Album Reviews

The Ordeal – Descent From Hell Review

Released By : Dust On The Tracks Records

Genre : Traditional Heavy Metal, Power Metal

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Oliver Oppermann – Vocals

Kai Reuter – Guitars

Micha Fromm – Drums

Hanes Vesper – Bass



01. Descent From Hell

02. Black Rain

03. Dragon Tears

04. Here Comes The Flood

05. Cybercross

06. Second Sun

07. The Innocent

08. Dance With The Devil

09. Letter Of Time

10. Sinner’s Addiction

11. Hell’s Gate


Due to listening to dozens upon dozens of new releases in the rock and metal world each month it takes a fair bit to truly surprise me. Sure I hear a lot of great albums each month, but there’s just so much stuff out there these days that it’s refreshing to actually come across a band that does things a little differently. Usually before I receive promotional material from a certain band or label I have heard at a minimum a couple of snippets of the music so I know what to expect. This new album from German metallers THE ORDEAL was sent to me from a record label that had let me know that they were sending something else to me. DESCENT FROM HELL was also in the parcel but it was one I wasn’t expecting. I decided to approach this album totally blind by not looking up any info about the band before listening to it, which in turn led me to one of the biggest unexpected gems I’ve heard so far this year.

It only took about thirty to forty seconds for me to gather that THE ORDEAL were a Traditional Heavy Metal band, and I spotted a very, very obvious DIO influence right away. As the album went on though different things began to happen, first I felt a bit of a classic seventies Progressive Rock vibe, which in turn gave way to elements that reminded me of Fish era MARILLION and even some influence from pomp rockers QUEEN too. On paper the combination of Traditional Heavy Metal and I guess you would say Neo-Prog sounds like a disaster, but to the band’s credit they make it work.

The guys in THE ORDEAL have been around the business for quite a while now and musically they are at the top of their game. The versatile drumming style of Michael Fromm goes a long way to making the shifts in style and colour convincing, the bass, courtesy of Hannes Vesper, is always busy but never tries to take over…Exactly what a bass guitar should do and Vesper does it perfectly. Kai Router’s guitar work is simply stunning too, the heavier sections are filled with classic yet fresh sounding riffs, the quieter parts are filled with melody and class and the lead breaks are always interesting. All of those guys are truly excellent musicians and together can write and play some amazing stuff, but I really do have to make a special mention of vocalist Oliver Oppermann. His vocal style is like a combination of Ronnie James Dio and Dereck Dick (better known as FISH) and his multi-octave range is impressive. He also has a keen knack of filling his voice with emotion and feeling, giving the proggier, quieter moments of DESCENT FROM HELL some real impact.

There are some great individual moments on the album, and while most of the heavier sections are quite good, it’s the arty, prog infused sections that really get me excited. A good example of this is the acoustic ballad DRAGONTEARS that sounds like Dio and Fish doing a duet, the massive operatic sounding closing track HELLSGATE that features a clearly Brian May inspired lead break that will excite any guitar lovers out there and also, last but not least, HERE COMES THEFLOOD. Some of you may recognise the title as a Peter Gabriel song, and yes this IS a cover of it, but boy do they do a great job with it. While the basic elements of the original are still clearly heard, the band have taken what was already a great song and tinkered with it by adding a very operatic and epic feel to it, sort of like a heavier version of Queen, and once again some really inspired lead guitar work and a very impressive vocal performance from Oliver Oppermann.

In the blink of an eye, THE ORDEAL have gone right up into my MUST WATCH bands list. I would personally like to see them embrace their proggier, emotive side a little more next time around, and I really feel that the style these guys play would totally suit a concept album/rock opera type format too. Is it stands though, DESCENT FROM HELL is easily my most surprising discovery of 2012 and Oliver Oppermann has taken an express train into my favourite current-day vocalists list. If you like metal that offers up something a little different definitely give this one a go….Operatic, Arty, Progressive, Traditional Heavy Metal?…Yup!!!


Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 9/10


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