Cirith Ungol is an American heavy metal band formed in late 1971 in Ventura, California. This early doom and power metal group is known for lyrics based on fantasy (particularly sword and sorcery). 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
Throughout the 1970s, the band generally played a style of heavy metal heavily rooted in hard and progressive rock. Its first studio album, Frost and Fire (1981), featured a heavier sound, generally regarded as an early example of American power metal. By its second studio album, King of the Dead (1984), it had solidified its power metal style while gravitating toward a much “darker” sound, with many considering the album among the firstdoom metal releases.
Greg Lindstrom, Robert Garven, Jerry Fogle and Pat Galligan (later a guitarist in Angry Samoans) played in Titanic, their first band in junior high school. With a desire to play heavier music similar to that of Mountain and Grand Funk Railroad, the rest of the band parted with Galligan and founded Cirith Ungol in late 1971.
After forming in late 1971, the band played their first gig on January 1, 1972 at an anti-Vietnam war peace rally.
In 1980, they were signed by Liquid Flames Records, and released their first album, Frost and Fire, with Tim Baker on vocals and songs written by bassist and guitarist Greg Lindstrom. Their second album, King of the Dead was released in on July 2, 1984 and contained lyrics primarily written by vocalist Tim Baker and drummer Robert Garven. The album was then followed by One Foot in Hell on August 12, 1986, and Paradise Lost on August 23, 1991.
They played their last live show on December 13, 1991 and disbanded in 1992, following frustration with their record label.
In 2001, Metal Blade Records released in Germany Servants of Chaos, a compilation album of unreleased demos and live songs. With old tapes and assistance from Lindstrom and Garven, it was an attempt to give fans a wealth of archival and previously unheard material before the tapes deteriorated beyond retrieval. This double-CD was later re-released worldwide, with a rare 1984 live DVD recorded at Wolf & Rissmiller’s Country Club in California.
Lindstrom now plays with Falcon, who perform some Cirith Ungol songs.
Founding guitarist Jerry Fogle died from liver failure on August 20, 1998.
The band was reformed by members Tim Baker, Robert Garven, Jim Barraza, and Greg Lindstrom on October 8, 2016, at the second annual Frost and Fire Festival in Ventura, California. Throughout 2017, the band had set out to headline and co-headline several European and US festivals, including Keep It True (Germany), Up the Hammers (Greece), Defenders of the Old (US), Chaos Descends (Germany), Psycho Las Vegas (US), Days of Darkness (US) and Hammer of Doom (Germany). In April 2018, Cirith Ungol performed at the Hell’s Heroes Festival in Houston, Texas and at the NYDM Spring Bash in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In August 2018, Cirith Ungol released the single “Witch’s Game”.
|The Orange Album||Demo||1978|
|Frost and Fire||Full-length||1981|
|King of the Dead||Full-length||1984|
|One Foot in Hell||Full-length||1986|
|Servants of Chaos||Compilation||2001|
|The Legacy||Boxed set||2017|
|I’m Alive||Live album||2019|
|Half Past Human||EP||2021|
|Greg Lindstrom||Bass (1972-1980), Guitars, Keyboards (1980-1982, 2015-present)|
|See also: Falcon, ex-Titanic|
|Robert Garven||Drums (1972-1992, 2015-present)|
|See also: ex-Titanic|
|Tim Baker||Vocals (1976-1992, 2015-present)|
|Jim Barraza||Guitars (1988-1992, 2015-present)|
|See also: ex-Prophecy|
|Jarvis Leatherby||Bass (2016-present)|
|See also: Night Demon, ex-Jaguar (live), ex-Black Opal, ex-Jeff Hershey and the Heartbeats, ex-No Motiv|