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On disc: Cloven Hoof

- Cloven Hoof - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

Cloven Hoof

Cloven Hoof
(Sanctuary - 1984/2002)

Are you ready for a travel back in time? Back to the U.K. 20 years ago? If you are, then it's time for Cloven Hoof! This re-release will take you back in time. Actually they started back in 1979 as Night Stalker, but in 1982 they changed to Coven Hoof and released - on their own - the 4 track EP The Opening Ritual. They were part of the second part of the NWoBHM and they pushed the limits a little further. The 4 members named themselves after the forces of nature: Water (vocals), Fire (guitar), Air (bass) and Earth (drums). But that wasn't the only thing which made them different to other bands that days, the quartet added visual effects which at that time only KISS and Alice Cooper used. In 1984 they finally signed with Neat Records and released this album, their self-named debut. On the re-release you find also 3 bonus tracks taken from the famous BBC Friday Rock Show. The songs were recorded in October 1983 even before debut was released and 2 of the tracks ended up on the debut. A good chance to see the progress.
Musically you can't compare them with nowadays bands, but they seems to take influence on some 90's bands, you can hear that when you listen to it. March Of The Damned is a bombastic intro for the following track The Gates Of Gehenna which starts with guitar riffing and the drums remind me of an early Iron Maiden song, but there are also musical elements which remind me of early Mercyful Fate, just to give you an idea about their music. Actually this track is taken from their demo and so it probably was written before this bands wrote their songs. Due to the limited time a vinyl offered there are just 7 tracks on the original release. Some tracks might remind you of more known tracks from the early 80's, but they were part of this scene, but never were as popular as some of their colleagues.
In the booklet you get a little history lesson by Malcom Dome, former editor of famous British Kerrang! Magazine and now part of Total Rock. Beside that there are the lyrics, a discography and some member info.
Thanks to Sanctuary Records to bring back some of the best NWoBHM bands and the classic Neat Records releases! Well, I really enjoyed the travel back in time! I'm happy that I can listen to this stuff again! Hope that more re-releases of that era will follow!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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