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Overlooked classic by a severely underrated band - 95%

AussieReaper, October 24th, 2005

Sit back, clear your mind and prepare to be overcome by the Hoof. With just a few listens you will be hooked, your mind will surrender to the sound of dark, satanic themes.

As titled, do not overlook this album! Sure it will seem average within a couple listens but allow it to sink in and you have yourself something here.
Apparently Cloven Hoof are black metal, however from my understanding black metal sounds like death metal. This is by far to that extreme. You can expect a mixture of speed, power, themes of Satan, corruption and not too mention a touch of epic metal.

David Potter’s vocal range is quite impressive, his unique styles and changes in tone and pitch really bring out the talent in some of the tracks. He even manages to pull off sounding like the current AC/DC front man.
Onto my favourite track; the self titled one. I love the intro because there’s nothing like the sway of drums to start a track off. Then the madness begins, 6 minutes and 50 seconds of absolute wizardry. David Potter really outdoes himself on this track as he manages to carry his vocals thru changes whilst keeping up with the theme of the song. I will forevermore appreciate the ritual part of the song, some of the lyrics delivered are extremely intense and dark. Enough about the first, ok well maybe I’ll also mention that some of the solo’s are so monumental you wonder why this group hasn’t entered the same hallway of fame from the likes of Manowar, Overkill, Exodus and Helloween as they have produced some equally memorable work.

Onto nightslalker, this is quite the weakest of all the tracks. Don’t get me wrong its actually ok once you hear it a few times, but I cant honestly say I’d listen to it until my ears bled.
March of the Damned is an instrumental, have I mentioned I’m not that fond of instrumentals?
Well aside from Orion I will never really get into them, lyrics will always define a song in my opinion.

The Gates of Gehenna is another epic type track that really takes off where the first track left off. I love the solo towards the end, yet again it sends shivers down my neck hearing it over and over.
Crack the whip is another brilliant track, this time however we are introduced to a whole different Cloven Hoof act. They transform from power/epic metal to a regular hard rock AC/DC type act. You could almost sing this one to the tune of “You shook me all night long”. Once again David Potter proves his vocal patterns and flexes a note here and there to become Bon Scott. Brilliant!

Laying down the law is the second last and it certainly doesn’t lower itself to the previous highlights of the album. This song is about gangsters and corruption, look out for the killer riff that starts it off. Quite possibly the best riff of the album!
Finally we come to an end with Return of the Passover. A verse like no other put together with such lyrics as “He come forth, spanning starways” like whoa that’s some serious acid and/or sinister thought put into this album.

I must stress if this album is ever purchased ensure you get the 3 bonus tracks. The last bonus track is called Road of Eagles and I recommend this be included on it when purchased, otherwise you’ll be defiantly missing out.