Abaddon magazine

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Review: From Hell – Rats & Ravens

Label: Scourge Records

Date: March 26th, 2020

Straight From Hell, George Anderson, aka Aleister Sinn, delivers a brand new album of horror super-group influenced by King Diamond. As a fan(atic) of Mr. Kim Benedix Petersen, for me, the fact that Thrash Death Metal band is influenced by his work, is more than good enough recommendation. But, for the rest of the world who needs to be convinced to hear From Hell, we need more words right?

For all those who have not heard about From Hell before, here is the story…

The band is based in San Francisco, California, from where they deliver Thrash Death Horror Metal to the rest of the world. Originally, besides mastermind Aleister Sinn, bassist Damien Sisson, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Steve Smyth, were involved in creating their debut album “Ascent From Hell” that was released in 2014. As I already wrote, Mr. Sinn had an idea to create horror stories in the vein of king Diamond. Nothing strange if we know that he has played guitar and sang for the SF Bay area bands Down Factor and Grandma, a tribute to King Diamond.

Debut album “Ascent From Hell” is focused on a corpse who wakes up in Hell and finds out he cannot rest and must return to the land of the living to find his soul that still lives on inside the body of a priest and drag it back to Hell. When the moon turns red, you must walk with The Walking Dead…

Six years later, Aleister Sinn remained loyal to his original idea, so “Rates & Ravens” is also a concept album. The story of the second album takes place in the Mid 13th Century, somewhere in Eastern Europe. As Aleister Sinn explains:

“The story is about a witch who desires children of her own and steals them from the villages nearby. When she kills them, she traps the ravens who come for their souls. She keeps children on this earth, reanimates their corpses with rats and calls them ’Lilium’”.

Also, six years later, besides Aleister Sinn, the band introduces new members.

If we use this, in past years popular term super-group, I guess we should explain why that is so. Of course, the most recognizable figure from the first album is for sure Paul Bostaph. If I need to write down who he is, then you are at the wrong page. Sorry! Also I am quite sure that I do not need to write Damien Sisson is well known from his work with Death Angel. Steve Smyth has rich experience playing with bands such as Dragonlord, Nevermore, Vicious Rumors or Testament.

Now, at the second album Paul Bostaph is replaced by Wes Anderson who has played drums for Les Claypool, Idiot Flesh, Blind Illusion, Young Lions (Noah of Neurosis), SOSA, and Kehoe Nation. Stephen Paul Goodwin on bass who had replaced Damien Sisson has played for Vicious Rumors, Diablo Dukes, Journey Unauthorized and also played or recorded with Brad Gillis, Mick Mestec, Eric Peterson, Will Carroll, Phil Bennett, Sticks Hooper, Eric Barnett and Salar Nader.

Let’s put aside any connotations with their previous bands and observe From Hell as an independent project.

First, I have to say that production has improved. From Hell created Death Thrash Metal album with the spirit of the late 80’s and early 90’s. 

After the intro “Dark Heart”, From Hell strikes with the first single that is followed by the video “They Come at Night”. I won’t retell the lyrics of every song because it just makes no sense. Aleister Sinn has very good articulation and diction, so just push the play button and enjoy creating your own movie based on lyrics From Hell delivered in ten masterful compositions. I believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and also I believe each of you will have your own lyrics interpretation, so let it flow…

In a few words I could say “Rats & Ravens” is furious, epic, sick enough, spooky, with strong, profound and intelligent lyrics.

I’ve always loved listening to King Diamond’s albums because his lyrics give you a freedom to use your own imagination and develop your own story. The same is with From Hell. I hope, if not King Diamond, than his legitimate inheritors, From Hell, will consider the idea of making a lyrics-based movie. Just an idea.