Hannes Grossmann - The Crypts of Sleep
Progressive Death Metal
9 songs (57:48)
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Goat

Impressing me greatly with his solo début in 2014 after years spent drumming for some of the best death metal bands out there, from Necrophagist to Obscura, German sticksman Hannes Grossmann is back with another self-released album. As before joined by a variety of skilled guests, with Dark Fortress’ Morean on vocals, Obscura bassist Linus Klausenitzer and guitarist Danny Tunker (ex-Aborted, ex-God Dethroned amongst others) rounding out the main lineup, The Crypts of Sleep is a good if slightly inferior follow-up to The Radial Covenant. Closer to tech-death this time around but still very much like sped-up classic melodic death with a prog twist, Grossman is a talented composer, and the nine songs here are rich and enjoyable. Opener To Sow the Seeds of Earth is fast and technical, clearly influenced by Grossman’s time in Obscura, with the guitarwork from Tunker (and guest Tom ‘Fountainhead’ Geldschläger) as impressive as the drumming, which given Grossman’s occupation you’d think would be the dominant focus. Not at all; the slower-paced Silence Speaks, for example, gives each instrument space to shine, moving away a little from tech-death towards something older and groovier.

Grossmann is a generous writer, then, and continues to allow others to almost outshine him, as on the technical grooving riff-maelstrom that opens In the Eye of the Storm. The track expands to take in a clean-sung chorus which fits well alongside the gnarly, battering grunts and growls, and there’s an extended instrumental section with a lovely guitar solo from Spawn of Possession’s Christian Münzner. Hail Satan goes for an older European death vibe, vocals that bit gnarlier, but lead guitar none the less beautiful beyond the pit-friendly riffs. There’s not really enough variety between tracks to make for a truly engrossing listen, certainly less so than on The Radial Covenant and definitely less than is necessary to make a near hour-long album gripping all the way through. But looking for material to cut is difficult, as each song taken alone is pretty darn good, and nothing is cuttable or skippable. Even six-minute-plus instrumental Gravity Waves is basically a song without vocals, and is a far better listen than most metal instrumentals. And towards the end of the album there’s no lessening in quality with the title track or Beyond the Boundaries of Death, at just under eight minutes the longest track on the album and featuring a guest solo from Erik Rutan. The Radial Covenant was slightly better, but either way this is a project that you shouldn’t miss.

Killing Songs :
Silence Speaks, In The Eye of the Storm, Hail Satan, The Crypts of Sleep
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Hannes Grossmann that we have reviewed:
Hannes Grossmann - To Where the Light Retreats reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Hannes Grossmann - Apophenia reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Hannes Grossmann - The Radial Covenant reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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