Earthtone9 - IV

Wow, Earthtone9 are back! Guys! Where you been? You've missed a lot of stuff. 

Earthtone9 split up around 2001 and over the intervening years I've kind of lost touch with metal and hardcore. When the chance to review this album came up I jumped at the chance, though. How would this lost giant have changed in the 12 years since they last blew us away? Would the album still connect the same way Arc'tan'gent and Off Kilter Enhancement did all those years ago? Only one way to find out...

March of the Yeti opens the album with a beast of a riff and pounding drums, and it's great. There's a wee cheesy bit about halfway through but that's okay; it doesn't last long and then it's back to big riffage. The final 3rd opens with a classic breakdown building into a harmonic guitar part and Karl Middleton's gutteral scream -  welcome back lads! A fine start, things look promising.

It soon becomes apparent Earthtone9 haven't really changed much. That's both a comfort and a slight disappointment. You'd think something would be different after all this time and they always came across as a fairly progressive band. Still, this album rocks. If you want big riffs, soaring vocals and proper metal yelling then this is for you. If you don't want that then maybe you should move on and listen to 1D or something, this isn't for you. 

There are a couple of moments of innovation, like when Andersion comes in with a rolling fat bassline which reminds me of a Shipping News track. It's a shame there's nothing that sounds as fresh as Tat Twam Asi did though (and still does - I listened to it again after writing this and it's better than everything on this album). 

So, while there's nothing that you could call really progressive here, it still kicks ass. Tracks like God Cloud and Horizons End are brilliant examples of heavy hitting post-metal. IV isn't quite up there with earlier records but it's reminded me of how great Earthone9 were and could still be. I guess it's only fair that they'd be a little rusty and ease themselves in with a straight-forward rock album first.

Anyway, we need bands like Earthtone9 and it's great to have them back. Intelligent, cerebral metal that still packs a mighty punch. If you've never heard of them, pick this up and rock the fuck out. If you were a fan 12 years ago, take comfort that they're back and rock the fuck out. 

IV is out on 8th April and available here.

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