Never short of an appetite for well-crafted and ferociously passionate thrash metal it is fair to say that it was easy to find an eager taste for Walking Through Hell, the debut album from Hidden Intent. Eleven tracks which embroil the senses, the release is a pungently addictive and contagious encounter. It is an encounter where arguably dramatic originality has taken a break and the tracks at times hold too much similarity amongst themselves to stand out as potently as they should, but nothing defuses the thrilling and rabid presence of the album and its unbridled persuasion on thoughts and passions.
Hailing from Adelaide, South Australia, Hidden Intent began early 2011, formed by bassist/vocalist Chris McEwen (Abyzmal, Troops of Doom, Obsidian Aspect) and lead guitarist Phil Bennett (Desert Eagle, Metallica Black Album Tribute, Iron Maiden Tribute). After the loss of their original drummer and an intensive search, Jay Rahaley (Blood Mason, Treachery) was recruited to the ranks of the band, a stability which has maybe not by chance seen the band emerge as a stronger proposition outside of their locality and homeland. Inspired by the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Iron Maiden, and Sepultura, it is maybe no surprise that their sound is steeped in old school thrash metal, heavily seeded but still with enough invention and imagination to bypass predictability and provide a compelling encounter. Last November saw the band release Walking Through Hell but it is now with its wider release through Punishment 18 Records that the band could and should find a ravenous new market.
Starting with Confession, basically a sample from the film American Psycho, the album takes a proper grip on attention and thoughts with the following title track. Stabbing air with crisp strikes of drums and riffs it is a potent start but it is the rumbling throaty crawl of the bass which first excites. Its dark menacing tone persist its stalking across the subsequent even paced tempest of riffs and drum antagonism which surrounds the ears. The vocals of McEwen are enjoyable and eager, if at times unpredictable, but it is his bass offering which steals the passions early on, though that is soon challenged by the excellent flume of grooves which writhe within the predacious crawl and charge of riffs which switch persistently across the song. With a great guitar solo flaming as a greater rabidity spills its hunger, the track is an enthralling and thrilling introduction.
Through Your Eyes swiftly picks up the baton, taking a measured approach before launching into another surging torrent of voracious riffs, punishing rhythms, and richly barbed hooks. Little additives like resonance, sonic seducing, and combative increases of energy ignite the tracks uniqueness but for the main the body of the song is similar to its predecessor and gratefully consumed before Betrayed stalks ears and imagination. It opens with a steady intimidating gait but is soon chugging along as the vocals unveil their feisty narrative. Though it is not the most memorable track on the album, in its company it is impossible for neck muscles and body to resist its sinewed temptation and infectious if volatile charm. What is memorable is the additional sinister and atmospheric bass led piece of intrigue springing straight after the song, an unnamed instrumental between tracks which offers a delicious respite which is needed to give the imagination a different exploration and body time to take a breath.
Both Die Inside and Good Friday Thrash push riveting guises around the recognisable core thrash sound, the first bringing swiping vocal calls and greater incendiary grooves into the gallops of riffery and rhythmic entrapment whilst its successor almost preys as it skirts of the senses initially, though the urge to release the handbrake and bring an urgency to its predation is eventually too much to hold back. The pair enthrals and impresses with a mouthwatering array of bass and guitar imagination, those elements we mentioned which make the band stand out without breaking into new pastures finding their most irresistible bait, certainly within Die Inside.
By this part of the album songs merge a little though enjoyment is just as high, and you occasionally find yourself simply looking for differences rather than enjoying the moment. Get What You Can Get thoughbrings tight and ridiculously addictive grooves to its thrash armoury whilst Face Your Demon and Creature of Habit unleash a disputatious confrontation and roving grooves respectively all adding to the enticement of the constant hunger confronting the release.
Closing on the exciting temptation of Black Hole, the track a strike of gripping invention and urgency and probably the most original song on the album, Walking Through Hell is a masterful riot of thrash metal. Yes it lacks true originality and some songs work better away from the body of the album rather in the wash of familiarity which coats the release but it has to be said it is one of the most enjoyable and exciting thrash albums this year and probably last, and those bass and guitar moments alone just feed the strongest desires.
It is easy to expect Hidden Intent to make a big break-through in the near future, and more of the same would do very nicely.
Walking Through Hell is available now through Punishment 18 Records and @ http://hiddenintent.bandcamp.com/album/walking-through-hell
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from