Lion Music
Release Date: November 26, 2004

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Guitar virtuoso, Tony Hernando, heralding from Spain, has graced the music industry with his third instrumental album, simply titled III. With an impressive resume of formal training and instruction under his belt since the tender and impressionable age of 9 (Classical, Jazz, Fusion), Hernando lists Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani, to name a few, as his rock ‘n’ roll guitar influences. Blending all of these styles together and wrapping them into a Metal framework, the result is something truly creative that is in direct contrast to the simplistic title of Hernando’s third release.

The CD starts out with “Into The Black,” which features a guitar riff intro that could have fit into an Ozzy-era Sabbath song. Mike Terrana, known for his work with Malmsteen and Axel Rudi Pell, quickly makes his presence felt with a heavy drum sound … Terrana’s power, coupled with Hernando adding an Egyptian flair to the song as it progresses, makes this an excellent opener and one of the best tracks on III.

Quickly after the opener, Hernando begins his diversification, starting with the second track, “Truer Than Ever.” A solid track like its predecessor, however, much more melodic than the first. Hernando moves on to display a “dreamy” and meandering atmospheric musical feel via the third track, “Dueling Waters,” along with the sixth track, “Souls of the World pt. 1.” “Dueling Waters,” especially, could easily pass for a slower-paced Satriani track, if you didn’t know any better, and similar to Satriani, Hernando rips in a few “angry” moments during the song by squeezing some aggression out of his axe.

Malmsteen influences can be heard in “Souls of the World pt. 2,” and Hernando shows here, like in “Dueling Waters,” that if he wants to make a song that replicates the style of one of his mentors, he can do so flawlessly while making music that would be gladly owned (if they could), respectively, by these Metal instrumental icons. “Souls of the World pt. 2,” in particular, sounds like something that should have been included in Malmsteen’s Rising Force debut.

Hernando’s Jazz influences come through in the eighth track, “Sci-Fi to Reality.” The track is heavily bass guitar weighted, with a really interesting Jazz-influenced drum style and song foundation. There’s a drum solo within the song (how many studio songs can you name that incorporate that!), and some of Hernando’s best solos. With the various styles nudging up against each other, this song could have easily been a disaster, but to Hernando’s credit, he pulls it off and makes it one of the more memorable tracks on the CD!

The other highlights of this CD definitely include track five, “Now,” and track ten, “Out of the Sun,” which are simply great Metal instrumentals, showing what could be called a “conventional” approach to Hernando’s music vs. the diverse approach largely described above. “Men and Machines,” the ninth track, is possibly Hernando’s greatest work on all of III. Within this song, Hernando starts out with fury, then opts to throw a changeup or two in pace, along with some well-placed keyboard work. “Men and Machines,” essentially throws in a little bit of everything, and is 9:30 of pure listening enjoyment.

Overall, if you enjoy instrumental albums, especially those that offer more than just a bunch of blistering solos and a one-dimensional guitar approach, you owe it to yourself to check out Tony Hernando’s III CD. There’s something for everyone here, all within a Metal framework that Metalheadz of various shapes and sizes are sure to enjoy. In sum, one thing is for absolute certainty with respect to III and its stylistic diversity, it’s virtually impossible to get bored when listening to it – and with the barrage of Metal instrumentals hitting the market these days, that’s truly a compliment!

Guitars: A
Bass: B
Percussion: B
Keyboards: C+
Vocals: N/A
Lyrics: N/A
Recording Quality: B
Originality: A-
Overall Rating: B+


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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