Early Man - Death Potion
The End Records
Heavy Metal
12 songs (44:32)
Release year: 2010
Early Man, The End Records
Reviewed by Khelek

This is the second album by U.S. old school heavy metallers Early Man and once again we get a release that is inspired by 80s heavy and thrash metal that, while not covering much new ground apart from their previous material, contains more memorable songs than their debut. I like the idea of a modern band taking their cues from 80s metal and really putting everything they've got into it. The only problem is that they have to find a way to write songs that have some real originality that people are going to remember and keep coming back to. The heavy metal scene is not without these rare acts (e.g. Priestess, Astral Doors), but it's difficult to pull off. Early Man comes closer on this album, but has not yet mastered this balance.

The album starts off heavy enough with a thrashy little song for the title track Death Potion. The drums pound away while the mid-paced guitar riffs go to work. It's a catchy song, but not exactly what I hoped for from the band; very similar to their last album, merely a bit faster. Definitely inspired by 80s Metallica. Nine Riders catches my attention as it begins with a cool, almost ominous sounding riff. It is quite repetitious though. It's another catchy, listenable song, but I feel like I've heard it all before. Fight is up next, blasting out of the speakers with a lot of energy. I can really feel the band trying to project themselves through this song right into the faces of all who doubt them. There is some nice guitar work before the vocals come in as well. Sounds somewhat inspired by AC/DC, but that might just be because of the lyrics. Some of the guitar soloing towards the end doesn’t quite seem to fit, maybe I need to hear it again. The opening guitar lead on Through Chemtrails sounds just like something out of an Iron Maiden album, and it definitely gets my attention. It's damn catchy and continues for just over two minutes until you realize that was the entire song. I suppose it serves as a decent instrumental, but I would rather have heard a full song structured around those guitar leads. This is followed by the energetic The Undertaker Is Calling You, once more lots of 80s worship going on here, influences from Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath are most prevalent. The guitars are memorable and the vocals sound great here. Killdrone sounds once again inspired by some early Metallica with thrashy riffs and some faster, rougher vocals. I think frontman Mike Conte has stepped it up a bit on this album, using his clean vocal range more. The vocals are definitely doom-inspired, think Ozzy or Wino, though I also at times hear some 80s alt metal influence. On I Am The Child Of Evil there's a definite likeness to Faith No More frontman Mike Patton. This song also has excellent guitar work and a driving energy that will make you keep coming back to it.

The second half of the album is definitely a bit more interesting than the first, the songs get catchier and just have more energy overall. I can feel the sincerity of the musicians; they really want to do past acts proud by continuing this heavy metal tradition. At the end of the day if you want 80s inspired heavy metal, this is a good album to listen to. The influences are quite obvious, but there are some good, original songs here that will keep your attention, at least for a few listens. It's a good album with more energy than the band's debut. I can see these guys are really trying to craft better, more original and memorable songs, which is definitely a step in the right direction. The influences are still a bit too obvious for me, but I can't blame these guys for playing in a style that they obviously enjoy very much. Overall a solid sophomore album.

Killing Songs :
Death Potion, Fight, The Undertaker Is Calling You, I Am The Child Of Evil
Khelek quoted 74 / 100
Other albums by Early Man that we have reviewed:
Early Man - Closing In reviewed by Khelek and quoted 69 / 100
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