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Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees

For those of you who have heard of Matthew Widener, you will know that he is not to be taken lightly. He is a heavy metal demon and his highly political outlook on life has been one of the main reasons for his success with his past bands Cretin and Citizen and his new band Liberteer, whose debut album Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees is 17 songs of sheer ear orgasm.

As is expected from Relapse Records, the music is reassuringly heavy. You get blast beats, punk ascetics and heavy vocals laced with ideologies of national anarchy and freedom of the people. This album is the sound of what Che Guevara would make if he listened to grindcore. Listening to the album, you realise how the songs work so well and every aspect of them fits together, much like a huge completed jigsaw of Malcolm X kicking a Nazi in the face.

The album begins with 'The Falcon Cannot Hear the Falconer', which provides a huge, dramatic opening for the album. This unusual introduction fits strangely with the rest of the album with its battle trumpets and drums reminiscent of Turisas, rising to lead the listener to war as the second song 'Build No System' explodes. In all seriousness, the riffs and blast beat made me tingle from head to toe. I love this sort of thing. All the treble has been removed and there is nothing but a wall of bass, massive drums and guitar riffs that scream in your face more than the vocals. The album breaks in the middle with a melody of trumpets and flutes before building back into a wall of energy.

The following tracks tend towards a more simplistic theme. 'Class War Never Meant More Than It Does Now' is a fist in the air track that would be amazing to hear live with everyone around you chanting the phrase. Following this is the relatively melodic 'Rise Like Lions After Slumber', which provides a good mid-paced break in the album and shows a different side to band, proving they are more than just a bunch of brain-dead political whingers.

The album strays more from the typical grindcore mould than Mortician or Napalm Death and has a more punk feel to it, with blast beats, downbeat folk aspects and growling vocals more comparable to Ministry than other metal bands. This variety gives listeners a diversion from their expectations and preconceptions of Liberteer, especially considering the lack of variation on Cretin's full-length album Freakery and in most American death metal in general.

by Now Then Sheffield