Cloven Hoof have always been a true Heavy Metal band, they were a timely reminder of what made Heavy Metal great with their dedication to the genre and their refusal to “tone down their music”, going as far as to reject the chance to open for ‘Toto’ as it would have meant compromising on their sound to suit the emerging Glam Metal scene. Formed in 1982 by bassist Lee Payne, the band went through several line up changes before finally having their first stable line up in 1982, comprising of Lee Payne on bass, Kevin Pountney on Drums, Steve Rounds on guitar and David Potter on vocals. After playing gigs all around the country, their first demo was discovered by none other than Robert Plant to took it to Atlantic Records, as well as Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford. The record would get extensive play in the U.S. on various radio stations, creating a real buzz and appetite for a debut album from the talented Stourbridge based outfit. Cloven Hoof were then taken under the wing of ex Black Sabbath and Judas Priest manager David Hemmings, and released their first EP entitled ‘The Opening Ritual’ in 1982. The release of this EP brought about real chart and sales success, and began to attract the interest of a number of major labels. However Hemming sadly passed away in early 1983 and the promise of a major record deal soon became a distant memory. They would go on to sign with Newcastle based ‘Neat Records’ later that same year.
The band then released their first full length album (‘Cloven Hoof’) in 1984, to some critical acclaim. By 1985 they had sold over 180,000 copies world wide and received critical acclaim particularly across main land Europe. Despite this success, the band were yet to break it in their home country despite huge success in Belgium and Poland. Shortly after this release David Potter left the band, to be replaced by former ‘Trapeze’ guitarist Rob Kendrick. The band only managed to release one live album ‘Fighting Back’ in 1986 before the band split up due to other personal commitments and the emergence of Glam Metal, leaving founder Lee Payne as the only remaining member.
In 1988 Lee Payne restarted the band with ‘Tredegar’ vocalist Russ North, and guitarist Andy Wood, along with drummer Jon Brown. With a new line up, the band signed to Heavy Metal Records and went into the studio to record the album ‘Dominator’ later that year. In 1989 they then released the album ‘A Sultan’s Ransom’, however after more difficulties the band would then split up again. Lee Payne would then put together a new line up for the reincarnation of Cloven Hoof in 2001, and in 2006 they released their latest studio album ‘Eye Of The Sun’. The band would undertake further line up changes over time however they went on to play at many of Europe’s biggest rock festivals and toured regularly. One of their stand out shows being a home town show in 2013 where they played at the famous Wolverhampton Civic Hall alongside fellow metal bands ‘Jameson Raid’ and ‘Hollow Ground’.