Fireworks Magazine (England)

by Nicky Baldrian

Hess - Opus 1 Independent Following the paths of Yngwie Malmsteen and Jason Becker comes Tom Hess a passionate guitar player from the US who is influenced by the progressive Neo-classical metal genre that spawned the likes of the aforementioned Malmsteen and Becker.

His compositions are beautifully crafted and the melodies just flow with thrilling passion and inspiration. Hess' CD "Opus 1" is exquisite. 'Exploration' is a heavy pounding Neo-classical piece ala Vinnie Moore as is the excellent 'Homage' and 'Golden Colloseum' both of which thrive with melody and passion, whilst showing edges of Becker and Marty Friedman's Cacophony is 'Empire' which is a fast instrumental piece is totally captivating.

'Imperial' is where the Becker/Friedman influences really show and offers a variation of mood and superlative quality and is Tom's best track, which is closely followed by the symphonic 'Through Space And Time'. Another favorite song is 'the Latin based and totally beautiful ballad 'Queen Of Me' which shows passages similar to Friedman's solo albums, I just love this piece, totally orgasmic. The atmosphere on the finale track 'Palette Of Shades' takes influences again from Friedman's works with hints of Shawn Lane and is a lovely soothing piece that could easily be soundtrack music. I think Hess on the standard of this wonderful instrumental piece could very well find himself signed by one of the guitar labels such as Lion Music. Contact hess@tomhess.net for more info.

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