Released: 2006, Lost and Found Records
Most metal fans, and certainly thrash metal fans, will have heard of “Thrashville” Tennessee’s Intruder. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Intruder was one of the second-tier thrash maniacs making the rounds. Unfortunately, like most bands of that era, they were killed off by lack of interest in the mid-‘90’s. Still, the band did manage to put out three other releases aside from this one: 1987’s LIVE TO DIE (speed metal), 1990’s ESCAPE FROM PAIN e.p., and 1991’s PSYCHO SAVANT.
This album, A HIGHER FORM OF KILLING, was released by Metal Blade Records in 1989, and immediately fit in with the many other speedy, socially-conscious thrashers of the time. So much so that Intruder never really took off like some of their other peers, but remained just below the greats, along with others like Toxik and Viking.
The album itself is meticulously crafted thrash metal, naturally featuring the catchy riffs of guitarists Arther Vinnett and Greg Messick, and the high-pitched vocals of James Hamilton, who wisely stays away from the dog-whistle range. For me, the best parts of a thrash album occur when the band slows down and hits a heavy mid-paced groove, and thankfully, A HIGHER FORM OF KILLING is full of these parts. Songs like “Second Chance”, “The Sentence is Death”, and “Killing Winds” all feature groove-laced sections. Of course, no self-respecting thrash album would be complete without the speed component and this disc has it in spades with every other song being a full-on assault. Old-school metalheads will definitely not be disappointed.
As for extras, there’s not much to write home about as there are no bonus tracks or demos included. There are some extra liner notes included from the band (I assume it’s James Hamilton as they mostly discuss the lyrics) which are interesting and amusing. All in all, I highly recommend thrash metal fans to check out this lost gem. Just make sure you skip over the Monkees cover (hint: its track five).