Hannes Grossmann

The Radial Covenant

Written by: MST on 02/07/2014 04:22:41

Hannes Grossmann is the drummer and one of the main composers of German progressive technical death metal band Obscura. "The Radial Covenant" is his first solo album, and it was recorded and released independently after a succesful crowdfunding campaign. Grossmann wrote all drums, rhythm guitars, lyrics and oversaw all compositions on the album, while bringing along an impressive list of guest musicians to play solos and perform vocal duties, among other things. Obviously a talented musician such as Grossmann has the required potential to write a great record, and I personally love everything that he has released with Obscura, so this solo record could get pretty interesting.

"The Radial Covenant" quickly turns out to sound more or less exactly like Obscura; impressive progressive drum work, masterfully crafted guitar solos courtesy of guest guitarists Jeff Loomis, Christian Muenzner and Ron Jarzombek among others, shouty and throaty vocals performed by guest vocalists V. Santura and Morean and fretless bass action provided by Obscura bassist Linus Klausenitzer. Conceptually the album more or less follows Obscura as well, with spacey lyrics and abstract, alien-like imagery. The production has also been handled by V. Santura, like the last couple of Obscura albums were. Basically, you wouldn't be too far off thinking that this was an Obscura album, and before we get into the actual songs on the album I might as well add that this might just as well have been released as an Obscura album.

Album opener "Aeon Illuminate" sounds almost exactly like Obscura right off the bat, but where Grossmann and co. haven't yet failed with their releases as Obscura in my book, songs like "Aeon Illuminate" sound mediocre and at times pretty uninspired. The rhythm guitars are predictable far too often, and the lyrics even resemble those previously used in Obscura's songs at times. The result is an album that I'm tempted to call a collection of Obscura b-sides, although this is of course going a bit too far. There simply aren't many moments that positively surprise on this record, despite the talent behind it.

Now, there is value to be found in "The Radial Covenant"; the guitar solos are excellent, the main lead riff in "Solar Fire Cells" is great, but apart from the 11-minute mammoth title track at the end of the album which consists of a string of progressive instrumentation and compositions, there is little on this record that hasn't already been done much better on a proper Obscura record. Hannes Grossmann obviously felt that there was room for an album like this to be released under his own name, and that's perfectly fine, but from the perspective of this Obscura fan there is little reason to spend time with this record when you could instead enjoy this and this again and again.


Download: The Radial Covenant
For The Fans Of: Obscura
Listen: Facebook

Release date 03.02.2014

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