earthtone9 is an alternative metal band hailing from Nottingham, UK. Their line-up on most of their major releases was Karl Middleton on vocals, Owen "Oz" Packard, Joe Roberts on guitar, Graeme Watts on bass and Simon Hutchby on drums (the latter replaced for their final EP Omega by Alex Baker).
Signing to Copro records in 1998, the band's first major release was the album lo def(inition) discord, which comprised re-recorded songs from their two demos with a few new tracks. Although it sounds as punchy as anything else on the British metal underground of the day, the whole record was produced on a budget of £500. Their harshest and noisiest recording, it quickly grabbed the attention of the British rock press, with favourable reviews in Terrorizer and Metal Hammer and a five-star rating in mainstream modern rock bible Kerrang!.
After extensive touring, Discord was followed in 1999 by Off-Kilter Enhancement. Again it was a critical success, but commercial recognition was limited. The band had more time and money to play with this time, and it is here that the classic et9 sound crystallised - harsh metal inspired by Helmet and Neurosis, mixed with softer textured moments, with Tool-esque dynamics and arrangements, not to mention enigmatic song titles and lyrics (eg. Moe-ra (t-talk), i nagual eye). Barely a year later, after the loss of bassist Graeme Watts, the band delivered their final album - considered by many to be one of the high points of recent british metal, arc'tan'gent was described by et9 as the first record they were truly happy with, having for the first time not been rushed in the recording process.
Hopes were high for an American record deal, and it seemed obvious to most that the climate of US radio at the time - very focused on the dominant nu-metal sound - could accommodate the cleaner side of earthtone9's output. But, ultimately, apart from some minor distribution of their existing material, all attempts fell through. They lost Hutchby, and after struggling through for a couple of years, the band announced their dissolution in early 2002. After their farewell tour their umpteenth rejected demo saw release as the Omega EP, hinting at a more melodic direction.
All members continued to play in bands - notably, Karl Middleton joined hardcore supergroup The Blueprint, and sings for Twinzero alongside Si on drums. Owen moved into the industry side of music, while Joe released a few solo mp3's online before dissaperaing altogether.
In 2004, hi-point (rem) hit the stores which was a remastered version of 2000's first EP hi-point. In May 2010 the band announced they were reforming "to play a handful of gigs to remind everyone just how good they were". A great hits compilation, 'Inside, Embers Glow…', was released for free download in July 2010.
Free album can be downloaded at their offical website, www.earthtone9.co.uk.
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