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
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
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
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.