Power of Metal.dk Review

Cloven Hoof
Resist or Serve
Style: Heavy Metal
Release date: 6 June, 2014
Playing time: 48:17

For me Cloven Hoof have always been one of the great unsung heroes of the NWOBHM. And yet it took me some time to get to grips with “Resist Or Serve”. The vocals and ‘thin’ guitar tone felt slightly misplaced and the songs showcased a different Cloven Hoof.

Some wide-angle observations.....“Resist or Serve” is less direct than the band’s early material and it’s probably the band’s most mature album to date. Moods range from aggression to downright eeriness with songs such as ‘Anti Matter Man’ and ‘Brimstone And Fire’ proving that the band still has a well-honed songwriting instinct.

Lyrically “Resist or Serve” is a mix of Lovecraft-inspired horror and contemporary social critiques all of which are neatly encapsulated by the album title.

Eventually I was won over by the singing of Joseph Whelan, despite his recent participation on one of those Pop-singer TV shows. In fact all the members of Cloven Hoof’s current line-up are tremendously talented musicians, something that “Resist Or Serve” does not bring into doubt. It’s also an album that has an inclination to sound different with each spin, and that’s a good attribute in my book.

For all the album’s merits, I sometimes found myself yearning for the heavier and more in-your-face material of their self-titled debut or even the more recent “A Sultan’s Ransom”. Some songs from this new one are not half as exciting.

Reactions to “Resist or Serve” will strongly be affected by one’s expectations from Cloven Hoof. Despite skepticisms I may have had initially, I definitely enjoyed the album but I also don’t consider it to be the band’s magnum opus.

01. Call of the Dark Ones
02. Helldiver
03. Deliverance
04. Brimstone and Fire
05. Valhalla
06. Mutilator
07. Anti Matter Man
08. Cycle of Hate
09. Premature Burial
10. Austrian Assault
Label: High Roller Records
Distribution: Pure Steel Records
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: 18 June, 2014
Website: www.clovenhoof.net