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Ghostlimb - "Infrastructure" (CD)

Ghostlimb - "Infrastructure" CD cover image

"Infrastructure" track listing:

1. Construction (2:16)
2. Concrete (1:31)
3. Extreme Duress (1:48)
4. Biota (1:07)
5. Reduction (1:25)
6. Asphalt (3:02)
7. Unending Ache (1:36)
8. Incomplete Works (2:08)
9. Traverse (1:44)
10. Substructure (1:39)
11. Eight (4:27)
12. Plastic Surgery (2:35)

Reviewed by on April 19, 2011

"Where the record hits its peak is with the flourishes of melodic guitar work and a sinking feeling of uneasiness on the longer cuts, 'Asphalt' and 'Eight.'"

Ghostlimb is another project from proficient vocalist/guitarist Justin Smith, who is also involved with the hilarious grindcore act Graf Orlock. Much more serious than his other bands, Ghostlimb’s hardcore sound may seem all bitter and punishing on the outside, but it does have a gooey melodic temper on the inside. Their third album, “Infrastructure,” continues to push this agenda across 12 tracks. The album isn’t lengthy, and a few of the shorter songs zoom through with destructive impact, but it is the more restrained tunes that work out best for this trio.

No knock against the one-minute scorchers, though. While these songs lack tunefulness, they have a forceful energy to fall back on. “Construction” enters thrash ground, a joyful display worthy of being labeled the opening tune. An abundance of fast drum blasting and unstable riffs welcome “Extreme Duress” and the driving tempo of “Unending Ache” makes the title of the song seem all the more appropriate. The band certainly knows what they are doing with these tracks, but they aren’t the high points of “Infrastructure.”

Melodic components give “Concrete” and “Incomplete Works” relevance beyond their briefness. A stretched-out song may only happen a few times on the album, but it is the instances where the band is on top. “Asphalt” is heavy on the bass and slow in delivery. It’s a combination that makes it automatically stand out from the rest of the songs. “Eight” works off of a rattling start that descends into a clean extended passage worthy of the stark haze it creates. A lone guitar strums lifelessly to close out a wonderful piece tucked near the end of the record.

The real ending of the album is saved for the Leatherface cover “Plastic Surgery.” Leatherface is a British punk band with a cult following and “Plastic Surgery” is one of their more laid-back numbers. Ghostlimb does a credible job with the track, and Smith’s vocals are better suited than the gruff ones on the original. The thing is, the track is out of place, and seems like an unnecessary coda to the strong close developed by “Eight.” After a powerful display like that, the band scales back, and drifts into the final moments of the record like a paper sailboat in a calm pond.

This band has been laying beneath the scanners for years, which may continue with “Infrastructure.” Not a terrible release, “Infrastructure” just lacks enough gripping qualities to warrant giving it attention. The Leatherface cover is out of place and the emphasis on quick-paced songs with a lack of hooks hurts the album’s appeal. Where the record hits its peak is with the flourishes of melodic guitar work and a sinking feeling of uneasiness on the longer cuts, “Asphalt” and “Eight.” Fans will be satisfied with this one, but there isn’t much to attract new listeners to the party.

Highs: Fast-paced, some melodic structure on "Asphalt" and "Eight," doesn't waste much time

Lows: Awkward ending to record with "Plastic Surgery," lack of hooks on the shorter songs

Bottom line: Fans of Graf Orlock and their earlier material will enjoy "Infrastructure," but others tread with caution.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)