Tuesday 31 May 2022

Sergeant Thunderhoof - The Sceptred Veil (Album Review)

Release Date: June 03rd 2022. Record Label: Pale Wizard Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Sceptred Veil - Tracklisting

You've Stolen The Words

Devil's Daughter

Absolute Blue


Woman Call

King Beyond The Gates

Show Don't Tell

Avalon Part 1

Avalon Part 2


Dan Flitcroft - Vocals

Mark Sayer - Guitars

Darren Ashman - Drums

Jim Camp - Bass


The Sceptred Veil is the new full length album from UK Stoner Metallers Sergeant Thunderhoof who have been building up a more Progressive Rock/Metal presence over their last few releases. This album sees "The Hoof" live upto their true creative potential with an album that blends 70s Prog Rock imagery with modern day Stoner Metal flair and flamboyance that does see the band over-indulge with their heavy proggy grooves on this album. That's no complaint all with Sergeant Thunderhoof playing some mighty fine heavy grooves and lyrics that could even make Boss Keloid envy with jealousy in places.

The album is quite adapt at switching musical sounds which you can here from the stunning opening track "You've Stolen The Words". A song that has classic "The Hoof" feel but with a world-weary and true-to-life attitude. The song has many different waves of Psych Stoner Rock/Metal with a haunting gloomy ambient score towards the end of the song. However, it's when the band switch to a more "Post-Doom" based sound where you can feel and hear the true difference from the band even moving into YOB-esque sonic style passages.

Second song Devil's Daughter is a more direct song with band diving right into the action with Classic Hard Rock melodies and soaring vocals from Dan. The guitars from Mark are quite precise with a psychedelic riff being played for extended periods of time. The song has a simple structure but one that boasts a mighty Progressive flow which moves into heavier areas of Psych Stoner Rock. Parts 90's Alt Rock and Classic Hard Rock energy for a song that still remains thoroughly modern. Add cool sounding distorted Psychedelic guitars and another virtuoso vocal performance near the end of the song and Sergeant Thunderhoof play one of the standout tracks on the album.

Sergeant Thunderhoof do go all out on this album with the album running past the sixty six minutes mark and they add a more "theatrical" atmosphere to the album which comes into focus on the excellent third song Absolute Blue. A song that once again combines pitch perfect melodies, vocals and the socially aware lyrics that sees the songwriting come on leaps and bounds since their 2014 celebrated debut release.

The band take a diverse range of musical influences and sounds on this release with shades of 70's UK Prog Rock and 80's Classic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal without you fully realizing this. The band do venture into what I personally call the "Post-Whatever" element of the Doom/Stoner Rock underground on the majority of the album. Absolute Blue, Foreigner, Woman Call and the amazing two-part powerhouse tracks Avalon Part 1 and Avalon Part 2.

Though, "The Hoof" do have some fun with the catchy and groove-laiden track "Show Don't Tell". A song that is unashamedly classic hard rock and heavy metal with a touch of seedy glamour whilst retaining The Hoof's definitive sound. 

The final two songs (Avalon Part 1 and Avalon Part 2) are the best parts of the album and perhaps the finest songs that "The Hoof" have written to date. With the songs moving between elements of Classic Hard Rock, Stoner Metal and Psych Rock and Prog Metal, that can be quite emotionally draining in places but one that offers parts of almost uplifting "Post-Rock" or "Post-Stoner" grooves that will last long in the memory.

The Sceptred Veil is a CLASSIC album in every sense of the word which is helped along by first rate production values. This album sees Sergeant Thunderhoof the top of their game and perhaps even go further into the mainstream. 

On this form, Sergeant Thunderhoof may have just released my favourite ALBUM OF THE YEAR so far. 

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Jade at Memphia Music PR & Management for the promo.

The Sceptred Veil will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Pale Wizard Records from June 03rd 2022.


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