by Jesus Diaz 3/20/2004

Nearly four years later (and two years after we reviewed HESS "Opus 1") HESS presents us with his second effort with a title that not only gives continuity to the name of his opera prima, but also to his style. His influences are still presented and are the same (please read the review of "Opus 1" for details) but his sound is rounder and this is because his band is a quartet, with a full time bass player. A nice detail is that inside the CD booklet we find details of who plays every guitar solo in all the tracks. Despite the fact that solos abound in the record, the music is clear production.

I have not changed my mind, my favorite cuts are those where the instruments are given space to create textures and where acoustic sounds suddenly appear like "The Cynic, The Sad And The Fallen", "What Could Have Been and What Is Not" and the mind-blowing "Beyond the Brink". However, the Yngwie neo-classical style fans will find more than one reason to break down in tears listening to "Kingdoms" and "Through the Trials". A classy instrumental rock record that accomplishes his goal: to surpass his predecessor.

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