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earthtone9: IV

Progressive Notts metallers return with aplomb

Two years since their reformation and 12 years since their last album, earthtone9 have delivered a fourth album that’s long overdue. Primarily known for Tool-esque musical enigmas, abstract songtitles and singer Karl Middleton once wearing pants made from clingfilm, it’s a different earthtone9 that greets us today.

Opener March Of The Yeti and the epic Preacher suggests a band returning to source. The dark dynamics that defined them are still there in Harsh Light but freed from the constraints of worrying about career trajectories, it sounds like earthtone9 are playing for the sheer hell of it.

Which isn’t to say they’ve done away with their more cerebral elements; 10-minute-long closer Occams Razor is the prog-metal opus they always threatened to make. They may not be breaking new ground but it’s good to have them back.