Early Man

Death Potion

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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato

Somewhere in the ‘80s, it appeared as though many metal guitarists began focusing on showing off how much they had practiced the speed and precision of their scales, rather than the importance of constructing songs around almighty riffs and/or crunchy power chords. And with an undisputed resurgence of ‘80s-era metal around the dawn of the early 21st century, most of these revival acts have reverted back to "Look at me! Look at me!"-type guitar acrobatics. Thankfully, Early Man is not one such band, as they use the early thrash of Metallica and Anthrax (namely, each group's debut, Kill ‘Em All and Fistful of Metal, respectively) as the blueprint on their 2010 sophomore full-length, Death Potion. Produced by Jack Endino (a gentleman known primarily as a "grunge producer," but who has certainly embraced metal over the years -- working with the likes of Bruce Dickinson, High on Fire, etc.), Death Potion contains a few Endino production trademarks, namely, the raw/real sounds akin to a band playing live together in the same room. In other words, no glossy post-production knob twiddling or Pro Tools trickery. As a result, Death Potion is a consistent listen from beginning to end -- surprise detours or genre-defying experiments are a no-no here -- just 100-percent pure, good old-fashioned thrash metal, especially on such headbangers as the title track, "Brainwash at Birth," and "Nine Riders." And there are even instances where Early Man show what sets them apart from the majority of their metal comrades -- decreasing the tempo a few notches on the grinding "I Am the Child of Evil," and not taking themselves too seriously lyric-wise on "Fight." Early Man are one of the few "vintage metal revivalists" that manage to get it right, as heard throughout the kick-ass Death Potion.

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