Man Must Die
No Tolerance For Imperfection

Like a parent seeing a child grow, I’ve enjoyed watching Scotland’s Man Must Die blossom over the last 6 years. From their impressive 2003 demo, through the killer debut album, …Start Killing (one of 2004s very best death metal albums), to being the first UK band signed to Relapse Records for The Inhuman Condition, to now, their second blistering and perfectly rendered album for Relapse Records. * Sigh* they grow up so fast.

All joking aside, I have actually kept in contact with guitarist Alan McFarland since the demo days and I’m genuinely pleased for the guy and the band, even more so when they release an album as aptly titled and face ripping as No Tolerance For Imperfection.

Little has changed stylistically in the Man Must Die camp- they still play a perfectly balanced form of modern death metal that’s both brutal, tight and pummeling, but with strands of crafty melody intertwined. And though Alan vehemently denies it – I still hear early Kataklysm and Brutality as tangible influences. Joe McGlynn still sounds like Brutality’s Scott Reigel and the guitar work and punishing grooves have a certain ‘Northern Haggis Hyperblast’ tone to them.

One small change is that rather than the slightly overly clicking production of Jean-François Dagenais’ (which further enhanced the Kataklysm reference), the band has turned to hot UK producer and former Stampin’ Ground guitarist Scott Atkins (Sylosis, Ignominious Incarceration) and the result is a slightly more burly, if still rather clean tone. Either way, the songs themselves are the star of the show as Man Must Die simply put on a death metal clinic for the album’s 11 track, 50 minute run time.

From the attention throttling opening title track to the perfect cool down closer “Survival of the Sickest”, No Tolerance for Imperfection is delivers everything you’d want in a modern death metal record. Razor sharp blast beats (“Gainsayer”), taught melodies “(Kill it, Skin it, Wear it”), and of course, some well placed controlled heft (“It Comes in Threes”), and that’s just the first four tracks! The rest of the album is equally barnstorming and varied as the likes of “This Day is Black” as well as “Hide the Knives”, and “Reflections From Within” (two personal favorites) in particular shred and stomp with a voracious energy and confidence that many third albums lack. Only slightly piecemeal instrumental “What I Can’t Take Back” is a slight misstep, but it does offer a breather.

I wondered if Man Must Die could keep up the intensity and quality after the Relapse debut, but I’ll be damned if they improved on The Inhuman Condition and look to be death metal brightest new stars and top quality international players. Now, if Only Relapse could get them over to the US for a tour, preferably in Columbia, MO.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 24th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Nick

    Nice review Erik. The songs on their myspace sound pretty cool, but I don’t think it would take many listens for me to grow bored.

    P.S. Reminds me a bit of Canada’s Decrepity. Check them out.

  2. Commented by: Staylow

    I dig this album. Great review Erik.

  3. Commented by: dr_neo_cortex

    good review, I really dig this band they are underrated, can’t wait to get my hands on this.

  4. Commented by: Dan

    I consider myself a pretty big fan of MMD, but I’d still be the first to admit that they’re prone to some pedestrian tactics; some start/stop chugging breakdowns and some overly-simple lead melodies. But when they hit their stride they can rip your face off. This new one is a big step in the right direction though. Despite the mega-polished production I feel like there’s a marked improvement in song variety. This is worth checking out.

  5. Commented by: Desperado

    Haha Northern Haggis Hyperblast!!!!Awesome!Line of the Year my friend!!Being scottish of descent and having our heritage all about my family,my dad even plays the pipes,and he got a chortle out of it.Good band,though I need to give this a listen.

  6. Commented by: krustster

    top 10 of the year material, their best tape yet !!

  7. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Just got the new one, “Peace was never an option’ for review on Lifeforce and it is BRILLIANT. better than this and debut

  8. Commented by: Luke_22

    That’s good to hear Eric. Really looking forward to the new one. One of modern death metal’s best & most underrated bands for sure.

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