Originally written by Jordan Campbell
Man Must Die, thus far, have been quietly lurking in the periphery of the death metal elite. Despite having two critically-acclaimed releases to their credit (Start Killing and The Human Condition) the band hadn’t quite crossed the threshold into must-hear territory. Certainly, the band’s speedy, slightly-techy brutality was taut, fresh, and inspired–but their sound hadn’t yet been fully honed for maximum killing capacity.
No Tolerance For Imperfection changes that. Quite fuckin’ emphatically.
This album will go down as their watershed moment; the album in which they truly came into their own. While the band has still retained their homicidal tendencies, they’ve shifted their sound firmly into the Stadium Death Metal territory currently populated by stalwarts like Kataklysm andVader. Fortunately, unlike their beloved counterparts, their best days are still ahead of them.
The title track crashes the gate, breeding some initial speculations of arrogance. However, the lyrics reveal themselves to be an expression of contempt for the image-obsessed. So, you’ll forgive the band if the hollow, superficial nature of this song matches the subject matter. No, this opener doesn’t drop jaws (typically an ominous sign), but once the superfast melodic bashery of “Gainsayer” is unleashed, NTFI becomes a 45 minute exercise in chugging adrenaline from a firehose.
The intensity nearly reaches the breaking point on “Kill It, Skin It, Wear It,” their fifteen-ton smash-hit single. Arguably the most captivating, single-minded devastator of the year, this absurd ode to animal rights is essentially their “Xeper.” Matt Holland’s role as linchpin is made obvious here; without his insanely precise double kicks, the song’s shout-along chorus and skullcrack riffing would fall flat. Holland’s leaden feet (and their pristine presentation) drive this song, and go on to punctuate nearly every highlight on the remainder of the record. His dominance is invaluable to Man Must Die‘s emergence.
Rest assured, that emergence doesn’t come at the expense of complexity, insensity, or brutality. “This Day is Black” seems intent on wrecking everything with straightforward blasts, before downshifting into a mini-tech swagger–kinda like vintage Neuraxis on an unstable rockstar trip. “Hide the Knives” is a blunt force object of considerable effectiveness, and “Reflections” runs the gamut of extremity throughout every second of its robust six minutes.
Nutshelled, No Tolerance for Imperfection is a deadly-stiff cocktail of modern death metal. Containing elements of bombast (huge, simple choruses), melody (scorching, forward-thinking leads) and unbridled rage (Joe McGlynn’s slightly-hardcored rants), this album easily ranks among the year’s essential DM exhibitions. Where an album like Everything is Fire gnaws and gnashes itself into contention by virtue of oddity and mindfuckery, this disc excels because it satisfies that innate urge in every metalhead to utterly demolish and decimate everything in its path—while having a hellaciously good time doing it. As one of the most impressive and enjoyable death metal albums of 2009, No Tolerance for Imperfection is a landmark release that should propel the band to worldwide domination.