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Gridlink - Amber Gray - 95%

FleshMonolith, August 11th, 2009

After hearing that Gridlink are to play Maryland Deathfest for this up coming season I simply couldn't contain myself. Discordance Axis main man and vocalist Jon Chang strikes back with Gridlink's hyperfast, amazingly short release which clocks in just under twelve minutes. Disappointing that this is all there is, no idea how they play a show, but what they showcase here is brilliant.

Gridlink blaze through each track, Brian Fajardo of Kill the Client fame carries out an astonishing performance behind the kit, showing up Dave Witte if you ask me (although I'm still a huge fan of his). The drums never let up, yet break the mundane nature of hyperfast blasting with great fills, cymbal work, variances of beats and a slew of other tricks. A friend told me the only thing to be triggered on this album were his bass drums, which is excusable.

Gridlink achieve ferocious and powerful grindcore with a flurry of ear catching riffs and little moments that are easy to retain and completely awesome. The guitar work is inventive and top notch, a real pleasure and departure from typical grind riffs. Labeled by some as technical grind, it's simply grindcore with interesting guitar work and song writing. The Jenova is an outstanding track and has such a great ending, the beginning of Black is jaw-dropingly awesome, as is the whole album; jesus christ.

Chang's vocals are spot on, while there's a lack of his lower registry, the scathing vocals work perfect and project so much intensity, spot on. Even the lyrics and artwork are particularly good.
The production allows the guitars to really carry a punch as well as highlight the vocals and drums. Can't really think of too many comparisons to this album, maybe if The Inalienable Dreamless had a better production, was shorter, and contained lots of riffs.

Overall each musician nails their job perfectly, standout performances from each member. This is one of the best grind albums I've heard in awhile, a shame it's so short, but then again both Assuck LPs are like 15 minutes and those are both amazing. Chang and co. know exactly what they're doing; worth a shot for any fan of extreme metal or even punk.

Originally written for

Heavy On The Grind With An Empty Core - 65%

orionmetalhead, October 3rd, 2008

Imagine, if you will, yourself sitting in your room enjoying a book when the neighbor's dog begins barking. You try to drown out the dog's barking with the most abrasive grind you can get your hands on. Instead of overpowering the dog's barks however, the dog is killed by the blasts and speedy riffs, your book is thrown across the room in a fit of rage and instead of enjoying a pleasurable night sitting in your favorite chair diving into an abused piece of fiction, you throw on your stompin' boots and run down the neighborhood crushing small animals skulls while indulging in a Popsicle that, by some miracle, happened to be laying in the gutter. Its kind of like that - a midnight, fit of rage erupting out of nowhere.

Jon Chang's vocals are ear piercing and constant from the moment this eleven minute album - a full length according to the band but eleven minutes? Seriously? - begins. Amber Gray, the title track barely starts before second track 3 Miles Below Sea Level begins. Both sound relatively similar with the same basic idea coursing through both - speed, blasts, screaming scratchy death, etc. Matsubara is an exceptionally speedy guitarist - his right hand moving at pick melting speeds and his left, creating a tornadic blur on the neck. Though he can play, I find the short song lack a hook.

Something must be said of Brian Fajardo's drumming. I'm not entirely sure where he can possibly pull the energy to move and blast at speeds this fast. He does stir up some incredibly technical and impressive fills at near - blackout inducing speeds. Okada conjures up some excellent bass fills... hypothetically speaking. I can barely hear him at all though I will use my imagination and claim that he is not playing jazz fusion. The moments when he is audible - notably the beginning of "Stake Knife," also the most memorably song on the album for me - he impresses. Some extra low-end would do a lot to increase what I would deem a "thin" overall tone with emphasis on the highs and mids. A note on this song, as the central portion of the song - thirty / forty seconds in - shows some interesting composition work.

Not something I would find myself listening to over and over again, but there is a slight bit of charm in this blistering rocket ride into oblivion. The lack of any noticeable tempo variation and only minor song variety and vocal variation leave me feeling as though this is an incomplete piece of grind. Luckily, this doesn't fall into the same ditch as most modern grindcore. Heavy on the grind, no core. Lots of noise and harsh abrasive vocal destruction.


MutatisMutandis, August 27th, 2008

I'm rarely an avidder of blistering speed based grindcore, especially in recent years, as many acts have come out of the deathcore boom with more interest in seeming "wacky" and "chaotic" than writing a memorable or entertaining song. Discord is appealing when there's an underlying rhythm of some sort, or at the very least, a vocalist who can unite segments by producing the proper patterns. Gridlink on the other hand, are just as disarming as the aforestated scene, but are leagues more memorable than say, fluttering a jackhammer over an array of roughly textured surfaces.

The technical aspect of this album is absurd, with insane, chaotic riffs and blasting drums that bring to mind a ridiculously brutal extension of the catalyst band, Discordance Axis' farewell album, The Inalienable Dreamless. From that projection, increase the production value tenfold and lop off the low end of Jon Chang's vocal delivery. Voila.

In just under twelve minutes, Gridlink delivers eleven tracks of the utmost speed and skill and order 'em up with the precision of a neurosurgeon. Fingertip-chaffing shrill riffs are accented by a subtle sense of melody, and Chang's tortured screeches act as a perfect counterpart to the lightspeed fills delivered by none other than skinsman Brian Fajardo of Kill The Client and Phobia. An all-star package, in short.

Overall, I've easily spun this disc thirty times since I recieved it in the mail last week, and it'll probably remain in the rotary for weeks to come. If you're a huge fan of Discordance Axis, Damage Digital, and Noism, or If Exit Wound's last MCD thrashed you into a prolapse, Gridlink will fucking kill you! Highly reccomended.

Great first release! - 95%

Zekester, August 5th, 2008

Wow. What can I say about this album besides awesome? The riffs are technical and catchy. The drumming is top notch. It's not just a pure blast fest, but that's the majority of the album. But, this is grind, what do you expect? It’s incredibly technical though, with the drummer doing some absolutely crazy fills and blasting at high speeds.

The whole album clocks in at 11 minutes 47 seconds. Each song is around a minute long, with the longest song being 1:22 and the shortest being 0:34. Every song is fast, furious, and you can tell these guys aren't messing around after the first song. They made this record to beat you senseless with ferocious drumming, great guitar playing, and solid bass work.

And yes, Jon Chang of Discordance Axis is the vocalist. He does a fucking great job with some inhuman screeches that fit perfectly with the music.

The guitar is usually standard grind but much more technical, and the riffs they play in the higher register are usually pretty melodic for grind. Sometimes the guitars will even harmonize, not something you see in most grindcore. The guitarists go far and beyond your usual grind guitarists, and play in some weird time signatures, and even do a few sweeps throughout the album. When’s the last time you heard a sweep in a Pig Destroyer song? I can’t recall one. This band is on par with Lykathea Aflame in terms of technicality.

This album feels like a breath of fresh air for grindcore. Most bands either rehash older bands like Carcass and Pig Destroyer, or newer bands like Pig Destroyer and Nasum. This band doesn’t do either. They’re on their own level, in terms of technicality, songwriting, and brutality. Each song feels like it’s going somewhere and every instrument, including Jon Chang’s inhuman screams make you feel like you’ve just been utterly decimated listening to this album.
n closing, if you like grindcore, you’ll love this album. If you like technical music, you’ll like this even more. This album does not disappoint.