When Metal Blade Records announced that has finally been successful in licensing the rights for the reissue of 'Paradise Lost' on CD and for first time officially on vinyl, there was this statement of Robert Garven (drums) accompaning the release news:
"The saga of Cirith Ungol's fourth album is true to its namesake 'Paradise Lost'. Like a classic Greek tragedy, it is an epic tale filled with pain, challenges, battles, lost opportunities, and final redemption. It contains a cast of heroes and villains, playing out their parts on a stage of metal, at a time when hair bands and speed metal were in vogue.
The seeds of this project grew from the fertile soil that was the aftermath of 'One Foot in Hell'. After its release the band immediately started work on their fourth effort 'Paradise Lost'. This was planned to be a concept album, and the album cover and theme had already been selected.
After its release the original record company could not secure distribution in Europe, and they released the band from its 3 album deal. Shortly thereafter, several of the remaining members left out of frustration. However, a few original members kept the fires of Ungol burning, closely guarded in its secret lair. They waited for the time when the stars were right, and the Great Old Ones were ready for it to come crawling out from its ancient crypt, back upon the metal stage. As of this writing, the being called Ungol has arisen to take its rightful place in the pantheon of true metal, and calls forth the Legions of Chaos to stand by their side to usher in its final act."
According to an older interview of Robert Garven (Steel Conjuring zine, May 2000) and also some personal email discussion I had with Robert during 2012, there were indeed many challenges, battles and lost opportunities, and more likely, this "final redemption" is more or less this 2016 reissue and the present status - reunion of CIRITH UNGOL, and perhaps not the original release of Restless Records in 1991, but lets stay in the music and talk about how legends are forged.
Being unique from their first day, 'Paradise Lost' is the perfect follow-up to 'One Foot In Hell' and among some C.U. fans, that's their best album. I will have to disagree with that, since I consider 'King Of The Dead' as their best one, but still we are talking about a band that is balancing between perfection and... perfection. So we just share opinions and each one of the servants of chaos can choose among four perfect and unique metal albums as the "best one".
'Paradise Lost' was out in 1991 and in 1992 CIRITH UNGOL steps into oblivion... until now. With Jerry Fogle (R.I.P.) been replaced by Jim Barraza and "Flint" by Vernon Green, we also find two additional musicians during th recording sessions (Joe Malatesta, Robert Warrenburg) with credits on the songs 'The Troll' and 'Heaven Help Us', plus a cover on the Arthur Brown's track 'Fire'.
The album starts with 'Join The Legion', a song that will drive the metal hordes crazy once it will be performed live. That intro and the vocals of Tim Baker (the voice of Chaos) cannot fail. Most people place C.U. under the "Epic Metal" banner, but that's somehow unfair for such a unique act. They have many epic elements of course, but there are also doomy moments, they are inspired by late 60s and 70s underground rock bands and the spirit of classic heavy metal is present everywhere and especially in 'Paradise Lost'. As for the last songs of the album, you cannot find easily tracks like 'Chaos Rising', 'Fallen Idols' and 'Paradise Lost' back-to-back.
This article started as a 'Paradise Lost' reissue presentation, but you all have heard the album and you all love it (at least the readers of this blog-site), so it will end as another one CIRITH UNGOL-praise feature... and that's fine by me. Many bands have been labeled as "cult" but none deserves this title more than CIRITH UNGOL. One of the greatest metal bands.
Few days left and on the 7th of October 'Paradise Lost' will be available again and claim its place once more among the best metal releases ever. The CD version has been newly mastered from the original master tapes by Bart Gabriel and will include five bonus tracks (alternative mixes from album tracks). The vinyl edition will have a special vinyl master, using the original master tapes as a source, re-mastered by Patrick W. Engel at the Temple Of Disharmony studios. More goodies will be available in both formats, like previously unreleased photos, liner notes and song descriptions by band members.
CIRITH UNGOL will perform live for the first time in 25 years at the second installment of the Frost and Fire festival in Ventura, CA, taking place October 7th-9th, 2016.
Well, many of you have heard some rumors for something more in Europe during 2017... But until an official statement will be announced, consider this as a wish...
The might of Chaos descends, join the Legion.