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Cloven Hoof – ‘The Definitive Part One and Two’

posted 9 Apr 2018, 11:32 by Paul Woodward

(Metal Nation)

Review by Woody

The Black Country’s Cloven Hoof are a cult NWOBHM band who built up a small but dependable fanbase in the Eighties. When Hoof’s principal songwriter Lee Payne resurrected the band in the mid-Noughties he decided to re-record cuts from the band’s four hey-day albums not only as an introduction to new fans but also to freshen up the songs with modern production. Most NWOBHM from back in the day’s productions was quite weak and many genre classics I find hard to listen to as they haven’t aged well, So Payne’s decision to re-record is not surprising. That album was only sold at gigs and was never officially released until now and even though it’s ten years old that better production Payne gave the songs still holds up. ‘The Definitive part one’ is that album and it’s very British and very old school NWOBHM obviously. It surprises me the band never attained more success as these songs highlight what a quality act they were, soaring vocals, fast paced guitars, pumping bass, dramatic lyrics and its overall pompous and overblown metal that would definitely tick all the prerequisite boxes of the average NWOBHM fan demands. Even if you own the original albums this album should still be picked up as it’s an exemplary example of the genre’s heyday!

‘The Definitive part two’ is a collection of material recorded by the band since Payne reformed the Hoof, none of it officially released, so essential for Hoof fans to get their hands on. It shows an evolution in Payne’s song writing, as there is a much more modern vibe to these newer songs but it is still very NWOBHM and easily identifiable as Payne compositions. It features various vocalists as the band have struggled to keep a singer onboard for various reasons, so there is a mix of vocal styles which makes for an intriguing listen. For me the highlight of this album are the four songs which they recorded with Lee Small. Now I’ve heard Small sing many styles but never NWOBHM and he does a fantastic job here and he stands out over the other vocalists to me. Now the songs on this album may not be as good as the older material but they are still enjoyable top quality old school metal.

If you’re a fan of NWOBHM you’d you be doing yourself a disservice not checking out the Hoof!

Album Rating: 8/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Age Of Steel

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