From a very young age I was fully aware that Cloven Hoof would become one of my favorite bands. A single spin of Dominator back in 1996 was more than enough. The rest of the discography just confirmed it and those unforgettable concerts featuring the Dominator and Sultan’s Ransom line-up, solidified it for the rest of my metal loving life. The band had returned but wasn’t going to tread on rose pedals. Turmoil, constant line-up changes, clashes and breakdowns couldn’t give any room to a steady and creative environment. The last years though have been very different and show evident marks of creative development and stability, especially after the boost that the American injection named George Call gave to the band. Who Mourns for the Morning Star was the first decisive step back in 2017. The Age of Steel comes to retain the ground won and keep the band on a successful orbit. Although the result is so close to Iron Maiden, not only because of Call’s similarities to Dickinson but also because of the way that some composes have been arranged (for example Touch the Rainbow screams The Evil that Men Do), they are not the first and definitely not the last to be inspired and influenced by the fellow Brits. What we have here is a well crafted album with the right sound and flawless musicianship that provides quality entertainment and honors the band’s legacy.
Anyone seeking the sonic equivalent of those classic albums that left their permanent mark in the 80s, will simply continue his fruitless search. The Age of Steel cannot stand right beside those historic metal moments, I don’t think that this was ever the case for the realistic and down to earth listener, but proudly represents the 2020 Cloven Hoof. It is very important to present quality work after 40 years of career and 30 since your heyday and your brightest achievements. Despite the overall saturation of the scene, there is definitely a place out there for bands like Cloven Hoof. Their tenacity and experience can be an inspiration and a bright example for many of the newcomers.