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Right, I’m not going to mess about with this one. ‘Descent From Hell’, the second album from Germany’s ‘The Ordeal’, is my surprise listen of 2012 and is absolutely staggering in all respects. Having heard that the band were touring with Knock Out Kaine I thought I might have worked out what sort of sound they would deliver, but was I wrong, big time. This is a stunning mixture of ‘Trad Metal’, ‘Neo-Classical’, ‘Power Metal’, ‘Prog Metal’ and ‘Classic Rock’. Sound confusing? Not at all. I have never heard so many styles combined together this well. Individually the members are faultless. Vocalist Oliver Oppermann has delivered the performance of a lifetime; I just cannot get over how good this guy is. Fantastically backed up by guitarist Kai Reuter, bassist Hannes Vesper and drummer Micha Fromm they have delivered what has to be my album of the year (and I don’t say that lightly, considering what a great year it has been for music). Reuter, who has also produced and mixed the album superbly can shred with the best, but only when it is needed. There isn’t a note wasted on this. Mastering has been completed by none other than Michael Wagener (Ozzy, Accept, Queen) and the whole album sounds as clear as a bell, but it still has a ‘live’ feel.

As for the songs themselves, well, they just deliver time and time again. From the first notes of the title track right through to the fading of ‘Hellsgate’ the whole listening experience is just sublime. ‘Descent From Hell’ also contains one of the finest covers I’ve heard. ‘Here Comes The Flood’ by Peter Gabriel is not an easy song to cover, but ‘The Ordeal’ have pulled it off magnificently, making it completely their own! ‘Dragon Tears’ is also an astounding ballad and the band obviously feel that strongly about it that it appears as early as track three on the album. I really could go on all day about how good this is but you would probably get bored of me very quickly! I will say though, that if you like any of the following: Astral Doors; Dio; Threshold; Alcatrazz; At Vance; early Yngwie Malmsteen; Tony MacAlpine; Accept; Mr. Big; Dokken and elements of Queen and Fish era Marillion (thanks to Mr Oppermann’s vocals) then this really is a must. Please check my score for this one, I can guarantee that won’t happen very often!
Dust on the Tracks
Review by Rick Tilley
29th Oct 2012
1) Descent From Hell
2) Black Rain
3) Dragon Tears
4) Here Comes the Flood
5) CyberCross
6) Second Sun
7) The Innocent
8) Dance with the Devil
9) Letter of Time
10) Sinner's Addiction
11) Hellsgate
"From the first notes of the title track right through to the fading of ‘Hellsgate’ the whole listening experience is just sublime."