LMC alum rocks out

“Ascent From Hell” the debut album release from former Los Medanos College recording arts student George Anderson’s newest band From Hell, is now available worldwide.

Featuring various international renowned musicians including Paul Bostaph of Slayer, Damien Sisson of Death Angel, Steve Smyth of One Machine and Phil Bennett of Starship, the horror-themed concept album was released on March 25 and is already receiving a positive amount of global attention.

According to the band’s website fromhell.net, the story of “Ascent From Hell” is that “a corpse that wakes up in hell and finds out he has to go back to Earth to find his soul that still lives on inside the body of a priest and drag it back to hell.” It is told as a live narrative through the words of Aleister Sinn, Anderson’s alter persona.

Compared with his previous band Down Factor, which produced songs about political and global issues, Anderson “took a different approach” while writing this album. “I enjoy playing music a lot more if there’s a story,” said Anderson. “Songs are way cooler if they go somewhere, if there’s a point.”

To help incorporate a more thematic feel to the storyline of the recording, Anderson also enlisted the help of choir members of the Pacific Mozart Ensemble to provide background vocal layers to some of the songs.

“When I walked in and saw 22 people holding sheet music to songs I wrote,” said Anderson “my jaw hit the floor.”

Using the skills he learned during his two-year enrollment at LMC, Anderson was able to contribute his own ideas and opinions during the engineering process, something he says, “anybody in music should understand.”

Co-Producer and engineer Steve “Snake” Green, owner of Greendot Studios in Berkeley where most of the string instruments and vocals were recorded, agrees with Anderson. “It helps the flow of recording so much when the artist understands the process. Understanding the process and trusting my judgment are a huge part in getting that special, magical moment to appear.”

In addition to the benefits of learning the recording and engineering processes, Anderson also offered a final bit of advice to current and future LMC students pursuing a career as a musician.

“Take some business classes,” he said. “It’s only going to be six months out of your life.”

While in keeping with the original ideas conceived, each guest musician “absolutely” had an impact on the final versions of the songs.

“I took input from George on moods and expressions he was trying to get across,” said Steve Smyth, former guitarist for the bands Testament and Nevermore, who laid down lead guitar tracks for “Ascent From Hell.”

“I played for the song, and for what he wanted, and got it across,” he said.

Anderson said a CD release show and multiple state tours are in the works and details will be announced via the bands website as soon as more information is available.

After almost four years of production and a “myriad of band member changes,” said Anderson, “Ascent From Hell” has finally been released through Scourge Records and is available online for $12 through the band’s website. It will be available in various retail locations worldwide on April 8.