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Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees

Relapse (2012)
Rating: 6.5/10

When I first heard the stirring, trumpet-led intro I didn’t know what to expect from this one-man band, but 30 seconds in and Liberteer presents itself as a horrendous racket akin to Napalm Death, combining a political grindcore stance with heavy, groove-based extreme metal, including some unusual melodies.

This is particularly evident on ‘Build No System’, which combines juggernaut drumming, gruff vocals and buzzing riffs with a peculiar yet refreshing injection of melody, provided by militant trumpets and brief Irish jig.

That’s not to say that Liberteer are some alternative-funky extreme metal band, far from it, this is aggressive on every occasion. ‘Without Blazon (Is The Flag I Hold Up And Do Not Wag)’ is an anarchic holocaust of a face smasher that doesn’t even reach two-minutes, hearkening back to those ferocious days of Terrorizer and the likes who were sent out from the trenches onto the battleground with their short blasts of horror.

Liberteer is the baby of California-based Matthew Widener, a multi-instrumentalist, who has put chaos onto record in the form of 16 or so scathing blast beats, such as the pounding, yet somehow catchy sing-a-long ‘We Are Not Afraid Of Ruins’, the bruising battering ram that is ‘Barbarians At The Gates’, featuring some explosive drumming and almost punkoid guitars, and the equally stirring ‘I Am Spartacus’, with its chugging melody.

All tracks, except one (‘It Is The Secret Curse Of Power That It Corrupts’) exist no further than three-minutes, but do provide the listener with access to what is normally an inhospitable genre. For instance, personal favourite tracks on this debut are the superb ‘Sweat For Blood’, with its almost symphonic chug, and the formidable buzz of ’99 To 1’, which finishes with a peculiar techno march!

Liberteer is a clever, albeit intense project that combines all the great elements of political grindcore, but at just 30-minutes in length I wouldn’t want to be paying too much for this migraine.

Neil Arnold

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