One of the many side projects of the Graf Orlock and Vitriol Records head hauncho, Justin Smith, Ghostlimb has just released their fourth full-length (the second in a previously announced trilogy), Confluence. The twelve tracks on this latest release could be described as “thinking man’s hardcore,” but that would be a bit of a misnomer. Sure the lyrical content delves into the introspective and current affairs and away from stereotypical hardcore topics, but the music here, despite an injection of melody every now and again, is blunt and aggressive, almost barbaric (a complete opposite of “thinking”).
The title track gets things started with vicious guitars and pounding drums as Smith shouts with plenty of anger and energy. It sets the tone forcefully, letting you know that there will be no letting up as Ghostlimb proceed through each track as powerfully as they can. A solid productiong and beefy overall sound make for an album that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go for a moment.
The songs flashes by relatively quickly, but be sure to check out the hard-charging “Margins,” the melodic riffs of “Canidae,” and the cold, doomy guitars of “Control” for some standout moments. Each song, however, is delivered with plenty of force and a determination that is refreshing if not inspiring.
When all is said and done, there may be nothing new under the sun with Confluence, but the intelligence behind the lyrics, the honest delivery and musicianship make for an album that stands out from the crowd. Smith and crew have something special going on with Ghostlimb, and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the final release in this trilogy.