clubs down there and met a lot of great people and bands that are still going strong today!! It was a strange time!
Greg: CU didn’t really fit in with the hair metal scene. As you can imagine, there were people who dug it, and people who didn’t. After I left the band, I saw CU play at the Beverly Theatre with Ratt and Lita Ford. CU commanded the stage, and there were a couple of hundred fans (maybe 25% of the crowd) totally into it, but the other people had come to see Ratt or Lita and weren’t into it.
Jimmy: I had only played a handful of local shows from ’87 – ’89 (LA, Ventura, Santa Barbara). It did seem that the crowds were a bit thin and only the die hards came out and stood in the front to pound their fists and head bang. I remember a mosh pit of punk rockers formed at one home town gig. That was entertaining.
Rob: We did have a loyal fan base in Ventura. Most of our big shows seemed to be on a night when it was raining. We got several hundred people to drive to LA to see us play. We did get some really great reviews from the big LA newspapers such as the Herald Examiner. One writer Marc Shapiro wrote a bunch of great articles on the band after seeing us play with Ratt! He famously wrote about the band, “If hell has a soundtrack then this is it!”
Fan-filmed ‘King Of The Dead‘ preformance from “back in the day”…
Pat Riot: Cirith Ungol released only four official albums in the span of a decade (’81-’91) but the band holds such an iconic place in fans hearts.. why do you believe that is? I have read many things over the years that seemed to indicate a reunion would be unlikely, ever, so what drove the band’s return?
Tim: It’s all about the music I think. Those records hold up pretty well and I think they are good metal albums, and I guess there are a few people out there that feel the same way, hahaha! And yes, for a very long time a reunion was something that was never going to happen, for a lot of well documented reasons. I won’t go into that since that story is pretty well known. The main reasons it did happen is largely due to the efforts of Jarvis, his tales of seeing Ungol stuff all over the world while on tour with Night Demon. The creation of the Frost And Fire Festival, which was the first time in decades the surviving members of the band had all been together, even if it was just for a meet and greet. His support and perseverance to put us back together was something to behold hahaha!! I must also thank Oliver [Weinsheimer] from the great Keep It True Festival. He had been asking us for years just to come over and enjoy his festival, and for years we politely said no. But Rob and I finally went over last year, and to see all the people with Ungol patches, albums to sign, and even people with Cirith Ungol tattoos!! It was a mind-blowing experience and it certainly helped me change my mind about playing again. To see things on the internet and know that there is still a bit of interest in the band is one thing, but to see it in person was amazing!!
Greg: I think Rob needed something to do in his sunset years! And I figured we had better get together and play before: 1) people stop asking, and 2) we get too old to rock and roll!
Jimmy: For years I had hoped for a reunion. Once the opportunity came up, I jumped on it. I am so elated to be playing once again. It’s all good.
Rob: I think our listeners are not unlike our band members and are yearning for something more from their music, something that challenges, and engages them. Even though we wanted to be successful, we did not write the songs to appeal to anyone but ourselves, and I think people get that. I also think they have all succumbed to the “Legions of Chaos! I swore I would never play drums as long as I lived. At the “Frost & Fire I” festival Oliver Weinsheimer came from the “Keep It True Festival” and Jarvis got all the guys together for a meet and greet. They pretty much made us an offer we could not refuse. It was these two guys that will go down in history as the ones that unleashed the Fury of Ungol upon the world!
Pat Riot: How does having Night Demon’s Jarvis Leatherby in the band help things? It looks like his presence would kind of ‘bridge the gap’ between older fans and the current scene’s younger ones or am I off-base with such an idea?
Tim: I hadn’t looked at that way before but I suppose you might be on to something there! His main help was of course getting us back together, with management stuff, and besides being the hardest working man in Metal he is a great musician and a good friend, Night Demon and Cirith Ungol are like a family. Jarvis, Dustin [Squires], and Armand [Anthony] are really great guys and we are proud to know them!
Greg: That’s a good point. I’m sure that Jarvis will bring along some Night Demon fans for the ride!
Jimmy: Filling the slot of bassist was first offered to Flint, but he had other commitments and declined. It was only fitting that Jarvis being a fan of the band, a seasoned musician and has the drive to make Cirith Ungol great again and to take the roll of manager and bassist. It is my pleasure to play alongside Jarvis. His Energy and commitment has proven invaluable and vital to our success.
Rob: When you look up Jarvis Leatherby in the dictionary, it says “All Metal, All The Time”! Actually after traveling to Germany the average age of our new fan base is under 30. I think these new listeners are discovering unique bands such as “Cirith Ungol” for the first time. BTW Jarvis’ band Night Demon I think is going to be a very big act. Their show is outstanding and their new album is killer! I am not just saying this because we are friends; I am saying it because they rock! (Indeed they do! I’ve seen them, have all their released material and I fully agree, Rob. – Pat)
Pat Riot: You all surely get this all the time but will/would/is Cirith Ungol entertaining the idea of recording new music or a new album?
Tim: Yes. We would hope to do a new record sometime in the future and are actively writing new stuff as we speak-along with getting ready to hit the festival scene!
Greg: We are working on new songs and unearthing a few unheard old tunes with that in mind.
Jimmy: Yes, Absolutely.
Rob: Tim has written some great lyrics and we have a few songs in progress. My goal is for the next album to be like “King Of The Dead”, something we will be proud of! Just for the record Metal Blade Records is re-releasing a deluxe edition “King Of The Dead” in vinyl and CD with full color booklets, colored vinyl, and a DVD of a rare show we played at the Roxy, in Hollywood that no one has ever seen before! It also has several live tracks from our appearance at “Frost & Fire II”. They did such a great job on “Paradise Lost”, and we are all looking forward to this re-release. Everyone that is a fan of the band should get this one, as it is our best album to date and they are finally doing it justice!
Pat Riot:David Paul Seymour is one of my absolute favorite artists..are you all excited about ‘The Planet Of DOOM’ cinematic project and the inclusion of Cirith Ungol music in it? Speaking of artists, any specific reason that the works of Michael Whelan have exclusively been used on CU album’s artwork?
Tim: His paintings are the absolute best album covers ever done by anyone-period. We are so honored to have him on our side, he is such a great artist and also such a very nice guy!! Just recently went to a gallery opening of his here in California. It was so special to reconnect with him after many years. And he had the original painting of Stormbringer at the show, the Frost And Fire album cover…to actually see it up close and in person was something I will never forget, just awe inspiring. And the Planet Of Doom project looks like it will be so badass, I cannot wait to see the final results!!
Greg: Back in the day, we had originally envisioned using a painting called “Death Dealer” by Frank Frazetta, who is famous for many Conan illustrations. One day I walked into a record store and there it was on the cover of a Molly Hatchet album! Anyway, Rob and I were both reading Michael Moorcock’s, Elric series at the time, and the U.S. editions all had Michael Whalen’s paintings on the covers. Rob got in contact with Michael, who is one of the nicest guys we’ve ever met, and he agreed to let us use “Stormbringer”. He liked the music and felt that it was an appropriate match for his artwork, and we were totally thrilled and honored to be able to use his artwork on our albums. For sure it has helped us to sell more albums. I even know some people who don’t care much for our music, but buy the albums just for the cover art!
Rob: We are hoping that any new project will feature another of Michael Whelan’s Elric illustrations! I feel very privileged that we were allowed to use 4 of his masterpieces on our albums; they would not have been the same without him! “Planet Of Doom” is going to be an awesome project and we are very excited about this also!!!
Pat Riot:How did Cirith Ungol’s involvement with Metal Blade come about and is it safe to say the band is pleased with the re-issues they’ve provided? Are there any plans to give the ‘Paradise Lost’ record the same treatment?
Tim:The reissues have been great. And of course by the time you read this the Paradise Lost one will already be out!! The KOTD ultimate edition is set for release to coincide with our first ever European appearance at the Keep It True festival in April and it is going to be killer!!
Greg: MB has done a great job with the reissues so far, and the new KOTD reissue is going to be fantastic.
Jimmy: I’m very pleased with the reissue of Paradise Lost in October 2016. It’s also cool to hear some alternate track mixes on the CD. Bart Gabriel did a great job re-mastering, and Metal Blade also gave their all in regards to the vinyl and packaging.
Rob: Brian and everyone at Metal Blade Records have been instrumental in the band’s career over the years. We met Brian when we were first thinking about “Frost & Fire”. He worked at a record store in the LA area and was and still is a good friend. He was launching his record company at the same time, and he hooked us up with the company that would distribute our first 2 albums, Greenworld Distribution. Metal Blade Records in Germany have spearheaded some amazing projects, such as “Servants Of Chaos”, and the deluxe editions recently, and we are proud to be their friends. We were pretty surprised when Brian was asked to name his favorite releases over the history of his label, and he picked “Metal Massacre 1”, which one of our songs, “Death Of The Sun” was on, and “King Of The Dead” as 2 of his top 11 releases of all time!! WOW!
Pat Riot: After nearly 50 years in the musical realm, what is one of your most cherished memories from it i.e. an experience or event, meeting someone, etc. whatever it may be?
Tim: Well for me it is probably making the records we made, and for sure the recent reunion, something that for decades was never going to happen. To be able to finally go out and play around the world is like a dream come true for us.
Greg: Feeling like a proud father, holding a brand new shrink wrapped copy of Frost & Fire fresh from the pressing plant back in 1981. Your first album is always special!
Jimmy: I’ve had the privilege of spending the day with Grace Slick shooting an MTV Video, visited back stage with Carlos Santana (he bogart’s, ha-ha), and even randomly ran into Ozzy Ozbourne here in town (he was 1/2 brain dead, ha-ha). Or I should say that he ran into me. Literally. It was at a Mexican restaurant, he was eating then heading straight to rehab. And of course it has been awesome to play in a band that is finally getting some well-deserved recognition.
Rob: The proudest moment for me was taking the stage as the headlining act at “Frost & Fire II”! Playing on my beautiful Ferrari red DW oak drum set, surrounded by the most amazing set of Paiste cymbals and gong, and beating the drums. Having all that firepower at my command I felt like a metal god for one small moment in time!
Pat Riot:OK, you guys, I have a tradition of closing interviews with an open floor where you have the last word..care to say, share, state whatever you wish about anything..this is all you so have at it:
Tim: I would like to say a huge thank you to all the people that encouraged and supported Ungol all these years – without you the band would be in the dustbin of history, and we certainly would have never gotten back together!! I look forward to telling you all “thank you” in person.
Greg: Huge thanks to everyone who has supported CU over the years. We really appreciate it!
Jimmy: To all the Fans. Your enthusiasm is much appreciated. Thanks for keeping the torch lit and making us feel like Metal Gods. Cheers!
Rob: I would ask anyone that can make it, to come to one of our rare shows. If you like the band, or our music, I promise you will not be disappointed!!! Everything in my life has culminated in this reunion and I want to share it with everyone!
This is Cirith Ungol..what am I going to say after this that’s going to add anything to what has just unfolded here? Nothing. So with that, I want to thank our guests, the magnificent Cirith Ungol circa 2017: Tim Baker, Greg Lindstrom, Jimmy Barraza, Robert Garven and Jarvis Leatherby who was here in spirit. Metal Is Forever!!!
This re-issue is a welcome gift to the fans they have been accumulating since the first incarnation of California based Cirith Ungol in 1972 and have been growing ever since. If you have never experienced all that IS Cirith Ungol, let me give you a quick history lesson. Greg Lindstrom, Robert Garven, Jerry Fogle and Pat Galligan played together in the band Titanic, their first band in junior high school. With a growing desire to play heavier music like that of bands like Mountain and Grand Funk Railroad, the band parted with Galligan and reformed in 1972 as Cirith Ungol. They played original, instrumental songs before adding Neal Beattie on vocals. By 1976, Beattie had departed and Tim Baker took over vocal duties in 1976. The band was signed to Enigma Records in 1980 where they issued their first album “Frost & Fire”, composed of songs in the style they had become known for and complete with fantasy-based lyrics (particularly sword and sorcery). The band pioneered a style of music that has become known by tags as “early epic doom” and “power metal” today. Their second album, “King Of The Dead”, was released in 1984 with eight songs, followed by “One Foot In Hell” (1986) with another eight songs in much the same vein. They disbanded after their fourth album “Paradise Lost” was released in 1991 due to “…frustration with the music business” by their own admittance.
Per the band’s Facebook page, the band took their name from the mountain pass Cirith Ungol in J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy novel “The Lord Of The Rings”, as the name translates from the Elves’ native tongue as “Pass Of The Spider.” While the place in Tolkien’s book is pronounced “kirith ungol,” the band pronounced it “sirith ungol.” Surviving members of the band came together for the 2015 Frost And Fire music festival in Ventura, California, in their first public appearance as a band since 1991. There they participated in a meet-and-greet, signing items for fans and announcing that they would re-unite for the 2016 Frost And Fire event, playing their first live show since December 13, 1991. Leading us to this amazing package for those of us that have been fans of theirs from some point in the history of this iconic early thrash/doom powerhouse, as well as the new fans that deserve to have their appetite fed with the revitalized original tracks and then feast on the extras!!
With these remastered tracks, there is a new life from each, from ‘Atom Smasher’ to ‘Black Machine’, through ‘Master Of The Pit’ to the fan-favorite ‘King Of The Dead’ title track. The rich tone and ripping guitar edge are enough to literally sink your teeth into as Tim’s signature vox rip through your flesh as ‘Death Of The Sun’ and ‘Finger Of Scorn’ raise your pulse even faster. For the digipak version, there is a second version of ‘Tocatta In D’ that is done as ‘…Dm’ and has a feel of a new version. There are also more audible notes than the original, it clocks in longer and sounds like the perfect update, even if only a remix from the masters. That is followed by the theme song for the band that is as heavy now as back then but with an even cleaner sound, the title track from the first ‘Frost & Fire’. This ‘expanded’ version of the release has a remixed version of that title track from ‘Frost & Fire’ that is just incredible. The digi version has 4 live performances from 1983 and an extra “alternate mix” of ‘Death Of The Sun’ that RIPS like razors. “The King Of The Dead – Ultimate Edition” digipak CD features a full re-mastering by Patrick W. Engel at Temple Of Disharmony, the five bonus tracks, expanded packaging and a bonus-DVD! Get it NOW and take the ride again… or for the first time and share it out to any that do not know…
Hot on the heels of their recently released and critically acclaimed magnum opus Heartless and fresh off of a US headline tour in support of it, comes this. The genre-defying giants Pallbearer have announced an extensive North American run commencing in late July (supporting Gojira) and then continuing onward as a headline tour from August through September. Support on several of the latter dates will come from Kayo Dot andGost. Check out the full routing below.
Heartless was recorded straight-to-tape with Joe Barresi (Queens Of The Stone Age, Tool, Melvins, Soundgarden) and it is out now from Profound Lore Records.
29 – Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s
30 – Berkley, CA – UC Theater *
1 – Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst *
2 – Ventura, CA – Ventura Theater *
5 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues *
6 – Las Vegas, NV – Backstage
8 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory *
10 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factor *
11 – Calgary, AB – MacEwan Hall *
12 – Saskatoon, SK – O’Brian’s *
13 – Edmonton, AB – Brixx ^
15 – Vancouver, BC – Cobalt ^
16 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile ^
17 – Portland, OR – Bossanova ^
19 – Missoula, MT – Pub Station
20 – Billings, MT – Top Hat Lounge
22 – Regina, SK – Exchange %
23 – Winnipeg, MB – Good Will %
24 – Fargo, ND – The Aquarium %
25 – Iowa City, IA – Blue Moose %
26 – Dekalb, IL – The House Cafe %
27 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club %
29 – Detroit, MI – El Club %
30 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace %
31 – Ottawa, ON – Brass Monkey %
1 – Quebec City, QC – L’Anti Bar & Spectacles %
2 – Montreal, QC – Bar Le Ritz PDB %
5 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall %
6 – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery %
7 – Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch
8 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade %
9 – Knoxville, TN – The Concourse %
LLNN/WOVOKA Split – CD//Vinyl Pelagic Records – Relase Date: June 16th, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
LLNN’s and WOVOK’s Marks/Traces split will see release June 16th via Pelagic Records on CD, LP, and digital formats. It remains to be seen if the planet’s fans of atmospherically dense, crushing doom heaviness are able to withstand this bleakly oppressive effort. The seven song Split sees Copenhagen, Denmark’s LLNN contributing six of those selections while Los Angeles, California’s WOVOKA add one rather lengthy number themselves. But it is the results that matter here I suppose and in this case, those are impressive…perhaps depressive too for some but either way, this is textural doom in all of it’s glorious greatness.
The beginning of the Split does so with the superb LLNN track ‘The Guardian‘, a melding of post-hardcore and noise rock with obvious doom and metallic overtones. The track’s rhythmic, pattern-like pulses act like a slow-grooving juggernaut rendering all before it asunder. Tribal drumming and intermittent walls of sound host the acidic vocalizations that permeate the song. Subsequent cuts like ‘Swarms’ and the blast furnace ferociousness of ‘Engineer Of Ire‘ only drag you further downward into the mire of this sludgened bog. The stand-out content provided by LLNN definitely is delivered in the back-to-backs tracks ‘Nostromo Falls‘, ‘Eye Of The Covenant‘ and ‘Gravitated‘. The latter one an instrumental delivering a slow deluge of electronica, rumbling undercurrents of bottom-end heaviness and shadowy, eerie vibes altogether. There are haunting vocal chants that remain ethereal and quite ghostly as well.
‘Traces‘ is WOVOKA‘s one lone, long-playing selections at over seventeen minutes playing time. After a brief intro piece, a barrage of molasses-molded riffs, skull crushing rhythms and drums driven by what sounds like axehandle-hewn strikes arrive. Hellish, anguished vocals cascade from within the cacophony, flowing across turbulent tempos and resting harshly upon your soul. Everything feels as if it is gradually increasing, building ever so subtly like a slow rising tide that will eventually overcome you..and it does. Aggressive transmittances ebb and flow, rise and crash within this swirl of tidal tonality until a break point is reached. From it, things settle into a less chaotic state as some massive bass lines and tightly wound drums take the reigns. Eventually they are accompanied by some intriguing, emotionally-enhanced clean vocals as the cut takes on a more definitive alternative, almost showgaze-y styling of post-rock content.
The pairing of these two bands on this Split from Pelagic Records is an ideally intelligent move. Both LLNN and WOVOKA work well in complimenting each others’ contribution. While there’s currently just a track from each band above (a press promo copy of the album was used for this review), it is more than enough for you to fathom exactly what we are dealing with here. ‘Marks/Traces‘ is a volatile offering that is simultaneously dangerous and daring for all the parties involved..them, you, me, us..everyone. See all ordering links below.
The New Jersey melodic metal collectiveLethal Affection have issued their brand new Official Video for the song ‘Frozen In Time‘. The single appears on the band’s upcoming full-length album “Choose A Side” due out this fall. “Choose A Side” was recorded at Conclave Studios in Manhattan, produced by Corey Pierce of God Forbid, and mixed by Christopher “Zeuss” Harris.
The band was founded five years ago in New Brunswick, N.J. by guitarists Joe Percario and Nick Kashmanian who were then joined by lead vocalist Noah Simon. Soon, the missing piece was added when drummer Cameron Rozell came on board and this high-energy metal outfit was set into motion. Structured with shredding guitar, heavy grooves, and operatic vocals, Lethal Affection have created a powerfully appealing body of work. This new video clip, as well as its Lyric Video predecessor, ‘Taste Of Anarchy‘ (streaming below) do well in establishing the band’s fierce technicality.
– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Make sure to check out Lethal Affection live. More shows will be announced soon!
8/26: Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom (Ride For Dime)
Southern Louisiana’s even more southerner hard rockersVermilion Whiskey have just offered their latest batch of their finest distilled rock ‘n roll for our consumption. The band’s new Official Lyric Video for their track ‘Come Find Me‘ is fermented and aged with righteous riffery and intoxicating rhythms. With vocals drenched in soulful tones and intensely inflected emotion, the song is a fine representation of that inebriating elixer that is Vermilion Whiskey.
If you are so late to the party that you still have not picked up the band’s blues ‘n boozy collection of tunes on ‘Spirit Of Tradition‘ (out now!) then shame on you. It’s blue collar rock through and through as the fine example above, ‘Come Find Me‘, goes down so smoothly when consumed responsibly.