Man Must Die, The Pain Behind It All (Distortion Music Group 2023)

Man Must Die return with a vengeance on their fifth album, The Pain Behind It All.

Now entering their third decade, Man Must Die originated in Scotland. They got rolling with a solid take on technical death metal at the beginning, and set off on a fairly linear trajectory, releasing three memorable albums in a row, Start Killing… (2004), The Human Condition (2007), and No Tolerance for Imperfection (2009). Time and events colluded to tilt the ground and there was a patch of dicey territory for a while. Even in the trying times, the band released Peace Was Never an Option in 2013. Things have been relatively quiet since then on the recording front, save for the terse EP Gagging Order (2019), until now. On The Pain Behind It All, founders Joe McGlynn (vocals) and Alan McFarland (guitar) are joined by James Wright (bass), Mike Allan (guitar), and Tony Corio (drums) for another raging round of metal.

After an intro windup, there are eight primary tracks on the album, plus a transitional piece. First up, “Patterns in the Chaos” – a song filled with not only aggression but also raw anger. An affront to your senses, the music is like being hit by a battering ram that has barbed spikes on the front of it. The title track follows, taking the tempo down a notch but doing nothing to mute the attitude. The metal here is more grinding, using the weight of misery to crush you. “In the Hour Before your Death” is a blistering head-turner that howls and cracks. It offers ravaging percussive elements interchanged with staccato ratcheting and moments where some might even hear a groove. The song runs a range, and no mistake.

The album is a speedy form of technical death metal in the main, with plenty of sideshows and alternate paths. “Enabler,” for example, paints an elegant, lyrical movement between the attacks, and “War is My Will” takes an almost epic posture and tone. The beautifully sad and serene instrumental “Alone in a Crowded Room” takes a sinister turn to set up the end song, “Who Goes There? / I.F.F.,” a fittingly brutal finish to a fantastic album. Recommended.

The Pain Behind It All is out on Friday, February 17th through Distortion Music Group. Have a look at the links below.



Distortion Music Group,

© Wayne Edwards

Man Must Die, The Pain Behind It All (Distortion Music Group 2023)