Friday, October 3, 2008
Gridlink - Amber Gray
Imagine, if you will, yourself sitting in your room enjoying a book when the neighbor's dog begins barking. You try to drown out the dog's barking with the most abrasive grind you can get your hands on. Instead of overpowering the dog's barks however, the dog is killed by the blasts and speedy riffs, your book is thrown across the room in a fit of rage and instead of enjoying a pleasurable night sitting in your favorite chair diving into an abused piece of fiction, you throw on your stompin' boots and run down the neighborhood crushing small animals skulls while indulging in a Popsicle that, by some miracle, happened to be laying in the gutter. Its kind of like that - a midnight, fit of rage erupting out of nowhere.
Jon Chang's vocals are ear piercing and constant from the moment this eleven minute album - a full length according to the band but eleven minutes? Seriously? - begins. Amber Gray, the title track barely starts before second track 3 Miles Below Sea Level begins. Both sound relatively similar with the same basic idea coursing through both - speed, blasts, screaming scratchy death, etc. Matsubara is an exceptionally speedy guitarist - his right hand moving at pick melting speeds and his left, creating a tornadic blur on the neck. Though he can play, I find the short song lack a hook.
Something must be said of Brian Fajardo's drumming. I'm not entirely sure where he can possibly pull the energy to move and blast at speeds this fast. He does stir up some incredibly technical and impressive fills at near - blackout inducing speeds. Okada conjures up some excellent bass fills... hypothetically speaking. I can barely hear him at all though I will use my imagination and claim that he is not playing jazz fusion. The moments when he is audible - notably the beginning of "Stake Knife," also the most memorably song on the album for me - he impresses. Some extra low-end would do a lot to increase what I would deem a "thin" overall tone with emphasis on the highs and mids. A note on this song, as the central portion of the song - thirty / forty seconds in - shows some interesting composition work.
Not something I would find myself listening to over and over again, but there is a slight bit of charm in this blistering rocket ride into oblivion. The lack of any noticeable tempo variation and only minor song variety and vocal variation leave me feeling as though this is an incomplete piece of grind. Luckily, this doesn't fall into the same ditch as most modern grindcore. Heavy on the grind, no core. Lots of noise and harsh abrasive vocal destruction.
THIS IS A