To call Gridlink’s new album Orphan “intense” would be a massive understatement. For those unfamiliar with the group or its superb 2008 outing, Amber Grey, the sheer speed and fury contained in these 12 minutes could be shocking. But with a band composed of veterans of Discordance Axis, Haiyano Daisuki, and Kill the Client, it’s unsurprising that Gridlink make most of their grindcore peers sound tame.
But Gridlink do far more than just play fast and furious. On Orphan, they have created music—real, memorable, carefully crafted music—that is far above the usual abrasive noise that characterizes grindcore. These songs have riffs by the boatload, and seem to pull from every conceivable branch of metal and punk. Pieced together, they make for an incredibly dense, constantly varied, and pleasantly surprising blast of sonic chaos.
Twelve minutes of music for the price of a full-length may sound like an unsavory proposition, but Orphan is well worth the price of admission. Not since Pig Destroyer's Phantom Limb has this writer heard a grind album as fresh, interesting, and enjoyable as this one. With Orphan, Gridlink have truly elevated themselves to the top of the grindcore heap. CLARKE READ