Gridlink – Longhena (Handshake Inc.)Tuesday, 18th March 2014
Peanut butter and jelly, corn beef and cabbage, spaghetti and meatballs. Some things just go together. Beauty and grindcore? Not so much, but don’t tell that to Gridlink. Their swansong, Longhena successfully weaves punishing melodies and emotional depth into blistering one-minute tracks to a degree one would not think possible.
Personally speaking, most grindcore goes beyond the level of tolerance for most people: noisy, sometimes sloppy, and extraordinarily chaotic. Listening to Longhena, there is no mistaking it for anything other than a grind album. The screamed vocals, the furious and frenetic pacing of the music, and the stunningly short song lengths (14 songs in 23 minutes) are all here in due form. Before you scoff and look away, know that what separates Gridlink from the rest of the pack is some real sense of precision. If you take away the vocals (there is also a “karaoke” version included that does just that), you can hear the attention to details within the songs and a genuine melancholic feeling on some of the tracks.
Despite the visceral nature of the music, many songs feature some standout melodies. Finshing track “Look to Windward”, uses it’s lengthy (for grindcore) three minutes to include a number of gorgeous yet spastic riffs before ending the swansong with some violin. Even the opening riff of “Constant Autumn” will make some scratch their heads before it jumps into ravaging grind. Enjoy the short, gloomy “Thirst Watcher” while you can; it’s the only reprieve you will get in the otherwise dizzying spiral that is Longhena.
With such a short run-time, Longhena works best as a back-to-back repeated listen, even tossing in the karaoke versions along with it. It almost beckons a trance-like state for the listener, despite the abrasive nature that carries it throughout. As a swansong for the band, it doesn’t get much better than this. Welcome to the next level of grind. RIP Gridlink.