Earthtone9 live review – London, Underworld

Soaring metallers Earthtone9 still bound to cult status live in London, with support from Dorje

earthtone9 live in London

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Close your eyes and openers DORJE [6] sound like a decent band: slightly dated, but with shades of Mudvayne’s proggier nu metal and dollops of Tool worship. Unfortunately they have so little in the way of onstage chemistry that they struggle to hold the crowd’s attention, who look like they’ve just woken after being cryogenically frozen in 2001.

The hair may be greyer and t-shirts faded, but it’s a 90s metal crowd. Which is a shame, because EARTHTONE9 [8] were streets ahead of so many more lauded outfits of that time you’d hope that people would have cottoned on by now.

The Nottingham post-metallers remain unflashy, yet unusual. The dark, creeping, lurching experimentation of Neurosis melded with the groove-heavy riffs of Helmet and vocalist Karl Middleton’s still sumptuously soaring vocals and wildly expressive presence still sound stylistically radical in 2016. It’s not totally about nostalgia either, with new songs from 2013’s IV greeted enthusiastically, but any time the band dip into their superb arc’tan’gent album they’re are greeted with the biggest cheers. Star Damage For Beginners and the band’s calling card, Tat Twam Asi, still sound particularly massive, and you feel privileged to be one of the few that know who this band are. The cult of earthtone9 is older, but still very much alive.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.