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No Tolerance For Imperfection is arguably Man Must Die's most well-known album and also generally regarded as their best. This was the first album I heard from the band and especially the opener of this album launched me into the realm of discovering more and more I am in today. As the title implies, the first 25-30 minutes of this album do not fail to deliver, this is where you get to hear a more experimental Man Must Die. This isn't actually that bad, but even this part of the album doesn't live up to its predecessors. But where it really goes wrong is after the 30-minute mark. Honestly, this album should have ended with "Dead In The Water" and then it would have been perfect for what it is, because after half an hour this album starts to get boring but near the end it's downright tedious. This same problem would plague Peace Was Never an Option and it shows a band running out of ideas, which is quite sad because they (once) had potential. Both this and the aforementioned album have a good 25-30 minutes in which they're thoroughly enjoyable, but after that they start getting boring with only few highlights.
The problem with this album is that it's heavily front-loaded. Honestly, the first 3-5 (Or actually, THE first) songs stick head and shoulders above the rest, which are decent but nothing special. The opener of this album is one of the most intense and energetic songs I have heard in a while, with the 2-4 upcoming songs following closely. But the rest just comes off as "less" compared to these. This is quite a shame, no Man Must Die album has its peak after the first 3-5 songs, but neither of the 2 that came before this really suffered as a result. They were just a little teeny tiny bit less than the first few songs, but nothing boring at all.
Granted, this album is basically perfect music-wise. The musicianship has taken yet another step up from the previous albums. The riffs are arguably not as fast but these songs, as boring as they end up sometimes, are incredibly tight. The guitar tone is a heavy and actually pretty original one, though a bit core-y, the drumming is fast, heavy and omnipresent, and the vocals are as aggressive as you'd like them to be. This album has a cleaner and less resonant production than The Human Condition, which means this is quite a bit more brutal than the previous 2 albums. But a lot less atmospheric as a result. The band also made one terrible mistake when they made this album. There's a serious hint of metalcore emanating from this album, which makes this album sound a lot more plastic-y than before, something that I don't like to hear here. Some songs here ("It Comes In Threes") do manage to capture the atmosphere as I like to hear it but then you have some songs that lack it. This album relies more on its aggression than its style. Sure, this album is fast, frantic and pretty heavy, but it's the aggression that plays the biggest role above all here. Seriously, strip this album from its aggressive nature and what you'll keep is something that you can dispose of right away.
The instrumentation is still fast and sometimes outright rooted in deathgrind (More so than the predecessors) but it admittedly doesn't affect me as much as before. This album just starts coming off as "been-there-done-that" when it runs its course. These guys batter and thrum away, but it just didn't have as much effect as me as before. There's still a shitload of blasting, lots of great fills, some seriously catchy riffs and cool vocals, which is very usual from MMD, of course. The vocals didn't drop in level at all, McGlynn is still as pissed as ever, the lyrics arguably took a few steps back but the sheer determination he barks them out with makes them sound a lot better than they appear on paper.
This album could have been a lot better had it been cut off earlier. There's just too many material on this album that simply isn't catchy or even great. Which is sad because Man Must Die are a great band that write good songs. Nowadays I like them for their songs, not for their albums, that's because the majority of the 2 latest albums totally doesn't reach the level of the first 2 albums, which remain my favorite.
This is the first album I've brought from this truly remarkable band and it's one I'm defiantly keeping in my collection. This band deserves more recognition because of it's quality musicianship from each band member but also for the thought and hard work they put into this and probably other albums. The band focuses on not only the usual death, war and murder like ordinary death metal bands; but they also focus on social, environmental, political and personal issues that they feel strongly about. Take track three of this album "Kill it, Skin it, Wear it" where the meaning behind the song is about the bands personal view on people who wear animal fur or skin just for the sake of fashion. Also, take track 1 and the title of the album "No Tolerance for Imperfection" where the band say in the album guide "Everywhere you look today, whether it be on TV, a magazine or even a billboard that you pass on your way home from work, we are actually bombarded with advertisements and commercials telling us to look and act a certain way to achieve a more fulfilling life. It would seem that people today have no limits to what they will do to achieve what they perceive as perfection in appearance and social status!"
On to the music itself and the album starts of with "No Tolerance for Imperfection" and with the guttural vocals of Joe McClynn before being joined with the guitars, bass and drums. The guitars have a pitch perfect sound from Alan McFarland which sets a heavy tone throughout the whole album with some very technical and blast beats from former drummer Matt Holland. Joe McClynn also does a little bit of screaming in this song and in other songs but his guttural vocals just match the album perfectly, especially with the ideology behind the album, an angry sought of vocals. You can't hear the bass that much in the album from Danny McNab but I'm sure he would have to have been equally skilled to keep up with the constant technical guitar playing and also keeping that heavy tone throughout the album.
The song that must be my favorite through out this album is track 2 "Gainsayer" especially the bit when it gets to the chorus as the guitars play in what I think is a very technical high pitched sound that really gets you going but throughout this song the guitars always seem to be playing some sought of technical solo and in other tracks such as "Kill it, Skin it, Wear it" where there is a nice sounding high pitched solo to start the song of and in chorus bits. "Gainsayer" ending is just as good as the guitars are doing their solo, the drums are doing this constant blast beat and double bass before ending with a good drum beats. The band at one point even reminded of a start of a Slayer track on track 4 "It Comes In Threes" just can't put my finger on the song I was thinking about but it really had that high pitch guitar sound at one of the start of a Slayer album, even so the song was still incredible with again more high pitched sounding guitar solos with a rhythm to it at one point. The album even has an instrumental on track 8 called "What I Can't Take Back" it has in some points distant guitar playing before getting louder and then fading out with some basic drum beats but also show what the band or members may have been through in the past few years.
All in all this a truly amazing album that I can't fault; the guitars are perfect and so is the guitar playing from Alan McFarland which is probably the sweetest you can get in death metal let alone technical death metal, the vocals are also perfect which matches the albums criteria and they have that explosive feel to it as well, the drums (again) can't fault them awesome blast beats and all round playing and credit to the bassist who must (as I say) be equally as skilled as the guitarist to keep up. Even after listening to this album I just had to buy a t-shirt which I'm glad that I have. This band deserves way more recognition from us metal heads as I believe these are equally as good as the legendary Dying Fetus - defiantly the best technical death metal band in the UK at the minute!!! Can't wait to get more of their albums.
At first listen Man Must Die sounds like another gutteral, throaty, no talent metal band. People might disregard them and ignore to listen anything they put out. That isn't only stupid, but those people are missing out on one of the up and coming metal bands to come out of Relapse Records. Their album "The Human Condition" was easily one of my favorites for 2007 and they brought such brutality into their music, I was surprised I haven't heard of them sooner. It seems like each album Man Must Die puts out is just another stepping stone of amazing music. This album is no different. No Tolerance for Imperfection is exactly what the album title means. There is album is perfect.
Uh..where to even begin with an album like this? The opening track, "No Tolerance for Imperfection" starts off fast heavy and in your fucking face. The only thing you are allowed to do at this point is turn it up even louder. You hear a barrage of drums, vocals and guitars just screaming at your face. Due to the fact that each song after "No Tolerance for Imperfection" starts off with so much brutality and in your face metal, it easily makes it one of the most heavy albums in my collection. Those intros don't make this album good though. It shows that this band can have such a heavy ass intro to a song and at the same time show off their amazing musicianship at the same time. Each song has some sort of break down that doesn't get old and begs you craving for more. For example, the break down at 2:00 for "Kill It, Skin It, Wear It" is easily one of the heaviest parts of a song I have ever listened to. Then right after that break down, goes into a solo that just fits perfectly into the tune.
"It Comes in Threes" is another song just continues to blow me away each and every time I listen to it. The solo at 1:43 is just astounding and adds so much to the song. That's the beautiful part about this album. Each song gives you a reason to listen to it. Whether it is a hard and heavy breakdown like in "Kill It, Skin It, Wear It", a perfectly placed solo like at the 3:07 mark of "Hide the Knives", the epic and in your face intros like in..well..all of the songs, or the outstanding musicianship portrayed in the instrumental song "What I Can't Take Back". This album truly has it all.
Each tune stands out from one another for so many reasons. It literally gets never tiring to listen to and has been in regular circulation for a few years now. It's an album I can listen to over and over again and still get goosebumps at certain parts of the songs. Man Must Die is one of the few bands that actually gets better with each album they put together. With No Tolerance for Imperfection being their third album, I think we still have a lot more to see from these guys. A truly under rated band that deserves everything they are contributing to the metal genre.
I've been listening to metal for quite some time now. I've been familiar with death, black, etc. since I was about 12 or 13 years old and I'm now 21. There's a lot of metal out there that's great on many levels, but there's few releases out there that's actually touching to listen to. I actually get a feeling in my stomach that's indescribable.
On another note, the production of this monster is phenomenal. The guitar tone is spectacular; very heavy without sacrificing the powerful sound of the leads. The bass is kind of lost behind the murderous sound of the guitars at times, but for the most part it sticks out, especially in songs like "This Day is Black". The drums sounds amazing on here. I'm not sure if all of the drums are triggered or he's just extremely accurate. The bass drum seems triggered but not to hell. Triggers can be used nicely and they did a good job on here. I hear different levels of volume and just overall different sounding hits on the snare at times, so I'd like to think that the snare isn't triggered (at least in the sense that every hit no matter how hard, will produce the same sound with the same amount of ring, volume, everything). If this is the case the drummer does an amazing job at keeping his intensity ala Mike Smith of Suffocation. The vocals are just loud enough and not too loud in the mix. There's a lot of instances on the album where the vocals seem distorted with a little reverb. Even though I'm not usually a fan of distorted vocals, he pulls his vocal performance off perfectly.
Now, beyond production values this cd has even more quality qualities (lol I did that on purpose). The guitar riffs here range from technical death riffs, odd time signatures, some killer breakdowns here that are slightly metalcore-y but way more rhythmically technical and not just open note chugs. I'd say some of the breakdowns are kind of slam death influenced but they're typically faster than most slams. There's also some great Melo-death riffs that aren't cheesy and lame, think Impaled type melody without the gorey atmosphere. Occasionally a riff will pop up that sounds strange. It's tough to explain but it's definitely something you don't hear a lot. They're kind of spacey and atmospheric like the slow part of "Kill it, Skin it, Wear it". The solos are just simply amazing. Not completely focused on technicality and it's evident that he's writing them for the purpose of adding a genuine guitar passage to a song rather than showing off or just playing basic scales fast.
I can't really comment on the bass here. I can definitely hear it and it's decent but.. The drum performance on here is a little more than solid. Great footwork and he tends to blast or atleast do eighth notes on the snare during guitar pauses, which is awesome sounding. Some of the fills on here are actually very atypical for death metal. it's not just your typical four 16ths on four different toms from high to low or vice-versa. He incorporates his kicks and snare hits nicely into his fills. My only complaint about the drums is actually a production error. The cymbals just don't seem loud enough in the mix at times but you can definitely tell there's some stellar cymbal work.
The vocals range from a mid-range scream to a low-pitched scream with a hint of growl (think Guy from The Red Chord). There's some chest-death growls that aren't quite guttural but still low similar to Frank Mullen's latest performances. Joe McGlynn also has one of the best high screams that's ever graced my ears. I wish he used it a little more on here, but I'm glad he didn't dub over eveything and make layered vocals everywhere. He does seem to drop the F bomb a lot, but it works here as it's used in a hateful manner without resembling mallcore. The lyrics are truly touching, "This Day is Black" is about depression which I've battled for years and I appreciate the fact that he could write a song about the subject.
Overall, this album is amazing. There's few things that I can complain about here. The cymbals don't seem loud enough in some of the faster parts and the instrumental track just seems a little long for what it is. It builds up and builds up but never explodes into the climax I was expecting. Other than that it surpasses my expectations. Songs like "Gainsayer" give me that indescribable stomach feeling I was speaking of. Almost orgasmic, one of the best feelings for sure. Pick it up if you like metal, it's different. Definitely an interesting and extremely inspiring listen.