Cloven Hoof - The Definitive Part Two

Cloven Hoof - The Definitive Part Two

(CD, Metal Nation Records, 2018)

Another CLOVEN HOOF release to dig into, and that's always a pleasure! Of course, I have the “Throne Of Damnation” EP before this one, so the first five songs out of “The Definitive Part Two” weren't new to me. But, in comparison to the first edition, this time around, the record holds a whole bunch of unreleased material.

One of the reasons why CLOVEN HOOF end up at the top of my 'end-of-the-year' list is because they have a unique style. Ask anyone and they'd say classic Heavy Metal. Absolutely yes, but it's not only that; it's one part NWOBHM and one part US Power, delivered with great taste and details which make it unique. And it doesn't matter what release it is, those elements are there no matter what. It varies slightly, but you can always count on Lee Payne to bring high quality music to the table.

I have one problem with “Throne Of Damnation” though; I'm not all that thrilled about the production. Especially for “Night Stalker” and “Freakshow” where the '90s-sounding distortion kills the finesse in the riffs and this is a bit of a shame since the songs, are very cool. But to compare how those two sounds to the opening “Running Man”, they leave more to wish for.

The best thing in “The Definitive Part Two” is the unreleased songs (of course, never heard CLOVEN HOOF material is always exciting). Perhaps those deviate even more from the traditional CLOVEN HOOF style than the rest. First, because the organ sets a very moody vibe to it all and adds a bit of a '70s feel to the music. Also, due to Lee Small's voice and way of phrasing the vocal lines towards the heavy riffs make it to lean towards Hard Rock than Heavy Metal and so, it sounds different from what CLOVEN HOOF have released before. This must be one of the heaviest recordings Lee Small ever have done as SHY, PHENOMENA or even LIONHEART come close to this. But his voice suites the music perfectly. “Do What Thou Wilt” might be a little too obviously borrowed from BLACK SABBATH's “Hole In The Sky", the verse riff as well as the vocal line have great resemblances with that song. On the other hand, the rest of the track is unique and when it sounds as good as this one does, I don't really mind. Also, DIO-styled “Look To The Skies" sounds fantastic too but I still hold “Curse Of Gypsy” as my favorite of the Lee Small session. Again, perhaps not exactly what CLOVEN HOOF normally sound like but those significant details which mark their sound certainly are there.

The really cool thing with “The Definitive Part Two” is that documents how the band has developed (or struggled) over the years. The lineup changes have of course impacted the sound and it's clear that even the best of the best not might be the right ones. It doesn't matter how damn good Lee Small is, which of course also goes for his successor Joe Whelan as well they still don't cut the Heavy Metal edge from the early records, as well as new “Who Mourns For The Morning Star?" does.

So, the final verdict on “The Definitive Part Two”; if you want a collection of songs to dig into CLOVEN HOOF, this might not be the record for you. It's better to pick any of the original albums. But as a fan, to get all of these hidden gems delivered in a nice package, this sure is a delicious treat.





01. Running Man
02. Prime Time
03. Whore Of Babylon
04. Night Stalker
05. Freakshow
06. I'm Your Nemesis
07. Do What Thou Wilt
08. Age Of Steel
09. Look To The Skies
10. Curse Of Gypsy
11. Contagion


Matt Moreton - Vocals (tracks 1-5)
Ash Cooper - Vocals (track 6)
Lee Small - Vocals (tracks 7-10)
Joe Whelan - Lead Guitar (tracks 6-11), Lead Vocals (track 11)
Ben Read - Guitar (tracks 1-5)
Chris Coss - Rhythm Guitar (tracks 6-11)
Lee Payne - Bass
Jon Brown - Drums (tracks 1-5)
Mark Gould - Drums (tracks 6-11)