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Hidden Intent - Walking Through Hell

Hidden Intent
Walking Through Hell
by Andrew Sifari at 06 May 2014, 11:27 AM

“Walking Through Hell” is the debut album from Australian three-piece HIDDEN INTENT. Evoking memories of the second-wave Thrash giants of yesteryear, the group rips through nine tracks of infectious, pummeling Thrash Metal. Following the spoken word intro of “Confession”, the band wastes no time establishing their presence with the lean, mean, chugging thrash of the title track, “Walking Through Hell”. In its essence, the song is a prototypical kind of track to lead the album off with, showcasing Phil Bennett’s crunchy, groove-oriented riffing, Jay Rahaley’s jackhammer drumming and Chris McEwan’s skilled bass guitar work.

Fans of the instrument will no doubt be delighted with the prominent presence of McEwan’s bass in the mix, which helps fill out the band’s sound rather nicely in the absence of a second rhythm guitar. The lyrical content is solid, simple and straightforward throughout. McEwan’s vocals here are very like those of Phil Rind (SACRED REICH), and he does a good job of channeling the band’s aggression through his delivery, though his employment of high-pitched screams is somewhat hit-or-miss. One thing I particularly liked, which is evident in the title track and other moments on “Walking Through Hell”, is the small number of instances where McEwan’s Australian accent is audible, another quality which differentiates the band from the hordes of anonymous thrashers that also works well within the context of the songs.

Next are “Through Your Eyes” and “Betrayed”. The former contains some catchy instrument interplay between the moments of caustic thrashing, while the latter starts as a full-speed rager before gradually declining into a more subdued cascade of riffs. Playing as a three-piece band takes a lot of confidence in each member’s abilities, and the band delivers in spades with strong performances on every song. McEwan and company are in rare form on the venomous “Die Inside” as well as the aptly-named “Good Friday Thrash”, where Rahaley starts absolutely wrecking his kit around the song’s 1:33 mark. Other standouts include “Face Your Demon” and “Black Hole,” the latter of which features one of Bennett’s best solos on the record. His lead style is tasteful, though not overly-technical, and at times reminds this reviewer of Frank “Blackfire” Gosdzik’s work with SODOM and KREATOR. The band closes things out with the comical “Bass Wankage”, which includes some entertaining isolated joking and bass licks.

The one word I would choose to describe this album is satisfying. HIDDEN INTENT don’t try to get too fancy with their music, instead delivering a competent offering of retro-minded Thrash with a new school sensibility that never feels repetitive. While nothing here qualifies as classic material, each song has enough of strong moments that warrant repeat listens; a few are even pretty catchy, and the playing is always impressive. “Walking Through Hell” is a record that should please Thrash purists as well as anyone who likes fast and aggressive Metal.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Confession
2. Walking Through Hell
3. Through Your Eyes
4. Betrayed
5. Die Inside
6. Good Friday Thrash
7. Get What You Can Get
8. Face Your Demon
9. Creature of Habit
10. Black Hole
11. Bass Wankage
Lineup:
Chris McEwen – Bass, Vocals
Phil Bennett - Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jay Rahaley - Drums & Backing Vocals
Record Label: Punishment 18 Records
     


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