Review Summary: I see your ghost in the bones of my face
If the end times truly are upon us – if we are, indeed, soon to be beholden to the spires of mushroom clouds and the erasures of natural disasters – then I know of at least one 2017 release that will be prominently included on my post-reckoning mixtape. Groovy riffs, doom and sludge-indebted apocalyptic soundscapes, judicious use of mind-numbing technicality, chest-thumping finales that make you want to pick fights with strangers and cause unwarranted property damage…
Yes, those of us at all familiar with metalcore will be well-familiar with these sonic characteristics. It’s not that Employed to Serve, ahem, employ anything that’s particularly innovative. Rather, it’s because they execute “The Warmth of A Dying Sun” with such vengeful energy and clever songwriting that they’ve now cemented their reputation as a band worth celebrating, in a genre bloated with plagiarists and underachievers. Make sure you listen on speakers that will best support the crisp and clear mix, with its throaty, low-end drive.
At the forefront of all this aural violence is Justine Jones, who shrieks and howls with a snotty bravado that helps to drive forth the vicious power that her bandmates unfurl ceaselessly. Her delivery helps to propel many tracks into laudably memorable breakdowns - some of the best and most energizing in recent memory.
Never is the group’s prowess on more exuberant and barbarous display than during the mid-album coupling of the excellent tracks ‘Lethargy’ and ‘I Spend My Days – Wishing Them Away’, two cuts which seem to characterize Employed To Serve’s brand of damage most effectively.
The former showcases ETS’s skill at fully disorienting listeners, opening with a foray into an eerily unsettling soundscape (one which the band cleverly teases out in morsels - the album’s subtextual paean to its doomy influences) before sharply cornering into and hurtling through a latticework of angular, sludge-informed tech-metal, and concluding with one of the catchiest conclusions you’re likely to hear for a long time. ‘Lethargy’ segues seamlessly into ‘I Spend My Days – Wishing Them Away’ (released as the first single), which is the snidest, grooviest, and best, track of the album.
In a time where the end of civilization as we know it seems ever-imminent, an album as brash, vibrant, and brooding as “The Warmth of A Dying Sun” seems a fitting release. It’s an album that looks out at the horizon before turning around and wagging a finger, bleating “I told you so.” It’s music by malcontents, for malcontents. Most importantly, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.