Hidden Intent - Walking Through Hell - (8/10)
Published on March 3, 2014
When it comes to the hidden gems in thrash metal, it’s my goal in life to dig them up and try to promote them. Particularly in this day and age, there is a lot of garbage that floats around and it can be tough to find them. Luckily, I have help from Punishment 18 Records too. They are the ones that signed a band named Hidden Intent from Australia. So I felt it was my duty to help out by telling all of you just how impressive their debut album Walking Through Hell is. It’s a rip-roaring old school thrash style that will have any self respecting thrasher headbanging in no time.
Like most of the modern thrash acts that are releasing albums, Walk Through Hell isn’t an exercise in originality as it establishes an older sound right from the get go. It’s not to the effect of being a ‘retro’ release as there seems to be a certain tendency towards groove styled riffs and a modern blend of vocals, but the heart and soul of the album does lend itself towards an older feeling.
The term ‘groove’ used above probably panicked a few of the readers just now, but fear not as the band is most definitely a thrash band through and through with the fast riffing, harsher vocals, and some punkish drum work to keep up some of the energy. The intro of “Through Your Eyes” would dispel most detractors with the vicious riffing and this Bay Area inspired thrash basis forms a good portion of the martial to be found on Walk Through Hell. The band does careen into some mid tempo 90s style groove to give some flavor to the album, but most of it never detracted from the thrash foundations and gives the album so solid push and pull elements to the writing.
There are two distinctive features that Hidden Intent bring to the table on this debut. The first one is three tone style vocals. One portion is a more standard snarling thrash style that slightly touches on the guttural, one portion is a low end melodic style singing not unlike that of Robb Flynn on early Machine Head records, and the final is the punctuation of some shrill soaring shrieks. The final portion is used mostly for punch, where it works in brief spurts like of the rolling “Betrayed.” The second distinctive feature of Walk Through Hell is the impressive bass usage. While it’s not necessarily the most technical bass pieces you’ll have heard from a band, the use of an almost melancholic tone on a few interludes and as a driving force for the rhythm section cannot be understated.
All in all Hidden Intent do miss a few opportunities to tighten up their music and really trim some of the fat of the record, but for a debut it’s a rather slick and promising career jump. It’s a strong blend of early 90s groove elements and old school thrash bursts and it comes off as a rather pleasant surprise and one that thrashers should keep an eye on.