HESS - Opus 1 CD Review By Guitar Heroes (France)

by Fabien Muller

"Hess is mixing different elements into his music: prog-metal, virtuoso instrumental, Neo-classical, ... It gives a very modern sounding CD with very fast licks provided by the two guitar players (Tom Hess and Mike Walsh), mainly based on the discourse between guitars and their harmonization, with also wide areas of rest for the melody-addicted listener (Lydian Speaks).

Opus 1 begins with a rather progressive oriented song track called Exploration, and then go through a more melodious song (Homage), with some Malmsteen influenced licks. There's also some weird harmony that reminds me a little bit Becker and Friedman of the early days (Empire). Even if the CD is very homogeneous, some tracks are highlights of this CD: Golden Colloseum, Palette of Shades.

In brief, we have there a very diverse CD, with very fast players, and some very good songs with a strong Malmsteen influence on the playing and a more eclectic influence on the music (no doubt, those players must like Dream Theater and prog-metal bands). Do not hesitate to go to their site, contact them and listen to mp3 in the mp3 section."

More Opus 1 Reviews:

"Fans of artists like Yngwie Malmsteen and Vinnie Moore will certainly appreciate the skillful compositions and playing that make this album such an enjoyable product. Ultimately, all lovers of guitar-based instrumental rock music should consider getting hold of this one."

- New Horizons (USA)

"A compliment to American's Guitars rock history. A true Instrumental super group of three musicians have come together here and have created a wonderfully detailed, sometimes quite complicated, but always entertaining album of intelligent Instrumental. All fans of pure instrumental guitars and especially those who are into JASON BECKER and GEORGE BELLAS cannot miss this record. Get this CD ASAP!!!"

- Brazil Connection Promotions (Brazil)

“Tom Hess is an amazing composer and guitarist who's influences include Johannes Brahms, J.S Bach, King Diamond, Dream Theater, Yngwie Malmsteen, George Bellas, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, and above all Frederic Chopin. Hess skillfully combines the neoclassicism of Yngwie Malmsteen and Jason Becker, and the progressiveness of Dream Theater and George Bellas with the 19'th century Romanticism of composers like Chopin and Brahms. This is easily seen by his stunning yet tasteful use of technical shredding to impassion his music.

Their music features harmony runs galore, ethereal keyboards, emotional melodies, progressive and heavy riffs, and excellent composition. Both guitarists Tom Hess and Mike Walsh have amazing technical and musical skills, and styles distinctly their own. Chris Dowgun, on drums, also does an excellent job, with lots of double bass playing.”

- Guitar Rock (Canada)

Guitarist Tom Hess' twelve track debut album, Opus 1, showcases some of the cleanest soloing I've heard on an independent release in quite some time. Hess' natural ability is apparent throughout this instrumental journey, as is that of the second guitarist here, Mike Walsh. Hess also handles bass and keyboards on the album, and Chris Dowgun does a very respectable job banging the skins, although in some spots it would have been nice if the mix brought out the drum sound just a bit more.

- House Of Shred (USA)

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