GridLink – Coronet Juniper (Willowtip)

Monday, 11th September 2023
Rating: 9/10

Back in 2014, we thought we had heard the last of grindcore outfit GridLink. Longhena was stated to be the band’s swansong, and it was an incredible way for a band to go out. Weaving together raging, frantic grindcore and somehow make it memorable and oddly melodic, it was a unique milestone for the genre as a whole. Almost a decade later, the band has decided to pick things up once again, and their fourth full-length Coronet Juniper is the result. Coming back from such a prestigious finale is never easy, but GridLink finds a way to make some memorable grind magic once again, upholding the high bar they initially exited with. Plus, look at that cover – utterly gorgeous!

Don’t let the memorability and melody bit fool you, GridLink are masters of crafting some utterly devastating grindcore that will pulverize your ears with it’s sheer velocity and rage. “Octave Serpent” is just as scorching as anything else you’d find in the genre, but the escalating riffs and melodies that swirl together around the buzzing blastbeats turn into something that’s oddly beautiful and compelling. Listening to the whirlwind of chaos as the band’s tempo goes from 0 to 250 is nothing short of breathtaking. “Zygomatic” keeps the tension at full-tilt with wild riff schemes and just some occasional slowdown as vocalist Jon Chang manically screams in a way that’s as caustic and unhinged as the music surrounding him. But for all of this chaos, the sound of which grind was lovingly built upon, there’s these melodic bits tossed in to keep you guessing and grab your attention. “Refrain” swings with high-speed grooves that act as earworms, countering the vicious speed runs surrounding them. The nearly three minute “Ocean Vertigo” begins with some catchy melodic riffing before the accelerator goes straight to the floor and batters you with blasts and intricately melodic riffs – the tail end of the track going vocal-less also gives it a more memorable, melodically-cast moment.

Gorgeously and methodically driving into chaos, GridLink keep things just as grindy as they can while somehow engaging in such memorable moments that you’re bound to have some riffs stick with you long after it ends. That’s saying a world of good for grindcore, where melody is often entirely sacrificed for extremity. GridLink just as a basic question, “Why not both?” and then deliver on it in spades and style to spare. A welcome return from one of grind’s strongest and most unique entities. Coronet Juniper is an exercise in beautiful madness.

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