|Origin||Wolverhampton, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Heavy metal, power metal|
|Labels||High Roller Records,
|Tredegar, Dementia, UK/DC|
|Members||Lee Payne, Luke Hatton, George Call, Chris Coss, Danny White|
Cloven Hoof are a heavy metal band from Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, that was active from 1979 to 1990, and again from around 2000 onwards. The band was associated with the new wave of British heavy metal movement, alongside bands such as Iron Maiden, Saxon and Diamond Head. Enduring many line-up changes, only founding bassist Lee Payne has remained present throughout the band's career.
Cloven Hoof went through a number of early line-up changes before settling on a steady line-up that would last for their first few recordings. Theatrical from the beginning, the four band members took up pseudonyms based on the four elements: David "Water" Potter, Steve "Fire" Rounds, Lee "Air" Payne and Kevin "Earth" Poutney. This line-up recorded a successful demo tape in 1982, along with The Opening Ritual EP, and the debut Cloven Hoof album.
Following the release of their self-titled debut, David Potter left the band to be replaced by Rob Kendrick, who took up the "Water" pseudonym. This line-up only managed to record the live album Fighting Back before splitting up, leaving Lee Payne as the sole remaining band member.
With a whole new set of musicians in place, the band dropped the stage names and went on to record two more albums: 1988's Dominator and 1989's A Sultan's Ransom. Former member of Tredegar Lee Jones was brought into the band as a second guitarist soon after the release of these two albums, but contractual difficulties caused the band to split up again in 1990.
In the summer of 2001, Lee Payne began putting together a new line-up for the next incarnation of Cloven Hoof (following a telephone conversation with Andy Wood regarding the contractual difficulties which had caused the band's decade-long split.)
Eye of the Sun was recorded and released in 2006, with the help of musicians Matt Moreton on vocals, Andy Shortland on guitars, and Lynch Radinsky on drums. Tom Galley produced the album. Due to the work commitments of various band members it was impossible for the unit to play live, so Lee Payne was once again obliged to enlist new personnel.
Vocalist Russ North returned to England and rejoined the band, after a period of time spent living in Spain. Eventually the band's line-up was completed by Mick Powell and Ben Read on guitars, with Jon Brown on drums.
On 27 June 2009, Cloven Hoof appeared at the Bang Your Head!!! festival in Balingen, Germany. They featured on the bill alongside bands such as W.A.S.P., U.D.O., Blind Guardian and Journey, playing their set in torrential rain.
The track Nightstalker, from the band's debut album, was used in the soundtrack for the Brtal Legend computer game.
On 13 December 2010, Cloven Hoof released their first DVD, A Sultan's Ransom - Video Archive, comprising footage of a 1989 concert at Lichfield Art Centre and also featuring two music videos for the songs Mad, Mad World and Highlander, both from A Sultan's Ransom.
2011 saw Lee Payne rebuilding the band, bringing in guitarist Joe Whelan from the band Dementia and guitarist Chris Coss from UK/DC, along with drummer Mark Gould and Ash Cooper on vocals. This line-up released a music video called I'm Your Nemesis and an updated version of "Nightstalker".
Russ North parted company with Cloven Hoof for a final time in July 2012, following a controversial performance in Cyprus. Mark Gould left the band in August 2012, with Jake Oseland replacing him on drums in time for a series of live dates in 2013.
On 27 April 2013, Cloven Hoof played a concert at the Parkhotel Hall in Tirol, Austria. The show was recorded by producer Patrick Engel for a future live album release. A studio album, provisionally entitled Resist or Serve, was planned for release on High Roller Records.
On 23 June 2013, Cloven Hoof played at the R-Mine Festival in Belgium, on a bill which included Hell, Tygers of Pan Tang and Tank. This was followed by an appearance at the Heavy Metal Night 6 Festival in Italy on 21 September 2013.
In 2014, Cloven Hoof were added to the bill for the Sweden Rock Festival, with Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper. An appearance at the Power and Glory Festival in Hatfield was scheduled for 23 August 2014, with further European tour dates due to take place throughout the year.