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[non-industrial] Hess&Franzen - CLOSEDLOCKEDSEALED
Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz | Detailed or mini-review submissions: song, EP/album | Suggest an artist
Hess&Franzen – {CLOSEDLOCKEDSEALED} |Hess&Franzen, 2011|

1. Quick Space Threat, 2. Gobi Desert Search For SS Cotopaxi, 3. Three Stripes, 4. Mantis, 5. China Inox, 6. Doomsday Device, 7. When I Get Out Of This Place, 8. Words Mean Nothing, 9. Magic Cat

Hess&Franzen is a new British-Brazilian duo that are undoubtedly likely to blast their careers through the roof. They are already on their way to establishing a meaningful position on the progressive rock and metal music scenes thanks to their debut release.
South American passion and British originality rub together surrounded by harmonic arrangements and guitar riffs. The moods are familiar to soundtracks and are anything but usual on {CLOSEDLOCKEDSEALED} since the compositions remain instrumental.

A pulsating siren opens the album with the song Quick Space Threat. The intro soon resonates with bass guitar and industrial samples. This motif is then grabbed by a guitar that drives a listener into the actual composition.
Such a dense match up of instruments (bass, guitars, drums and keyboards) creates exalted, yet aggressive moods that recall music of Dream Theater.
Hess&Franzen has a certain talent for composing passages between the following songs, so the listener gets the first foretaste in the end of Quick Space Threat.

Gobi Desert Search For SS Cotopaxi begins quite sneakily, then gears up with speed and power like a lion hunting for an unaware antelope. The song construction is typical for progressive music with a randomly changing tempo, looped guitar riffs, vibrating low tuned bass and cooling keyboards. The track keeps evolving into a very interesting direction that remains in accordance to the original arrangement ideas so that it is coherent and solid. A quick dynamic ending riff transfers the listener into the next song entitled Three Stripes.
Insanity lays herein. A rhythm is built upon drums and guitars then broken with dynamic bass and guitar in unison. The arrangement is also accented by a violin and keyboards that also include female vocals that inspire images of sand dunes from the Far East which then leads to an intriguing and beautiful song called Mantis.

The intro of Mantis consist of drums, bass guitar and keyboards that dominate the composition. However, unidentifiable female whispers and matted synth passages take the ear into a different direction later on. Such a compositional mixture is perfect for a listener's imagination in ways which illustrate fantastic landscapes of distant planets as well as cryptic wildlife known from 80's science fiction magazines. The female vocals flow during the entire track and make it a very tempting addition.

After this quite peaceful song, China Inox comes next and is representative of progressive metal mixed with soundtrack moods. At first, the listener is surrounded by metaphysical atmospheres reminiscent of sounds originating from the Orient. There are also sounds of Brazilian romanticism mixed with European aggression. However, another part of the song takes ones imagination to the idea of Japanese Samurai Warriors engaged in a predatory ballet.

The following song on the tracklist, Doomsday Device speaks for the skill level of Hess&Franzen, mainly because it is full of vitality and fancy sounds that flourish with enriched riffs accented by drums and bass. A blaze of sound gets broken with keyboards to give it some royal dignity and cool down this hot, yet progressive ride. Doomsday Device is definitely the best song on this album. It is the most noticeable as well as memorable after the first listening and is undoubtedly a shining track during Hess&Franzen live shows.

When I Get Out Of This Place appears a little bit too fast and impatient, however it is yet another genuine composition which will attract progressive rock music fans to this new band. There are expressive, hard rock, RATT-esque guitar riffs and progressive keyboards known better from Marillion or Rush songs along with a bit of fun that is played with audio channels. Wait, there is more! When it seems all has been said and done, there is another catchy pearl coming out of the track and the following audio fireworks may very well smash a listener to the ground next.

The beginning of Words Mean Nothing recalls piano passages known from Nine Inch Nails songs, but the structure is enriched with ambient backgrounds as well as peaceful bass and purring drums. After this quite melancholic intro, there is a penetrating subtle guitar mosaic which diversifies the entire composition.

Magic Cat finishes the album with ambitious structures. Clear progressive sounds return with interchangeable dynamics and moments of bewilderment. This track will probably sound even better when played live, especially if Hans&Franzen does on stage improvisation. It is only six minutes long but seems to sound twice as long thanks to its many variations.

What surprises me the most from the entire {CLOSEDLOCKEDSEALED} release? Not just the title itself. Although this music was made by two musicians and not a five-piece band, it embodies a vigor of compositional talent as well as utilizing instrumentation that may seem to speak differently. Hans Hess (bass, synths, samplers) and Renan Franzen (guitars,bass, synths, samplers) are talented multi-instrumentalists who cooperate together on a far distance. Hess who lives in Bristol, UK and Franzen from Porto Alegre, Brazil bring viral proof that once good ideas and passion merge, it reaches for gold in contrast to musicians living in the same city who at times cannot come up with any good music at all.
Follow them for further ventures and expect more original compositions or probably even a single from a movie soundtrack too.

(Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, 10/31/2011. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens)

Doomsday Device (excerpt) by hessandfranzen

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