Cedric : The band Cloven Hoof already has a rich history to look back upon. They started as a promising band during the eighties, at the midst of the whole NWOBHM movement, gathering a good fanbase for their music. Unfortunately they never reached the same popularity and fame like for example Iron Maiden or Saxon. Their music definately had the quality to become a known name in the genre, but despite the popularity of the style at that time not every band succeeded in attracting a full-stadium crowd.
After many years, multiple line-up changes and different albums the band is back again in 2017 to present us their new record, called ‘Who Mourns For The Morning Star’. To make things clear from the start, it is absolutely a more than enjoyable album. For fans who still know them from the start their sound might have changed a bit, but in general no fan of old-school heavy metal will be annoyed while listening to this album. I do not know their last couple of records very well, but the songs on ‘Who Mourns For The Morning Star’ sound a tad more ‘American’ than before and regularly remind me of bands like Cage or Jag Panzer. But also a band like Iced Earth is never really far away in their sound.
Of course the NWOBHM remains a recognizable element in their music, with especially the riff-oriented songs of a band like Saxon coming to mind. Singer George Call has an impressive voice and adds plenty of energy to the material. Especially his higher-pitched vocals are a delight to listen to, sometimes even reminding me of Ripper. The songs are decent, even containing some heavier progressive elements, but still I can not really think of any true memorable songs. The band regularly slows down the whole, resulting in more atmospheric parts that mix well with the rocking riffs and solo’s.
All-in all I will remember this album as a good-sounding heavy metal party, without really outspoken highlights, but containing more-than-enough energy to get every fan of the genre to headbang. And besides that, the band also gets my respect just for the perseverance with which they keep making their music. I hope this will result in a fair share of fans discovering this album. ‘Who Mourns For The Morning Star’, in combination with this nice spring weather, definately makes me look forward to festival season!