HANNES GROSSMANN - Echoes of Eternity (EP)
EP: Echoes of Eternity
Genre: Technical/Progressive Death Metal
Release Date: 9th February, 2024
German drummer Hannes Grossmann has been very influential in shaping my music taste. For anyone unfamiliar with his work, the bands he plays or played in include Necrophagist, Obscura, Blotted Science, Alkaloid, Hate Eternal and Eternity’s End. In recent years he’s also done significant session work, of which Freedom of Fear, Moral Collapse and Waxwolf (review coming soon!) caught my interest in particular.
Why the detailing of Grossmann’s musical pedigree? Because it’s against the backdrop of his career that his latest solo release, a 21 minute EP suitably titled "Echoes of Eternity" is set. The release is styled as a tribute to his time in Necrophagist (releasing their magnum opus Epitaph, 20 years ago this year), with two other songs nodding to his work with Obscura and Blotted Science. So, that then raises the question of how a pseudo-compilation of different Death Metal styles holds up?
For me: seamlessly. But really, that’s unsurprising, as Grossmann’s solo albums have always moved seamlessly through different Death Metal styles. In this regard, listening to "Echoes of Eternity" recalls something I love about Devin Townsend, in that despite the variations in musical style, his melodic voice (a figurative, not literal voice!) shines through the compositions. However, I also feel that the way these five songs have been arranged contributes significantly to the seamless flow between styles.
The EP opens with the 1-2 punch of "Retrospective Monolog" and "Engraved In Their Shrouds", which borrow heavily in structure from Epitaph’s opening 1-2 punch. The pace of these two tracks is absolutely blistering (the Morbid Angel-esque opening 1.5 mins of 'Engraved’ notwithstanding), littered with pummelling blast beats and dizzying sweeped arpeggios. To then place the more overtly progressive & melodic title track, inspired by Obscura’s Omnivium, in the middle of the EP is excellent pacing. Even though this track also features a substantial Tech Death assault, the way it pulls back with several melodic refrains allows the listener to take a breather and reflect on the musical journey so far.
Following with the overtly progressive Blotted Science inspired track "Humanoid Body Automation" maintains that flow, before the final track "Enigmatic Shrines Consumed", the 3rd of the Necrophagist inspired pieces, drops in for one final pummelling Tech Death assault. Though even there, the journey taken through more Progressive landscapes is acknowledged through the final minute, with its slowly building variation on a theme and Grossmann’s drumming continually shifting the central beat until its conclusion. The overall effect of having been led down such a deliberately constructed path through five exciting and engaging songs is one of wholeness and to me, comfort, if such a thing can be expressed about something as abrasive as Prog / Tech Death!
"Echoes of Eternity" is an excellent release, for which Kevin Heiderich (Guitars), Stephan Schulz (Vocals) and Chief Mendoza (Bass) deserve much praise alongside Grossmann himself, in bringing his compositions to life. If you’re a seasoned appreciator of Technical and Progressive Death Metal, you can enjoy one of the greats of the genre musically reflecting on his significant achievements. But if you’re less familiar with these subgenres or find them excessive and overwhelming, then this 21 minute tour de force might be an exception worth your time.
Written by Lloyd
1. Retrospective Monolog
2. Engraved in Their Shrouds
3. Echoes of Eternity
4. Humanoid Body Automation
5. Enigmatic Shrines Consumed
Kevin Heiderich - Guitars
Stephan Schulz - Vocals
Chief Mendoza - Bass
Hannes Grossmann - Drums
The Radial Covenant (2014)
The Crypts of Sleep (2016)
To Where the Light Retreats (2021)
Echoes of Eternity (2024)