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MP3 Hess - Opus 1

Preogresive Rock mixed with neo-classical metal, virtuoso guitar like Yngwie, Dream Theater, SYmphony X, etc.

12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Progressive Rock, ROCK: Instrumental Rock

Review from the International Virtuoso Guitar Review
Opus 1 ~ HESS

The inspiring HESS debut release, Opus 1, features two new guitar virtuosi from the United States of America, Tom Hess and Mike Walsh. The album is both Neo-Classical metal and Progressive rock in style. The contrast in lead guitar styles between the two guitarists adds a depth to the music that is usually not present with the typical one-guitar player band.

The opening track, "Exploration", is in the Progressive style with Integrity, shredding and emotion everywhere. Each new section of the track is in a new key (usually Lydian, Melodic minor modes V and IV and Harmonic minor) and meter signature, yet, amazingly, retains an excellent sense of continuity. All of this has been used to create contrasting moods. Other tracks utilizing these compositional/guitar techniques are: "Through Space & Time", "On the Brink", "Modes of Expression" and "Imperial".

The principle neo-classical tunes are: "Homage", "Empire" and "Golden Colloseum", all of which display a wealth of virtuosity, compositional skill and integrity.

Opus 1 is dramatic through out the CD but perhaps the most obvious examples are on the slower tracks of "Queen of Me", "Palette of Shades" and "Lydian Speaks".

Integrity, intelligence, passionate, shredding, progressive and balanced are the words to best describe HESS Opus 1. This is perhaps one of the best debut instrumental CDs since Turn of the Millennium by George Bellas!

Tom Hess: Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Mike Walsh: Guitars
Chris Dowgun: Percussion

Reviewed by Krzysztof Rusek for the International Virtuoso Guitar Review

Review from guitar virtuoso, George Bellas
"Tom has recently released his debut instrumental album entitled Hess Opus 1. The album is Progressive and Neoclassical. Very rich in harmony, interesting odd meters, compositionally well thought out and a lot of excellent improvisation put together in some very logical and creative forms with some cool counterpoint I might add! Think Romantic harmony with some modern rhythms and meters. There''s some excellent clean guitar work as well."
Bravo Tom!
~George Bellas~

Review from House of Shred
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.

The opening track, appropriately named "Exploration," really highlights Hess'' versatility as a guitarist and as a songwriter, as he takes the track through neoclassical, rock, fusion, and progressive themes. The end result is one of the more sonically interesting instrumental guitar tracks that I''ve heard recently. The second song, "Homage," would seem to be a tribute to most or all of Hess'' musical influences listed in the liner notes: George Bellas, J.S. Bach, Yngwie Malmsteen, Andy La Rocque, Jason Becker, Fabio Lione, Marty Friedman, King Diamond, Johannes Brahms, Dream Theater, and Fryderyk Chopin. It''s an amalgamation of styles, but boy does it work!

Other highlights include: the 6 minute, 28 second long "Lydian Speaks," which has some awesome tug-at-your-heart guitar passages - it is a very beautiful song; "Imperial," a heavy, Dream Theater-meets-classic Metallica prog-metal rocker, "Through Space and Time," a galactic prog-rock track with some jazz/fusion elements and some interesting odd meter; "Golden Colloseum," which features some interesting guitar harmonies; and the sensual "Queen of Me," which has some great acoustic playing and a nice jazz fusion beat.

Tom Hess, Mike Walsh and Chris Dowgun have released a killer debut, and I cannot wait to hear what they come up with next! Fans of instrumental guitar, virtuoso guitar and of progressive or neoclassical music should definitely buy this one.
Shred Pick - "Imperial" (4:08)
Reviewed by Kevin Ryan

Review from Ballbuster hardmusic magazine
By Wayne Klinger
Alot of serious guitarists out of Illinois--Dave Uhrich and Tom Kopyto to just name 2 of the last few years with Kopyto being the newest 7-string phenom. A 3-piece of 2 Hess brothers; Tom on guitar and Scott on drums and Mike Walsh on guitars as well putting forth this 12-track gem of over an hour''s worth of neoclassical,progressive release with some avid romanticism. Well received by George Bellas himself, the trio are influenced by him, Malmsteen and Jason Becker. I agree to a certain extent with my prognosis as Friedman,Yngwie and Dream Theater. Either way you slice it, there''s plenty of great execution and ideas of their own of keeping this fresh. Very respected is the production and the guitar layout; both rhythm and lead, to keep this well in hand a great independent release.
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Tom Hess
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Cary,IL 60013 USA

"Opus 1" (Self-produced)
Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter
Hess plays neo-classical fusion instrumentals that touch on orchestrated sounds and progressive metal as well.  If that last sentence made you think of the late ''80s neo-classical fusion rage you wouldn''t be too far off the mark.  If I didn''t know any better I would have thought that "Opus 1" was an all-but-forgotten gem from that era.

"Opus 1" contains twelve tracks that form a focused, cohesive stretch of music with a high emotional content - you can actually feel the music conveying a story.  There are some unconventional moments in the music that don''t stray too far from the neo-progressive model, yet far enough to form an identity that Hess can call their own.

All the requisite neo-classical influences in the vein of early Vinnie Moore, Tony MacAlpine, and a little touch of a subdued Yngwie J. Malmsteen can be heard.  These influences are not copy-cat; rather, imagine someone making their own unique clothing from pre-printed cloth and you''ll get an idea of what I''m talking about. 

Hess show adept skills in playing moody pieces with the appropriate light touch as well as the heavier pieces which show off the band''s dexterity.  No single track really stands out from the others, but rather each piece works within the whole to form a cohesive story.  From the aggressive progressive tendencies of "Exploration" to the lyrical "Modes Of Expression," from the dramatic "On The Brink" to the soothing lullaby of "Palette Of Shades," Hess creates a vibrant range of songs.

I''m not someone who puts a lot stock in artwork, but I can''t help myself here.  The cover features satin sheets rumpled ever so slightly.  That''s an apt physical representation of the music, too.  Smooth as satin legato sounds amidst the peaks and valleys of a progressive, romantic landscape. 

Fans of Dream Theater, Tngwie Malmsteen, Vinnie Moore, Tony MacAlpine, Shawn Lane, David T. Chastain, and Jason Becker will love Hess'' "Opus 1."

Hess is: Tom Hess on guitar, keyboards, and bass
Mike Walsh on guitar
Chris Dowgun on drums.

Copyright © 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10 Feb 2001 16:58:28 -0600.

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