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Title - 'Ascent From Hell' (Scourge Records)
Artist - From Hell

Recorded with Metal icons Paul Bostaph (Slayer), Damien Sisson (Death Angel) and Steve Smyth (Nevermore, Testament and Forbidden), this now Death Metal super group - that fall under the dark blanket of From Hell - have collaborated a new horror concept heavy album, Ascent From Hell.

Indeed, From Hell is the actual concept of George Anderson aka Aleister Sinn, the live narrator of this horror story. The project began in 2007 and after his previous band Down Factor broke-up. George then formed From Hell to tell horror stories in the vein of King Diamond. Ergo, every song is in some way linked to all of the others and when teach album starts they don’t stop until the very end.

[The Concept: The corpse of a psycho killer wakes up in Hell and finds out he must go back to Earth to find his soul that still lives on inside the body of a Priest and drag it back to Hell.]

And so, this dark and heavy - for all the right reasons though - concept album begins with the Devil’s roar before shuddering into the short instrumental opener ‘Standing At The Mouth of Hell,’ before delivering us unto ‘The Walking Dead.’ The slowly creaking open of doors, chains rustling soon make way for the colossal ‘Soul Crusher,’ which is backed by ‘Psycho Killer.’ A track that begins with the sounds of someone being stabbed, these segues in between tracks help to establish additional detail to the horror story. It also features some fantastic drum work too before the emphatic building of chants bring it to an end.

Produced by George and Steve “Snake” Green (Skinlab), ‘Ascent From Hell’ is a theatrical 70 minutes long and feels like it, trust me! There’s no escaping it’s ongoing musical pull though, that’s for sure. With most songs clocking in at an average of around seven minutes each, up next is ‘Eyes On My Dead’ - which is also one of the longest. Covering many genres of metal from trash to black to death to doom (who knew?), if you’re a fan of metal you’ll be a fan of this album; for sure.

In much the same way Alice Cooper once tried his trilogy of horror/pop musical conception (and where it all faltered with The Last Temptation!), From Hell keep their peddle to the metal at all times. Next up is ‘Nun With A Gun,’ which might at first sound like a bad ‘70s exploitation movie, but here is just what comes after the narrative of said Nun stabbing the Priest in question. There’s a lot of “Bless me Father for I have Sinned” moments here, along with some nuts speed guitar from Steve Smyth, and that bleeds into (pun intended) the powerful guitar-empowered ‘The Church.’

With the Priest still alive, the Nun now dead, the sounds of an Ozzyesque singing chant passed, the most detailed, most elaborate track comes next in the form of ‘Dead Reckoning.’ With Starship’s very own Phil Bennett playing piano it also features The Pacific Mozart Ensemble; an incredible 22-piece choir! They also come to the fore on four other tracks on Ascent To Hell, but this track above all others showcases the shredding guitar solos of Smyth even more. Not to mention the melodic and syncopated bass of Damien Sisson.

The title track, ‘Ascent To Hell’ is next, and takes us musically; and quite literally by the sounds of it, kicking and screaming up from Hell, before the whole concept is brought to a close with the longest track, ‘The Sleep.’

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

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