These Hidden Hands, Tommy Four Seven's collaboration with James Kronier, AKA Alain, is something much more individual. An engineer at the One Million Mangos studio in Berlin, Alain's influence is most apparent in the sound design: where Primate groaned under layers of fuzz and distortion, These Hidden Hands gleams in comparison, though it's still as bloody and raw as a side of meat hanging in an abattoir. The most marked progression is in the structure. Rather than being straitjacketed into a linear 4/4 thump, tracks like "Laika" feel loose, albeit with basslines that reverberate with tightly-coiled aggression. Indeed, the rhythms of "Hidden" make it sound more like a diseased Machinedrum track than anything from Tommy Four Seven's back catalogue.
A more melodic sensibility has also come to the fore. WIth its sombre yet soaring synths, "Ivy" came as something of a surprise when it was released as the album's first single, and while that's far and away the most tuneful moment here, other tracks contain snatches of space and melody amidst the darkness, notably "Kheium," which evokes the post-apocalyptic landscape of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.
Still, These Hidden Hands will satisfy those seeking brutalist warehouse weaponry. Much of the music here still sounds like tortured cables being stretched to breaking point. Whether or not those noises come from more conventional sources than the field recordings used for Primate isn't really relevant, for here These Hidden Hands have created an album where the finished product is much more interesting than the process.