No discussion of the most innovative musicians in extreme metal is complete without mentioning Japanese guitarist Takafumi Matsubara. Over the course of three albums with avant-technical grinders Gridlink, Matsubara’s playing consistently pushed against the boundaries of grindcore, elevating the genre to artsy heights not heard since the heyday of bandmate Jon Chang’s former outfit, Discordance Axis. The release of Gridlink’s 2014 masterpiece Longhena was tempered by the news that it would also likely be Matsubara’s swan song as a musician, as he had contracted a serious brain infection that made it doubtful that he would ever be able to play guitar at that level again.
Fortunately, Matsubara somehow proved the doctors wrong and worked his way back with a new project called Retortion Terror. Alongside a “mysterious lineup of international grinders,” the five tracks that make up the band’s half of their upcoming split with Invidiosus are the first new music he’s produced since Longhena, which in and of itself is cause for celebration. The fact that they kick so hard that you’ll spend the next several hours unable to feel your face make them five of the most significant minutes of music to see release in 2017.
Far rawer than anything in Gridlink’s discography, songs like “Arcane Dogs,” which we’re thrilled to be premiering below, don’t waste time on niceties. After a quick shout of the song’s title, Matsubara and company launch into 40 straight seconds of whirlwind drums and chaotic, borderline atonal riffing liable to leave even seasoned grind fans reeling at first. Give it a second spin, though, and you’re guaranteed to wind up pissing yourself with glee.
Given the amount of attention Retortion Terror’s tracks will likely garner, it would be easy to overlook the Invidiosus half of the split. That would be a serous mistake – don’t fucking do that. They might be in the unenviable position of having to follow Matsubara’s against-all-odds return to music, but the Minnesota-based veterans are more than up to the task. With a lineup featuring current and former members of bands like Amiensus, In Defence, and Rottenness, the quintet favor more of a ‘kitchen sink’ approach to grind, mixing elements of death metal, crossover, and even sludge into their five tracks. On “Purpose Defeater,” which we’re also stoked to be premiering, they definitely bring the thrash with the song’s gnarly opening riff before seamlessly dive-bombing their way into a more deathgrind-flavored second half. Invidiosus pack a lot more variety into the song’s 84-second run time than a lot of grinders have on entire albums, and they sound like they’re having an absolute fucking blast in the process.
Invidiosus will also be embarking on a tour of Japan and South Korea later this month. Dates are on the poster below.