MAN MUST DIE
"Start Killing"

(Retribute)

01. A Lesson Once Learned
02. Indulge In Genocide
03. Severe Facial Reconstruction
04. All Shall Perish
05. War On Creation
06. Eradicate The Weak
07. Scum Killer
08. Kingdom Shall Fall
09. Faint Figure In Black

RATING: 6/10

"(This) band was created for the sole purpose of being one of the heaviest, fastest and most extreme but accessible bands in today's metal genre." So says the typically gushing press release. Now, the "accessible" part of that statement we find hard to entirely equate with that which comes before it. And as for that first part itself, maybe from it you can figure out what this Scottish quartet sound like…

Taken a wild stab? Just to put you out of your misery, "Start Killing" hails from the hit-everything-at-once-as-fast-as-you-can school populated by the likes of CANNIBAL CORPSE, KATAKLYSM and DYING FETUS. We could — controversially — harp on about how the event of the "bomb blast" variety of blast beat — which features heavily here — actually messed up extreme metal, but that's another argument…

Let's instead look at the merits of "Start Killing". Like the aforementioned DYING FETUS, MAN MUST DIE (through sole guitarist Alan McFarland) have a smart armory of twisty-turny riffs, which means that the overtly melodic songs on "Start Killing" ("A Lesson Once Learned", "All Shall Perish", "Scumkiller") have an almost authentic IRON MAIDEN feel to them. Elsewhere, the way "Kingdom Shall Fall" trots off at high speed is very reminiscent of AT THE GATES at their most melodically frantic, while album closer "Faint Figure In Black" ushers everything out with what amounts to the best riff on the album in slow, brooding, epic fashion.

To fully appreciate the finer points of these songs, however, you first have to pin your ears back against the overbearing barrage of drums. Thanks to KATAKLYSM man/producer Jean Francois Dagenais's desk exploits, they couldn't be more upfront if drummer John Lee set his kit up inside your ears. Granted, bands of this ilk tend to favor drum-heavy mixes, but this is so ridiculously OTT that it's like some impossible treasure hunt trying to make out any guitars in places. Lee does himself no favors by attempting to be overly showy for periods — the laughable stop-start-speed up signature midway through "Scumkiller" isn't clever, skilful or particularly extreme.

In part, "Start Killing" carries the crux of some pretty cool ideas. But until MAN MUST DIE shift their focus on what is authentically intense and extreme, they're not going to be killing anyone with their musical vision.

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