Posts Tagged Nottingham

earthtone9: ‘Tat Twan Asi’

There can’t be anyone who was a fan of metal in the 1990s that hasn’t seen earthtone9 dozens of times. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a fair few times I saw them:

  1. Supporting Pulkas at the Reading Alleycat.
  2. Watching them play at the horrendous Lost Weekend festival, where vocalist Karl Middleton performed wearing nothing but a pair of pants made of cling-film.
  3. Supporting Soulfly at the Astoria, where Karl admirably provided the Grady Avenell vocal parts of ‘Pain’ (with Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo for the encore.
  4. Outshining Disturbed (oh, I’d be ashamed if I paid for the ticket), as main support at their fist Astoria show.
  5. Rumbling the shit out of the Zodiac in Oxford, which is now the Carling Academy Oxford (of which their support act will be the subject of a future blog…)
  6. Supporting Kill II This, where Karl’s vocal warm-ups would ruin half of an interview I did with Mark Mynett for a fanzine I used to produce when I was but an idiot teenager.
  7. And finally calling it a day with their last-ever show at the LA2. There’s probably a whole lot more that I can’t remember right now.

Despite ruining half of an interview with smeone else, I would later corner Karl and guitarist Owen Packard in a chilly corridor of the Astoria, right before they supported Fear Factory. I remember asking them why they’d become the Support Bnd Of Choice for, everyone, and they couldn’t really give me a straight answer. Sure, they were a considerable amount more talented than the competition, but why wasn’t that talent enough to propel them into the stage where they were perennial headliners instead of the warm-up guys?

So what happened after the split? Karl Middleton turned up in The Blueprint for a while, before going on to provide vocals for Twin Zero, although he appears to have slid off the map recently. You used to see him drinking in The Purple Turtle in Reading a few years back, maybe someone should go and ask him? Owen Packard did the six-string thing for a track for uber-group This Is Menace, and now runs a PR company, handling press duties for a number of UK rock acts. But everytime I get a bit nostalgic for the late 1990’s, I’ll stick on their final full-length album, arc’tan’gent, and think about what might’ve been.

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Pitchshifter: ‘Un-United Kingdom’

This was the track that marked the beginning of the end for Nottingham’s Pitchshifter. Towards the end of the late 90s, JS Clayden and his gaggle of techno-metallers a hideous turn of phrase, but it’s the firstone that springs to mind) were one of the biggest home-grown metal acts, but after a series of splits, reformations, and seemingly more Last Ever Shows / Comeback Shows than Black Sabbath, they pretty much squandered any goodwill they might’ve had with the UK metal scene. Okay, the albums of ever-diminishing returns didn’t help either. Nor the fact that everyone I know seems to have at least one horror story of frontman JS Clayden acting like a prize-prick. It’s a shame really – both www.pitchshifter.com and Infotainment albums have some cracking tracks on (although today’s track, which I include in the ‘Good Pitchsifter’ bracket, isn’t on either), but I can’t listen to them now without hearing the wasted potential.

But it’s Bonfire Night tonight, and ‘Un-United Kingdom’ is pretty much the only metal song I could think of that name-checks Guy Fawkes, the most celebrated participant of the failed Gunpowder Plot. You’d think that there’d be more, considering the major themes of Guy Fawkes’ life – explosions, conspiracy, rebellion, torture, execution – are all Pretty Damn Metal things to write songs about.

The band still perform the odd show here and there, and allegedly have a retrospective (or is it a whole new albun? who knows) due out next year, provisionally under the title 20 Years of Madness. Bassist (and brother of JS), Mark Clayden and drummer Jason Bowld are both mainstays of occasion metal uber-group, This Is Menace. Ex-guitarist, Jim Davies, was The Prodigy’s live guitarist for a while, but he’s gone on to form his own band now, the slightly flaccid Victory Pill, and plays in DJ Hyper’s vanity live act, the imaginatively-named Hyper.

Since the audio is so shot to shit on the above video, I had a bit of a rustle in my record collection and found a pristine recording of the exact same performance, which was never released except on a cover CD of an old issue of Metal Hammer. Enjoy:

Un-United Kingdom (Live) – Pitschifter.mp3

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