Gridlink - Orphan
Hydra Head Records
12 songs (12:08)
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Kyler
      At first glance Gridlink has everything a grindcore band needs to succeed. Their vocalist is bleeding-vocal-chords-raw, the guitars shred, and the drums are tight and fast. What this band needs, however, is a shot of variety. Gridlink copied themselves with Orphan to the point where everything that made Amber Grey a masterpiece is what makes this follow-up album relatively unimpressive by comparison.

      There is nothing immediately wrong with Orphan. The riffs do not lack brutality and the adrenal kick is there. Despite this, the album becomes noticeably stale a few songs in. This is because Gridlink finds a riff that works and sticks with it, often for way too long. I would have loved for them to take the album more towards the seven seconds of carnage that is Cargo 200, a highlight for true grindcore fans for sure. Instead, Gridlink overinflates their songs to the point of mediocrity. Grindcore is a genre known for cutting out the fluff, so it is a shame when certain songs, like Red Eye, somehow get stale within less than a minute.

     That said, Oprhan is not a complete loss. The songs Orphan and Flatliner feature some great low growls, something I was not expecting vocalist Jon Chang to pull off at all, so that's new for them. I Accept Your Last Wish likewise surprised me because it begins as a straightforward grind song and then hits a strange experimental point that works really well. Hearts is a menacing tune that lacks predictability and packs a punch. These songs kept me going. Thorn Farmer and Embers, Blood and Treasure, on the other hand, sound like Burzum on meth. The black metal influence in these songs, however slight, does not fit at all here.

     Orphan is that rare kind of album where a band does almost everything right and still manages to disappoint you. It’s not that they are trying too hard, or that the skill isn’t there. It's just that the album lacks focus. You're fast, now what? The songs aren't memorable enough for me to suggest Orphan over Amber Grey, but overall this is a still decent album.

Killing Songs :
Cargo 200
Kyler quoted 57 / 100
Koeppe quoted 65 / 100
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