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Cloven Hoof -Fighting Back lp


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Black vinyl with insert and poster. Limited 200 copies

Cloven Hoof burst onto the Nwobhm scene with quite some flair, featuring outlandish stage costumes and bearing the stage names of Air, Water, Earth and Fire. But this band wasnt only for the sight the music was very impressing too and the early material are considered to be among the best of the genre. ‘Cloven Hoof’, the eponymous album from 1984 boasted an impressive array of classic heavy metal songwriting, including the group’s namesake ’Cloven Hoof’, the Old Testament-themed ‘Return of the Passover’, and the stunning ‘The Gates of Gehenna’. With their cinematic, fantasy metal lyrics, epic lengths, and complex arrangements, these efforts aspired to (and only barely fell short of) the grandeur achieved by earlier N.W.O.B.H.M. powers like Diamond Head, Witchfynde, and, most notably, Iron Maiden. Their live album ‘Fighting Back’ came out on the small Moondancer records and have during the years became a really hard to find album. ‘Fighting Back’ sounds unusually honest – keeping its flair of theatricality and killer stage shows. It starts with a countdown and explodes into ‘Reach For the Sky’, a fast and energetic tune, which at once displays Cloven Hoof’s imagery and ability to perform. The vocalist Rob Hendrick didn’t record anything else with the band, but is absolutely flaw-free and charismatic here. The songs are focused about their chorus, which mostly is worth to kill for, but of different constructions. Even ballads like ‘Daughter of Darkness’ have an edge to it. ‘Heavy Metal Men of Steel’ is the kind of hard-hitting anthem that beats Manowar in every possible aspect. Imagine strong vocals, a few high-pitched screams thrown in for good measure and sci-fi cheesy lyrics so goofy that one must love them.

We’ll burn the world
And turn the tide
Global domination our goal
We’re taking over you
Thought control
We’ll blast your mind
And Your soul
With thermonuclear Rock ‘N’ Roll!

The last line though, reads “Making music that will never die”, and for many of the songs on Fighting Back this is a truth. But not for every song. ‘Raised on Rock’, the Saxon light songs would perhaps have been acceptable if it wasn’t for the constant bloody ‘eyo’ sounds and an otherwise pointless chorus. ‘Could This Be Love’ is a sweet ballad of one’s first love, they even bring in the organs for this one, but it has not withstood the ravages of time. The sub-par songs are not longer than they can be heard or more than they can be skipped though – and definitely fully counteracted by such godly pieces of art as ‘Reach For the Sky’, ‘Heavy Metal Men of Steel’ and the majestic, epic, with oriental touches wonderful closer ‘Eye of the Sun’. This song is by the way also used as the title track on their return album, but in a weaker version – mostly due to the vocals of Matt Moreton can’t match Rob Hendrick’s. ‘Fighting Back’ is unreasonably musically successful, and contains a lot of songs that one cant find anywhere else, so a Cloven Hoof fan (and who isn’t?) really can’t go wrong with it.

Track listing:
1. Reach for the Sky
2. The Fugitive
3. Daughter Of Darkness
4. Heavy Metal Men Of Steel
5. Raised On Rock
6. Break it Up
7. Could This Be Love?
8. Eye Of The Sun

Additional information


High Roller Records

Catalogue Number

HRR 558

Release Year