(8/10) British metal outfit Cloven Hoof can look back on a long history in metal.The band belongs to the veterans of New Wave of British Heavy Metal, starting in the late 70's. 1984 was the year of Cloven Hoof's debut, an album that was very well-received. Unfortunately the band couldn't really build on this solid foundation, also standing in the shadow of icons like Iron Maiden, Saxon,... So Cloven Hoof disbanded in the beginning 90's before they returned 10 years later with a new line-up.
Since then the band releases studio albums on a more or less regular base with the newest one getting out of the gate in April. In the meantime the only remaining founding member is bass player Lee Payne who was confronted with several line-up changes over the years. These changes included an opportunity for Payne to add some new blood to the band. George Call on vocals and drummer Danny White joined in 2015 and it feels like they brought some extra vitality into the band.
Cloven Hoof's newest strike answers to the name of "Who Mourns for the Morning Star". The band recorded nine songs for this longplayer and all of them sound really good. Payne and his gang delivers some metal hymns that are belonging to the best the band ever wrote. Cloven Hoof kept this old school spirit and vitalized it with a more modern production. What also adds the experience is the very well done vocals of Call, being the new kid on the block. He has a wide vocal range that allows him to run the entire spectrum - from high-pitch screams to darker vocals. Things go even that far that I had the feeling of listening to the earlier Queensryche while "Song of Orpheus" blew out of my speakers.
"Neon Angels" brought all of a sudden Lizzy Borden to my mind while, without any doubt, the biggest focus sits with traditional heavy metal that brings back a time when heavy rock music became more and more popular.
Maybe you missed Cloven Hoof in their first phase but it's not too late. "Who Mourns for the Morning Star" includes all the band's trademarks that are weaved into good songs and a proper production. This album is a well-done entry point into Cloven Hoof's discography. Check it out.
- Star Rider
- Song of Orpheus
- I Talk to the Dead
- Neon Angel
- Morning Star
- Time to Burn
- Go Tell the Spartans
Label: High Roller Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date EU: April 21st, 2017