One Foot in Hell is the third Cirith Ungol LP. It was produced by Brian Slagel and Cirith Ungol. It was released in August 1986 on Metal Blade Records and re-released in March 1999 by Metal Blade Records on CD.

I think this is their heaviest, most power metalish and most in your face of their albums. This is the last album with the “classic” line-up of Baker, Fogle, Garven and Flint. King Fowley compares this album to Motörhead’s Orgasmatron. No bad comparation – same year and great heavy metal on both!

“Well, this is it– the album NME readers called the worst metal album in history.” Writes an Amazon-reviewer. Unfortunately I cannot find the source for that.



The cover

The cover was painted by Michael Whelan in 1976 and is entitled “Urish’s Bane”. The full cover can be seen at the official Michael Whelan website.


A fascinating book that gave me the fun of painting a “no-holds-barred” demon. In many ways I did this one for me–dark–and I’m pleased it has received such a positive response from the readers.

Michel Whelan


It was used for the DAW edition of Michael Moorcock’s book The Vanishing Tower (Elric of Melnibone saga #4). The book was published in 1977.  Available at and There are various editions of the book, and not all editions has the same cover.

The cover looks almost identical. But there original is from 1981 and the second is 1999(?). The text is red on original, and the second is red-orange. The second CD is border. I’ll guess.



In the band’s own words


It’s a lot different from our last one obviously. Just listen to the songs. it’s so much faster, better and ballsier. I think we were before, especially on our last album… we were to… kinda eccentric. Like it was too different for people to handle. A lot of the stuff on KOTD, the songs are real good, but they were kinda arranged weird. But the new one is pretty consistent, like rockin’. Actually I prefer, myself, the really sloowww, dirge type songs. That’s what I really like. And really, that kind of stuff is technically a lot harder to do. But if you stack up One Foot In Hell to either one of our other albums, it sounds so much better. If sounds like a normal record, sound quality wise. KOTD sounded like it was coming through a tin can. It should be mandatory for Metal fans to purchase, or at least listen to One Foot In Hell and find out what “radical” really means. Shit, just look at the album cover! The music is just as wild, and that’s saying a lot!

Tim Baker, Suck City interview, 1986


It’s an excellent album although I thought the songs overall were not as strong as King of the Dead, and Flint’s bass seems to have gotten lost in the mix.

Greg Lindstrom


The problem with One Foot in Hell is that Brian Slagel who owned Metal Blade Records wanted to take a large role in the production of the album. I think this was the beginning of where the band started to lose control of our vision and it is evident in this record. There were solos left out or changed, and multi tiered vocals ala Styx “Serpent is Rising” that were removed. I also did not like the final mix. We also recorded the tracks in LA, whereas with the first two albums we recorded them across the street from our band studio, so we had less time and were in a strange location, which did not help the sound or mood. Brian to this day does not like me and I suppose his feelings toward me, which I have tried to unsuccessfully patch up over the years, was taken out on the band. This again probably was my personality, negatively affecting the bands success which I will never forgive my self for.

Robert Garven, Diabolical Conquest


You didn’t hear the solo’s of Jerry’s tat were cut on OFIH or the unbelievable four part background vocals I did on ‘Nadsokor’ that never made it to the record. I also feel that it was mixed kind of flat.

Robert Garven, Steel Conjuring, 2000


Brian was in complete control of this project and did the final mixdown.  He did a good job but he cut out allot of stuff I wanted in the final mix. There were many great guitar solos and vocal harmonies, which were deleted, which is sad.

Robert Garven, Guardians of Fate 3/02


The 17th best Metal Blade Record

One Foot In Hell has been ranked at place 17 on best Metal Blade Records albums of all time.

To commemorate the fine 30th Anniversary of metal’s most venerable and storied label, Metal Blade Records, the writers of have gotten their metalheads together and come up with a list of the Top 30 coolest, most legendary, rockingest, most influential, most deserving of fame and notoriety, releases founder/CEO Brian Slagel and crew have issued since forging the fire way back in mom’s garage in 1982. As has become tradition ‘round here, we are presenting them – through January and February – in reverse order, leading eventually to the penultimate slab of iron ever to carry an esteemed Metal Blade catalogue number. 

By Greg Pratt 

Man, history has not been kind to Californian heavy metallers CIRITH UNGOL—NO ONE has been kind to Cirith Ungol—but take a listen to One Foot In Hell to get a glimpse of a truly unique band. Cool to see them place on this list at all, those histrionic vocals, the overdramatic songwriting, and general metal-’til-fucking-death being a bit too OTT for even some diehard metal types, the band toiling, toiling, toiling, silent, forgotten, back again for quick reunion, underwhelming, silent, forgotten… but for brief moments of time way back when—like during One Foot In Hell’s duration—Cirith Ungol were doing everything perfectly.