Most of the songs here hew extremely close to early '80s templates, emulating the work of Paul DiAnno-era Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, and the first wave of speed metal (Anthrax, Metallica, Exodus), with the Sabbath-style "Death Is the Answer" being the only exception. Early Man don't fetishize their makeup as a duo; guitars and bass are overdubbed for a full-band sound. Adam Bennati's drumming is heavy and precise, bolstering Mike Conte's galloping retro riffs. More important, Bennati doesn't go for excessively complex double-bass work, preferring to thump out a groove like AC/DC's Phil Rudd. Conte's vocals are the only misstep -- occasionally he goes for a high-pitched Ozzy-like wail when a James Hetfield bark would better serve the song. But on an album this strong, that's forgivable. The band's name is well chosen; Closing In sounds like a lost tape from 1983, the metal equivalent of a newly discovered cave painting.
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