CLOVEN HOOF – Time Assassin

CLOVEN HOOF - Time Assassin
  • 9.5/10
    CLOVEN HOOF - Time Assassin - 9.5/10


Label: Pure Steel Records
Release date: March 11, 2022

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When does new become old? Or is it the other way around?

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal still has some novelty for you. Time Assassin is the 9th album of the veterans from Cloven Hoof. They have been around for a while but never gained quite as much notoriety as their counterpart from Iron Maiden. Perhaps it is the fault of an ever-changing lineup. It is a shame when they have just delivered one of the best albums of the year. Lee Payne is still steering his ship with crewmates living up to the task with Time Assassin.

They have this distinctive touch of the NWOBHM but they draw other influences into the mix: a tinge of Thrash here, a little Folk or Pagan there, some Symphonic accents to top it all. The vocals are rather versatile, both aggressive and sometimes operatic (Dickinsonesque, yes that is an adjective and a compliment.) The guitars are rough and galloping, backed up by a solid rhythmic section. What more do you need? Ah yes, a good dose of inspiration and Lee Payne has it.

The composition of Time Assassin is extremely well-thought: all of the songs have a distinctive atmosphere and there is no useless repetition. Yet the album retains coherence as it evolves from killer tracks, with speed and aggressive choruses to more progressive tunes. For the fans of the early hours, you will find some echoes to their previous concept album Dominator.

The Universe is Well-Guarded

Right from the start with “Guardians Of The Universe”, you know that this album is special. The mix of classic Heavy Metal and Power is particularly efficient. “Liquidator” is leaning towards the Thrash side: it almost sounds like Kreator. The drums are hammering with unparalleled conviction. For the beginning of the album, the production is decent, rather modern, which is a definitive improvement since the first albums of Cloven Hoof.

The mid-tempo “After Forever” initiates a change in the mood, with light keyboard accents. From then on, things gain a touch of epic and dramatic. “Beltaine Fire” is a highlight on the album with a nod at old Rainbow songs with their pagan influences, as well as “Highway Man”.

And with all this, you’re almost at the end. “Tokyo Knights” would not stand out of an album of modern Power Band (Battle Beast and the likes.) Though it is not exactly a new aesthetic: this topsy turvy, disturbing and scary underworld of carnival, “Carnival Of Lost Souls” remains an outstanding piece with a really catchy chorus. Time to chant WE WANT MORE!

Challenging Time

Time Assassin is the good surprise of 2022. Highly entertaining, with solid compositions, this album proves, if need be, the value of experience. Cloven Hoof is standing the test of time with high honours. So whether you are a die-hard fan of Cloven Hoof, or just discovering the marvels of NWOBHM, Time Assassin is a must-have. And the nice sci-fi inspired artwork is less likely to become as cheesy as, let’s say Dominator’s cover.


  • Séverine Peraldino

    Reviewer, interviewer and apprentice photographer for Metal Express Radio, Séverine comes from a small place in the Southern French Alps, near Grenoble. Her taste for classic Heavy Metal is a family heritage and after growing up listening to Iron Maiden, Dio, Metallica and Angra she expanded her horizons with almost every subgenre of Metal, from Power, to Prog, a little bit of Death and Black Metal. She mostly enjoys albums telling stories with originality. When she is not travelling around for concerts and festivals, you can find her reading a good book, or playing board games with friends.

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