Cult heavy metal icons CIRITH UNGOL today unveil their latest single, “Looking Glass,” with an accompanying lyric video. The monolithic new track comes by way of the band’s impending sixth full-length, Dark Parade, set for release on October 20th via Metal Blade Records.
Few bands in the history of the heavy metal underground have a story as remarkable, improbable, or uplifting as that of CIRITH UNGOL. Formed in Ventura, California in the early 1970s, rather than passively channeling their influences, the band was driven to forge an altogether heavier, darker, more apocalyptic sound the world had never experienced before. It was obscure and arcane, mysterious and eccentric, epic and expansive, but most of all, unfailingly, bone-crushingly heavy, dark, and doom-filled.
Wasting no time to ride the molten wave they started with their 2020-released studio comeback Forever Black, CIRITH UNGOL started writing songs for Dark Parade as soon as Forever Black was released. Then, like everyone else, they were hamstrung by the global pandemic, struggling through illness, seclusion, grief, and depression in their quest to create dark, vibrant art. But like the greatest warriors, they persevered, working on one song at a time, fueled by personal misery and the tragedy of worldwide collapse.
With all eight demos finished — which are included on the expanded edition of the album — CIRITH UNGOL started recording Dark Parade in October 2022. The end result is an unrelenting triumph of pessimism and pain; a head-over-heels, Lovecraftian tumble into an abyss of horror and despair and arguably the most vitriolic expedition CIRITH UNGOL has undertaken to date. Despite the fantasy-inspired art on the band’s albums and their Tolkien-derived name – the band stopped exploring sword and sorcery-related themes in the mid-‘80s. Most of the subjects they’ve addressed since then have been far more real and frightening than any ravenous make-believe creatures fighting sword-wielding warriors.
Up-tempo but still moody, latest single “Looking Glass” begins with a shattering mirror and gains steam with trenchant riffs that slither between a multitude of muted chugs. During the understated midsection, the tone turns dusky as the tune reaches its pinnacle, with lengthy, blues-based leads. Rob Garven’s drums match the shifting mood beat for beat. “It has the quintessential UNGOL slowed down middle section, like ‘Join The Legion’ [from 1991’s Paradise Lost] and ‘War Eternal’ [from 1986’s One Foot In Hell],” says Garven. “I spent quite a lot of time getting the drum fill at the beginning of the solo just perfect.”
“Looking Glass” marks the beginning of a conceptual four-song sequence that introduces listeners to “The Dark Parade,” a visceral and poignant multi-song presentation that leaves little room for happy endings. “Is it a nightmare tale of self-reflection or just another journey through the cracks in our reality and the curse of broken dreams?” asks vocalist Tim Baker, shedding a little light on the “darkness” within. “It’s not quite what Lewis Carroll [author of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Through The Looking-Glass etc.] had in mind, but an even more bleak and deadly vision. Alice found that her visions were the complete opposite of her dreams, but here they are one and the same. Will waking dispel the nightmares, or are our waking hours just the extension of them? Once we smash the mirror, there is no turning back.”
Watch CIRITH UNGOL’s “Looking Glass” lyric video at THIS LOCATION.
Watch CIRITH UNGOL’s “Velocity (S.E.P.)” visualizer HERE.
Dark Parade will be available on digipak-CD, digitally, and LP in the following color variants
- Special edition LP (slipcase w/ hot-foil embossing, 2xLP incl. demos of the entire album, 12” booklet, 2 posters, art print, tote bag – ltd. 1000)
- 180g Black vinyl (EU excl.)
- Olive Green Marbled vinyl (EU excl. – ltd. 700)
- Charcoal Marbled vinyl (EU excl. – ltd. 500)
- Pale Grey W/ Black Smoke vinyl (EU excl. – ltd. 500)
- Gold “Black Dust” vinyl (Metal Blade Store EU excl. – ltd. 300)
- Fog Marbled vinyl (US excl.)
- Grey/ Black Marbled vinyl (US excl.)
Find preorders at metalblade.com/cirithungol.
CIRITH UNGOL will play a special record release show on October 20th at The Roxy in West Hollywood, marking the band’s first Los Angeles live appearance in thirty-five years. The performance will commemorate The Roxy’s 50th anniversary and find the band playing Dark Parade in its entirety followed by a full set of classic material. Additionally, the set will be filmed and recorded for a future live release.
CIRITH UNGOL Live:
10/20/2023 The Roxy – West Hollywood, CA * Record Release Show [Tickets]n>
Tim Baker – vocals
Jimmy Barraza – guitar
Greg Lindstrom – guitar
Rob Garven – drums
Jarvis Leatherby – bass