CLOVEN HOOF – WHO MOURNS THE MORNING STAR (High Roller Records)

Review by Officer Nice: 2017 seems to be another superb year when we talk about Metal. We have already received great albums and more goodies are on their way, believe me. One I was really looking forward to was the new Cloven Hoof. This band has lived under the radar for many years but I suppose the oldies amongst us will always remember them because of their first self-entitled album. It is and remains one of those gems in the history of NWOBHM. I can easily compare it with Satan’s “Court In The Act”, Demon’s “The Unexpected Guest” or even the ancient Saxon and Iron Maiden. Those were the days, unforgettable and many words about these NWOBHM bands are written in gold in the first chapters of the book of Heavy Metal. Nevertheless only a few NWOBHM bands were able to become big. In that era the scène evolved fast. Although Cloven Hoof fought back, they couldn’t hook up with the big successes of the mainstream bands and the victories of the new scenes that came from out of the USA. Except for the mainstream bands the interest for traditional Metal waned and especially Thrash and Glam Metal became hot. Metallica, Slayer, Whitesnake, Guns‘n Roses… You know the history! It was the misfortune for Cloven Hoof and although they released good albums in the Eighties, the big breakthrough never came. They disbanded after “A Sultan’s Ransom” to come back in 2006 with “Eye Of The Sun”, which I really adored. Ever since the band released more albums but stayed unstable with their line-up. Lee Payne, bass player, kept the band alive and is the only left original member.

I suppose he met George Call (Aska, Banshee, Warrion, ex-Omen) at one of those German True Metal festivals because nowadays they work together.  Believe me this is a cooperation I was really looking forward to and the result is now in my CD-player. George ‘Aska’ Call only lent his voice it seems because the band has with Joe Whelan and Chris Coss already two great guitar players. But that doesn’t really matter because with the enforcement of Cloven Hoof with the almighty George Call this formation has anything they need! George Call is an extraordinary singer and the chosen few who own Aska albums in their collection certainly know what I am talking about. This man has the ideal voice for a Metal band! He has a bit of a raw timbre in his voice and the way he delivers us high screams is just awesome! He is and underrated talent, with a strong pair of lungs and a singer who deserves much more! Believe me he contains one of the most unique voices in our scène.

The result is that Cloven Hoof sounds very, really very good. This is the kind of Heavy Metal I like, with screaming and intense played leads, a strong base of drums and empowering bass guitars and a band that worked hard on their song writing. George Call lifts up the band to a higher level and brings them closer to the American kind of Power Metal. Cloven Hoof already sounded much more powerful since their comeback but with “Who Mourns For The Morning Star”, they discovered the perfect sound. To me they became much more a Power Metal than the traditional Metal band they used to be back in the good old days. I admit, with a track like “Neon Angels” they prove me the opposite for some reason because of it’s a more modern character. “Bannockburn” can be considered as my favorite piece and proves me right on the other hand, fantastic song!  “Morning Star” proves how much talent Cloven Hoof has in store for all of us, it’s another fantastic composition featuring the  magnificent and overwhelming vocal delivery of Mr. George Call! Their debut album remains a gem, a ‘Must-Have’ actually. To be honest, this new recording can be considered as their best efforts ever ! No one can deny it’s thanks to George Call’s amazing talent and we can only hope the band stays healthy and each member will give the others the respect they deserve, one can’t do it without the other! These five musicians really deserves respect for this superb release.

I don’t hear weaknesses and Cloven Hoof must easily convince their old fans and each one hooked on True Metal. This is a very varied sounding release where every song has its own characteristics. “Who Mourns For The Morning Star” has a good driving, powerful force and obliges the listener have a real good time listening to all the songs. An album that really deserves your complete attention that unleash all its secrets after a while. Believe me, you won’t regret because this is first class Metal. The reborn Cloven Hoof earns every Metal fan’s attention so let this be a new start for a mighty good band. !

Well, I am a fan of Aska and I always had something with Cloven Hoof, so I cannot be negative about this one. I noticed to be missed the “Resist or Serve” record but so, I know what to ask for my upcoming birthday. Or even better… the band is On Tour with Riot V and I will be present on August, 25th. at the venue named OC Klokhuis, Beveren-Leie in Belgium. Hopefully they will bring along that specific album so I can add it to my collection. Meanwhile I keep on listening to their brilliant newest record that already deserved its place in my favourite Album Top 20 list, posted online at the end of 2017. To order and more information on Cloven Hoof’s activities, check:  http://www.clovenhoof.net

My rating: 91/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

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