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King of the Dead



  1. Atom Smasher
  2. Black Machine
  3. Master of the Pit
  4. King of the Dead
  5. Death of the Sun
  6. Finger of Scorn
  7. Toccata in Dm (J.S. Bach cover)
  8. Cirith Ungol
  9. Last Laugh (Live Bonus Track)


  • Tim Baker (vocals)
  • Jerry Fogle (guitars)
  • Robert Garven (drums, vocals)
  • Michael "Flint" Vujea (bass).
  • Brad Vance (remastering for 1999 reissue)


  • LP: 1984 US (Enigma Records; E 1089)
  • MC: 1984 US (?;?)
  • LP: 1985 BR (Young RGE Records; 308.7093) [Brazilian mispress. Has Frost and Fire-sleeve.]
  • CD: 05 Oct 1999 US (Metal Blade Records; 3984-14253-2) [with Last Laugh (live) as bonustrack]
  • LP: 2005 (Metal Blade; 3984-14253-1PD) [picturedisc, ltd x500]










King of the Dead is the second Cirith Ungol LP. It was produced by Cirith Ungol and released July 1984 on Enigma Records. It was re-released September 1999 on Metal Blade Records. It is the only album without any "Fire"-song. The other three albums have Frost and Fire, A Little Fire, The Fire and Fire. The cover was painted by Michael Whelan and is like the album, entitled "King of the Dead". The sound is a dozen of pounds heavier than the debut album. It is also their most epic, progressive and conceptual album. It was the first CU album I bought, and it's today my favourite ungol LP.


I find more darkness and ´dread´ in a Cirith Ungol LP like KING OF THE DEAD than any Obituary or Cannibal Corpse record ever offered me.

-King Fowley, Apr 2004


The cover was painted by Michael Whelan for Michael Moorcock's book The Bane of the Black Sword.


In the band's own words

It's going to be a million times more radical. People aren't going to know it's the same band. The lyrics are much more intense and the music is heavy.

Tim Baker, Heavy Metal Times 1983 (the year before release)


Frost And Fire and King Of The Dead are my favorites. KOTD is CU's classic. The production is 100% heavier than on Frost And Fire.

-Greg Lindstrom


King of the Dead was our best album, the reason was that we had total control over it. Every album could have been this good if we could have exercised complete control over its production and other things. This is the album which I feel is our best effort. The reason the long wait between albums is because when you are financing them yourselves, you have to come up with the money to pay for things like studio time. Plus being on all these independent labels their time tables are slower. I also did all the layout and design of the first three covers, all this while we were all working full time trying to sponsor the dream.

-Robert Garven


  Cirith Ungols Best Album

As co-founder and drummer of Cirith Ungol for 22 years I feeelricl I can say without a doubt that this was our best effort. 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 airplay and find success with what we conpagered some of our more accessable music. When the local LA station KLOS played it once and conpagered it too heavy, we decided to go for bro ke with our second album. I disagree and think Tim singing is not only excellent and that "Frost & Fire" has some of his best vocals. "'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. C onpagering 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 during the wave of indie productions during that time, I think F&F and KOTD is 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.

Rob Garven
May 2007


(Rating: 5 out of 5 stars)

Atom Smasher

This was written already in the 70's.


"Atom Smasher" gets the ball rolling with sheer power, only ever letting up for guitarist Jerry Fogle to introduce yet another dark musical passage into the "smasher's" world.

-King Fowley, liner notes



Welcome to the brave new world
The Future's here, or haven't you heard?
The sons of man have fell from grace
Till the Smasher comes to save his race

Here it comes, there it goes
Just a flash in the sky
Atom smasher, here he comes
Better run for your lives

He is the hero of the atom age
Born in a test tube raised in a cage
A reaver King his throne defiled
Roaming the streets to the call of the wild

As upstarts strive to rule the world
Against them Chaos legions hurled
The Smashers force has swept the land
Again begins the Dawn of Man



Black Machine

Robs second favourite Ungolsong. No1 is I'm Alive.



The eerie follower "Black Machine" tells of things we all fantasize of, yet there's a big price, your soul!

-King Fowley, liner notes



Extract from an interview:

Sleazegrinder: Have you ever ridden the black machine?

Robert Garven: Personally, no. I tried to climb aboard but was thrown off. However I drive a red machine on weekends. My other dream was to get a Ferrari. After the band broke up and I paid off all the bills I got married bought a garage with a small house attached, and realized my dream. Weekends find me in the garage listening to bands like ASKA, Fireball Ministry or Riot, taking apart my carburetors (it has 8), or taking something apart. Since my dream of music has died, this is my passion now, and it runs deep, very deep.



Climb aboard the Black Machine
Fills your head with evil dreams
Fills your head with thoughts of fire
A quick escape your one desire

Ride The Black Machine

Pearly whites behind back dawn lips
Ride with the Masters of the Pit
Snapping jaws of the dogs of doom
Kick your way from this stagnant tomb

Ride the Black Machine

Climb aboard the Black Machine
To that place you've never been
The Black Machine will take you higher
Your burning souls our one desire

Master of the Pit

Track 3 may be the band's fines musical moment ever in the form of "Master Of The Pit", where Cirith Ungol becomes almost in a trance while delivering some of the absolute most intense "jamming" ever recorded! The guitar playing in this song alone should bring shivers to anyone who lives for and follows the charm of ark heavy metal. A 100% masterpiece!

-King Fowley, liner notes



Pray you never kneel
To the Master of the Pit
Violently stirring their brew of corruption
Lords of the dark summon certain destruction

Pray you never kneel
To the one who calls you slave
With the hearts and tongues of the Gods
in the hands
The Legions of Hell below forth their commands

Bow down and kneel
To the Master of the Pit
Through the powers of Chaos are those you abide
You raise your sword to cast him apage

You know there's no escape
When you see your world in flames
As the hellrains pound the darkening land
Man and sword begin their last stand

You know you'll never kneel
To the Master of the Pit
Feverish prayers of life everafter
As your doom driven blade
drinks the soul of the Master

King of the Dead

The titletrack and Rob's third favourite Ungolsong.


The title cut follows and againt we're treated to a huge dose of classic C.U.. Dread (what else?). The bottom end bass just roars from Michael "Flint" Vujea and the almost subliminal, psychedelic tones in the guitar gives way for drummer Robert Garven's infamous gong. And the stage is set for almost 7 minutes of all that makes Cirith Ungol great. This song is a perfect showcase of where the band's dark heart lies.

-King Fowley, liner notes


A fanvideo created by defiledthrones:


Also see comments for the live version of King of the Dead.




Thunder howls The King will rise again
The time has come to pay for all your sins
Silence shattered by his gasping cries
His savage touch will end your world of lies

Who has dared to desecrate his crypt
Shall soon be hanging lifeless in his grip
Who has dared to stalk him in the gloom
Fore he has freshly risen from the tomb

Crown upon his head
King of the Dead

The sword descends the blood shall fall like rain
Its rising tide will cleanse your world of pain
His grip will rob the living of their breath
For as he ruled in life he rules in death


Written by Robert Garven

Death of the Sun

This was written already in 1977. This version is a re-recording from the version that appeared on Brian Slagel's Metal Massacre 1-sampler. Personally I prefer the '82 version from Metal Massacre.


A re-recorded "Death of The Sun" brings in side two. And while a bit less over-the-top than the amazing "Metal Massacre" version, it still goes hand in hand with the direction and sound of the record.

-King Fowley, liner notes



Burning in its savage fury
Our fates accept not judge or jury
Helpless we must watch it done
For i have seen the Death of the Sun

We are coming to the end
I see my life and i have sinned
It's too late to change our ways
For man has seen his final days

Solar winds that parch the land
Minions are wasted by Satans hand
A molten globe will torch the sky
As mankind bleats his final cry!


Written by Robert Garven, 1977

Finger of Scorn

Singer Tim Baker was always loathed by many critics for his overly raw vocal delivery, but without Tim's evil delivery tracks like "Finger Of Scorn" just wouldn't have worked. While the band sets the mood Tim sets the intensity while pulling out and grabbing from within his soul meaningful words slike "the beast will rule the hearts of man till mankind falls to rape again". A quite haunting yet beautifully faint guitar passage opens up "Finger..." and finds reprisal later on in the song, almost serving as "quiet time" for the listener to deeply think about just what Tim is saying. Disturbing material for sure.

-King Fowley, liner notes


This song was written by Greg, even though he quit the band after the debut album. It is an excellent piece of music, and probably the closest thing to a ballad on the LP.

“Finger of Scorn” was one of our original pre “Frost & Fire” songs, which Greg wrote.

-Robert Garven, Diabolical Conquest interview

"Finger Of Scorn" was one of my songs that the band used with my blessing.

-Greg Lindstrom, BallBuster interview


Tι σημαίνουν για σένα οι Dexter Ward και κατ’ επέκταση το heavy metal;
Οι Dexter Ward για μένα αυτή την στιγμή είναι η έξοδος μου από την καθημερινότητα και ένα καινούργιο όνειρο που θα κυνηγήσω από την αρχή μέχρι το τέλος χωρίς να έχω μεγάλες προσδοκίες, με μοναδικό γνώμονα το να περνάμε καλά. Όσο αναφορά το Heavy Metal θα σου συνοψίσω την απάντηση μου σε ένα τραγούδι, το “Finger Of Scorn” των θεών Cirith Ungol. Τα συναισθήματα που αναβλύζουν μέσα από τις νότες του είναι ίσως η τελειότερη μορφή τέχνης που έχει υπάρξει σε αυτό τον πλανήτη. Μνημείο πραγματικό για τις γενιές που θα ακολουθήσουν. Το Heavy Metal είναι το είδος μουσικής που έχει δημιουργήσει τα περισσότερα τραγούδια ανάλογου επιπέδου, οπότε δικαιωματικά έχει την μεγαλύτερη θέση στην καρδιά μου.

-From an interview with Dexter Ward.


Google translate below. If you can provide a better translation, please contact!

What they mean for you as Dexter Ward and hence the heavy metal;
The Dexter Ward for me right now is the output from my everyday life and a new dream to chase from beginning to end without having great expectations, only to be driven fun. The reference to the Heavy Metal I will summarize my answer to one song, "Finger Of Scorn" gods Cirith Ungol. The emotions that flow through the notes are probably the most perfect art form that has existed on this planet. Monument real for generations to come. The Heavy Metal is a genre that has created more songs similar level, so that rightfully has the highest place in my heart.




To see what lies beyond our sight.
The secrets robed in blackest night.
The things we dream, but never see.
Caged and blinded by the Beast.

From age to age it stalked the earth
The apish scum of evil birth
Up from slime it has seen man crawl
It waits to see our final fall

The Finger of Scorn! Points to us all!
The Finger of Scorn! Points!

Black idols lie, beneath the sea
They hold the secrets of our destiny
The ancient tales are left to die
And leave mankind to wonder why

The Finger of Scorn! Points to us all!
The Finger of Scorn! Points! to our fall!!

*solo by Jerry Fogle*

The beast will rule the hearts of men
'Till mankind falls to ape again
And when our souls are stripped and torn
Still we face the Finger of Scorn!


Written by Greg Lindstrom

Toccata in Dm

A classical based standard from Bach gets the Cirith Ungol treatment next.

-King Fowley, liner notes

A J.S. Bach cover.


It’s a piece by Bach. I think in a way, it’s Jerry’s answer to “Maybe That’s Why”. He wanted to do a multi-track guitar piece that was different from the usual CU song.

-Greg Lindstrom, Guardians of Fate 3/02 interview

Cirith Ungol

This was written already in the 70's. The song with the same name as the band's name. The name is taken from J.R.R. Tolkkien's The Two Towers.


...But it's the album closer and band theme song "Cirith Ungol" that really needs to be heard. "Try to run, try to hide, if you don't, you'll surely die" says Tim and yet again we're off into the doom and dirge. This song closes the album off really well with some tight, odd time changes, wild vocal echo played right where it's needed, and some damn fine placing.

-King Fowley, liner notes


Jerry’s solo on “Cirith Ungol” was the best 30 seconds of our 22 year career!

-Robert Garven



A skydive video clip created by Jim Barraza:




ungolAbout the bandname

They took their name from the place Cirith Ungol in J. R. R. Tolkien's epic fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. The name Cirith Ungol is Elvish and means "Pass of the Spider". While the place in Tolkien's book is pronounced "kirith ungol", the band pronounced it "sirith ungol". The band said in a later interview they had some problems with the name:

Everyone in the band was a big "Sword and Sorcery" literature fan, especially Greg [Lindstrom, guitars] and I. He would always turn us on to the great writers who gave us inspiration for our music. We read all the books... Conan, Bran Mak Morn, etcetera, but the books that stood out in my mind are Michael Moorcock's masterpieces: Elric, Hawkmoon, Corum among others. Greg Lindstrom and I met at an English Literature class where the teacher was reading Lord of the Rings... and Greg and I read it and it had an influence on our music and feelings. In retrospect I wish we had picked something easier to remember because a lot of our trouble has been over our name. People couldn't pronounce it or remember it, but we figured once they did they wouldn't forget it! We've humorously been called "Sarah's Uncle" and "Serious Uncool," for example! I know other bands are using the Tolkien angle. Led Zeppelin even made references to it in their earlier songs. I think he was an influence both then and now on many people.

-Robert Garven

I remember some other possible band names we were conpagering: Minas Tirith, Khazad Dum, and Uruk Hai, all names from "The Lord Of The Rings". Rob and I both liked J.R.R. Tolkien and Enzo Ferrari, so we knew our songs would cover both those subjects!

-Greg Lindstrom


Bass tabs



Try to run try to hide
If you don't you'll surely die
Screaming in terror there you'll lie
In Cirith Ungol Tower of Fire

Gorgons are shriecking their bestial cries
Their piercing cry burns you inpage
Screaming in anguish there you'll lie
In Cirith Ungol Tower of Fire

Demons circle the smoky skies
Your fate hangs before you on a wheel of fire
As you stand revealed to Satans eye
In Cirith Ungol Tower of Fire


Written by Greg Lindstrom

15.Aug 2020

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