United States, Selfmadegod Records, Technical Grindcore
Unfortunately for the thinking metalhead, the 24-minute Longhena marks the end of a career of unyielding technicality for these veterans of grind. On the positive side, Gridlink’s third full-length blasts their career to a spacious peak due to an increase in variety, making the album more memorable yet no less sharp.
The slicing chaos on Longhena, as well as past records Orphan and Amber Gray, poignantly awakens listeners to their cluttered lives. This full-force sonic destruction mirrors the omnipresent, full sensory inundation of advertisement and influences pushing people to consume and assimilate. Longhena‘s dialog of organized madness forces listeners to reflect on a world that wants our money, our time, our future, our very individuality.
This wholly unique and peerless auditory concept is transmitted via an experience similar to an assault from a digital demon transposed from the future. Ghoulish shrieks shrill out a war cry (of metaphors from video games and anime). The guitars on Longhena cut deep with a two-bladed assault. First, the riffs chop deftly with a rhythmic similarity to a more mathy Nasum. Second, the leads diverge from the original hacks through the use of plucking or tremolo-picking in a style reminiscent of Second Wave Norwegian black metal (see “Stay Without Me.”) Then, Longhena swings a bludgeoning bass like a curtain of lead to smother after the initial cuts. The drums complete the assault with a surging and receding frenzy, often opposing the riffs. The record imbues the feeling of a panicked mental escapee on the run, ducking behind dumpsters teeming with nightmares, which then spill onto the streets.
Gridlink elevated grind to a new level of precise yet spastic devastation, the highest form of which was demonstrated on Longhena. By allowing for a deep breath of diversity, as in “Island Sun,” or the Mastodon-esque lead on “Look to Windward,” the four-piece does, in fact, reinvent the wheel… except it’s more like upgrading the chainsaw to a laser-guided cyborg model. Takafumi Matsubara, grindheads world round mourn Gridlink’s departure, and Longhena is our hymn of revelry.
Reviewer: Witness to the Void