Rock Report (Belgium)

by Chris Lambert, 1999

Oh no, not another Neo-classical guitar album! That was the first thing that crossed my mind when I listened to this "Opus 1" for the first time. But I kept listening and all I can say now is that Tom Hess and Mike Walsh both did a fine job here. Indeed, "Opus" does not feature one, but two guitar virtuosos and it's the contrast between the guitar style of the two of them that makes this album so interesting. Next to Tom (who also plays bass and keyboard sequences) and Mike, Hess is completed by Chris Dowgun, who plays drums. All music on "Opus 1" however was composed and produced by Tom Hess, who has been influenced by George Bellas, Bach, Yngwie Malmsteen, Andy LaRocque, Jason Becker, Fabio Lione, Marty Friedman, King Diamond, Brahms, Dream Theater and Chopin. Another plus point of this album is the variety of it, as faster and slower tracks take turns throughout the album. So I guess "Opus 1" can be described as an intelligent, passionate instrumental album, that will appeal to both fans of neo-classical rock/metal as well as fans of progressive rock.
A nice surprise!

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