In all forms of music, reunions are an often difficult thing, often splitting a bands fanbase between the ‘glad they’re back’ and ‘it won’t be the same’. For every good honest reunion, there are always those seen through more cynical eyes. With Earthtone9, there was no such issue, this was a case of unfinished business.
After an EP (2011’s excellent “For Cause & Consequence”) and a couple of very well received tours, Earthtone9 continue their comeback with their fourth album (handily entitled “IV”) and their first full length release in some 13 years. Funded through the pledge music website (which has also seen successful campaigns from One Minute Silence and Ginger Wildheart), the band gave pledgers the chance to listen to the album a couple of weeks before its official release, and damn was it worth the wait.
From the moment the album kicks off with ‘March Of The Yeti’ it gets straight into the action, reminding you just how good they were, and on this form still are. Ushered in by Simon Hutchby’s drums and a driving riff before Karl Middleton’s introduction. Once all of the separate ingredients are mixed everything just clicks and from then until roughly fifty minutes later after the epic ‘Occams Razor’ brings the album to a close, you are swept along on a pretty amazing ride.
Everything is there that made the band one of the best bands the UK had to offer in the mid to late 90’s. The melody, the rough edges, plenty twists and turns, vocal harmonies, the groove, With ‘IV’ the band seem to have taken it to the next level, its more melodic yet more abrasive, contains grooves that Clutch would be proud of and in ‘Sea Of Blades’ a breakdown that would make most a whole raft of fringecore bands run home crying. This track also shows that Karl’s voice is as powerful as ever, with him hitting some major notes and proving once again that this is a band that excel at whatever they seem to turn their hand to. ‘God Cloud’ is the most immediately old school Earthtone9 track on here, with a much coarser sound and will give newer fans a chance to see where the bands sound has come from.
They might never have been the biggest band around, but Earthtone9 were a very influential and revered band (in what can be a very subjective and divisive genre, I never met anyone who hated them). They were also ahead of their time, and still prove to be pushing themselves to new boundaries. Their influence has carried on after their original demise and elements of their particular brand of edgy yet melodic tunes can be heard in any number of bands currently doing the rounds on the likes of Scuzz and Kerrang TV, but no one can quite match the originality of Earthtone9.
Ten tracks, just over fifty minutes and worth every minute of the long wait for it to come out. 2013 has been a very good year for albums so far and this will be right up there with the best of them at the end of the year. The album is released on April 8th, so there is still time to get onboard, pledge and get some pretty cool exclusives. DO IT!!