Sunday Old School: Cloven Hoof
The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal really is a treasure chest when it comes to music. There are so many bands from the movement that produced some oustanding metal but never got the recognition they deserved. One of the best examples of such treatment would be Cloven Hoof, the band hailing from the city of Wolverhampton. Formed in 1979, it was three years before the group were able to record a demo tape and gain the attention of heavy metal fans and record labels. Initially the members attempted to stand out from their peers by using pseudonyms and decided that each member would be named after the four elements, Earth, water, fire and air. While using this gimmick, Cloven Hoof were able to self-release an EP entitled, "The Opening Ritual," which did very well and was championed by members of the heavy metal and hard rock press in the United Kingdom and the United States alike and led them to be able to record a prestigious session for the Tommy Vance friday rock show. Based on the success of the EP, the band signed to Neat Records soon after, who were known for releasing records by many other New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands such as Blitzkrieg and Raven. The result was their self-titled debut full length, which like "The Opening Ritual," achieved massive critical acclaim. However, internal tensions became a problem and after releasing a live album entitled, "Fighting Back" in 1986, the band called it a day.
Cloven Hoof would resurface in 1988 however, being brought back to life by bass player Lee Payne who recruited vocalist Russ North and a host of other new members. With a new sense of enthusiasm and dedication, the band decided to drop their stage names in favour of their own and get to work on a new album, which materialised the same year in the form, "Dominator." This new record saw the band move from the standard heavy metal style of their contemporaries into a power metal territory, a formula which followed them to their next album, "A Sultan's Ransom." Both of these albums were well received by fans and featured songs which have since become live staples. Despite their perceived success, the group once again broke up in 1990 as a result of contractual difficulties.
In the early period of the last decade, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal saw a resurgence in popularity and many of the bands reunited as a result. Payne decided around this time to reform Cloven Hoof but unfortunately, none of the former members were interested, leaving Payne to recruit a brand new lineup. Pre-existing contractual problems were still haunting the band however, and it wasn't to be until 2006 that the group released a new studio album, which came in the form of "Eye Of The Sun." Not long after this release though, former vocalist Russ North finally accepted the offer to return to the band and the duo of himself and Payne went about recruiting new musicians for the lineup, which eventually included former drummer Jon Brown. This new stable re-recorded a selection of older tracks for a compilation album entitled, "The Definitive Part 1," which was released in 2008. North left the band the next year however, despite recording his vocals for an EP of new material called, "Throne Of Damnation." As a result of his exit, the band hired singer Matt Moreton, who had previously sung on the "Eye Of The Sun" album, to record his own vocals and the EP finally saw the light of day in 2010. Currently, Cloven Hoof have plans to record a new studio album and have kept their profile alive by releasing a live DVD this past December.
Cloven Hoof - Highlander
Cloven Hoof - Mistress Of The Forest
Cloven Hoof - The Gates Of Gehenna
Cloven Hoof - Nova Battlestar
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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