Give Me True Liberty or Give Me Death

An Album By

True Liberty

Review by

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Veteran Richmond, VA band True Liberty remain, for the most part, stalwart to the East Coast, early ’80s, oi hardcore punk on the mostly live fifth LP, Give Me True Liberty or give Me Death. That they manage to sound fresh and vital boils down to their commitment and context. Singer Aaron Wells sounds entirely into his aesthetic, but also its natural validity as a vehicle for Godly truth and observation. Just as much of the best hymns’ melodies, the melodic buoyancy and robustness of punk lends itself to congregational singing, True Liberty knows the value of an anthemic chorus and a few hearty nonsense syllables to engender unity in the mosh pit and sing simply articulated wisdom to their audience. Within that setting, it makes perfect sense for the band to remake both John Newton and Chuck Berry without either cover sounding like an odd duck. Let Green Day evolve into making Broadway musicals and consorting with Norah Jones. Bands like True Liberty don’t mind playing storefronts and basements, and know the inherent value of those packed, sweaty settings.