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.