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Cloven Hoof: Age Of Steel
Cloven Hoof - Age Of Steel Art

Cloven Hoof: Age Of Steel

Traditional Heavy Metal
4.5/5.0

In the discourse about the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM) there are many bands that loom large in the genre's history. Angel Witch to Diamond Head to Def Leppard. Of course, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest. But let's not forget Cloven Hoof. While quite immersed in the sounds of the time, in their early years the band borrowed some swagger, and costumes, from 70's theatrical glam rock by dressing up as the four elements. Yet, while surviving mostly in the underground, they evolved to be an influential heavy metal band that other bands, to this day, cite as peers. Now Cloven Hoof, with only original member and bassist Lee Payne at the helm, return with their latest and eighth album, Age Of Steel. The album features new players, drummer Mark Bristow and guitarist Ash Baker.

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Cloven Hoof

With one spin, you'll find plenty of traditional NWoBHM musical elements in every Cloven Hoof arrangement. Twin guitars for riff harmony. Large guitar solos. Gallop and rock groove from a sturdy rhythm section. Assertive, yet melodic and clean vocals from veteran vocalist George Call (Aska, Warrion, et al). Moreover, across the album, I found the Cloven Hoof metal to sound more dense and expansive, even lush if you will, and then more intricate at times. All good things, and notable within Bathory, Age Of Steel, Victim Of The Furies, and especially the lightly complex, Alderley Edge. But that latter song, along with Bathory, Judas, and Ascension offer the listener a solid amount of speed, allowing Cloven Hoof to drift into power metal realms. Alternatively, Bedlam stays steady and heavy where the riffs and rhythm section are the strength of the song. To mess with your musical perception, Tough The Rainbow offers Call's voice of lighter guitars with the expectation of a metal ballad. But no. A few minutes in, the song leaps into some blistering power metal and doesn't slow down.

All in all, Cloven Hoof's Age Of Steel demonstrates the band's generous heavy metal creativity and legendary longevity. This is classic and traditional heavy metal made fresh and relevant for a new day. Easily recommended.



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The Bottom Line

All in all, Cloven Hoof's Age Of Steel demonstrates the band's generous heavy metal creativity and legendary longevity. This is classic and traditional heavy metal made fresh and relevant for a new day. Easily recommended.

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