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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
19
Frost & Fire
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$13.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on December 14, 2014
Cirith Ungol is an underground 80s metal band (one of many that had been trying to "make it" since the mid-70s with a more doomy, 70s vibe than most 80s bands. Their sound is pretty unique, and vocalist Tim Baker's over-the-top scream is part of that reason. The band's two middle albums (they only did 4) are probably their "definitive" sound, this debut (the only one with two guitarists) has more of a jammy 70s vibe, and Baker's vocals are a little less extreme - he's kind of reminiscent of Alice Cooper at times, here. Lyrically, this album has more stuff about rock'n'roll lifestyle than the more epic-fantasy-themed later albums, although it also has the best of their Elric fantasy-art covers. While at first I wasn't as impressed with the "underground 80s metal" value of this as their later albums, I found I really rather enjoy it. Start with their "King of the Dead" album for their best music (and 2nd best cover), but this is still pretty cool music.
1 helpful vote
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on February 7, 2016
This is a great start to a highly underrated & overlooked band this is classic eighty's metal Right up there with Manilla Road, Iron Maiden Fates Warning, omen.All four of their albums are great King of the dead, one foot in hell ,Paradise Lost
1 helpful vote
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on March 10, 2013
This disc is a new addition to my Cirith collection, always had One foot in hell back in the day so when I saw this on Amazon it was a no brainer, cant go wrong with this band cause their sound is so original...Also purchased Servants of Chaos CD/DVD combo, which I strongly recommend also if you have never seen or heard them live
1 helpful vote
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on November 18, 2010
The production may not be the best but this album is pure fun. Catchy, strange and fresh (30 years after it's release). You haven't heard anything like this before. Some wont like the vocals, but it really is a big part of the album's charm. Guitars are awesome, melodic and powerfull. Buy this one if you like retro heavy metal.
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on September 27, 2014
Really showcases what Cirith Ungol is capable of. Title track is probably the best in my opinion.
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on March 12, 2008
As co-founder and drummer of Cirith Ungol for 22 years I feel I need to respond to some of the reviews here.

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 "commercial" airplay and find success with what we considered some of our more accessable music and yes radio friendly 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 and pulled out all the stops. I disagree with some of the reviewers and think Tim's singing is not only excellent here and that "Frost & Fire" has some of his best vocals. This album features his highest pitched and clearest singing. Anyone who does not call it sining has to compare it with some of todays death metal. "'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.

I also think the title track "Frost & Fire" is excellent with a great middle break and solo and that "Better off Dead" has a great bass line and some of Tim's greatest singing range. This is all said looking back with a historical view that only I of all the reviewers can comment on being there the whole time. Jerry's solos are amazing and his passing was very tragic and sad.

This album has to be listened to many times to appreciate the lyrics, songwriting and performance as a whole not separate parts and to understand as opposed to it being thrown together is was a calculated attempt to obtain a major label contract during a time that only bands with catchy songs that would get any radio airplay were signed. Although i think "King of the Dead" was more representative of the band I am most proud of this album because not only was it our first but it was graced by the unbelievable cover illustration of Michael Whelan's epic portrait of Elric of Melnibone holding Stormbringer high above his head. This was a dream of ours and after so many years of struggle it was our reality.

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 before the wave of indie productions during that time, I think "Frost & Fire" "King of the Dead" & "Servants of Chaos" are 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.

Unfortunately for you the listener you never got to hear the other 20 or so odd songs that never made it to print such as: "Half Past Human - A Quarter to Ape" & "Brutish Manchild" but then that is another story for another day............

Robert Garven
Ventura, CA
March 2008
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45 helpful votes
46 helpful votes
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on February 18, 2010
Cirith Ungol never made it big, but they have a pretty good dedicated cult following and lot of support from underground metal fans who believe them to be what the genre really is all about. For first timers, you oughta check out their second album King Of The Dead, however this debut effort, released in 1980, after the band had been around since the early 70's, is a fine place to begin as well. However it's been noted that the band laid down their most 'commercial' material for the record, only to be rejected by a local DJ who told them it was 'too heavy'. With that in mind, the album is a great mix of hard rock/heavy metal. Though it's not the heaviest album the band recorded, its the most tuneful. Thats not to say its poppy, but it does have some great grooves and genuine 70's style party rock riffs. While the band were one of the early innvators for power metal along with other underground favs like Manilla Road and the more recognized Rainbow and Rush, they musically, on this record anyway, have a bit in common with early (Fly By Night) Rush. The lyrics deal with the common fantasy themed stuff which back then was sort of rare. Today the power metal genre is probably the most popular among real metal fans. The title track is great and features an awesome breakdown section, bass player Michael Flint really shines on this track. Edge Of A Knife is the most apparent of the bands 70's sound still leftover, with probably one of the best lyrics ever written "I got my rock n roll haircut, I got my rock n roll jeans" although some may find that sort of dated and cheesy. This band really deals in compositions rather than songs, lots of time changes and multi layer elements. A Little Fire and the keyboard laced What Does It Take all have great savage riffs, and the Pink Floyd-ish guitar instrumental Maybe Thats Why is quite a beautiful song.

There isn't too much that could be said about the album track by track, these guys are in a class of their own and it's hard to describe them as anything more than raw and direct hard rock/metal. Their albums were usually independently recorded and released, so this debut especially contains that raw low budget sound. Some might find the bottom end missing, as this album is a little on the trebly side which means the bass is in the mix but its not pounding like say... Master Of Puppets. Also of note is Tim Baker's vocals, they are an aqcuired taste indeed but they fit the music, he is the essential trademark of CU's sound. THe bonus track on the remaster is the bands namesake song, a live take that more clearly indicates their future sound (a more dark and powerful Sabbath inspired sound) which as drummer Rob Garvin states, is the true representation of CU's sound. But if you've never heard this band before, this is an interesting place to start but the more stripped down production might render it a 2nd or 3rd behind their more technically accomplished efforts like King Of The Dead or Paradise Lost. All in all, this is a great album to add to your more obscure metal collection. And as each fan apparently has their fav CU album, this one has to be my own personal fav.
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on September 4, 2013
I got into Ungol back in the early 90's, starting with One Foot in Hell on cassette and working my way to their other albums, all worth having. Frost and Fire is the one I go to the most--there's just this vibe to it I don't hear on any other record by a metal band--or any type of band, for that matter. I also have the vinyl version, given to me by Mr. Garven back in '99--a real treasure, for sure! All of the songs on this album were written throughout the 70's, some appearing on earlier demos, which explains their appeal: an amalgam of early British metal sludge, American proto-punk aggression, and a touch of hard-rock swagger. For most curious metalheads, this raises some important questions, such as, "Is Cirith Ungol pre-power/progressive metal, or the forerunners of apocalyptic doom/thrash?" and "What's with the slap-bass on What Does it Take?" Well kids, no need to worry about such trivialities. Just listen, and learn.
1 helpful vote
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on June 15, 2001
I would give this CD two and a half stars if that were possible. The first two songs and the last two (including the live version of Cirith Ungol) are extremely listenable, but sandwiched between those tracks are several irredeemably bad songs. This album is, however, forgiveable when you consider that this is prototypical Cirith Ungol. This was the first CD I bought by CU, and the only reason I continued was because I guessed (correctly) that their later material would sound more like the song Cirith Ungol. Buy this CD if you must, but I would strongly recommend King of the Dead, which is their second album. There's really only one sub-par song on it (Death of the Sun).
6 helpful votes
7 helpful votes
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on August 9, 2010
Cirith Ungols first album Frost and Fire is damn good but not nearly as good as the albums that would precede it such as King of the Dead, One Foot in Hell, or Paradise Lost. However owning this album is necessary for any fan of Cirith Ungol. When someone has all the albums you can listen to the musical evolution throughout a bands career. In this case there is a massive evolution in Cirith Ungol's music in the albums after Frost and Fire. In Frost and Fire, I believe that Cirith Ungol was still trying to find their own unique sound that would be heard in King of the Dead and One Foot in Hell. This album sounds experimental in that there are different time signatures, atmospheres that each song bleeds. These atmospheres are different from the later albums that would come. The later albums would be heavier and have a stronger element of what one can consider doom metal. But CU would not get to that point without this album. In the later albums you can hear elements that are in Frost and Fire. Frost and Fire was the necessary foundation that was required for CU to build and develop their distinct sound. So in short...BUY THIS ALBUM!!!
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