Review Summary: A new gold standard in grind.
The cover art to GridLink's Longhena
is the kind of thing that only Jon Chang can get away with. It looks more like the poster for a live action Neon Genesis Evangelion reboot than it does anything that associates itself with heavy music, grindcore in particular, but once again, it is so indicative of just about every word Jon Chang has screeched or drawn inspiration from in both Discordance Axis and in GridLink. So much so that it actually makes sense. Just take a quick look at the track listing. Chances are this is the only convergence of both Japanese shoot-em up arcade games, Scottish science fiction novels, and botany to exist in the musical universe.
Although Jon Chang's work after Discordance Axis is not as well known as his seminal grind project, GridLink caries on as a natural extension of the unique personality and tonal composition that made The Inalienable Dreamless
a classic. Longhena
is no exception. It is a meticulously constructed clusterfu
ck that bombards the senses from every angle. The mile a minute drum work sets the scene for the dancing array of melodic – for grindcore-- yet completely unhinged guitar mayhem and larynx shredding screeches. Every song is laid out like a big city marathon, traversing all the sights and sounds of its most storied historical landmarks as thousands clog the street trying to muscle their way through as fast as possible. Again and again this endurance test plays out, yet on a microscopic scale; where any given song begins is no indication as to where it will end up in a minute's time, let alone in a few seconds. Longhenna
is delightfully jarring as in the span of a minute clean interludes can be found juxtaposing blistering scale runs, and monstrous chords frantically clash against nails-across-a-chalk-board histrionics.
Yet for as much of a grinding, nightmarish cacophony that Longhena
is, it still sounds incredibly human. It's as if somewhere, buried deep in a sea of distortion and obscure nerdy references, lies a living and breathing soul trying to escape and tell its own story. It is a tome forever lost beneath the violent waves, but in the troughs it surfaces just long enough to remind us that it is still struggling, like most of us, to find a way into the light.