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Scottish Death Debut - 82%

beardovdoom, December 14th, 2013

Man Must Die are a death metal band from Scotland. I once saw them opening for Kataklysm and my main memory is how they literally had about 8 people watching them! Shame really, as they are a talented band with the ability to craft decent death metal. This is their debut album and it's pretty good.

MMD play a fairly technical style of death metal, not pure instrumental wankery like a lot of bands, but being able to show off their ability when necessary. JF Dagenais of Kataklysm produced this and it sounds as good as his other production jobs. This isn't a million miles away from Kataklysm actually, injecting a level of melody and technicality into their style. Not as relentless drum dominated as Kataklysm, but I can see why there are links between the 2 bands.

The drums are prominent in the mix here, as they should be with such a talented player. This isn't just endless blasting, there's plenty of interesting fills and varied patterns on the bass drums. This guy brings a good range of drumming techniques to the band. Fortunately, he doesn't overwhelm the other instruments. Although the bass doesn't stand out too much, when it does it's sufficiently technical to match the guitars and drums without sounding out of place and overly widdly like a lot of tech death bands do (Beyond Creation come to mind).

Guitars: the guitarist brings an interesting style to this album. The solos are technical yet very melodic, something i appreciate. 'Severe Facial Reconstruction' being a prime example of his solo ability. Riffs are frantic, fast and quite high pitched. Not a lot of crushingly heavy riffs except the breakdowns. Speaking of which, yes this album has breakdowns. Not the endless crappy ones you'd associate with deathcore, but brief moments of heavy chugging. Sadly there's one in almost every song so I'm taking points off for that. 'All Shall Perish' actually sounds a little like the band of the same name, more chugging riffs, low guttural vocals and frenetic drumming. Generally though, the album shies away from deathcore leanings. In fact, some of these riffs could come from the better end of metalcore or melodic death metal. Not cheesy, just tuneful and memorable.

Vocally, this is a good mixture of guttural lows, growls and the occasional higher pitched scream. Not astounding, but very competent and suitable to the music accompanying them. lyrically this is your usual death metal fodder of murder, violence and destruction. Nothing special but then again it's what I'd expect from this type of band.

The album is fairly brief at 38 minutes but good death metal doesn't outstay it's welcome. As a debut this is a highly competent slice of death metal that stays on the right side of technicality and brutality, not pushing too far into either subgenre. Fans of more melodic bands should check this out for something a little more extreme and sadly overlooked. Hopefully the band will begin to grow a bigger following now they've reached album number 4 on a bigger label.

Recommended tracks: A Lesson Once Learned, Severe Facial Reconstruction, War On Creation, Scumkiller.

Fast, Brutal and Technical - 90%

UKMetal, June 16th, 2013

After listening to their latest album "No Tolerance for Imperfection" I just had to get their other albums, and "...Start Killing" didn't disappoint (well to some extent). This album takes a little bit of finding on the internet due to the record label who released this album - Retribute Records - going out of business, so you can only find this album on places such ebay, amazon etc. This album really explores elements of death metal and putting it all in one album especially with the vocals; they range from your more growling type death metal vocals, to the ones used in brutal death metal with the guttural vocals and the screaming vocals that sometimes have this black metal sounding.

So, the album starts with track 1 "A Lesson Once Learned" which starts with this electronic sounding of "You are going to die" with distant screaming and crying before someone says "Shall we begin" and then the guitars and drums come in with some fast paced playing with blast beats from former drummer John Lee and the constant bass drums kicking in. The vocals then start up from Joe McGlynn with the the guitars playing a catchy riff then Joe McGlynn goes into a more brutal death metal vocal style accompanied with some drum beats from John Lee before the guitars return to the riff and the drums constantly blasting away from the bass drums. This then slow down to this melodic sound and the guitars go into a high pitched riff with the vocals ranging from this black metal sounding to this growling death metal sound before the guitars return to this high pitched riff and eventually into this guitar solo and going back to the earlier riff with crashing cymbals and beats from the bass drums.

Nearly on every track of this album and the "No Tolerance for Imperfection" album, the band seem to have this thing of having this screaming breakdown which I think gets a bit boring after while, on the other hand it's good in some places but I find Man Must Die do it way too often.

The guitars are played very well by guitarist Alan McFarland who varies the ranges in which he plays; a lot of the guitar playing in this album is very high pitched sounding with some parts being of your normal low, grind sounding guitars in death metal. The riffs in this album are played very well with some well planned and played guitar solos, but they are played with this somewhat sweetness to them which makes them sound even better.

Track 4 of this album "All Shall Perish is one of the best tracks on "...Start Killing" in vocals terms, it has nearly all the vocal elements of death metal with also that black metal sounding. "All Shall Perish" starts off with this high pitched guitar sounding before the vocals come in with this black metal vocals with blasting drums and then the vocals go into this switched between brutal death metal vocals and black metal vocals. The guitars then go into this grinding deep rhythm before returning to its high pitched riff and the blasting drums of John Lee. Their is also this very acoustic guitar playing with a bit of a melodic sound to it before going back to the guitars, drums and vocals.

In parts of this album you can hear the bass guitar of Danny McNab like in track 3 "Severe Facial Reconstruction" track 4 "All Shall Perish" and a little bit in track 7 "Scumkiller" but all in all there played very well.

For me, my favourite track is the last track "Faint Figure in Black" it has this fast, but melodic sounding to it and is also quite catchy with some of the guitar and drum playing. The vocals mainly stick to the growling but do go off to the brutal death metal and black metal vocals. It also goes off into this high pitched acoustic sound before being accompanied with low sounding guitars and deep vocals of Joe McGlynn.

This album offers a lot of Man Must Die are all about: technically very good, vocals are performed very well by Joe McGlynn and gives a range of styles within the death metal genre, the drums are also technically well played by John Lee with drum and blast beats with a pounding double bass. This band has to be one of the best technical death metal bands out there, yet (unfortunately) grossly underrated. Check this band out!!

Not Your Average ... - 95%

BabyRapingKit, May 10th, 2006

well well well Man Must Die (MMD) Too rhythmically intense to be standard modern melodic metalcore, yet too structurally intent on craftsmanship to be deemed straight up grind or death metal, Glasgow's Man Must Die have crafted an album that is an extreme metal tour de force. ...Start Killing is the two megaton bastard child of all things sonically menacing, and he's knocking at your door.

Hailing from a land where all things brutal rule the day, Man Must Die manage to pack all the punch of their gore soaked brethren within the construct of unabashedly catchy songs. Perhaps this is a story you think you have heard before. I can already hear the rusty cogs of your brain slowly churning in motion. "It's another metalcore album!", you cry in righteous indignation. Faithful reader, I assure you that this album is anything but that. For, even though the occasional passing reference to Bleeding Through may have ran through my head while listening to ...Start Killing, I assure the ferocity of this album pegs Man Must Die as closer relatives to acts like All Shall Perish or Neuraxis.

Living up to the the old maxim that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts, Man Must Die is a testament to cohesion. John Lee (Regorge) gives an extremely organic and live sounding performance, laying down a thick backbone for each of the songs' muscular physiques. While Lee doesn't exactly set any records for speed or complexity in his kit work, he more than makes up for it with his instinctive playing. He knows just when to throw in a well timed fill, and more importantly, when not to. Rounding out the rhythm section is the plunked out bass work of Danny Mcnab, whose complimentary playing more than compensates for the lack of a second guitarist. Andy McFarland is the songwriter of the bunch, and his riff writing displays an appreciation for a vast array extreme metal stylings, past and present. He flows effortlessly from Disincarnate styled tremolo picking one minute to melodic runs that are more evocative of Kreator than In Flames the next. He punctuates it all with rumbling breakdowns a la Skinless. While McFarland may not reinvent the wheel on this release, he must be commended for drawing from a strong stable of influences and arranging his riffs in such an expert fashion.

Drawing all these components together is a production job that is just oppressively dense. The low end rumbles menacingly during the breakdowns and my eyes can't help but get misty when I listen to these parts and reminisce fondly over Suffocation's Pierced From Within. The lead guitar parts are mixed perfectly as well, and rarely get lost amidst the chaos, as is often the case on albums of this caliber. Joe McGlynn's vocals are nestled comfortably in the mix, and he serves his role as a third percussive instrument quite well as he ranges from low gutturals to blackened screams.

Listening to this album is like watching an Ultimate Fighting Championship Greatest Hit's compilation. I'm talking old school UFC, back when there were no gloves or weight classes; just fat guys getting kicked in the face by quick guys. At first, your stomach turns a little bit as you think to yourself, "I can't believe people get off on this." However, there are those who will inevitably be drawn in by the subtle art of delivering a knuckle sandwich to the face of man desperately struggling for air while he slowly drowns on his own blood filled breathes. If you're one of those people, then by all means buy this album. It was crafted for you and your sadistic fascination with sensory distress. If not, I suggest you proceed with caution, as Man Must Die does little to cater to those who are not on board for a grueling, but ultimately cathartic listening experience.

A Taste Of Scottish Death Metal! - 88%

Perplexed_Sjel, April 7th, 2006

I was astonished to hear that Man Must Die were Scottish. As an Englishman, it has been well documented over the years how much Scots and the English despise each other well, who doesn't despise the English to be honest? I found it quite difficult to believe that Scotland could produce such a good Death Metal band. Certainly not your typical melodic Death Metal outfit either. "...Start Killing" is the debut album of the Scottish outfit and was released in the summer of 2004. It consists of nine tracks and lasts just over 38 minutes. Just about enough time for it to tear out your insides and carve you a new asshole.

Fairly similar to Kataklysm and Cryptopsy, this is a brutal Death Metal experience. It's undoubted that Man Must Die produce some very catchy songs. Cohesion is what strikes you first. Everything is easily distinguishable and you don't have to glance at the lyrics to be able to understand what the vocalist is stating, which is a first for me. A very accessible album which can be enjoyed by all. It's as if you're listening to this band live, they're extremely talented and have a very punchy sound. Although Man Must Die aren't the most complex or speedy act on the planet, they're good at what they do and are truly innovative. Tremolo picking to melodic riffs in a similar vain to that of Kataklysm or Cryptopsy as stated before. Production is crystal clear and song structures are neatly put together. You can see where the talent lies in Man Must Die's guitarist, arrangement of riffs and playing at a speed which suits him and in turn the band in general.

Vocals are varied from low Death Metal growls to Black Metal screams. These are accommodated and fit nicely with the blend of instruments and percussion. As previously stated, riffs are usually played at any real speed, but the drums are often played quite fast and blastbeats become a visible and are often used, most notably in "Eradicate The Weak". Lyrically this is a very angry and aggressive album, which suits the music perfectly.

We're treated to brutal Scottish Death Metal in the form of Man Must Die. Certainly a band to look out for in the near future. A dynamic performance from a solid act.

Highlights include; "Faint Figure In Black", "A Lesson Once Learnt" and "All Shall Perish".

Great refreshing death metal - 88%

ABYSS_LORD, March 31st, 2005

“You are going to day, you are going to die …” That’s how this album starts, and a second after bam!!! The double drum bass appear a drum that will never stop in the entire album.
Let’s take a look at the cover art; we can see two skulls with a simple yet a modern touch. The band’s logo is pretty basic yet elegant, that pretty much resume their music, modern, elegant and brutal death metal.

I could talk of every song individuality but it’s the type of album you must heard to fully understand its complexity so I will just mention the general aspects.

This Start Killing it’s the debut album from this English band, and damn it what a nice beginning. The music its pure death metal not in the old school way like Left hand path, but in the vein of Kataklysm and Cryptopsy. The first thing you notice on the album its their insane drums, they are so well recorded that you can feel the vive of the kit, it’s a very technical style which combine several beats and together they sound so brilliant and brutal. I dare to say this drummer might be the next Flo in drumming speaking. So if you want brilliant drums, and light speed changes this one wont disappointed you.

The riffs oh shit those riffs are totally a punch in the face, they change during the song a lot but they maintain the same cohesive feeling, they fit perfectly in the mood of the music, wicked, distorted and very fast riffing.
But hey you may be thinking –o shit another brutal death album- well the fact in here it has very melodic solos here and there and really perfectly executed. For example in the first song A lesson once learn, at the end of the song Alan McFarland plays a wonderful solo that makes you think damn this is something else, so melodic but yet aggressive and very original solo going. The same apply to the third song Severe facial reconstruction, my favourite song, the solo in here its fucking insane, together with the super speed drums create a beautiful melody which its not very common in death metal bands.

Let’s talk about bass lines, they sound very low but you can notice them perfectly, most of the time they follow the main riff, but sometimes it goes crazy and produced some catchy bass solos really enjoyable and keep the interesting in the listener.

The vocals are pure growls, not in the extreme way that you can’t understand a damn word, they are more like in the middle, you can perfectly hear what the man its singing in some parts.
The lyrical themes are pretty violent and angry, here it’s an example taken from the fifth song War on Creation “I see in my dreams our world will die and we helped kill it. Now nothing remains within. Nothing left but fear inside Empty are my dreams.”

Overall the production its perfect every instrument have its place nothing to add about it. Finally we have a great album with brutal moments for those who enjoy this kind of death metal but also we have melodic parts which can satisfy every fan of this genre.
Maybe not groundbreaking, maybe nothing new to the scene but it’s perfectly played, and we don’t see this kind of talent every day.
Every death metal fan should check this album it wont disappointed anyone I can promise that, maybe in the future they become a huge death metal band, I hope so.

Highlights: Severe Facial Reconstruction, Indulgence in Genocide, Faint figure in black.

Extremely asskicking death metal. - 98%

SculptedCold, March 11th, 2005

There is a lot of modern death metal that just passes by these ears and never asks to be listened to again. The Scottish band Regorge who's drummer now plays in Man Must Die was one of those bands, so, by association, I wasn't really coming to Man Must Die with any particular expectations.

However, in a very rare instance, I was hooked from the first listen to this, probably the best Scottish death metal band in existence right now. Foremost, because of their excellent sense of catchy, yet malevolent and restrained sense of melody, which at times is as overt as a Gothenburg band's but is worked into a highly aggressive and at times quite technical framework; songs like Severe Facial Reconstruction quickly introduce these excellent tremolo melodies before blazing into a solo and then slowing down into a heavy, brooding crunch, before speeding-up again with no melodies in sight to finish. The next track, All Shall Perish after a blazing opening, falls into a very serene and slow clean guitar effort, from which the drums slowly accompany, tensions builds, and then the whole thing explodes with the whole band taking the riff and pummeling your ears with the speedy, downtuned, but still highly melodic version of it. It reminds me slightly of latter day Death but worked into the overall song structures more convincingly; there is little overlap or interplay of rhythm and lead guitars, rather, most of the songs segue between rhythm and melodic leads harmoniously. This may be due to the fact there is only one guitarist, but nothing is lost by this approach; the rhythms are as competent as the melodies and both sustain interest extremely competently on their own. Speaking of which...the drumming is excellent. It is simple and direct, but fits the music perfectly. There is a lot of very fast blasting, but due to the jaw-dropping production, it sounds furious, fast and not overbearing despite its clarity and loudness. Despite all the blasting however, the drummer definitely knows when to slow down and let the buildups breathe, after which it is a gratifying feeling to hear his heavy double bass come in as many of the songs come to a close.

The vocals are pretty standard, nothing much to say there, but they get the job done. They're more of a low roar as opposed to a growl or gurgle, which is welcome really; it isn't at all monotone which might have taken away from the dynamics of the music. I won't mention the lyrics though asides from saying that they are easily the most generic and uninteresting part of the band. Just listen to the music and all will be okay.

To round everything off, the production is one of the best i've ever heard in death metal, which is courtesy of Kataklysm's guitarist and quite surprising given the band's small label, but Retribute know how to spend a budget and give their bands what they need. The drums, as noted, are loud, clear and have a dry, exact punch to them. Normally, this would drown out the rest of the band if it wasn't for the fact that everything else is produced to a likewise perfect standard. The vocals are clear and coexist with the rest of the music, (not layered over it like many production jobs) the guitars are crystal clear but have a convincing enough bottom end to not make the whole thing sound tinny, and, even more amazing still, the bass is also clear as a bell, and can be heard twanging-away delightfully at all times. It really is an astounding peice of sound engineering.

So...basically...listen to this and buy it if you like any kind of aggressive death metal. It's very heavy, technical, fast, and yet has great melody and dynamics. All anyone could want.