Thursday, February 16, 2006


Early Man - Closing In - Matador Records

If you think The Darkness revived the “golden days” of rock and roll, you have not heard Early Man. The duo was signed to Matador Records shortly after releasing an impressive EP on Monitor Records. The music is full out thrash, the kind that would make Dave Mustaine proud. The vocals and lyrical imagery are very similar to Black Sabbath-era Ozzy. The lyrics are filled with scenes of death, killing, evil, and bulletproof eagles made of steel. The band members are quite young, so this at first comes across as a novelty act, until you the see their long, greasy hair and plain black t-shirts and realize that they don’t know how to rock any other way. Guitarist extraordinaire Matt Sweeney produced the album and added some guitar parts (perhaps the harmonies in some of the sweet guitar solos), pushing the band beyond the potential they showed on the EP.

“Four Walls” opens the album with an epic-sounding intro before blasting into a thrash riff that could have been on Master of Puppets. “War Eagle” is my favorite song, but I think it’s only because of the line “my eyes shoot laser beams at will.” No wait, maybe it’s the ridiculously high note that vocalist Mike Conte holds out for ten seconds or the pre-chorus that Iced Earth forgot the write. “Death is the Answer” reminds me of some of the slower Mastodon stuff and contains a great harmonized guitar solo. The Black Sabbath-influenced “Thrill of the Kill” contains a line that could be a band motto, “Thrill of the kill is why I’m coming after you.” “Contra” is the closest thing to what might be a ballad (which every great metal band has to try to pull off at some point). Conte’s vocals are drenched in almost as much reverb as Jim James’, and the effect does wonders combined with the high notes he constantly hits.

I’m not sure how much exposure the band will get being on Matador, but hopefully they will reach the ears of fans of stoner rock bands like Kyuss or Electric Wizard, and power metal bands like Iced Earth and Helloween. I’m eager to see how the duo pulls off the songs live, because they sound so full on the album.

these guys fucking suck!

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