CLOVEN HOOF – AGE OF STEEL (Pure Steel Records)

Review by Officer Nice

Am I a fan of Cloven Hoof? Yes, I am. Am I a fan of George Call? Yes, I am. Am I a fan of George Call in Cloven Hoof? Of course I am. Can I write something negative about it? Well, I am an honest man and if it is necessary I will. But, because all what is wrote above I ordered the CD and vinyl version of this record. Cloven Hoof, the old NWOBHM band is still alive and thanks to George Call’s immense talent they’re even more into the picture than before. Nevertheless, if you would ask me what my favorite albums of this old school lads are I would mention the debut (of course) and the surprising come-back album “Eye of the sun”.  Lee Payne is a fantastic song-writer and Cloven Hoof is and remains anything he does, this man breathes Cloven hoof. The good thing is he’s, musical wise, an open minded guy and that is the reason this band is still going strong!

Anyway, I liked what the band did ever since their come-back and also on stage the band was pretty impressive. The last albums were quiet good but I was waiting for a true bomb. Did I found it now? Well… actually I did although this band evaluated far from what they originally stood for, as pioneers NWOBHM. I don’t know if it is because of the influence of George Call but this band sounds different from what it used to be, sounds more “American”. Is that a bad thing? Hell no, it isn’t! Me, as a fan of US Metal in general and as a fan of Aska in particular will not complain.

This album doesn’t bring new things or moves into the history of Heavy Metal but it is a real great album. Cloven Hoof is heading between Iron Maiden, Saxon and old Cloven Hoof on the one side but sounds more and more as a melodic US Metal band nowadays. It is an album that you can buy safely if you like of traditional Metal. It is an album with fantastic guitar parts, intense leads, strong bass lines and good drums. It is a record where you can easily admire George Call’s fantastic voice, a bit raw yet high and clear. His special and unique timbre will always be adored by me and lifts the band up to a high qualitative level. The band worked hard to give each song an extra input. There are often samples or choirs weaved in or between the tracks, there are emotional performed arrangements and every track has its own character.

The fact that songs are played in different tempi, even in one and the same track, makes it all sound very varied. Having a class singer as George Call in your ranks gives the opportunity to even change the mood of the vocal lines constantly, the abilities are wide ranged. When you have very gifted guitarist in the band, able to play very intense and emotional leads, the kind that makes you play imaginary guitars, you know something strong is at hand here!

Well, what’s my conclusion? This album needed time but it grew on me and I’m actually fond of it. Why? Because there’s a lot to discover, because I like the tunes, on the one hand ‘easy on the ear’, on the other powerful enough to make me proud being a Metal fan. This is a very strong album, the strongest Cloven Hoof in many years. It is far away from the original Cloven Hoof but that isn’t that important to me, only some purists will matter. This is no longer NWOBHM but do you really mind? This record will reach the year lists, no doubts about that. CD order HERE – LP order HERE  Cloven Hoof online: http://www.clovenhoof.net

My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)