Man Must Die
The Pain Behind it All

I’ve got a pretty long history with Scotland’s death metal veterans Man Must Die. From covering the band and their 2003 demo in Metal Maniacs, reviewing their massive 2004 debut, ….Start Killing , for Digitalmetal.com, to their 2 Relapse Records releases, (The Human Condition and No Tolerance for Imperfection to Peace Was Never an Option released on Lifeforce records way back in 2013. And even an interview with founding members vocalist Joe McGlynn and guitarist Alan Mcfarland on these very pages for that album.

So after the longest break between albums of the band’s career (not counting a limited edition EP, Gagging Order in 2019), Joe and Alan are back with yet another new lineup and a new label. And the time off (as well as subsequent geo-socio-political events since) has tempered the duo and their new bandmates to white-hot levels of intensity that match or even outdo the band’s prior output, despite the band now truly veteran status.

The band has always masterfully crafted death metal that had equal parts brutality and crafty melody (I’ve always compared the band to a better Kataklysm meets classic  Brutality much to the band’s chagrin) and added some Napalm Death ish grindcore/punk sneer to the mix on the Peace Was Never an Option, and all of that is back in massive, razor sharp spades, but the band has now added a small level of carefully crafted introspection to the mix, resulting in a contemplative and mature but still utterly pissed off Man Must Die. Yep- they are older and wiser, but still dangerous, grumpy old men of death metal now.

After the rip-roaring opener “Patterns in the Chaos”, which imbues the three bands mentioned above succinctly, the title track shows the first glimpse of a more patient, but deadly band not afraid to get a little more personal with some moody structures, semi-clean vocals, and an overall world-weary aura befitting the last 5 years. Napalm Death‘s more experimental/industrial era comes to mind a bit.

And those more introspective moments spring up amid the savagery with well-timed respites as heard on the 6+minute “Enabler”, interlude “Alone in a Crowded Room” and melodic standout “War is My Will”, which might be the best thing the band has delivered since “Severe Facial Reconstruction” “Kingdom Shall Fall” “Hiding in Plain Site”, or “Sectarian”.

Fear not though, there’s plenty of brutal, blasting, Haggis exploding fuckery with intense numbers (though still craftily melodic, when even in full throttle) like “Clickhate”, “In the Hour Before your Death”, “Bring Me the Head of the King”, or “Who Goes There?/I.F.F”, another real standout to end the album.

Another solid if not excellent album in the band’s already solid if not excellent discography, that solidifies Man Must Die as the grizzled, reigning king of Scottish death metal despite a few challengers over the year.

Also- Hey Joe, if you read this, in the 2013 interview you did with me,  you said an EP of cover songs was maybe in the works. What gives?????????????

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 28th, 2023

Comments

  1. Commented by: J. Mays

    Killer album and spot on review. This band never disappoints.


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