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Hannes Grossmann – To Where the Light Retreats Award winner

Hannes Grossmann
To Where the Light Retreats
by Mark Machlay at 19 July 2021, 11:06 AM

Another victim – or benefactor in this case – from the extensive time away from live shows due to Covid-19 is Hannes Grossmann who recorded his fourth solo album “To Where the Light Retreats” in which he once again wrote, recorded, engineered and produced with just a little help from a few friends to fill on instruments that aren’t drums. Grossmann got his big debut playing drums for German tech-death metal band NECROPHAGIST, quickly establishing himself as a formidable musician playing complex polyrhythms and blastbeats at up to 240 bpm on their 2004 album “Epitaph”. Since his departure from NECROPHAGIST in 2007, Grossmann joined OBSCURA from 2007-2014 – recorded both “Cosmogenesis” in 2009 and Omnivium in 2011 with them – during which he also played with instrumental metal band, BLOTTED SCIENCE. He is also a member of SPASTIC INK alum Ron Jarzombek’s TERRESTRIAL EXILED, involved in NECROPHAGIST cohort Christian Muenzer’s 2020 solo album, and several other projects, seeming like the Mike Portnoy of the tech-death world.

Grossmann released his first solo album, The Radial Covenant in 2014 and has only grown with each subsequent solo outing. He is always surrounded by some of the best musicians that metal has to offer such as Jeff Loomis of NEVORMORE, the aforementioned Ron Jarzombek and Marty Friedman of MEGADETH. As usual, on “To Where the Light Retreats” he brings along his ALKALOID band members – Morean on vocals, Danny Tunker handling most guitars, and Linus Klausenitzer on bass. V.Santura of DARK FORTRESS gets a guest solo as well as some singing parts, Morean contributes a guest solo as well, and longtime collaborator Christian Muenzer receives several guest guitar solos. Clearly, this is a close-knit group of musicians and it’s certainly heard on this record, the band is tight, moving between tech-death, prog-metal, melodic death metal, but with a wonderful melodic sense and powerful, driving riffs delivered with precision. Its clear Grossman possesses a high degree of skill, but with most of his releases, he isn’t showy and obnoxiously technical.

Tech-death metal has long been a metal subgenre that I’ve always just lumped in with math-metal and other extreme metal genres like it as a style I just couldn’t enjoy – despite my deep love for any amount of progressive tendencies in a band’s sound. Hannes Grossman is making me think twice about my decision right from the start with “To Where the Light Retreats”. The longer, more exploratory tracks are really great standouts starting with opening track “The Great Designe” starting with clean guitars but soon developing trash metal guitar riffs and near melo-death-like guitar leads and almost intelligible death growls that conjure up early Arch Enemy and In Flames memories. But “Death and the Vast Nothing” even has metalcore leanings with harmonized clean vocal sections, a mock-horn-like synth section, not one but two jaw-dropping speed metal solos, and topping it all with a killer chorus – if you can call it that – makes for a wonderful seven plus minutes. I found myself even longing for more. The shorter tracks are more familiar ground like “In the Glacier’s Eye”, a more straight-ahead, gallop-riffed heavy metal song and “The Symbolic Nature of Terms” acts as a groovy, technique-heavy throwback to Grossman’s days in OBSCURA. But the proggy journey of “The Fountain” sounding like a musical version of the Darrin Aronofsky film of the same name and “Dhaulagiri” sets you through odd-timed, tribal drumming madness, it is so enjoyable to my genre-bending ears. I will definitely be exploring more tech-death after this excursion, Hannes Grossmann has whet my appetite for it and I’m excited to dive further in.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. The Great Designed
2. The Sun Eaters
3. The Symbolic Nature of Terms
4. In the Glacier’s Eye
5. Dhaulagiri
6. Death and the Vast Nothing
7. The Fountain
8. Memento
Hannes Grossmann – Drums
V.Santura – Vocals, Guest Solo
Morean – Vocals, Guest Solo
Danny Tunker – Guitars
Linus Klausenitzer – Bass
Christian Muenzner – Guest Solos
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 01 December 2022

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