Man, you really can’t judge a book by its cover. On the surface seeing that members of Slayer, Nevermore, and Death Angel were teaming up for a thrash record sounds like a wet dream for a metal lover. The sticker alone giving me the info of who was involved set the bar pretty high before I even tore off the cellophane of the CD. Let’s just say this super group side-project, From Hell, and their debut album, Ascent From Hell, fails to meet expectations in every way.

I’m not sure if it’s an official press release or what but I saw this album be described as “diabolically epic and heavy as hell…” Maybe we listened to two different albums because this is one of the biggest duds I’ve heard in a long time. Knowing that Steve Smyth of Nevermore was hired to play lead guitars, I knew that a sense of melody was going to play a dominant role but never would have I believed to be comparing his riffs to that of a second rate Unearth. Damien Siesson (Death Angel) delivers a bass by numbers for his performance. Even Paul Bostaph (Slayer), can be a technical wizard at times, really doesn’t bring it much more than drumming 101 on this album. Considering this George Anderson’s (Down Factor) baby, maybe the other members were just hired guns to follow Anderson’s lead. It would certainly explain a lot considering Down Factor left a lot to be desired and knowing what the members were capable of. No matter what the circumstances are, we’re delivered a very mediocre and mid-paced thrash record that never seems to allow itself to break out into what it could have been.

The other downside of this record is that it really shows how out of touch these old men, specifically Anderson, are with the times. The album is a concept record about a “psycho killer” that is walking the earth in order kill a priest so that he can gain access to hell. The story plays out similar to that of a King Diamond record but Anderson can’t hold a candle to the King’s storytelling ability. This comes off as an agnsty Hot Topic enthusiast’s attempt at being edgy, evil, crazy, or whatever dumb adjective they want to be described as. For veterans who have been around the block a few times, this was very juvenile to the point of being laughable.

As you can tell this was disappointing. I was so let down by this record that I only really gave the first half of the record an honest shot and listened to the full songs, by the midway point I found myself skipping and skimming the rest just so that the experience would be over. I tried to go back and give the rest of the record a real chance but I just couldn’t do it. Maybe there is a reason that if you search the internet you can barely find out anything by it. This one is avoidable.