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Review: Cirith Ungol - One Foot in Hell
Cirith Ungol
One Foot in Hell

Label: Restless Records
Year released: 1986
Duration: 35:30
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy/Doom

Rating: 4/5

Review online: February 24, 2021
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
One Foot in Hell

Rated 4.3/5 (86%) (10 Votes)

One Foot in Hell is the third album from California's Cirith Ungol, a band that was, and remains, a challenge to classify. The heavy, reverb-laden guitars and slow tempos give the band's music a doom flavor, but they could also shift their playing into a higher gear and play in the traditional metal end of the pool at will. What really made them "underground" and one of the first bands I had ever encountered that today I'd call "cvlt" after hearing their King of the Dead album for the first time back in '84 (showing both how old and how really old I am) were Tim Baker's vocals. His unique voice had a timbre you could easily call "unmusical", yet he can most definitely sing and his growls, yells and screams fit Cirith Ungol's music perfectly.

Anyway, those of us that got into King of the Dead greeted 1986's One Foot in Hell with open arms. Songs like "100 MPH" had the speed that fans like me, who were really into speed and thrash by that time, were craving and "Doomed Planet" even had the kind of socially aware lyrics that were heard more and more often. But what made Cirith Ungol unique were the songs that were different and there were plenty on One Foot in Hell such as "Blood & Iron", "Chaos Descends" and "Nadsokor." It was these songs with esoteric lyrics, slower tempos and Baker's voice all over the place that reminded you what made this band so special. The doom tempos were a bit harder to come by on One Foot in Hell with the title track being perhaps the slowest and while at the time I welcomed more speed, today I think it makes the album a little less distinctive than its predecessor. That said, this is still an excellent album from one of the all-time unique metal bands of the '80s or any era.

Other related information on the site
Review: Forever Black (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Half Past Human (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: I'm Alive (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: King Of The Dead (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: King of the Dead (Ultimate Edition) (reviewed by Omni)
Review: Paradise Lost (reviewed by Omni)
Interview with Cirith Ungol on April 16, 2017 (Interviewed by Omni)
Interview with vocalist Tim Baker, drummer Robert Graven and bassist Jarvis Leatherby on December 1, 2019 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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