"As co-founder and drummer of Cirith Ungol for 22 years I feel I can say without a doubt that this was our best effort. A previous reviewer mentioned that "Frost & Fire" sounded thrown together. The real truth is that we had been in the band for 9 years already and "Frost & Fire" was our attempt to get airplay and find success with what we considered some of our more accessable music. When the local LA station KLOS played it once and considered it too heavy, we decided to go for broke with our second album. I disagree and think Tim singing is not only excellent and that "Frost & Fire" has some of his best vocals. "'Im Alive" was one of our all time best songs, which we started almost every set with. The LA Times said that Pearl Jams "Alive" was a blatant rip off of our song, which is debatable. Considering we produced, self recorded and paid for the entire project and that we were one of if not the first independent band to put out their own album during the wave of indie productions during that time, I think F&F and KOTD is a mandatory listen.
That said "King of the Dead" is my favorite and the last album which we had total control over. I am proud that we are mentioned in the same breath as bands that were epic and hope you all appreciate what we were trying to acomplish at a time when only big label bands had any chance of distribution or airplay.
Colin Mcmillin | Columbia, Missouri United States | 07/05/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cirith Ungol's second effort, King of the Dead, displays far more of what your average fan of heavy metal is looking for than did their first album, the sub-par Frost and Fire. King is much darker, much louder, and much better. Actually, King's chief advantage over Frost is that the songs on King actually sound planned out, whereas the songs on Frost sound like something the band threw together to fill out the album. Everything improves from Frost to King. The guitar solos from Jerry Fogle highlight the album, and backing them up are the superb bass riffs of "Flint" Vujea, adding that extra depth and heaviness that make Cirith Ungol the excellent band they came to be. Highlighting the album are the tracks "Atom Smasher" "King of the Dead" "Finger of Scorn" (upon which you will hear one of the few examples of Cirith Ungol unplugged) and "Cirith Ungol" itself.Don't let the band's obscurity keep you from getting this CD. If you like early Black Sabbath, you will almost certainly like King. But be warned: Tim Baker is the worst lead singer of all time. His "vocals" rarely rise above the virtuosity of two-note shrieks."
Great Album From A Long Under Appreciated Band
A T | Northern California | 05/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mention the music of Cirith Ungol and most people will give you a vacant stare, but hard core metal aficionados will know exactly what you're talking about. Cirith Ungol never achieved any lasting fame...in fact they were never more than an underground band in their prime. It's not difficult to understand why they always remained a niche band: weird vocalist, dungeons & dragons imagery and no desire to write commercial music. Vocalist Tim Baker has a totally unique singing style (some listeners find him absolutely excruciating to listen to), a kind of bark/scream delivery. Those willing to give Cirith Ungol a chance will find a lot of rewarding material on "King Of The Dead." Standout tracks are "Atom Smasher," "Black Machine," the fantastic "Finger Of Scorn," and "Master Of The Pit." This is a good album that deserves to be heard by all lovers of metal that enjoy classic Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. Great bass lines...good guitar...memorable vocals. Start with this album, and then pick up "Paradise Lost," One Foot In Hell," and "Frost & Fire.""
King of "Doom Metal"
William A. Hooff Jr. | Alexandria, VA United States | 05/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As far as doom metal is concerned, Cirith Ungol is one of the ultimate bands of all time. Back in the day, metal was not supposed to be "pretty" or completely melodic ballads. It was like going to a horror movie on friday night, there's no doubt about it Tim Baker's voice heard for the first time will definitely "scare" you! I bought this album when it was released in 1984 (damn i'm getting old!) and I still play it today.It's coming up on 20 years old! A solid must for any metalhead from "the old school"."