Cloven Hoof were formed in 1979 in Wolverhampton and are part of the now legendary New Wave of British Heavy Metal Movement. Since 1979 they have released six albums, their debut album Cloven Hoof was released in 1984 and instantly became a must have for any metal fan worth their salt. Their next album Dominator was another classic, and their third album A Sultan’s Ransom completed the impression that Cloven Hoof were a band ready and waiting to take charge and lead the way for heavy metal. After a brief break, they reformed in the early 2000s and released two stellar albums in Eye of the Sun and Resist or Serve. Their new album Who Mourns For The Morning Star promises to be an enticing tale of music, with the front cover depicting Lucifer, the Morning Star in all his satanic glory.
The album opens up with an ode to gazing at the stars and humanity’s obsession with life on other planets. ‘Star Rider’ is a heavy and fast opening with a relentless riff, with lyrics such as ‘Are they gods on chariots, or some alien race?’ really emphasise this and fans of the band’s album Dominator will love this song. The second song on the album is ‘Song of Orpheus’ based on the Greek myth of Orpheus, the song is heavy, with great emphasis on the tragedy of the titular character, the band do an excellent job in conveying the emotion of Orpheus and really this will be a fan favourite if played live. The third song is ‘I Talk To The Dead’ a heavy riff based song with solid drumming, an ode to necromancy and one that is sure to be a favourite if played live.
The next song on the record is ‘Neon Angels’ which opens up with a screamed ‘One more for the highway!’ The song has a nice driving riff, and seems like a rocker influenced by Judas Priest, definitely seems like an ode to living for the moment and enjoying life as much as possible. Following ‘Neon Angels’ is the brooding title track ‘Morning Star’. The song details the story of Lucifer, the devil, God’s greatest angel, his rise and fall, and his desire for some sort of revenge. A soft opening, a ballad followed by a heavy middle and ending, filled with epic choruses, it is definitely a live song. ‘Time to Burn’ follows, and this time one can really see Cloven Hoof getting into their stride. Raging rocker, solid riffs and lyrics, a song that has to be played live.
‘Mindmaster’ follows starting with an absolute monster of a riff. A real headbanging riff, this song is most definitely a call against propaganda and the blinding trust that people place within such a thing. The lyrics really call out the brainless effect that propaganda can reduce people to. ‘Go Tell The Spartans’ is epic track, detailing the Spartan story and ethic with epic riffs and lyrics, another live track. Track number nine, the final song on the record is titled ‘Bannockburn’ after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The song varies in tempo with a medieval feel as it details the exploits of the Scots under Robert the Bruce, as the song reaches its climax it gets heavier and faster, with some real swagger, a brilliant closer.
Over all, this album is perhaps the best work that Cloven Hoof has done, there is not a bad song on this record, and all of them could make the cut as live tracks and favourites. If you haven’t already go out and buy this record. 10/10.