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Cloven Hoof - Age of Steel

Cloven Hoof
Age of Steel
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 09 April 2020, 9:48 AM

CLOVEN HOOF is a 5-Piece NWOBHM band from Wolverhampton, England. The longstanding English band is back with another album and first since ‘’Who Mourns for the Morning Star?’’ that was released back in 2017. This is also the first album to feature new Drummer Mark Bristow and new Lead Guitarist Ash Baker. You have some influx of new talent that brings a bit more to the table.

The reformed back in 2001 after a 11-year hiatus and have had their fair share of lineup changes but nothing that changes the dynamic of the band yet the only consistent member is original member Lee Payne. This is his band and he has been through the highs and lows of the reformation and band reorganization. I do believe CLOVEN HOOF was supposed to come to Montreal in 2020 for the release of this album and it would have given me a glimpse into what their were offering (if I ever decided to come to the show or not obviously!).

I feel that they were passed over in a sense in the genre and in that movement they were lost in the shuffle. So many bands passed them over like SAXON, DIAMOND HEAD, GRIM REAPER and they were a bit forgotten in a sense. Yet their material had enormous reputation and went truly under the radar. The band has rebuilt themselves time and time again but this time, I truly believe the cohesion and chemistry is on point. They took it up a notch and mixed some Traditional Power Metal with their NWOBHM roots.

It sucks when bands get forgotten like that but their material does live on thankfully. If you listen to their first few albums, they are very theatrical and a real roller coaster of a ride. They were trendsetters and I really am happy they came back in the early 2000’s and this might be the most complete album to date. This might be the best album since ‘’A Sultan’s Ransom’’ and a real throwback. They are legitimately back and yet embraced their roots. It’s a rather effective, stress relief type of album. They proved that without a shadow of a doubt to the low quality of many bands in the era that tried to come back, that they were able to do it. They could cut it and even though they never achieved the successes of bands like SAXON, IRON MAIDEN or JUDAS PRIEST, they were able to keep with the legacy of the genre without compromising their sound.

This new album cements themselves as true underdogs of the genre and a catalyst for things to come from the olden age of NWOBHM.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Bathory
2. Alderley Edge
3. Apathy
4. Touch the Rainbow
5. Bedlam
6. Ascension
7. Gods of War
8. Victim of the Furies
9. Judas
10. Age of Steel
Lineup:
Mark Bristow – Drums
Ash Baker – Lead Guitars
Lee Payne – Bass
Chris Coss – Rhythm Guitars
George Call - Vocals
Record Label: Pure Steel Records
     


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