Every once and a while something very exciting happens in the world of Instrumental music a band, usually virtual unknowns, create something so fresh and vibrant that it sets a new direction, a new standard for all those that follow. To say that Hess "Opus 2" is that evolutionary link would be in my opinion an understatement. Opus 2 is by far one of the best releases to hit the underground music scene in a long, long time. Full of progressive elements and influences that span generations of recorded music.
Hess strives to forge their own unique voice while subtly incorporating influence from great classical masters such as Chopin or Bach. What really stands out and sets this talented group of musicians apart is their brilliant compositional styling that melds together seemingly impossible ideas into one tight seamless flow. A harmonious balance is found within the intricate melodies of all compositions presented on Opus 2 that yield room for forays into technical ecstasy.
Each member of Hess is a true virtuoso in their own right which enables the band to develop musical ideas to the highest echelon. Melodic sensibilities are showcased on all 10 tracks with an intertwining of sheer musical bravado and unique vision. Opus 2 is an intense, melodic mix of intelligent, complex music that is never pretentious. Every note of every composition is placed in exactly the right place, no excessive guitar / drum wanking here, just perfectly constructed songs that take the listener to a unique destination. All tracks feature exceptional musicianship delivered with passion and sensitivity. For all you tone connoisseurs, the entire CD is chock full of superbly crafted musical tones in a nicely produced very good sounding package. Another great feature of this superb package is the liner notes which itemize and break down the guitar parts so the listener knows who is playing which solo and melody. I also really like the fact that all the tracks are the "true" authentic recordings with no electronic manipulation what you hear is what the band actually played.
Track highlights include:
"Kingdoms" A beautiful progressive smorg of melodic point counterpoint with a smattering of neo-classical renderings. Great guitar runs and solos make up the bulk of the song whilst allowing the drums and bass to also shine.
"Into The Pinnacle" an introspective tune with loads of odd meter melody. A great heavy guitar riff with a melodic counterpoint intro sets this song up for some superb melodic soloing over a heavy groove.
"The Cynic, The Sad, And The Fallen" an epic Prog/Fusion masterpiece. A showcase of Hess's all around musical talent. Tight delivery, absolutely huge harmonization's, shred soloing, thundering rhythm section all pave the way for a softer soulful acoustic interlude which ties the melodic theme of the song together brining it full circle. There is some great guitar harmonization towards the end of the track that showcases Tom and Mike exchanging a nice point counterpoint melody.
Hess Opus 2 should send out a shock wave of epic proportions to all musicians and guitarists worldwide. Hess has transcended from somewhere not of this earth delivering one eclectic mix of virtuoso performances - a masterpiece of originality and technical prowess!