A household name in the Death Metal drumming arena, Hannes Grossmann has been a part of numerous different bands in the genre. From the beginnings of Necrophagist from the stint in Obscura, whilst along the way performing with Blotted Science, consisting of Cannibal Corpse bassist Alex Webster and guitar wizard Ron Jarzombek. With a whole host of different bands in the man’s pocket one particular band are potentially the most interesting the man has put together thus far. Made up of Aborted, Obscura, Noneuclid and Dark Fortress members we present to you Alkaloid. Speaking out about the decision to leave Obscura, the bands new album and some of the drummer’s own inspirations we sat down for a long and thorough chat.
As you have left Obscura now, was one of the reasons that you left because you didn’t have the kind of creative space that you now have with Alkaloid?
Well, let’s put it this way, the band [Obscura] exists for a longer time now. It was another drummer, they made like an album Retribution and then was Obscura. All the people in the band left, and he was on his own and wanted to go on with the name Obscura. I said I can imagine joining the band, since I joined, the bass player joined and Chris joined. We did the line up together because I talked to those people and they said “yeah, I see a lot of potential for what we could do.” And they were like, yeah ok, lets try this . I was on the albums Cosmogenesis and Omnivium and if you hear Retribution compared to those other albums they have nothing to do with each other.
It’s a completely new band. Actually we could have put another name on it. Why didn’t we? It’s hard to pick a name and its a good name. That was pretty much a restart for the band. That’s when we got a record deal, touring and chang our songwriting completely and that made a lot of impact for artistic freedom on those albums. I cannot complain at all. Like in, I think Cosmogenesis I made a lot of arrangements and I wrote many things. I think that on Omnivium it was 60% of shaping music. An original idea that somehow had come from my writing. I did like eight out of nine arrangements of the songs on those albums. In terms of arrangement I mean, taking ideas and forming songs out of it. Getting single riffs and sitting down to make transitions. Like the opener of Omnivium “Septuagint” is a very prominent example. I just got a couple of riffs by Chris. He said I’ve got a couple of riffs but it’s not a song yet, maybe you can do something with it and I had like two random riffs from Steffen.
I thought ok, well at least they are in the same tempo but they are in a different key. How can I put those together? I put in some of my own ideas and changed some of their ideas and then I wrote the intro theme, the acoustic guitar. Basically “Battery” from Metallica on Death Metal would really work well haha! It’s a close arrangement, I thought that this particular song could work like this and it could be a lot more epic. So you can say that three people wrote on the song and contributed and I was sitting there and putting the parts together. That’s how most of the songs came together. Steffen is the only founding member from the start. If you saw the start from 2007 when we all joined it actually became less of an underground band not playing youth centre’s. You could say that the band started in 2007, they did some touring of course but it was all very average stuff, I have to say. I can’t complain, but Steffen didn’t like that. I said no problem, if you feel that you don’t have enough input on the music. It took over a year to understand what was going on, to understand why he was in a bad mood ad why doesn’t he support our decisions and all of that.
Well that’s easy to change, just sit down and write stuff as much as you can. Very easy to solve and I don’t write as much stuff anymore. Which is less work for me, at that point when I found out that that was a problem. I just had written a lot of stuff, you know doing the band a favour and I thought that some of those ideas any way work with a different tuning on the guitar. Some of the stuff we would need additional guitar and so on… But if this is a problem in the band, then I could just make a solo record and that’s what I did! Obscura songs on my solo album The Radial Covenant. It was an album without any compromises. It’s a lot of work but its also very fun to do. Then I thought that we could start all over again…
This is just one answer from our incredibly insightful chat with Hannes, speaking of Alkaloid and the band’s brand new record The Malkuth Grimoire, the drummer enlightened us as to how the process was in the song writing of the debut album. Along with potential tours that might be happening sooner than you think and of course the overall themes that the album holds. At just under an hour our in depth interview with Hannes answers some questions fans of Obscura might have had and I would hope brings to the fore the man’s fantastic new band Alkaloid and the truly monolithic The Malkuth Grimoire.
Listen to the full in depth interview below, apologies for the slightly bitty sound quality. The perils of Skype!
Alkaloid’s brand new album The Malkuth Grimoire is out now and you won’t regret picking it up!