Sleath / earthtone9

Nottingham Rock City

February 1 2001

I better add a disclaimer at the start here. There is satire and sarcasm in this review. There is a fundamental message in there, but maybe it's not the obvious one. Just think about what it's about.

This is turning into a bit of a habit. Bands not playing for whatever reasons, and pleasant surprises occuring in the shape of the replacement band. Tonight Pissing Razors can't play because the new singer can't get a Visa, so earthtone9 have stepped into the breach.

I believe they're treating it as a warm up to the Pitchshifter tour. Just as well really considering that they play to all of about 30 people. Yep, Nottingham is resting its weary little heads after last nights undoubtedly sold out Papa Roach shenanigans. But they'll surface later. When the bands have finished and the nice safe sanitised bollocks is being aired.

Anyway, undeterred et9 blast through their set. What a set. They've totally re-arranged it, and now it's concentrating on the more melodic aspects. For me, it works without a shadow of a doubt. It may be harder for the moshers to understand, but you just can't argue with a setlist that starts with p.r.d chaos, tat twam asi, star damage. No you can't argue, because tat twam is quite simply the best song out there at the moment. Period. Lesser, yet infinetly more successful bands would kill for it. As the band lock into the middle instrumental section, they are the best band in the world. No gimmicks, just the music. Utterly awesome.

The bass and kick drums are high in the mix, some may think too high, but now you can really hear what they're doing, and it allows them to power the band whilst the guitars do what they should do, and create other layers of sound. Between songs there are samples going off and then something totally unexpected happens. The opening chords to Binary 101 ring out. It's hard to supress a grin, so I don't even bother trying. Of all the songs I thought they wouldn't do, this was top of the list. The groove, the whole thing is on a different level. Coupled this in a set with tat twam, and they are the best band out there. It's not as tight as the studio version obviously, but it's still massive. It's music to fill a stage twice the size of this. And as those layers of guitar ring out towards the end, they transform seamlessly into Grind & Click. It's a clever move, going straight from one of their more experimental sprawling songs right into the good old moshpit favourite. Well, when there exists a moshpit.

Still more surprises though as Ni9e emerges from the speakers, leading, building into Yellow Fever, another absolute monster of a song, Karl recreating Ish's passionate vocals with relative ease. It all ends with Evil Crawling I - to utter disinterest and apathy of course, but hey, this is the UK. What else would you expect. The rearrangement of the set and inclusion of new songs is undoubtedly the right move for the band, whether joe public will agree remains to be seen.

Sleath fair little better. There's still a tangible sense of "couldn't give a flying fuck" in the air. They peddle a Fear Factory / Pantera sort of sound, some good old throw backs to thrash. It's the first time I've heard them, so it's difficult to really get a good sense of what they're about. But they should probably have just cut their loses and knocked a few songs of the set. Bands don't deserve to put themselves through this kind of thing. Given the right circumstances, they could well be worth paying a bit of attention to. Sorry, shouldn't have sworn like that. Paying attention. Interest. This is the UK we're talking about.

Ok look, it's all been said before, but I have to throw in a few more barbed comments here.

There's been a lot of debate recently about UK Vs US bands. It's not about geography people say. Why you hate nu-metal people say. It's up to me what I listen to people say. The UK has a thriving scene people say.

Look, the UK doesn't have a thriving scene. The UK has some awesome bands, but the UK has no support. The scene is dying. It is. The evidence is there right in front of your eyes.

Let's look at some facts. Last night Papa Roach played here. Sold out. How long have they been known in the UK? 6 months? Tonight, 30 interested people. Same venue. Pitchshifter gig in a weeks time is not sold out.

Fuck you.

US bands sell more albums. Fact.

US bands sell out the upstairs venue on the basis of one album and some "favourable" reviews. Fact.

They chart. Fact.

Indisputable facts.

UK bands don't chart.

After numerous albums.

They don't sell out gigs at these venues.

So, explain to me that this is all solely about music and NOT geography. Or that the press isn't biased (or bought if you're being slightly more honest about this).

Go on, please explain to me how this all works. I would like to know. I'm not trying to be antagonistic. I want to know how these facts reconcile themselves with people saying that they're into it for the music and nothing else. I just don't see it.

It's not UK Vs US. It's apathy Vs hype. It's disinterest. It's people giving the bands 30 seconds before they decide to wander off upstairs back to the safety of their forcefed sanitised bollocks, all the while doing a major insult of insulting the band by wiggling hips, or throwing devils signs out as they walk past the band. In that "I don't care about you, I'm only here to be seen" kind of way. Or the way people stand by me or in front of me, mockingly dancing all the while with their backs to the bands and talking to their mates. Then looking at me like it's my fault when they back into me cos their dancing is crap.

Do me a favour. Kill yourselves.

The fact is that about 95% of the people that are "into" heavy music in this country, that pack out places like this for the American bands or the club nights are apathetic disinterested people with no attention span worth talking about.

Kill yourself.

As soon as the bands finishe, the dancefloor fills. Guess what's being played? It's all American. Between the time the bands finish, I don't know, say 11.30 and the time I leave, about 1.30 there's 2 UK bands played. Tell me there's no bias. Tell me that it's all about music. Tell me to fuck off because my words offend you.

Kill yourself.

There are no subliminal messages in this review.

Kill yourself.

Ok, so if you've been offended by all this, and are blustering around, wanting to give me a smack, well think about it. If this DOESN'T apply to you, you should be secure enough in yourself to know that, and intelligent enough to see what this is all about. If you are offended, then it's highly likely that it's because this describes you. Do something about it then. Change what's going on here. All it takes is to be honest, show some support. Go and see the bands. Please. Buy their CDs. Don't let all this die in front of your very eyes. Cos that would be as tragic as if you killed yourself.

Of course I say kill yourself purely in the musical sense. If you do decide to kill yourself, you're stupid. And probably dead. I in no way advocate the actual killing of oneself or other people in any shape or form, and bear no responsibility for offence arising from this "review."