This is a ten-song, seventy-minute concept album featuring members of Down Factor, Testament, Slayer, and more. According to the album’s liner notes, “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 into hell.” You know, a typical problem for most of us. There are six characters in this album including my favorite, Nun with a Gun. Vocalist George Anderson sings for all six parts, so it requires following along in the liner notes to fully understand what’s going on. I can understand the interest in the horror business, as it’s something that goes along well with the genre, but the cynical jerk in me thought, “Really? This whole concept seems clichéd,” while the diehard metal fan in me thought it worked well with the music. Musically speaking, there’s a good mix of different styles of metal on here—thrash and death, primarily. Anderson’s vocals range between death screams and melodic singing, which keeps the songs from becoming too redundant. With four of the songs coming in at over eight minutes each, some of this could certainly have been shortened while still getting across the theme. Nevertheless, it’s a strong release and fans of this type of epic metal will definitely dig Ascent from Hell.