This is the second album from Rockenfield/Speer, the duo of Queensrÿche's drummer Scott Rockenfield and guitarist/keyboardist/record producer Paul Speer. The follow-up to the duo's soundtrack to the computer animation film Televoid, Hells Canyon is not related to any movie, although you will probably think it should be. Inspired by a real gorge, Hells Canyon would be perfect as the soundtrack of an IMAX movie. The listener feels he's flying through the canyon, lifted by the soaring keyboards and guitar lines, propelled by the drums. Rockenfield's playing has rarely been this melodic, varied, and freed from song limitations: he shines, sounding very comfortable in this format and having the time of his life. Paul Speer's guitar is the other center of attention, but this is not a guitar hero album. These 11 pieces (mostly in the four- to six-minutes range) of instrumental hard rock have something of the essence of progressive rock (without the complex time signatures), much like the music of Chris Fournier's Fonya, which is also very cinematic. Production is excellent and overall this album stands high in both musicians' output.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture