Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hidden Intent-Walking Through Hell


Even if it's been a little while since we last heard from Adelaide, South Australia-based Hidden Intent (February 7th of 2013 by my calculations) they are in no way strangers here at Heavy Metal Time Machine. Having previously reviewed their "Demo 2012 (Mastered Version)", as well as having interviewed the band's lead vocalist/bassist (and all around chill main-man) Chris McEwen (You can check out that interview at the link provided below which will also link you to a review of the band's "Demo 2012 (Mastered Version)"! Crazy huh?), I was all too aware of this band's heavy as hell, hit em' and hack em', thrash metal attack! So, when Hidden Intent (or rather Chris himself) contacted me about reviewing their first full-length release I jumped at the opportunity! After all, it's not every day that you get a chance to cover a band that (in my own words and at least in regards to the last recording I heard of the band) sounded like "a more thrash oriented version of Sacred Reich"! To say that I was rather pumped then when the CD arrived in the mail is an understatement! It was more like I was psyched the freak out to hear "Walking Through Hell"! Tossing it into my home stereo I was confronted (first) by "Confession". More or less this is a sample from the film "American Psycho"  with a few added sound effects to heighten the tension. Whatever the case it works and it sets the stage nicely for the album's title cut which provided proof positive that this 3-piece band had only gotten better with time! But, while I had previously stated how I thought they were a thrash-oriented take on Sacred Reich, here on this 11-track release it's more about straight-up thrash (early Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax as well as bands like Slayer, Annihilator, Forbidden, Coroner, Sepultura, Artillery, Toxik, Mortal Sin and Death Angel) then anything else (only exception maybe being "Through Your Eyes" which still kind of came across as Sacred Reich on a thrash metal Slayer holiday!). Of course that's not to say that other influences/styles don't find their way into the mix. One example would have to be "Die Inside" (a holdover from their early demo days) which, as noted in my previous interview with bassist/vocalist Chris McEwen, is influenced by Florida's own Death! But then really the band, which also features guitarist/backing vocalist Phil Bennett (ex-Desert Eagle, Metallica Black Album Tribute, Iron Maiden Tribute) and drummer Jay Rahaley (ex-Blood Mason, ex-Treachery), is influenced by a vast variety of different bands and artists on a personal level. So when you think about it (on a recording like this one) it's no wonder that you might hear the faint (but delightfully familiar) echos of everyone from Pantera to Randy Rhodes*! That being said and all, I'm getting a bit off course here so let's talk more about the tracks that make up the hard-hitting "Walking Through Hell". Besides the very cool "Die Inside", which features such killer (metal-minded) lines as "Your life is not what it seems today. Your pain your anger all turns to decay." and "I can't take this I must let go. My mind stops me. It takes control", "Good Thrash Friday" (a fave moment on both the demo and this recording for me!), "Creature of Habit" and "Black Hole" (love the ending!) are all tracks that (previously) appeared on the group's 2012 demo. Here though they feature improved performances and (of course) production so it's not as if you can really (justifiably) compare these carryover tracks. They simply sound better in the confines of this full-length release! Of course there is plenty of new materiel present here to get excited about and headbang yourself into a complete and utter frenzy over! The title track alone, which you can hear for yourself thanks to it's official video (link provided below), is epic in it's awesomeness and supercharged insanity (it's face-ripping, bone-snapping METAL), but onward and upward these three metal merchants go and, as cuts like "Betrayed" (Early Slayer meets early Megadeth?), "Get What You Can Get" (Love the Pantera/Exhorder groove that's laid over top of old-school Bay Area thrash!) and "Face Your Demon" (Lääz Rockit, Vio-lence and Forbidden get together to bound over the prospect of forming a doomish thrash project with some improvised Mordred funk elements?) prove, there's plenty to love about modern-day Hidden Intent! Oh, I almost forget about the new number "Bass Wankage". That wouldn't have been good would it? Of course not! This short (51 seconds) instrumental allows Chris McEwen (Abyzmal, Troops of Doom, Obsidian Aspect, Beyond Mortal Dreams) a chance to shine in the spotlight where his bass skills can best be observed on their own. That's not to say that he needs the extra time or anything as Chris is more then equipped in that department! Like many a great thrasher before him he more then handles his own on bass and lead vocals while his two band-mates (who are no slouches themselves!) show why there is much to love about straight-up power trios, thrash metal like this lot or not! The three members of Hidden Intent have more then outdone themselves on their first full-length release and for thrash fanatics this one would be a no-brainer! From it's production to the well-crafted/well-executed songs to the actual booklet itself (with photos and lyrics) everything about "Walking Through Hell" is top-notch so this one comes with my HIGHEST recommendation folks! In fact, had I received this CD prior to making up my "Best-Of" list for 2013, "Walking Through Hell" would have/should have been listed among the greats! Because face it kiddos, or (if you prefer) oldsters like myself, good thrash metal (of the REAL variety mind you) never, EVER gets old or goes out of fashion!  

*Phil's guitar playing channels everything/everyone from the likes of Kirk Hammett/Dave Mustaine to Randy Rhodes and even N.W.O.B.H.M. of old! He can easily shift from Jeff Hanneman like leads (may Jeff rest in piece) to something more akin to what Tony Iommi might lay down!

Hidden Intent's official video for "Walking Through Hell":

Interview with Hidden Intent with link to "Demo 2012" review: http://metalmark.blogspot.com/2013/02/interview-with-hidden-intents-chris.html

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