Saturday, March 17, 2012

Liberteer - Better to Die on Your Feet than Live on Your Knees

Liberteer is a Californian grind band that just released their first album in January. Sole member Matthew Widener has been around the grind scene for a while, most notably as a bassist for Exhumed on a couple releases in the mid 90s.

This album has an unusual but really jarring problem. With 17 songs crammed into a space of 27 minutes, a certain amount of abruptness is to be expected, but this album will literally stop one song mid riff and start up another. In some places, what really amounts to a single track is spread over multiple track listings, but in others the songs just stop. It feels like they were recorded, then the beginnings and ends were just clipped off when they were done, leaving a 90 second sound byte in the middle as the full track. That track is then just butted up against another track that received the same treatment. I find this so irritating that it's almost impossible for me to get over it and fully enjoy the music. Which is unfortunate, because this is actually a musically solid outfit.

The core sound is in that old school Napalm Death realm of grind, with bellowed vocals, gritty guitar and bass, and frantic drumming behind it all. Rather than sticking purely to that, though, many sound experiments are scattered throughout the record. Horns come into play, guitar styles will make unexpected changes, and various odd background sounds and assorted instruments find their way into the mix. This actually makes for some interesting listening and provides a good amount of variety without knocking the band's overall sound off-center.

I only wish the tracks hadn't been so weirdly hacked and stitched together, because every time I really started enjoying the music, the track would just end and a different one would start. I hope that Liberteer releases more material in the future, and I'll certainly give that a try because the musical talent and creativity is there to create really enjoyable and unique grind. It just needs to be organized better.

Grade: C
The music was good, but clipped tracks severely damaged the listening experience for me.

In unrelated news, I have 2 notes to add.

1: My school beat Michigan last night in the first round of March Madness!

2: Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

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