Review Summary: Perfectly cohesive and suitably destructive hardcore.
Considering that the band was originally conceived as a mere bedroom project only 6 years ago, not many bands are ascending through the underground scene as swiftly as Employed to Serve. Having built a solid foundation of furious, invigorating hardcore on their debut album, “Greyer Than You Remember”
, their new album, “The Warmth of a Dying Sun”
, is another, stronger, more matured statement of intent and signals that this band is well on their way to widespread acclaim.
Fans of Botch and Converge should recognise the familiar territory that Employed to Serve is founded on. While “The Warmth of a Dying Sun”
is undeniably full of unrestrained energy and veering dynamics, the structure of each song is meaningful and each swerve is not without purpose. “Church of Mirrors”, is full of jittering riffs and smashing drums solely dedicated to creating a tormented disposition. “Void Ambition” also shares this zero-tolerance: maximum offence attitude via jagged grooves and merciless breakdowns. The mark of a good harsh vocalist is where you can comprehend every word they speak while their vocals still sound agonising; Justine Jones is an excellent vocalist. Her shrieks echo across Employed to Serve’s sophomore album with fierce conviction, moreover, they reinforce the intense instrumentation that her bandmates establish.
The general concepts behind the songs on “The Warmth of a Dying Sun”
convey mental health issues. Arguably, Hardcore is a go-to genre for expressing these kinds of concepts as the dynamic abrasiveness allows bands to freely express a sonic representation of the conflicting emotions someone may feel more than other, one-directional genres, such as thrash or doom, could hope to achieve. From start to finish, Employed to Serve delivers a brutal assault on the senses during the “Half Life” and the fantastic title track which details the feelings a sufferer of depression has. The Converge-esque insanity assists in developing an overpowering attitude, similar to how the overwhelming hopelessness of depression uncontrollably dictates one’s mood and actions. Some mental illnesses can even be inherited. The spacious, restful melodies during “Apple Tree” mimic the acceptance and ominous tone one might feel knowing they are doomed, moreover, as the riffs become progressively heavier the inevitability of this sickness becomes all the more crushing.
Despite how Employed to Serve evokes an irate struggle in overcoming a mental illness through their tormenting, schizophrenic soundscape, feelings of doubt and inadequacy will always gnaw away at the first sign of optimism in the back of a victim’s mind. Representing the depressive side of this conflict is Jamie Venning’s anchoring bass. The disheartened, downbeat tone adds a darker layer to the songs which amplify these lurking feelings of insufficiency, regardless of how passionate the other instruments might sound. “Lethargy” is the most obvious choice as the first half features groaning rhythms with yawning bass takes precedence. Although the song contorts into an anguished, invigorating rhythm, it’s the sluggish pace that has the more powerful effect. Following suit with perfect consistency, “I Spend My Days (Wishing Them Away)” revolves around an undulating groove to strengthen this distressing sensation. It’s the punching riffs during “Good For Nothing” that repeatedly plunge the knife into your gut, however, it’s the bass that twists the blade.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of *** going on in the world right now and this album is an excellent soundtrack to describe the current state of affairs. Nevertheless, at least we can all rejoice over the fact that a band who deals in violence and darkness, ironically, has an exceedingly bright future ahead of them.