Hannes Grossmann - The Radical  CovenantOne of the places where this whole idea of Things You Might Have Missed posts came from was when I was putting together my end-of-year list in 2009 and realizing that there was quite a bit of great music that had simply flown under our radar. There have been some amazing records that ended up TYMHM, things that stick with me even today: VexThanatopsis; Beyond CreationThe Aura; SilencerThe Great Bear; Syn Ze Şase TriSub semnul lupului; TrialsIn the Shadow of Swords; y’know, genuinely good shit. Some of these we maybe could have seen coming, but we’re not omnipotent, even if we [read: I] seem awesome enough to be omnipotent. But this allows us to play “cleanup.” And man did we whiff on a big, awesome record in the form of Hannes Grossmann‘s debut solo record: The Radial Covenant.

For those who don’t know Hannes Grossmann, you probably do know the bands he’s been involved in. He’s got ObscuraNecrophagist, and Blotted Science on his “list of things that make me cooler than you,” and one can only guess that The Radial Covenant is the Obscura record we would have gotten if Grossmann hadn’t decided to quit. And while I’m a fan of Obscura, I felt the band nailed it with Cosmogenesis and I’m not a huge fan of 2011’s Omnivium (anymore). Ironically, Grossmann said in his parting message from the band that the musical difference between he and founder Steffen Kummerer was the reason that he left the band. Apparently Kummerer was more invested in a Cosmogenesis sound, which could leave one expecting, then, I shouldn’t like this record as much… and yet.

Here I am today to tell you that this record will fill an Obscura-shaped hole in your soul that you didn’t know needed filling. The riffs are slick as shit, but the writing is progressive and moody, and the feel is both ‘classic’ technical death metal and an obvious development that one seen on Omnivium. But instead of feeling bloated or overwrought—something that in the result of Omnivium may have been the result of conflicting vision—The Radial Covenant is streamlined, slick, and short. It does sport an 11 minute epic (with clean vocals nonetheless) as its final (metal) track in “The Radial Covenant I. II,” but the writing is fresh, interesting and, most importantly, varied enough to keep a guy with Angry Metal Attention Deficit Disorder from moss gazing. Grossmann’s experimentation, wandering into jazzy and ’70s prog at times while keeping the pace decidedly “mid” in a genre that can’t drive 65, as well as a desire to develop a sound with all the trappings of the technical death metal we know and love, is exceedingly effective. But The Radial Covenant is a moodier and more experimental feel that succeeds where other in a genre that, ironically, can get a little monotonous.

This record was independently released via Bandcamp (as far as I can tell), and sports guitar solos from a sick variety of amazing players (Loomis, Münzner, Per Nilsson), as well as fretless bass from Obscura‘s own Linus Klausenitzer. Sorry that we’re nearly a year late on this one, but better late than never, as they say.

Songs to Check: “Aeon Illuminate,” “Solar Fire Cells,” and “The Radial Covenant I.  II”

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  • Doomdeathrosh

    some good shit from the Tuomas Saukkonen of extreme metal!

    • Ha! A great comparison, actually. The more I listen to this record, the more I like it. A really extremely smart and fun album. I think it separates him from Saukkonen in that his stuff seems to shine every time.

      • Doomdeathrosh

        thats true..but mostly because of the fact that all of Saukkonen’s bands have been perilously close to each other style-wise(cases in point Before the Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, Dawn of Solace and Wolfheart), whereas Hannes Grossman has done something different, something exciting all the time! This is one especially brilliant find! I’d give it a 4.0!

        • Definitely a 4. That’s the problem with Saukkonen. His projects probably should have just been ONE project.

          • Doomdeathrosh

            As he apparently realised!

          • Yeah, that’s actually a great point. It’s not surprising. It’s hard to imagine that one’s unique voice wouldn’t eventually end up just dominating every project one works on. I think Steven Wilson is a little guilty of this, too.

          • Doomdeathrosh

            true…but steven wilson’s hand in production of every of his projects saves him the blushes! And the man always does a decent job in his production, whether it be for porcupine tree, opeth or storm corrosion, each having a different side of him to show.

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    This gives Muezner’s awesome solo stuff a run for its money. Apart from “Epitaph”, pretty much everything Grossmann touches is gold.

    • Kronos

      Them’s fightin’ words, son.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Whoah thanks for the heads up here!
    I was crushed when I heard Obscura had parted ways. I probably prefer Ominvium…I can tell already Im going to really enjoy this one.
    I love these posts, This time last year I picked up Avatarium after Druhm’s TYMHM review. A record I would have completely missed otherwise and if I was doing my best of 2013 now, it would be right up there.
    Off to bandcamp now :)

  • kmal666

    This album is fucking great. He did a crowdfunding campaign last fall and those were the best 10 euros i’ve spent in a while. BTW, AMG have you had a chance to check out Noneuclid’s Metatheosis? Another record featuring Klausenitzer that doesn’t seem to get much love.

    • I completely fucking missed that. But I won’t miss Alkaloid. Super stoked about it.

    • Jean-Luc Ricard

      That is an album I listened to while I wasn’t properly paying attention, but it sounded good from what I remember. Must go back and check it out properly, thanks for the reminder!

  • Luke_22

    Really great and underrated tech death album that seemed to barely raise a blip on the radar of most. I still have hopes that Obscura can pick up the shattered pieces and reign again though.

  • Barry Neilson

    Completely agree with you AMG….. Cosmogenesis was a brilliant album but Omnivium definitely doesn’t hold up. This however, from what i’ve heard pretty much sounds how I expected, which is pretty sweet. That being said, i’m not sure where I am with tech death at the moment…. Definitely more into my prog metal at the moment. Can’t stop listening to Soen’s latest, Pale Communiuon and the new Haken ep. Also, have you heard an English band called Maschine? They released their debut last year through Inside Out….if you’ve not, I definitely recommend giving them a bash.

    • I’ve heard of the band but never got around to hearing it. I’ll have to give it a shot, though. Since I’m on the same wavelength as you right now. It’s a lot of prog making my end of year list.

  • Christian Wright

    This is pretty badass. I’m usually skeptical of technical death metal but this is awesome. It reminds me of another band i found this year called Last Scattering. They are another fun listen if you haven’t had a chance to hear them