Title: For Cause and Consequence
Released: May 16th 2011
Producer: Romesh Dodangoda
For Cause and Consequence signals a return to business for Nottingham based metal band Earthtone9, who split up in 2002. Initially I was sceptical about this release: usually bands split up for a good reason, whether it be an almighty bust-up, a lack of coherence in musical direction, a longing for a non-touring life or they’ve simply been eroded by the hardships of the music industry. Whatever the reason, it’s not a decision that’s taken lightly. Sometimes bands get back together to play a few shows and it’s all good fun, but when they reunite to record new material, with the assumption that they’ll be able to recreate the magic of days gone by, it never usually ends well. Music is organic – it’s created in the moment, and when you try and force that effect, it rarely turns out to be successful.
Happily though, this isn’t the case with For Cause and Consequence. This is the best material they’ve released since arc’tan’gent, 11 years ago. There are only four songs on offer, but they sound so accomplished that you’d never think the band had stopped playing together – the transition from their last release in 2002 to now is seamless. This is still the core Earthtone9 sound that I came to love all those years ago, with the added bonus that all four tracks have distinctly unique and fresh personalities, proving that even after nine years of absence, Earthtone9 still have the ability to write great songs.
The opening track is a riff driven, full energy affair with a simple structure and huge chorus, followed by the more progressive, technical outfit in track two. Track three takes the technical metal style even further, almost Tool-like in tone and structure, and features some excellent drumming and vocals. The final song reverts to the simple and effective formula displayed in the EP’s opener, closing things out with a powerful riff and catchy chorus.
Overall, For Cause and Consequence is like a flashback to the days when Earthtone9 were in their ascendancy and for anyone who was fan of their old material, this EP is a must. The nostalgia of hearing them crank out quality songs gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling and after hearing this EP I dug out my old records and journeyed back some 10 years to relive them again. I’m unsure of the band’s intentions from here and whether they plan to write anymore new material, but hopefully the reception for the EP will be sufficiently positive to encourage them to do so. Certainly on the strength of these four songs, the band have proved that they’re still capable of being one of the best bands in this genre and whilst I have grown distanced from this style of music over the past few years, Earthtone9 are certainly capable of pulling me back in.