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Early Man / Lethe / Hammerlord

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Early Man ranks among the current metal crop more enamored with Megadeth and Black Sabbath than any of that overcomplicated prog-metal stuff. Singer Mike Conte sounds like a dead ringer for Ozzy Osbourne when he wails "death is the answer to my prayers" and other such school-board-offending slogans. The hard-riffing quartet released one album on Matador Records -- 2004's "Closing In" -- before finding a more apt home in The End Records for a forthcoming EP.Opener Hammerlord is a new Lawrence metal band featuring former Esoteric singer Stevie Cruz, bassist Terry Taylor (Nodes of Ranvier, The Blinding Light), and monster drummer Adam Mitchell. The group's blast-beat shredding and loin-soiling guitar leads are at least as fierce as the Esoteric and/or any of the other members' former projects. All hail Hammerlord!

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