The appeal of forgotten relics of NWOBHM often comes from raw innocence and youthful energy, regardless of the bands never climbing to the heights of heavyweights such as Maiden or Saxon. Everyone loves an underdog, and Cloven Hoof’s now cult status and earlier gritty sound may serve as a more authentic time capsule for the genre than the bigger bands who broke out. This is an almost all-new lineup of fresh blood from America, bassist and mastermind Lee Payne or ‘Air’, being the last of the band’s original Four Elements personas. Thankfully he’s still retained some of the band’s trademark sound despite a slicker approach and without trying to revisit former glories. Who Mourns… is much more accomplished than the rustic, almost punk-tinged clamour of earlier works, thanks to a more bombastic modern production and a singer who can bring each composition to higher peaks with his versatile range. Doubtless some purists will argue that now the grime and street-level sound is gone, the band may have lost some of their charm.
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