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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Cloven Hoof (UK) - 1984 Cloven Hoof
Cloven Hoof (UK) - 1984 Cloven Hoof

ARTIST: Cloven Hoof (UK)
ALBUM: Cloven Hoof
LABEL: Neat Records
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2002, Castle Music, CMRCD544


LINEUP: Dave Potter (Water) - vocals * Steve Rounds (Fire) - guitar * Lee Payne (Air) - bass * Kevin Poutney (Earth) - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cloven Hoof * 02 Nightstalker * 03 March Of The Damned * 04 The Gates Of Gehenna * 05 Crack The Whip * 06 Laying Down The Law * 07 Return Of The Passover


Undoubtedly one of the more interesting bands to originate from the NWOBHM was Cloven Hoof, perhaps Wolverhampton's finest metal export. First appearing in 1979, the bands head honcho Lee Payne devised a fairly comical gimmick where all the band members undertook super hero like images based on the demise of the world as we know it, hence the nicknames above. The bands costumes were suitably garish and veered on the demonic side of things, perhaps an opponent for Angel or Kiss' bloated outfits. Despite the image the bands early E.P's demonstrated a certain innovation, with some lengthy mystical tracks mixed with traditional metal of the heaviest order. The satanic overtones were toned down by the proper debut, but the lyrical themes remained to some extent. Sensibly the band decided that true denim and leather clad metal was the way to go.

The Songs
Why this album isn't properly recognized as a metal great is a mystery to me. Although it hit the shelves in 1984, years after most of the purveyors of the NWOBHM made their marks, there's enough innovation that sets it apart from many a dodgy band of the same ilk. Cloven Hoof may have had the image of an early Black Metal band, but convincingly they manage to blend every kind of metal imaginable while even pulling off shades of progressive rock. The epic title track opens in a manner reminiscent of Demon's early work, with sinister musical shadings, but it soon develops into crunching metal of the time, with outstanding choral work and mentions of witches and evil doing. The utter grit of 'Night Stalker' is metal at its most dirty and gutter level, with a riff attack that for me tears apart even the most accomplished British bands. I can't recommend this more highly for those who prefer this kind of metal. 'March Of The Damned' is a short instrumental with vague Iron Maiden guitar harmonies which leads into the storming 'Gates Of Gehenna' which gallops along nicely, with some Rob Halford inspired screams from Dave Potter. Changing tack for 'Crack The Whip' the band this time emulates AC/DC with highly charged riffs and overtly sexual lyrics that show another side to their repertoire. The final minute is brutal, with a riff and chant that makes AC/DC themselves look almost tame. Potter adds the icing with his gruff delivery, showing great range with the different styles the band pursues. 'Laying Down The Law' is another ferocious track, this time the melody more prominent amidst the bluster. The ambitious nine minute 'Return Of The Passover' is another grand achievement, with endless guitar solos taking in an assortment of styles, sometimes harmonic, at other times unrestrained and purposely evil. There's a lot to take in, but it all works with the framework of the NWOBHM.

In Summary
Cloven Hoof are still going today, with the only constant member in their history being Payne. There's been various albums over the years, some of them with pretensions towards melodic rock, but mostly sticking to the tried and tested metal of the debut. It has to be said that Potter was missed on the later works, with the vocals lacking some of the toughness he possessed. Don't let the bands early image and name fool you however, this is on the same level as the most stale legends of the NWOBHM.. you know who I mean.

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#1 | Eric on August 11 2013 14:04:17
I remember their early pics in Kerrang! were ridiculous although I liked their 1989 album 'A Sultans Ransom'.
#2 | gdazegod on August 11 2013 14:14:40
I've got this album. Kinda like it..
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