Gridlink – Longhena (2014)

gridlink longhena cover

Longhena is grindcore that is actually musical. Takafumi Matsubara (Mortalized) became the sole guitarist after Orphan and brought a longer, more narrative, heavy metal sense of songwriting to Gridlink’s hyper proficient blend of their musical influences. The riffing varies from post-hardcore chord progressions to New Wave of British Heavy Metal harmonies of the type originated by Thin Lizzy. Somewhat shocking for a grindcore band not Carcass or Bolt Thrower, Matsubara actually progressive his riffs to tell short narratives in short, cyclical compositions varying from one to three minutes in length, usually climaxing in a bittersweet, often melancholic solo. The drumming is blasting, inspired, and semi-tasteful, with fills that feel almost as if they are about to go off the rails but return to be properly enslaved by the riffing. Vocals are reminiscent of Assuck with lyrical topics ranging from nuclear holocaust to anime and lamentations of the destruction of the player-controlled spaceship in shoot ’em up arcade game. All melodically and lyrically reflect upon listeners certain Buddhist mental concepts of the emptiness, nothingness, and meaninglessness of human existence and suffering.

More grindcore and “technical” post-hardcore/metal fusion bands should ape Gridlink’s adapting their riffing ideas into narratively structured heavy metal songs . Unfortunately, they probably won’t and metal fans will continue to feel the deluge of jazz school graduated guitar wankers’ deluded pretensions suckling the teets of Luc Lemay and Dream Theater. Gridlink stood in stark opposition to this, writing short bursts of metal that they eventually started developing into bittersweet melodic narratives sadly cut short by Matsubara’s brain infection and hemorrhage shortly after the release of Longhena that left him unable to play guitar for years. His final album will stand as a monument to grindcore expressing something musical, not just punks bashing two chromatic powerchords together and making noise in short bursts as they’re pissed off and can’t keep time for longer than a minute.

40 thoughts on “Gridlink – Longhena (2014)”

  1. zobi says:

    TLDR; that sucks

  2. Network Addict says:

    I can save the world by playing computergames

  3. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Thin Lizzy is a (hard) rock band founded in 1969. While they played some things which could be regarded as heavy metal riffs (Emerald intro), they clearly play (vocal-heavy) rock songs.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QreSqOBDPWI

      1. Rainer Weikusat says:

        U3RlY2sgRGVpbmVuIEtvcGYgaW4gZWluIEh1aG4K (RFC4648)

        People usually don’t care about anything. But their desire to communicate this loudly keeps baffling me …

        1. C.M. says:

          On S’En Fout, bruh.

          1. Rainer Weikusat says:

            The stock USENET reply to that would be: Truthful information is valuable on its own. Wikipedia more or less assigns Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy to the NWOBHM. That’s wrong as they’re both ‘late sixties’ bands, and – in case of Thin Lizzy – didn’t even play heavy metal (except in the idea of mainstream music journalism which keeps recycling this term whenever it notices something new which doesn’t sound like a pop band. The oldest recorded usage I know of reportedly referred to the Humble Pie debut and I’ve also seen it assigned to Blue Cheer and Iron Butterfly).

            There’s another interesting line of musical development which (AFAICT) started with the Pink Fairies (who possibly invented the Motorhead logo), continues with Motorhead (started as collaboration between Lemmy Kilminster after he was thrown out of Hawkind for “taking the wrong drugs” and Fairies guitarist Larry Wallis) and then (AFAICT) ended with early Tank (who fittingly covered The Snake).

            No reason to care for that.

            1. C.M. says:

              Don’t shoot the messenger, man!

              As for mainstream (ie people who don’t “get” metal) journalists classifying Lizzy as heavy metal progenitors: They (the journalists) are only aware of metal’s aesthetic qualities, and Lizzy’s extensive use of dual guitar leads in harmony was very cool and caught on widely in hard rock and was also adapted by heavy metal in the following post-Black Sabbath years, though it was Priest and Maiden who established the technique as a heavy metal “trope”. So, in the eyes of the journalist, Lizzy’s technique development helped pave the way for heavy metal. They are blind to the fact that heavy metal would have come about (albeit in a slightly different form) anyway thanks to the social climate, not the guitar techniques being developed at the time (though I’ll grant that there is no point in imagining that you could separate the two).

              1. Rainer Weikusat says:

                Sorry. My communication skills are poor. I googled the acronym and assumed I was being informed that “such and such a someone DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THIS !!!” (but bothered to reply???). That’s why I replied with a base64-encoded, German text meaning “Stick your head into a chicken”. I then further assumed you were emphasizing the original statement.

                1. C.M. says:

                  Haha, no, I assumed you just didn’t know what the acronym meant so I was trying to help out. Autism ftw.

  4. OliveFox says:

    That album cover is puzzling to say the least. But I’ll have no trouble Matsubaring to that picture.

    1. C.M. says:

      They are wearing a replica “plugsuit” as worn by the pilots in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Evidently this band has some anime-inspired themes in the music, though I can’t really pick them out by reading through the lyrics.

      http://imgur.com/a/QlSsb

      1. Nuclear war should have happened says:

        Gimp suit for cosplaying (LARPing for attention whores) weebs.

        1. POOP SUIT RIOT says:

          whats a weeb?

            1. POOP SUIT RIOT says:

              I was hoping for some more descriptive definitions from the commenters here.

              1. iPhone + Fleshlight + Pocky

      2. Billy Foss says:

        Perhaps this goes without saying, but both Dodonpachi and Ketsui are a series of vertical arcade shmups. I’ve never played either one, but they have a devoted set of fans.

        1. C.M. says:

          Two of my favorite arcade shmups, both are fucking intense games.

          The band also references the Armored Core game series (The Last Raven), Final Fantasy VII (Jenova), the anime VOTOMS (Scopedog)… and probably some more gay shit that I don’t know about.

          1. C.M. says:

            Oh yeah and “Wartime Exception Law 205” references another mecha anime. In case you weren’t convinced yet that weebs can make good music.

        2. C.M. says:

          Forgot to mention, the “plot” of Dodonpachi includes the player-character fighting against his own allies who have turned against him as a training exercise, willing to die in order to make him into the best fighter pilot. A really stupid and unnecessary plot but I’m impressed that Jon’s lyrics get so in-depth into the projected feelings of the protagonist-player. Weird stuff for sure. But that’s grindcore I guess.

          1. Billy Foss says:

            Man, I forgot all about Armored Core. The plot to Dodonpachi is interesting though, like some sort of mandatory wartime natural selection. I feel like that may have come from some other previous narrative, but I can’t recall where I remember it from.

            1. C.M. says:

              In a way it’s similar to the story of Ender’s Game, in that the commanders are pretending to be merely training their young soldiers but are really putting them in real life-and-death battles unbeknownst to the “trainees”. If you think of another example of that fictional narrative, please share it, it’s an interesting concept.

              1. Billy Foss says:

                The closest things I can think of at this time are the film/manga/novel Battle Royale and Stephen King’s The Long Walk. A game you might find interesting is Einhänder for PlayStation. It’s a horizontal shooter by Squaresoft where you undertake a suicide mission against Earth’s defenses. I don’t know if that’s ever stated explicitly from the beginning, but it’s irrelevant because once you meet your primary objective you’re congratulated and notified that for your heroism you have been selected as the target for the final test of a new unmanned fighter. The story is better in theory than in execution as there are discrepancies between the plot in the manual vs. the way it’s revealed in-game. However, an honest attempt is made to keep you engaged with narration after each stage and a few FMVs. I’ve seen comparisons to R-Type, and I’d agree as memorization is key. Although, it’s not quite as deliberately paced, and rarely does it feel as claustrophobic. It’s an excellent game, though a bit expensive these days.

                1. C.M. says:

                  I’ve heard of the game but have not had much luck in tracking down a copy for a reasonable price.

                  Maybe also worth mentioning, since we’re geeking out about horizontal shmups, is In The Hunt on arcade (though good lucking finding a MAME rom) and Playstation. Worth it if you can find it!

        3. Cynical says:

          Also, the title “Longhena” is the name of the main villain in the Dodonpachi series.

          1. C.M. says:

            Holy shit, I’ve been out-dweebed! I tip my hat to you.

  5. C.M. says:

    This is the only modern grindcore album that I can sit back and get lost in. That intro riff to Ketsui kills me. It bears mentioning that their two earlier full-lengths are uneven but good even if not at the level of Longhena. Lovely stuff, especially if you really like shmups.

    1. There other LPs are about ten minutes long so who cares?

      1. C.M. says:

        Anyone who wants to hear 20 more minutes of good grindcore?

      2. Dave the Faggot Grohl says:

        I try to pick the music I listen to based on the length of compositions and not quality

        1. A couple 30 second tracks of grind filler aren’t nearly as bad as a 25 minute Iron Maiden / Spinal Tap free jazz jam session that occupies an entire side of an LP.

          1. Rainer Weikusat says:

            Considering that Iron Maiden is part of the “all you need is thirds” movement, they’re unlikely to play anything resembling jazz. Other people did in the past, however,

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEnSZEr_MUk

            [SCNR]

          2. Dave the Faggot Grohl says:

            Ah, I misinterpreted your post.

            My facetiously presented point still stands.

            1. C.M. says:

              I misinterpreted it as well, lol…

              Close to the Edge: Shittiest album ever!

  6. Parasite says:

    I have never tried to read the lyrics and follow along with this band hahahaha.

  7. Tastee freeze says:

    This was a good album, I am genuinely surprised to see it here. I gave up on grindcore a long time ago just relying in the classics, but this was forced in me and it worked.

    1. Anthony says:

      Deathmetal.org/ANUS have been on the GridLink train since their first album (EP now according to Metal-Buttchives). It’s how I got into them and Discordance Axis, as a matter of fact.

      1. C.M. says:

        Hmm, thanks for reminding me; The Inalianable Dreamless is an album worth checking out too. It’s not as well put-together as any Gridlink but it’s cool for using the grindcore template and creating something very different from the assumed “grindcore” paradigm.

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