Max Cavalera. The man is an icon of metal. The mere mention of his name and involvement in a project will grab most metal heads attention. So when I heard he was doing guest vocals on a track for the Scottish death metal band Man Must Die for their November 12, 2013 release “Peace Was Never an Option”, I paid attention.
I had not heard of Man Must Die before so I checked out their 2009 album “No Tolerance for Imperfection”. I found out that after its release, Man Must Die severed ties with Relapse Records. Earlier this year they engaged in a successful Pledge Music campaign. This led to a deal with German label Lifeforce Records. I hoped they had not lost a lot of steam since this was going to be their first album in four years. I was pleasantly surprised.
Imagine if Napalm Death and Fear Factory had a baby. Now you have an idea of what Man Must Die sound like. It’s not just because vocalist Joe McGlynn’s powerful roar is a cross between Barney Greenway and Burton C. Bell, it is also in the song structure and musicianship. Guitarist and co-founder Alan McFarland can not only lay down some blazing riffage, but can also be smooth and melodic in his solos. This melody that McFarland and new bass player Daniel Firth put together, along with the tight, punishing blasts from new drummer James Burke’s kit, is what helps keep the music interesting and help the listener stay engaged.
Press play on “Peace Was Never an Option” and you will come to compare opening track ‘Congregation’ to a freshly lit fuse. It slowly creeps its way towards the inevitable explosion that is ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’. The fireworks continue until another countdown to chaos starts the second half of the sonic assault with ‘Dissolution’. This second half includes the aforementioned Max Cavalera duet, ‘Abuser Friendly’. The anti-oppression lyrics and blistering pace are totally in Max’s wheel house.
I know what you’re thinking, but “Peace Was Never an Option” is not a speed fest all the way through. When Man Must Die slows down a tad, they sound even heavier and more pissed off then on any of their previous releases. Case in point, on ‘The Hell I Fear’, when McGlynn screams “You’re gonna get what’s coming to you, you worthless piece of shit!” you think he’s actually yelling at you! Another example is the final and slowest track, ‘The Day I Died’, which is one of the most powerful songs on the album.
“Peace Was Never an Option” is, as I said before, a very powerful record for Man Must Die. This album shows a progression and variance in their sound that helps set them apart from many other bands in their genre. I hope Man Must Die continue in their progressive ways. If they do, I will definitely pay attention to in the future.