- Duration: 00:44:05
- Available from: 10/20/2023
Sheet metal logs
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First the separation of guitarist Jimmy Barraza, then the press release, in true Cirith Ungol style, about his retirement from live activities at the end of 2024: two news, which will arrive in about ten days, and which mark the new “Dark Parade” as a kind of swan song for the band Ventura, which returned to the spotlight in 2016 after five decades of silence; a portentous return witnessed by the exceptional “Forever Black”, published in April three years ago, at the official start of the terrible pandemic period.
A perfect album, capable of highlighting once again the heavy metal practiced by the American group, chiseled in epic, surrounded by doom, impregnated with darkness and mystery, with the voice of the eternal Tim Baker distilling despair and pessimism from beginning to end. end. verse.
Historical characteristics – “cult”, as they say – present in large letters also in this latest (and definitive?) release: “Dark Parade”, on whose cover Elric di Melniboné stands out once again, determines an indelible sign of continuity that necessarily refers to that first “Frost And Fire”, dated 1981, painting today a lyrical and instrumental picture where the annihilation and twisted future of all humanity find a soundtrack that is nothing less than impeccable. A groove of more than forty years, pause included, that finds its full realization in this sixth feature film, which contains with great style the first darts of heavy doom of “Frost And Fire” itself, the raw heaviness of “King of the Dead” ”, the most striking melody of “One Foot In Hell” and the ephemerality of the very unfortunate “Paradise Lost”; and if we add to this the spirit of revenge, or a simple desire to return to the scene, driven by current bassist Jarvis Leatherby (leader of Night Demon), revealed precisely in “Forever Black”, that’s it. “Dark Parade” is the sum of these five chapters.
The typical sound of Cirith Ungol, always balanced between the melodic and gritty impulse of the NWOBHM and the desolate rhythm of a vintage epic-doom, gives us eight songs destined to build a continuous descent towards total social decay and environmental collapse, identifiable in the final triptych of the album, composed of the title track, “Distant Shadows” and “Down Below”, terrifying and at the same time fascinating, with an almost demonic Baker declaring the prophecy of the total extinction of the human race.
A three hundred and sixty degree nightmare, which began with the complacent and ‘priestly’ “Velocity (SEP)”: fast, furious, very similar, in terms of immediate impact, to the previous “Legion Arise”, precursor of the aforementioned “ Negro forever”. But it is only an elusive and illusory track, given the peremptory entry on the scene of a song like “Relentless”, marked by guitar inlays with an exotic and oriental flavor, citing those damned phrasings proposed years ago by such Mercyful Fates.
The result of this emotional balance can be found in the following “Sailor On The Seas Of Fate”, sensationally divided into two sections: the first four minutes dedicated to arpeggiated reflection, with Robert Garven’s classic walk as the protagonist; On the other hand, the second part, dedicated to a hit in thick sauce that is, to say the least, fascinating, for a truly sublime song.
An uncertain and dire future, revealed by the tortuous and diabolical “Sacrifice”, a kind of damned litany, closely followed by another example of Cirith Ungol’s infinite class: “Looking Glass” drags on along a sharp riff so simple as hypnotic. in which it is once again the ungainly timbre of the American singer that wreaks havoc before a long solo accompanies the listener towards the decisive steps of desolation. Yes, because once the glass is ‘broken’, the path is already marked: the three stages towards eternal oblivion are ready to be served.
At this point, in addition to listening to work number six by Cirith Ungol, it is essential to keep an eye on the next and last live dates that the Californian band will bring around the world in 2024; One more reason to thank a group that has inevitably made history in this genre.