Tuesday 8 June 2021

REVIEW: Cirith Ungol, "Half Past Human" [EP]

By: Richard Maw
Album Type: EP
Date Released: 28/05/2021
Label: Metal Blade Records

“Half Past Human” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1). Route 666
2). Shelob’s Lair
3). Brutish Manchild
4). Half Past Human
The Review:

Cirith Ungol's comeback was surely the comeback of the decade; it is no mean feat to revive a band decades after their dissolution AND make an album as convincing as “Forever Black”. Cirith Ungol managed it and are now back with this EP. Four Tracks of trad/doom/hard rock idiosyncrasy. Cirith Ungol have never been the easiest band to like or 'get' and this surely continues here. The themes are fantastical. The vocals are an acquired taste, the bass is bobbling in sound and high in the mix- just like on their debut, “Frost and Fire”. All of that said, this rocks. It's great.

Cirith Ungol are a cult band for a reason- they sound like no one else. They meld genres and sounds like no other band. They fall into a similar bracket to Manilla Road or Pagan Altar: you love them or you are just puzzled.

It is crucial to note that these are not exactly 'new' songs. Instead they are revived from the band's dim and distant past. We assume that they were thus written decades ago; certainly, none have been officially released before. This alone makes for a real fan's treat. Of the four tracks here, you get hard rocking proto-metal on “Route 666” and “Brutish Manchild”, The fantasy element (specifically Tolkien) is fulfilled on “Shelob's Lair”- with a great middle section riff and solo. The biggest treat here is saved for last, though. “Half Past Human” is close to seven and a half minutes in length and is a wonderful track. It is evocative of dynamic and maudlin early Judas Priest moments. Thematically it deals with a dystopian glimpse of the future, science fiction and technology providing ample inspiration.

Overall, then, this is four more new-old songs from Cirith Ungol, all of which sit well with anything else in their discography. For true fans, it’s a must. For casual listeners, this is a perfect introduction to the band, with all their eccentricities on display. It's magnificent, obviously.

“Half Past Human” is available HERE 

Band info: bandcamp || facebook