Aussie thrashers Hidden Intent have carved out a nice niche for themselves three albums in to their career, and new album Dead End Destiny sees them cementing that position with a short but sweet set of originals and covers.

If you’re not familiar with the band, their default setting is a crunchy amalgam of Sacred Reich and, well, just about any ‘classic’ thrash band you can think off. Consequently, despite DED only being nine tracks in length, the band vary their sound a fair bit as they go about their business.

A Place of Horror kicks things off in straightforward fashion, Chris McEwen‘s rumbling bass underpinning some nice chug from guitarist Phil Bennett. Like a slightly less wild-eyed version of compatriots Desecrator, it hits the spot nicely. Breaking Point motors along nicely, referencing Canada’s Annihilator in it’s opening moments thanks to some nice drumming from Paul Lewis, and another dose of aggressive axe work from Bennett. There’s even an acoustic interlude to underline the band’s classic thrash credentials!

The band enlist Michael Stützer Hansen and Kræn Meier of Danish veterans Artillery for the title track; whether their presence ups the aggression ante I don’t know – but this track definitely feels more urgent than those that have gone before. A thrash classic in the making? Quite possibly!

Forgotten Fate is a tad more progressive, although I use that descriptor as a relative to the material that surrounds it. The galloping main riff screams Megadeth, or maybe Metal Church, although McEwen’s gruff bark always keeps the material in more prosaic territory; the mix works, however, and if you love classic thrash you’ll be genuinely excited to hear this track.

The humorous Get A Dog Up Ya is likely to lose non-Australian listeners with it’s mix of crossover mayhem and Aussie slang, but it’s only two minutes long and normal service resumes on another more ‘proggy’ number, We Are The End of Us. A strident mid-paced rocker, it mixes some fine work from Bennett, who is on top riffage form throughout, it has to be said, with one of McEwen’s most convincing vocal performances. Add in some nice gang vocal come chorus time and you’ve got a real standout track.

A cover of Aussie punks The ChatsPub Feed goes with Get A Dog Up Ya to form a brace of bewildering Australiana rampages, which I’m sure will score highly with their local audience if not with those from further afield, but Succumb to the Violence, the third of the album’s standout tracks, again restores equilibrium for the more serious minded fan. The band are able to pack a lot into their tracks – nothing here gets anywhere near five minutes in duration yet the band cover a lot of ground throughout – and here they add latent violence to the mix in a claustrophobic romp that again brings Sacred Reich to mind but adds a bit of scitterish, mid-period Flotsam and Jetsam madness to the mix to really good effect.

The curtain comes down with a nice run through of Slayer’s Altar of Sacrifice, and if the overall impression of this album might be that Hidden Intent occasionally spread themselves a little too thin in order to be all things to all thrashers, the core of what they do is really very good indeed. This is well worth a listen!

Dead End Destiny is out now.