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Bewildering, Screeching, Maniacal Grindcore - 90%

FullMetalAttorney, April 21st, 2011

It will take me longer to write this review than it would take you to listen to Gridlink's Orphan. Yes, this is grindcore, and it's very good.

Gridlink is from New Jersey, and the album is their second full-length. I still hesitate to call a 12 minute album a full-length, but I guess that passes in grindcore circles. Despite the short runtime, it has as much aggression and riffage as a 40 minute thrash album. All the fat is trimmed, and each song is as short as it could possibly be. They do fall into the cliche of recording a less than 10 second "song" (thanks a lot, Napalm Death), and it might as well not even exist, but the rest of the album is thoroughly engaging and bewildering.

Unlike other grind bands, Gridlink goes full throttle the whole way through. There are no heavy breakdowns (none of the songs breaks the 1:30 mark), just screeching furious talons in your face. And it all does screech, in the most maniacal way possible. The riffs are excellent, and they stick around long enough to let you groove to them, but never long enough that you'll get used to them, ensuring that subsequent listens are just as bewildering. And it gets better with each listen.

The only track which breaks out of the formula for a moment is "Flatworlder", which sounds more like black metal at double-time than a typical grindcore track. But "Thorn Farmer" sticks out as a highlight among an album full of excellent songs.

The Verdict: I'm no grind expert, but even I can call this one early: best grind album of 2011.

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