The legendary British heavy metallers CLOVEN HOOF return with their ninth album “Time Assassin”, and the expectation is quite high as their previous record, “Age of Steel“, gave some excellent samples of heavy metal such as “Judas”, “Touch the Rainbow” and “Victim of the Furies” that the old fans liked a lot. Their new effort follows the same direction, with a much stronger emphasis on powerful and high-energetic songs.
At first, we must say that with this album the band puts an end to the wishful thinking of some old fans who still hope for an album similar in sound to “Dominator” or “A Sultan’s Ransom“. “Time Assassin” follows the CLOVEN HOOF sound from 2005 and afterwards, and some songs present the heaviest face of the band until now. “Liquidator” and “Lords of Death” are perhaps the bands most aggressive songs, like a mixture of JUDAS PRIEST’s “Jugulator” with ICED EARTH’s “Horror Show“. The same holds for “Time Assassin” and, in general, half of the albums’ songs are in this direction. Difficult, non-melodic songs, quite aggressive, that the old fans of the band will probably won’t like, but some more modern heavy metal fans will perhaps find the power and the energy of those songs appealing.
The big surprise of the album comes in the last 4 songs. The melodies we met in “Age of Steel” return and raise the level of the album. Especially “Tokyo Knights” and “Carnival of Lost Souls” are very good tracks, and it’s a shame that the album doesn’t have more songs like those. “Beltaine Fire” and “Highway Man” are also good, with nice melodic vocals by George Call, who doesn’t sound like an angry version of “Ripper” Owens, like in the first part of the album.
In general, “Time Assassin” has a lot of energy and power and the fans of modern power/heavy metal will like the album in its totality, but perhaps a more traditional fan would expect more melodies and less “screams” and “noisy production”. But even for the traditional metalheads, the album has several “classic” and more melodic moments that those fans will enjoy and appreciate.