May 17, 2014

TECH DEATH WEEK PART VI: Gridlink - Longhena (2014)

As Tech Death Week is drawing closer to its inevitable end, I think it's time to bend the rules a bit. Today's feature is not exactly a technical death metal band - more like a technical grindcore band. The sci-fi concepts and imagery might  not be as in-your-face as some of the other bands I've showcased this week, but this American/Japanese outfit is well worth your attention. 

Of course, I'm talking about Gridlink, featuring members of Discordance Axis, Mortalized, Phobia and Kill the Client. Longhena is the band's final album and it is a 22 minute grindcore opus that brings new, unexpected elements to the table. The absolute highlight of this album is Takafumi Matsubara's insane and precise guitar playing, which constitutes the backbone of this release. As soon as you hit play on the first song, Constant Autumn, you know this is not going to be your typical grindcore album: you're greeted by a melodic riff that brings to mind the orthodox-tinged post-black metal of Liturgy and, a few seconds in, a drum roll signals the beginning of the artillery barrage which will permeate the rest of the album. 

Gridlink are extremely adept at creating a wall of noise that's at once impenetrable and appealing, sucking you in like a black hole made of noise. The hurricane of discordant riffs, the relentless drumming, the desperate shrieks of Jon Chang, trying to cut through all the racket - everything combines into the sort music that feels like being strapped in the chair of a crashing space ship.Your vision becomes blurry, your heart is racing, your brain is disoriented, your entire organism is going into overdrive - Longhena is one of those rare albums that elicits actual physical reactions. Brief moments of relief, like Thirst Watcher, with its clean guitars and violins, are only making you more vulnerable as the sounds once again escalate to unbelievable levels of sonic violence. And this is exactly what the lyrics deal with, too: melancholy, loss, feeling vulnerable, admitting one's insignificance in the grand scheme of things but still opposing the Universe through any means available, no matter how futile the struggle ends up being. 

Longhena was Gridlink's way of going out with a bang. They took their patented cybergrind skeleton and grafted new elements to it, crafting a grindcore album like no other. Complex, highly technical, violent beyond reason, yet surprisingly emotional. Highly recommended.


- unbelievable technical skills
- amazing atmosphere
- harsh and abusive, yet emotional and melodic


- this is the last Gridlink album you'll ever hear

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