Originally written by Erik Thomas.
Personally, Man Must Die’s Debut, …Start Killing was one of the better death metal effort of the last few years, and I was curious to see how these Scot grinders would follow up their debut, especially signed to the mighty Relapse, and being the label’s only UK act they have ever signed.
The verdict? The Human Condition delivers the pain worse than a Rab C Nesbit headbutt.
With so many high profile extreme releases coming out on Relapse this year (Dying Fetus, Cephalic Carnage, Pig Destroyer, etc) it would have been easy for Man Must Die to fly under the radar with their sophomore album, but to their credit, MMD have not yielded to the dreaded combo of the sophomore slump plus hop to a larger label, but have instead responded with yet another high quality extreme metal album that exudes confidence and class in every blast, groove, solo and roar.
What made …Start Killing so good and continues for this top notch release is the band’s ability to meld a sort of Kataklysm styled fury (though the band readily denies any Kataklysm influences) with a Floridian (Brutality comes to mind) sense of construct, and then injects some surprising amounts of sumptuous melodies, particularly solo wise. Alan McFarland shreds with a savage intensity, but the riffs are intelligent and craftily harmonic, while Joe McGlynn has a very Scott Reigel (Brutality) like roar that’s brutal yet eloquent and understandable.
From the appropriately styled intro through stellar lead off track “The Silent Observer” to epic closer “Suicide Gene”, all the tracks simply show this band’s growth and why they deserve to be in death metal’s elite. That being said though, the album, while better as a whole, than ..Start Killing, seems to lack those one or two sheer “WOW” tracks like “Severe Facial Reconstruction” and “Kingdoms Shall Fail”. However, the superb mid song break of “Waster” comes close, and the monstrous climax of “Elitist” should become the next fan favorites. The moodier “1000 Promises of Pain” and “Stand Alone” show a more contemplative yet savage Man Must Die while McGlynns spiteful diatribe of “Cardboard Gangster” simply highlights everything than Man Must Die do so well.
Jean-François Dagenais’ slick production returns, cementing the album’s overall polish and level of sheer competence this band and album displays. However, the ultimate question will be whether The Human Condition is better than … Start Killing. That’s a tough one to answer. Superficially I’m not as immediately blown away as I was with …Start Killing, but there’s a deeper sense of satisfaction with the band’s growth and lack of sophomore slump. So then simply-it’s a tie.
Either way, if you like death metal you need to get this album, and it stands toe to toe with many of the larger name death metal (though the band sorts of dislikes the death metal classification, or classification of any sort for that matter) albums being released in 2007.