Ultra-fierce grind band GridLink will release their third and final album, Longhena, in February via the Handshake Inc. label. (They were previously signed to Hydra Head.) The group was founded by former Discordance Axis vocalist Jon Chang and guitarist Takafumi Matsubara, and features guitarist Steve Procopio (ex-DA, ex-Human Remains), bassist Teddy Patterson III (ex-Burnt By The Sun, ex-Human Remains, and also a member of Chang and Matsubara’s other band, Hayaino Daisuki) and drummer Bryan Fajardo (Kill The Client, Noisear, Phobia).

GridLink‘s previous two albums, 2008’s Amber Gray and 2011’s Orphan, were blindingly intense bursts of fury, packing 11 and 12 songs respectively into roughly as many minutes. Chang’s vocals are a full-strength, high-pitched shriek; he starts at throat-shredding level, and stays there throughout. Behind him, Matsubara, Procopio, Patterson and Fajardo create a storm of sound that’s as fast as any band in grindcore, but still manages to feature shockingly melodic and even catchy thrash-derived riffing. The band’s output (not just albums, but T-shirts as well) has always had a unique, SF/anime-derived look, too, setting them apart from the extreme metal pack.

Chang released the following statement this week on GridLink‘s Facebook page:

In a few weeks you guys will lay your hands on the last GridLink record and probably the last record I will ever make. It wasn’t always going to be that way, but during the recording I realized that this was the end of the line for me. I don’t think I will make a better record and I don’t want to be in a band with anyone other than Takafumi Matsubara, who was cashing out his chips as well. This is a hard genre to play in. I’ve loved the style since I first heard it in the late 80’s, via Napalm Death, however I have been notoriously critical of the genre and really only ever liked a handful of bands that play “grind”(I have gone so far as to say 99% of bands that call themselves grindcore are just playing short death metal songs). It’s earned me a lot of scorn over the years but I haven’t lost any sleep over it.

I think about how lucky I have been to work with such talented people over the past 20+ years creating music in a genre that few can understand or engage with. I’m especially lucky to have met and worked with people like Rob Marton and Takafumi Matsubara, people who were not content to play in that space, but were committed to carving out a whole new sub-genre that was distinctly their own. Then there’s the percussion team of Witte and Fajardo, both guys who were the absolute best at what they did, eclipsing not only their peers but those that inspired them to something more. And then there’s the bass, which I grudgingly agreed to but turned out pretty damn good LOL.

To this day, I am still surprised anyone listens to or vaguely understands any of the music I’ve been a part of. So once again, I find myself saying goodbye. I’m going to be focusing on writing new graphic novels, making video games and films, etc. Feel free to tag along.

Stream the new song “Ketsui” below; you can download it as part of a sampler on Invisible Oranges.

Phil Freeman

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