For Those About to Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Cirith Ungol, (0) and Abysmal Dawn

So here we go again, guys… most metalheads practice social distancing anyway, but I hope everyone out there is staying safe. It’s that time again… for me, Waldo, a parrot to spout off some reviews on some upcoming releases.

Man, I never thought I’d hear from Cirith Ungol again. Even though they’ve been playing live shows lately, I never expected the proto death act to come correct with a new record. If you don’t know, Cirith Ungol has been around FOREVER, 1971 to be exact. As a heavy metal band, they certainly paved the way for a lot of extreme music. On Forever Black, their latest (since 1991) we definitely have a Cirith Ungol record here… this is traditional in its heavy metal roots and hasn’t strayed from their sound at all.  There are some Maiden-esque gallops here and there, and some doomier sounds that they’ve been known for nigh 50 years. The one trepidation I have is that this IS a good, solid record, but is it an essential record? Maybe… all the elements are here, and Tim Baker’s voice sounds as good as ever, but there is a slight feeling of a rehash of their first four efforts. So, in essence, this is good, just not amazing. Not for fans of “false metal.” 7 Fucking Pecks.

Commence the eye rolling, (0)’s first release Skamhan is on Napalm? Prepare yourselves for a… decent record review. I typically am not a fan of the Napalm Records catalog, and “progressive black metal” is usually not my thing. The rub here is that this is pretty decent. This is not a “recorded in a cave with a shoebox for a snare” sound. Neither is this a “kvlt as peck grim frostbitten blah blah blah” sound. There are riffs, hooks, death growls, drone, post metal and sludge all in here and Skamhan come across as one cohesive package. Apparently, these Danes are “anonymous” which is kind of cool. Calling this “black metal” seems a little off as “trve” black metallers will say this isn’t black metal, but it is a decent record. Think more “blackened” influence with all of the aforementioned genres. I was perfectly prepared to hate this, but it’s a noble first effort. 6 Fucking Pecks.

Abysmal Dawn is finally back, after a label drop and a lineup change, Phylogenesis will be released on Season of Mist. For anyone that missed this band, AD is a technical death metal band that treads more on the brutal side of things. Phylogenesis is a strong effort, albeit a front loaded one. Kicking this record off is what this band does, and it’s done well, but by the end, it all seems kind of similar. Production wise, this isn’t what this bird brain craves, and although the song writing and intensity are there, the overall sound seems to take a lot of the bite out of this (I’m sure these songs SLAY live). Lyrical interpretations on how the construct of social media changes (or may change) the evolution of modern humanity is a cool thread that runs through this album. I like this, and was looking forward to this, and was not disappointed. Just wish the production was like… meaner. 7 Fucking Pecks.

OK, guys… stay safe out there… Waldo OUT!