Album: Infrastructure (2011)

Obtain: Free Album Download

Song: Construction

Bitrate: 192kbps

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Hot on the heels of the new Graf Orlock EP and the new Owen Hart album, the Vitriol Records train charges ahead with the release of Infrastructure, the third full-length by Ghostlimb.

Based in LA, Ghostlimb is fronted by none other than Justin Smith -- owner of Vitriol Records, guitarist/vocalist of Graf Orlock (under the pseudonym Jason Schmidt), and guitarist of Dangers.  As Vitriol Records churns out one crucial release after the next, many of which feature Smith as a member, Smith is fast becoming one of the most prolific people in the underground today -- the center of something like a modern-day SST scene.

Infrastructure's opener, "Construction," rips through the speakers with all the aggression and left-of-center thrashing of Graf Orlock.  Smith's signature metal-via-punk riffing and authoritative bark are in full effect and this could very well be the first song on the next Graf Orlock album.  But then, midway through the song, the bottom falls out and we are introduced to a whole other depth of emotion -- a radiant, heart-on-sleeve chorus that announces this is not Graf Orlock, this is Ghostlimb.

Through eleven songs (plus a cover of "Plastic Surgery" by British punks Leatherface), Ghostlimb nails this balance of angst and beauty.  Bright, empowering anthems shine atop a burly foundation of giant, rock-solid hardcore beats, dirty chords, and the occasional lightning-fast thrash picking.  The sound is massive and real.

Where Graf Orlock makes high art out of Hollywood junk, critiquing the excesses of Western culture by co-opting symbols from that very culture, Ghostlimb makes its point in a more straightforward way.  This is stirring, emotional hardcore, delivered from the gut with total conviction.  Through honest words, Smith addresses such topics as the subjectivity of memory, the hubris of mankind in its role as the king of the food chain, the death of the music industry as a win against big business, and the necessity of honesty for the success of any collective action.  It is the sound of an educated man searching for his own understanding of this fucked-up world.  Or as described Ghostlimb's second album, Bearing and Distance, it's "an impassioned, literate plea for self-determination in the face of authority."

Infrastructure was recorded, mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley (guitarist of Ghostlimb labelmates Comadre) at Atomic Garden Studio in East Palo Alto, CA.  Shirley has recorded many Vitriol titles including Graf Orlock's Doombox and Ghostlimb's 2009 10" split.

Ghostlimb (a veteran of the road, with tours of the US, Canada, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe and the UK under its belt) will be on tour throughout 2011, including a West Coast run in April and Europe in August.