Early Man | Death Potion

The End (2010)
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  July 20, 2010
3.5 3.5 Stars

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Metal is a tough game: for all the talk about ferocity and velocity, success is often predicated on timing alone. And being ahead of the curve — well, that's a plus only if you want to be seen as an unheralded trailblazer. Such is life for Early Man, who, back when floppy downtuned strings and big pants were still hanging in there, led the way for countless other metal acts to go back to pre-1985 NWOBHM/thrash.

Now that thrash is back, they're trying to capitalize with this long-player, a sprawling work that rests on Mike Conte's twisty riffs and cool vocal stylings. It isn't as fast, frenzied, or atom-bomb explosive as many acts that have formed since the band's '05 debut, Closing In, but sometimes, as Gurney Halleck says in Dune, the slow blade penetrates the shield. Not that this record is lazily paced, but Conte & Co. aren't using speed as a diversion or a crutch. Instead, it's all about power and solid hitting, like a grunting tennis match played by pros who are in it for the long haul.

From the chugging Hetfieldian gusto of "Someone Else's Nightmare" to the piercing screams and juggernaut charge of "Six Mothers of the War God," Death Potion is packed with enough blistering metal moments to distinguish it from those who have followed Early Man in the thrash-is-back sweepstakes.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, The End
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