Hess ~ Opus 1

HESS Opus 1 Album

If you enjoyed the music on Opus 1, you will also likely enjoy Opus 2

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  Tracklist Excerpts
1 Exploration Excerpt
2 Homage Excerpt
3 Phoenix Rising Excerpt
4 Empire Excerpt
5 Modes of Expression Excerpt
6 Lydian Speaks Excerpt
7 Imperial Excerpt
8 Through Space and Time Excerpt
9 Golden Colloseum Excerpt
10 On The Brink Excerpt
11 Queen Of Me Excerpt
12 Palette Of Shades Excerpt
Cost $14.00

Opus 1 is the first album of the HESS band. It was released on April 20, 2000. 

Besides me (Tom Hess), the other members of the band are: 

Mark Carozza - Bass
Mike Walsh - Guitar 
Scott Hess – Drums (Although Scott did not play on Opus 1. The drummer on Opus 1 album was Chris Dowgun.)

Earlier band members in HESS were:

Joe LaBanco (Fretfire), Chuck Hamilton (TD Clark, Imperial Rage, Septer) and Dan Massa.

HESS was originally formed in 1994 under the name Gothic Empire, but due to frequent misconceptions that the band was a Goth style band (which it certainly was not) the name was changed to HESS in 1997.

The sound of Opus 1 is a mix of neoclassical, progressive rock and dramatic styles. These 3 sounds make up the music.

Opus 1 was heavily influenced by: Yngwie Malmsteen, George Bellas, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Andy LaRocque (from King Diamond), King Diamond, Dream Theater, Fabio Lione (singer from Rhapsody), Gustav Mahler, J.S. Bach, Johannes Brahms and Fryderyk Chopin. 

I composed all the music for all the tunes on the record. However, Mike Walsh (the other guitar player) also contributed many ideas for his guitar solos. His guitar playing style is very different from mine (which is one reason he and I work so well together).

To record my parts for Opus 1, I used one of my Carvin V220 guitars for all the distorted rhythm guitar parts and for all of my solos. 

I used a 1970s Washburn acoustic and a Takamine classical guitar for the clean guitar parts. 

The electric guitars went through my T3 preamp, BBE sonic maximizer, Tubeworks Mosvalve power amp and into a 4x12 cab loaded with 75 watt celestians. The mic was a SM57. We recorded the CD with ADATs, and a digital Yamaha console.


"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)

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