Genre: Heavy Metal/Power
Label: Heavy Metal Records
Well, being a fanatic of Lee Payne’s band for almost 25+ years doesn’t make me the most impartial or unbiased person in the world for sure. I like when bands try new things and despite the fact that I know that Cloven Hoof are no more the NWOBHM cult heroes or the US Power influenced pioneers of melodic Heavy of late 80’s, still I have so much respect for their “new” direction, the one they have traced since 2014 (if not since 2006 and the gem “Eye of the Sun” with Matt Moreton on vocals). This is their third studio full length with George Call on vocals. Call was always a great singer but now it seems that after so many years their chemistry and the bond between him and Payne are in their peak. The album liner notes mention that “Time Assassin” is the conclusion of the “Dominator” saga. Do you fell any goose bumps or is it only me…? If we search for differences between the band previous efforts with Call as a singer and the new album, we will find,- besides the characteristic motif of their 2006 and beyond era-, also speedier tempo, more aggressive guitars and drumming, while also more screamy chorus-lines in the 9 compositions. As I’ve been listening to the album after several times I finally believe that half of the album is the little brother of Judas Priest glorious “Painkiller”. I definitely don’t say it as a rip-off…I just thought it would be a fine example for someone to understand in a nutshell how “Time Assassin” sound. I could also use “Jugulator” as an example but I would be unfair to Call and his melodic performance that has a wider range than this particular one dimensional Owens had in 1997 (except “Cathedral Spires”). Modern approaching of course that may disappoint some old school die hard but will certainly bring more fans to Cloven Hoof as the material is well crafted, brilliantly executed and has many diamond to shine, such as the mid-tempo with its tasty hooks “After Forever” that shows emphatically that there’s not only fast and hostile songs in the album, or the hard rock oriented “Time Assassin” and “Tokyo Knights”. “Carnival of Lost Souls” is a great power metal anthem, “Lords of Death”, “Guardians Of the Universe”,“Liquidator” and “Beltaine Fire” are full of testosterone and follow this let’s call it “Painkiller” pattern in an album that worth every penny you’ll pay for it with its outstanding quality gathering of songs that honors their legacy.