1. Four Walls 2. War Eagle 3. Death Is The Answer 4. Feeding Frenzy 5. Thrill Of The Kill 6. Like A Goddamn Rat 7. Fist Shaker 8. Evil Is 9. Brain Stick 10. Contra 11. Raped And Pillaged
"Closing In" marks the debut album from Early Man, a guts and glory two piece that bang and clang with an intensity brewed from blue collar, white hot metal. Indicative of the '70s and '80s stylings of huge, down tuned slabs of molten steel and the quick, rapid fire assault of the bay area bad boys, almost combining the sounds of "Kill 'Em All" with "Volume 4". That is the rusted nuts and blue steel bolts of this big block machine, a rumbling black cloud of exhaust that only sees burnt rubber and scorched pavement in its wake. This album is "closing in" on that top tier of cash cow metal, somehow making its way into the elite lists along with Mastodon, The Sword, and Fireball Ministry in terms of bringing the old time revival show back to the tube sets. Early Man harkens back to the days of Stretch Armstrong, orange Dodge Chargers, and the dawn of all that is right with the world, a time when metal ruled the free world.
Mike Conte (vocals, guitar, bass) and Adam Bennati (drums) clean up and clean out, romping and rasslin' their way to the finish line by offering up eleven solid cuts of lumbering, titanic madness. Often enough the band rage with that British nod to the doom and gloom crossed up with the most drenched of blues licks. One solid ear to the wattage of "Death Is The Answer" should prove these boys are cut from the same cloth as old time favorites like Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus, however you can also say they are caught up in that new school movement that seems to be sweeping the nation. While cuts like "Thrill Of The Kill" and "Like A Goddamn Rat" move with the most sadistic of Sabbath swagger, other cuts fast forward into the heart of the '80s. Just listen to fast moving numbers like "Feeding Frenzy", "Evil Is", or "War Eagle" for a crash thrash course based on the raw approach laid out so long ago by Metallica, Diamond Head, and of course the mighty Venom. This band just crushes and annihilates the listeners and play by players, this is a roller coaster, high octane affair that recalls what the actual building blocks are for this genre. This isn't so much a rehashing or retelling of a story, more like an addition to or simply a renovation.
Early Man is mandatory listening in today's day and age. They remind us of where we have been and where we are going, putting it all down on a pace that is just right to follow. This is a bare bones, metallic upbringing that is ripe for re-fuel and re-launch. Heaven bless the boys of Britain, or in this case that upstate New York area where these lads hone their craft. May the hammers continue to forge in the fires.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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