Monday, November 23, 2015

GHOSTLIMB - Difficult Loves

Coming February 5th, 2016 on Vitriol Records, Los Angeles band Ghostlimb presents its fifth full-length album: Difficult Loves.

Stream new Ghostlimb track "Treason Fluently," from Difficult Loves, via BrooklynVegan, here:

Ghostlimb is the trio fronted by Justin Smith, owner of Vitriol Records and rumored mastermind behind Graf Orlock, the movie-obsessed grinders whose new album Crime Traveler is also scheduled for a February 5th release on Vitriol. While Graf Orlock mines the language and symbols of Hollywood to create its concept-heavy music, Ghostlimb is Smith's more direct, personal outlet.

Ten years since its self-titled debut album, Ghostlimb has chiseled its style down to a supremely effective form. Equal parts violence and melancholy, Difficult Loves churns forward like an alliance between Napalm Death and Hot Water Music. Via Smith, bassist Neal Sharma and drummer Alex McLeod, blastbeats and chugs cohabitate with bluesy leads and gruff melodicism. Grindcore meets post-hardcore – as a 2012 review from SPIN Magazine put it, the band's sound is "gravel-caked D-beat, hardcore, and grind-lite with an emotional core." 

Another part of Ghostlimb's identity is Smith's use of historical events in his lyrics, a conceit he comes by honestly – by day, Smith is a professor of history, earning him the tag of "The Heavy Metal Professor" in the LA Weekly's 2013 list of "the most interesting people in Los Angeles." Smith continues the trend on Difficult Loves, filling his lyrics with references to history – from the wars of Ancient Greece to the drought of modern-day Los Angeles. Also in the mix are nods to the works of Bertolt Brecht, Aldous Huxley, Italo Calvino, and more.

In Smith's words: "I feel like Difficult Loves is the most developed in what we have sought to do over the last ten years. True to form, it is about history, politics, and environmental stuff but it brings in a lot more from the literary realm. The title of the record is from an Italo Calvino book. It is about glimpses into normal peoples' lives – more about capturing a feeling than being a crusader of some dialectical change."

Difficult Loves was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Whirr, Beau Navire).

The tracklist is as follows:

1) A Gobi of Suburbs

2) Sense of Place
3) Hostility Compelling
4) Wall of Books
5) Difficult Loves
6) Brushfire
7) Folds in the Sheets
8) Nine
9) Addressee Relocated to Cemetery
10) Treason Fluently
11) Life's Blood

The artwork was created by Adam Hunt, the designer behind all of Graf Orlock's next-level art and packaging – the infamous Doombox EP (housed in a full-size, fold-out, cardstock "boombox," given the title of "Packaging of the Century" by Revolver Magazine) and the Destination Time Tomorrow LP (featuring a pop-up paper alien inside its gatefold, inspired by the film Alien), to name two. 

"From sludgy parts to slower atmospheric stuff to mile-a-minute metalcore chugs. It rips pretty hard."

"Gravel-caked D-beat, hardcore, and grind-lite with an emotional core."

"Melodic and violent."

"If you ever wondered what Converge would sound like with slightly bluesier guitar riffs..."

"Highbrow hardcore... Ghostlimb are unusually conceptual and melodic."
-OC Weekly

Difficult Loves (Vitriol Records, 2016)
Confluence (Vitriol Records, 2012)
Infrastructure (Vitriol Records, 2011)
Split w/ Fischer (Vitriol Records, 2009)
Split w/ Perth Express, Zann, Trainwreck (Adagio 830, 2009)
Bearing & Distance (Level Plane, 2008)
Ghostlimb (Gunslap/Adagio 830, 2006)

Photo by Alexis Acosta