Technical Grindcore band Gridlink have released their third and final album Longhena, announcing that they will be splitting up after this release. But what a way to bow out. Ex-Discordance Axis frontman Jon Chang and co. have released an album of such intense ferocity, complexity and above all a real uniqueness, that they will take the final curtain having left an ugly, twisted scar of nuclear devestation on the face of grindcore, distorting it for all time. Intense brutality, melodic complexity, and all around genius make this certainly one of most unique grindcore records of all time.
Jon Chang’s screams are absolutely terrific, actually horrific in their passion and intensity, he really is (was) one of the best frontmen in grind, screaming like some sort of an enraged demon, his style suits the crazy music here perfectly, it’s absolutely ear pummelling. Added to his trademark style are some Atilla Csihar style creepy growls on “The Last Watcher” which are just awesome, and should have been used more throughout the album. Takafumi Matsubara’s guitar playing is just insane. Riff after riff are delivered at a million miles an hour, his is truly some of the fastest playing around. Staggering in it’s complexity, epic in it’s melodic sense, and crushingly brutal, the performance here is nothing short of monumental. And despite being intense as anything there’s a certain refinement to the riffs, and a lot of catchy melodies – no grind album has ever been close to as melodic as this has been. But this melody does not come as a sacrifice to brutality, and adding to the rapturous vocals and guitars, the drumming is simply an unrelenting barrage of blastbeats, and with an incredibly gnarly bass tone throughout the album, Gridlink create a wall of cacophonous, brutal, intelligent, and yet somehow beautiful noise. And maybe just to mess with the listener’s already partially pulverised brain further (or perhaps for a chance of recovery) there’s a 2 minute piece of beautiful violin playing stuck in the third track , making little sense in the context of the rest of the album. But it works, so why the hell not?
It’s really hard to describe the way such demonic fury and technical musicianship can work so well together, but it really does. How something can sound so completely unhinged, yet so complex and intelligent all at the same time is beyond words. Perhaps the best way to describe Longhena is like being hit by a speeding freight-train while studying quantum mechanics.
This is grind as you’ve never heard it before.
Out now on Vinyl through Handshake (USA) and CD on Self Made God (Europe), digital available through bandcamp.
Stream Longhena now: