Liberteer - _Better to Die on Your Feet Than Live on Your Knees_
(Relapse Records, 2012)
by: Dan Lake (9 out of 10)
Grindcore is a spiky, unlovely genre. Often more punk than metal, grind birthed itself in the split-second explosions of "You Suffer" and its ilk, the banner then taken up by groups as diverse as Brutal Truth, John Zorn's Painkiller, and multiple Scott Hull projects. Groove is avoided almost entirely, and melody is a crime punishable by... more grind.

What, then, to make of Matt Widener's Liberteer, whose Relapse debut might best be described as epic grind? There's space cleared for groove. Non-metal instruments emerge more than occasionally with melodies as fat and brazen as a _Lord of the Rings_ theme (I'm pretty sure Mr. Howard Shore gets quoted directly during the first half of the record). And, to be sure, this thing is grind as fuck.

_Better to Die on Your Feet Than Live on Your Knees_ lives up to its catchy and blatant title, early and often. After dispensing with an indispensable horn-and-banjo introduction, _Die On Your Feet_ is 27 relentless minutes of righteous rage. Song titles echo the expected sentiments: "Build No System", "Class War Never Meant More Than It Does Now", "Sweat for Blood" and "Feast of Industry" cry anarchy and incite the kind of stickinit-to-the-manliness that all extreme music junkies thirst for from time to time. But instead of hammering on all the tired political hot spots with music as uncompromising as its ethics, _Die On Your Feet_ constantly amazes with its excellent musical reach. We've all heard records whose sound got tired after far less than a half-hour; Widener has crafted a consonant cacophony that leaves this listener eager for more. Simultaneously militaristic and organic, brash and welcoming, _Die on Your Feet_ is surely one of 2012's happiest surprises and likely one of the best albums we'll see this year.


(article published 6/5/2012)

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