Taking their monicker from the name of a mythical location in J.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings, (pronounced Keereeth Oongoll; the name is Sindarin for 'Spider's Cleft'). Cirith Ungol was founded by Greg Lindstrom (bass), Robert Garven (drums), Jerry Fogle (guitar) and Pat Galligan (later a guitarist in Angry Samoans) all members of Titanic, their first band in junior high school. With a desire to play music similar to that of Mountain and Grand Funk Railroad, the band parted with Galligan to reform in 1972 as Cirith Ungol playing original, instrumental songs before adding vocalist Neal Beattie and Michael "Flint" Vujea on bass.
In 1980 they released their debut album, Frost And Fire, featuring former roadie Tim Baker on vocals. It was a self-financed album that eventually got released by 'Enigma Records'. The album was widely considered so pretentious it was possibly one of the most derided albums in the history of Heavy Metal.
After a few years break, 1984 would see them return out of hiding from the critics pens to release their first for Roadrunner', King Of The Dead, proving to be slightly improved but anything might have been an improvement if popular opinion was to be believed.
One Foot In Hell followed in 1995 and fared little better.
Soon after guitarist Jim Barraza (who had joined in 1988 to replace Fogle) left, the rest of the act called it quits citing frustration with the music industry.
The act was to be resurrected in 1991 for the one-off Paradise Lost with Jim Barraza on guitars, Vernon Green on bass, Tim Baker on vocals and Robert Garven on drums. The 2CD compilation of unreleased music, Servants Of Chaos, followed by the European division of Metal Blade' in 2001.
Founding guitarist Jerry Fogle died from liver failure on August 20, 1998.
Members of the band came together on a one-off for the 2015 Frost and Fire music festival in Ventura, California.