MAN MUST DIE – The Pain Behind It All

MAN MUST DIE – The Pain Behind It All



Let’s face it: eclecticism is the future of heavy metal. These days it’s becoming harder and harder to find a truly unique sound so modern originality is defined as a combination of wide range of influences into something greater than the sum of its parts. With their first two recordings since the 2002 conception, “…Start Killing”²⁰⁰⁴ and “The Human Condition”²⁰⁰⁷ (the latter my first contact with the act) the technical death metal quintet presently consisting of founders Joe McGlynn (vocals) and Alan McFarland (guitars), as well as Michael “Raphone” Allan (2018-guitars), James Wright (2017-bass) and Tony Corio (2017-drums), showed promise of such a sound but was still quite immature in their endeavors so I naturally missed the subsequent “No Tolerance For Imperfection”²⁰⁰⁹ and “Peace Was Never An Option”²⁰¹³, but when I saw that the 5th album was up for a download, I had a hunch that it might be worth checking out and I’m glad I did, if somewhat hesitatingly.

Nothing hurts as much as life, once sang the Polish rock act Budka Suflera and the new Man Must Die album embodies that pain in cleft and note. Generally, upon the rhythm of Fear Factory (Patterns In The Chaos), Meshuggah (In The Hour Before Your Death), All Shall Perish (title track) or Psycroptic (Bring Me The Head Of The King) lay melodic stylings of Biohazard, Misery Signals, Darkest Hour or even Killswitch Engage (War Is My Will) as influences range from hardcore to thrash and deathcore to make the tech death both more palatable and interesting. In songwriting, Man Must Die rivals the Americans Lamb Of God or Misery Index and even fellow UK-ers Dyscarnate and to that last influence I would liken them most. The title track, with its “Black Gold Reign” All Shall Perish start, a cinematic melody and a Panteric “Walk” or, more closely, Sepulturic “Territory” simple but classic sounding repetitive riff, is the one that catches your immediate attention and doesn’t let go for awhile, but the more metalcorish immediate follow-up “In The Hour Before Your Death” recalling All That Remains, is just as effective, but overall the first half of the album seems a little inferior to the second. The piano-introed “Enabler” opening the superior second half is the first perfect track, reminiscent of the first It Dies Today album with leads worthy of tragically departed guitarists Oli Herbert (All That Remains) and Chuck Schuldiner (Death), while “The End Of Heartache” Killswitch Engagesque supermelodic “War Is My Will” is the second perfect cut, even with the influences really close for comfort, what with its transition to the instrumental “Alone In A Crowded Room” reminiscent of the “World Ablaze/And Embers Rise” transition or the melody of Machine Head’s “I Am Hell”.

The level of songwriting and musicianship generally not falling below a 5/6 mark it is not easy to pick the not so greats and frankly I can think of only one, the rapid short, not very melodic yet quite complex “Clickhate” (about the keyboard courage of the anonymous intenauts?) as deserving of that designation. The overwhelmingly profane thrashcore of “Bring Me The Head Of The King” with its stylistic proximity to Pantera’s “F#$king Hostile” is a close second but it is saved by the complexity and variety per its near 4 minute duration. Otherwise, this is a very engaging album with plenty to enjoy and, next time, I will check out the follow up without hesitation.

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