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 songs from their three 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 magazine 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 (e.g. «Möe=ra (t-talk)», «i nagual eye»). Barely a year later, after the departure of original 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.
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