If life was fair, then earthtone9 would have been he biggest band in the world. At their prime, earthtone9 were the greatest hope of the UK metal scene. After three albums, each one a testament to their ever-evolving and changing sound, and countless tours, it seemed like they were always poised on the brink of greatness. On the edge of 'making it big'.
The first album, "lo-def(inition) discord", was raw - somewhat like a less tribal "Roots"-era Sepultura. Recorded on a budget of £500, it was actually compromised of two demos. Never the less, it gained them attention from the UK heavy metal press, who marked them as a band to look out for.
Followed the next year by "off kilter enhancement", et9's sound had progressed immensely. Opening with "Grind and Click", with it's brutal riff and (comparatively) calm, Machine Head inspired chorus, the scene for the whole album is set. It's an album of contrasts: "Simon Says" is absolutely savage, "0...0...0..." is like Alice in Chains at their most laid back.
Then came " arc'tan'gent", final album and their crowning glory. There's all the previously mentioned influences with Deftones style grooves, and the left field approach of Tool and Faith No More. It's their most extreme work, yet the most accessible. Straying from the beaten path with songs such as "tat twam asi" and "Alpha Hi", yet also creating the ridiculously catchy "Star Damage for Beginners". Major label interest was just around the corner...
Unfortunately, not long after flirting with Island Records , et9 passed on in 2002, due to that common cause: "musical differences". It was understandable that certain core members of the band weren't in agreement over their future musical direction. Each album had it's own sound, a snapshot of where the band was "at" at that particular moment.
The demo that was recorded for Island was later released as the "omega" EP. Intended as their coda, it was quickly followed by a fairwell tour. It contained their best work yet... in a completely different league to anything they had done before. A much more restrained affair, it focused less on heaviness, and more on beauty. "Amnesia" could possibly be the finest song written by anyone ever.
Fighting for recognition all the way yet never attaining it, et9 have become some sort of demigods - many new bands citing them as an influence. December, Johnny Truant, Eden Maine, Five Pointe 0, and Isis all showing a huge debt.
The name was taken from the lyrics to "In The Meantime", by Helmet ("this earthtone suits you...")
I thoroughly recommend a visit to www.earthtone9.com, where you shall find a wealth of songs to download.
lo-def(inition) discord (1998)
off kilter enhancement (1999)
hi-point EP (2000)
omega EP (2002)
earthtone9 is, was, and always will be:
Dave Anderson - bass
Karl Middleton - vocals
Owen Packard - guitar
Joe Roberts - guitar
Alex Baker - drums
Richie Mills - drums
Simon Hutchby - drums
Graeme Watts - bass
Simon Johnson - guitar
Justin Greaves - drums
Jamie Floate - bass
Ishmael Lewis - vocals
Gemma Seddon - percussion