BY Kiel HumePublished Jul 9, 2012

Always the consummate artiste, Ghostlimb frontman Justin Smith's (aka Jason Schmidt when he's leading Graf Orlock) influence for new album Confluence was none other than Alexander the Great. Confluence is their second release in an unfolding trilogy. 2011's Infrastructure kicked-off the planned series, laying the foundation for Smith's growing hardcore empire. Confluence is the group's natural next step: a series of forces coming together in a clashing confluence of hostilities. Alexander the Great is the perfect conceptual starting point for a band and album wanting to push beyond the boundaries while also defending and expanding the groundwork laid by Infrastructure. Like much of Smith's material, he has a knack for making 90-second songs seem much longer, in a good way ― there's intensity to each track that's both melodic and violent, making for a condensed sonic experience. Those familiar with Graf Orlock will notice this quality, but should note it's a very different kind of compressed sound. Ghostlimb are more firmly anchored in a punk tradition that's both faster and lighter than Graf Orlock. Like Ghostlimb's previous material, Confluence straddles the line between punk and hardcore, with consistently fast, rhythmic riffing, à la traditional punk, but with hardcore's lower tones and the head-stomping swagger of a good breakdown. With all the heady conceptual wonder, compressed anger and imperial ambition, what else could you ask for? A great cover of Hot Water Music's "Southeast First"? Confluence also has that. You're welcome.

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