Record label: Vitriol Records/ Great Plains Records
The split 10 inch is an interesting format, not nearly as common as the split 12 inch LP and seven inch, but when used to document the right bands it can be better than either of those formats – not dragging or outstaying it’s welcome, but giving you enough music to really sink your teeth into. It’s especially enjoyable when both bands are as good as they are on this split.
Ghostlimb, hailing from California, have been one of my favourite bands of the last year. I’ve put them on to multiple mix CDs and recommending them to anyone who would listen. Featuring members of cinematic grinders Graf Orlock, Ghostlimb are a hardcore band that just does everything right. It’s like they’ve taken all the good aspects of hardcore and completely skinned them to the bare essentials. Imagine if the likes of I-Spy and Propagandhi pushed the desperation of their music, in both vocals and melody, into overdrive and you would be in a similar place to Ghostlimb.
Previous Ghostlimb records have reminded me of the time in my life when I first discovered melodic hardcore back in early 2000, though this band has far more to them than providing nostalgia trips. They’ve played around with song dynamics a fair bit on this split and crafted six songs which have a pretty nice balance of straight-ahead melodic fury and slower, more introspective moments. All the six songs intentionally flow into each other making this quite an intense listen if blasted through all in one go. Their lyrics here deal with personal autonomy, the Spanish Civil war, internal conflicts with despair and futility. It’s clear that the intelligence of this band isn’t just restricted to their riff crafting.
On the flip side Fischer present a slightly mellower collection of songs, reminding me of bands like Jawbreaker and Leatherface. They combine the introspective with the hopeful and there is a sincerity here which is hard to put your finger on but you know that this band plays from the heart. Subtle guitar melodies and some nice little rhythmic flourishes make this a perfect complement to the Ghostlimb side.
Everything about this record seems like a labour of love between two groups of friends, the silk-screened sleeve and accompanying record bag are really nice little touches and it all wraps up into an awesome package. You can also download all the songs from the respective labels so even those without vinyl players have no excuse to not check this out!