California is a long way from Cirith Ungol, Tolkien’s fictional pass leading to the kingdom of Gondor. Somebody should have told the Ventura power metal outfit of the same name, as it seems they’ve let an orc or two loose on their upcoming EP ‘Witch’s Game’.
A whopping 27 years since their last studio visitation in 1991 for fourth album ‘Paradise Lost’, ‘Witch’s Game’ is a defiant return to stellar form as if the last two decades hiatus in between had passed in a fleeting moment. You’d be forgiven for expecting a poor quality, aimless return to the studio having spent so many years apart, but Cirith Ungol still sound as efficient as ever.
Although the EP consists of two tracks, the opening 8-minute title track ‘Witch’s Game’ makes the years worth waiting. Having taken frontman Tim Baker and co 3 years to put together to soundtrack upcoming animated movie Planet of Doom, its iconic towering vocals and signature swooping riffs are the perfect theme to ride into battle. Their mastery at raging hellfire one minute then swaying contemplatively the next is impressive, making an epic LOTR-esque look effortless.
The EP is complemented neatly by a live recording of 1986’s ‘Doomed Planet’, which appears almost as perfect as on record and is a joy to behold in such crisp recording quality for hardcore fans, right down to the signature vocal distortions.
Axeman Jerry Fogle’s loss is keenly felt and honoured with due reverence, yet Cirith Ungol return empowered to continue their legacy.
‘Witch’s Game’ is due for release on 5th October via Metal Blade Records.
- Witch’s Game
- Doomed Planet (Live)