This is the fifth album from Scottish death metal band Man Must Die.
Man Must Die play technical death metal and The Pain Behind It All is a 41-minute assault of vicious riffs, sharp technical blows, and blunt force extremity. If you’re a fan of bands such as Decapitated, Dyscarnate, Cattle Decapitation, Beneath the Massacre, and Misery Index, then there’s much here to enjoy for you. Although, as we’ll see, there’s more than just death metal here.
Man Must Die’s technical heaviness is a carefully curated blend of extreme aggression and brutal crushing intensity. The band merge precise complexity with direct attacks of weighty distortion to good effect. Blistering speed is part of the band’s arsenal, but it’s not the only weapon they have, nor is it the most frequently deployed one.
The band’s sound contains more than just stock standard death metal elements, although there are plenty of these too, albeit of a technical bent. Theirs is a contemporary take on the style, taking influence from acts like Decapitated, Beneath the Massacre, Fear Factory and Meshuggah to push their music beyond pure death metal and into stop/start riff-heavy realms of destructive metallic groove. The vocals follow the music in this regard too; the singer’s harsh barks are less growls and more rough shouts, (think Fear Factory/Decapitated), and semi-cleans and other styles can be heard too in places.
Tracks like Bring Me the Head of the King betray hardcore/grindcore influences, whereas cuts like the title track really lean into the band’s djent side. In other places the ferocious technicality really comes into its own, whereas in others there’s a melodic appeal that’s very effective.
Man Must Die have produced a really enjoyable collection of modern death metal songs. With some non-standard influences and a willingness to explore outside of genre confines, The Pain Behind It All is a worthy addition to any fan of extreme metal’s collection.
Very highly recommended.