Hannes Grossman – The Radial Covenant (Self-Released)Thursday, 20th February 2014
You’d have to be living under a rock to not recognize the name Hannes Grossman at this point. Drummer extraordinaire for bands such as Necrophagist, Obscura, and Blotted Science, Grossman is viewed as one of the upper echelon in metal. Therefore, it’s only fitting that his first solo effort would bring out the red carpet in terms of guest musicians. While Grossman performs double-duty with drums and guitar, Obscura bandmates Christian Muenzner and Linus Klausenitzer, Jeff Loomis, Per Nilsson, Danny Tunker, and many more contribute their portion to the album.
It’s safe to say that if you have been itching for some new Obscura, The Radial Covenant will temporarily satiate you. Opening number “Aeon Illuminate” is the most Obscura-like track, right down to the audible bass lines and progressive structures featuring some impressive guitarwork and a bit of growled and clean vocals. As a solo composition, there is a bit more emphasis on the instrumentation, and a few less vocals, but thankfully nothing ever gets to the point of feeling too self-indulgent. What you’ll find are six excellently written tracks (the final track is an excellent piano version of Obscura’s “Euclidean Elements”) that showcase Grossman’s talent as a songwriter. From the thrashingly heavy riffs of “The Sorcerer,”to the progressivism of “The Voyager” (check out the organ solo), to the blazing fury of “Solar Fire Cells,” you’ll be sure to find something of interest in each track.
Hannes Grossman’s solo album serves as a nice slice of progressive death metal. It’s great to see a solo album that isn’t afraid to explore some new boundaries while retaining the familiarity of why you liked the man’s works in the first place. While it does make one yearn for the next Obscura a wee bit more, it’s more than just a stopgap along the way.