Closing In





I first heard the name Early Man tossed around while engaged in an unofficial margarita-drinking contest (which I lost). It was rumored at the time that two kids from Columbus, Ohio, had formed some thrashing metal band and managed to get signed almost instantly to Matador Records. At first I was skeptical, Matador didn’t exactly strike me as the premier label for metal music, but I found out several weeks later, when Early Man’s full-length, Closing In, landed on my desk, that the label had certainly made the right decision. Early Man is in fact made up of two wayward youths from Columbus, who allegedly discovered rock music at age nineteen after having lived two extremely sheltered lives as Pentecostalists. The two, guitarist/vocalist Mike Conte and drummer Adam Bennati, eventually moved to NYC where after only a couple months of practice, performed a Halloween show at The Hole. The venue allegedly ran out of beer, as unruly members of the audience went out of control for Early Man. The band’s debut album is an eclectic mix of pre-metal and vintage metal mayhem, perfect for devil-horned hands and merciless head banging bravado. The band draws from influences like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Celtic Frost, Metallica and Slayer. However, for a metal band the group obviously takes a minimalist approach, especially considering there are only two members. A series of basic rock & roll drumbeats are established by Bennati, which tend to drive the band at a slightly slower pace than groups like Slayer or early Matallica (Early Man isn’t speed metal). However, the use of Conte’s double up-stroke guitar technique provides for the pick-me-up rhythm bands like Iron Maiden popularized. The vocals have an almost eerie resemblance to Ozzy Osbourne, as does much of the band's musical persona. Think of it kind of like this - The Darkness is to Queen as Early Man is to Black Sabbath - except the guys in Early Man don’t dress like Sabbath, which I personally think was an excellent decision (there are enough guys with black nail polish in this world, there really isn’t any need for two more). Needless to say, Closing In rocks the big one, and with gnarly song titles like “War Eagle,” “Death Is The Answer,” and “Contra,” you simply can’t go wrong. Even more amazing than the formation of Early Man is the possibility of the band's appeal on a mainstream market. There are subtle pop elements that are introduced into the mix, and the recording of the album is almost flawless. There is serious potential for this band to reach an audience outside the indie market and inspire angsty youth still oblivious to a world outside of MTV.

Early Man
Matador

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Closing In