What’s old has become new again. The globe was ravaged by pandemic in the wake of the release of the band’s triumphant reunion album Forever Black in April 2020. Cirith Ungol have awakened again from their ancient crypts, drawing back the veiled mists of history to expose to their fans long-forgotten jewels from their storied past with select live performances.
Of them, Cirith Ungol's upcoming performance at Necronomicon Providence - a biyearly weird fiction convention - will be the band's only headlining East Coast show of 2022. Set to take place on Friday, August 19th at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island, the show will feature direct support by Warhorse and Sanhedrin.
Cirith Ungol was formed in Ventura, California, in the early 1970s, long before the rigid tropes and ironclad traditions that define today’s heavy metal genre had taken shape. There was no rulebook, no template to follow, so Cirith Ungol simply made it up as they went along. According to drummer Robert Garven, even in those early days, the band’s burning ambition was to play “the heaviest metal known to man.” Cirith Ungol’s lyrical approach was profoundly influenced by the high fantasy literature of J.R.R. Tolkien (from whose Lord of the Rings opus they derived their name) and Michael Moorcock. Between 1981 and 1991, Cirith Ungol released four acclaimed full-length albums, including the legendary King of the Dead (1984) and One Foot in Hell (1986). Despite amassing a passionate cult following on both sides of the Atlantic, commercial and financial success eluded Cirith Ungol, prompting Garven and vocalist Tim Baker to lay the band to rest in May 1992.
On October 8, 2016, Cirith Ungol officially returned to the stage by headlining the Frost and Fire II festival at the Majestic Ventura Theater, playing to a packed house of fans who had converged on the band’s hometown of Ventura, California to witness the kings of the dead rise from the grave. This night was vindication. In Garven’s words, “When the ancient stars aligned, Cirith Ungol crawled out of its ancient slumber, to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world.” Two days later, fresh off their Frost and Fire triumph, the band were honored by the City of Ventura, which proclaimed October 10, 2016 to be Cirith Ungol Day.
In the ensuing years, Cirith Ungol have held fast to their objective to bring their music to as many fans around the world as possible, performing select high-profile festival gigs spanning North America, Europe, and South America. In 2019, the band released an expansive double-live album, multi-DVD package, and box set. Entitled I’m Alive, these recordings captured Cirith Ungol at the peak of their darkened, mystical powers before rapturous crowds in Greece and Germany. In April 2020, Cirith Ungol rewarded their rabid fanbase’s patience and loyalty with Forever Black, their first collection of all-new material in nearly three decades. Acclaimed by critics and fans alike, Forever Black is a testament to the band’s continuing vitality and enduring primacy in the classic metal pantheon. It is a continuation of the Cirith Ungol mythology, and a defiant fist to the face of any unbelievers who doubted the band’s unshakable resolve and burning dedication to their arcane and mysterious craft.
As Robert Garven is fond of saying, Cirith Ungol remains “A Churning Maelstrom of Metal Chaos Descending!” Long may they reign!
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