Man Must Die
Peace Was Never An Option

With UK metal and death metal in particular being in a full and impressive resurgence, one only need to look to Scotland’s Man Must Die for arguably the catalyst for the current swath of killer death metal coming from the fair isle. With 2004’s …Start Killing and then two subsequent releases on Relapse Records (2007’s The Human Condition and 2009’s No Tolerance For Imperfection) the band became the first ever Scottish band on Relapse Records and put UK death metal back on the map.

However, the band has been silent since 2009 and a band I was in regular contact with went somewhat dark for almost 4 years. But now on Lifeforce Records and with a new drummer the band has ended the silence with an absolute fucking scorcher of an album, the best of their short career. After three albums of comparing the band to Kataklysm (much to the band’s chagrin) and Brutality, the band has finally developed a more personal sound to call their own and it’s one that develops a scathing mix of melody and vicious, tangibly angry brutality.

There is truly a real sense of pissed off-ness on Peace Was Never An Option, from the further developed scathing, religious, political and social lyrics, to Joe McGlynn’s utterly dominant, improved blast furnace vocals (as well as some clannish shouts akin to mid era Napalm Death) to the furious intensity of the music, that still comes across as intelligent and surprisingly melodic, Man Must Die has obviously been fuming for the better part of four years and it shows on this album. Case and major point, after intro “Congregation”, “Hiding In Plain Site” absolutely explodes from the speaker with a melodic fury that combines the sheer grindcore vitriol of The Code is Red era Naplam Death (just listen to “Antisocial Network”) mixed with some supine duel melodies that could pass for classic In Flames or Dark Tranquillity on steroids, just listen to the solo at around 2:25. And it’s not just one track as this melding of blistering savagery and deft harmonies surfaces many times throughout the albums 10 other songs (there is another interlude/intro in “Dissolution”).

And while each of the songs deliver the goods, with each note dripping with intensity and well crafted variety as well as a few menacing grooves, the standouts have to be the aforementioned “Hiding in Plain Site”, as well as “Sectarian” (the album’s killer, unofficial title track) with it’s jaw dropping mix of intelligent harmony and sheer brutality, controlled fury of “Absence Makes the Hate Grow Stronger” and “The Hell I Fear” (with a real nice somber solo). Closer “The Day I Died” which is a slower, burning 8 minutes of brooding menace showing a different color of Man Must Die, but even with a bristling climax, it ends the album with a nice comedown from the prior nonstop intensity.

A lot of high profile death metal releases will get the lion’s share of the attention in 2013, but Peace Was Never An Option deserves your ear as it is one of the most viciously intelligent salvos of death metal I have heard this year from a band I’ve watched grow from their demo days nearly a decade ago.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 28th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Luke_22

    Really looking forward to this. They seem to get better with each album. Underrated and phenomenal band. Good review.


  2. Commented by: condensedlight

    What a killer album cannot stop listening. great band.


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