Better to Die on Your Feet...



by welljesuschrist USER (15 Reviews)
October 16th, 2012 | 7 replies

Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A breath of fresh air.

Grindcore is one of several natural dead ends of 'heavy' music. Hardcore punk taken to it's absolute extreme; one minute bursts of utter fury played at breakneck speed that may make even those thoroughly inoculated to, and engaged with, the heavier shades of music step back and think 'what-the-***-was-that"'. It's crossover appeal is zero, variation within the genre is almost non-existent (you know your scene is pretty insular when lyrical content is used to distinguish one act from another; see goregrind and pornogrind) and it's probably one of the few genres of music left that can be described as genuinely 'underground' – Pig Destroyer or Cattle Decapitation aren't going to be appearing on Warped Tour any time soon. And thankfully neither are Liberteer, the one man grindcore project of ex Exhumed member Matthew Widener. But this is probably the most interesting and surprising grindcore release since Phantom Limb way back in 2007.

In terms of reference points Versions by Poison The Well is a suitable comparison; a hardcore record pregnant with surprising country flourishes such as banjos, steel guitar and horns. And while far from revolutionary it was a success and a breathe of fresh air. But revolutionary is the one thing Liberteer has set out to be with this record, sonically and politically.

Better To Die begins with The Falcon Cannot Hear the Falconer, 30 seconds of uplifting horns and strings that bleeds into the furious Build No System. After one minute of blast beats and guttural growls the fury fades away for a brief segment of triumphant horns, flute and military band style drums. It's executed seamlessly, sounds superb and is down-right clever. It would be very easy to overlook just how much thought and care has gone into this collection of 1-2 minute long compositions. And an equal amount of care seems to have gone into arranging and balancing the record. It's masterfully sequenced, ebbing and flowing effortlessly from the straight up fury of tracks such as 99 to 1 and That Which Is Not Given But Taken to down-right uplifting instrumental sections such as Sweat for Blood.

Lyrically and thematically the album is about anarchism. I imagine Widener would hate me saying this, but I don't think whether you agree with, or even want to engage with, the political subject matter found here matters all that much as to whether you can enjoy this record or not. As with most grind you can't make out what he's saying anyway, but if you read the lyrics or any interviews with him, he's got a lot more interesting and nuanced things to say than say Anti-Flag's relentless, over-simplified 'Don't Bomb the Middle East For Oil' sloganeering. It's probably not going to go down as The Shape of Grindcore To Come, but Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees is an excellent and dare I say it pretty 'progressive' addition to grindcore.

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user ratings (26)

Comments:Add a Comment 
October 16th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Only put it up because there wasn't a review already.

Originally here -

November 20th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

This album is excellent. I don't necessarily agree with the PTW comparison, but this is extremely anthemic and bleeds those Americana horn sounds proudly. Pos.

November 24th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

I just meant he brought some similar elements into a grind record that poison the well did into a hardcore one. Not that they sounded similar in anyway. Thanks for the pos.

September 16th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

this needs some more love on here. this album makes grindcore sound fresh as fruit! glad I found this

little gem of an album. do yourself a favor and jam this!

November 17th 2017


Album Rating: 5.0

5 years later and I still can't grow sick of this record. Fantastic from start to finish.

November 17th 2017


this album is truly unique

Digging: Dawn - Slaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy)

November 17th 2017


Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, the use of horns and whatnot is great, and is used perfectly to break up any monotony that attempts to settle in otherwise.

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