Employed To Serve – ‘Eternal Forward Motion’

By Dave Stewart

Hardcore and metal are often seen hand in hand nowadays. Bands extract the best elements from both, blending the energy of hardcore with the sheer brutality of metal to form an all out sonic assault; what isn’t quite as common, though, is a band that manages to blend them together to create something that is equally as terrifying as it is exciting. Picture how that might sound, wrap it in a uniform and give it a purpose. The end result is Employed To Serve – one of the UK’s most exciting heavy exports to have emerged in recent years.

Coming off the back of their award winning record ‘The Warmth Of A Dying Sun’, they’ve spent the last two years relentlessly touring and developing their sound into something even bigger. The end result is new album ‘Eternal Forward Motion’ and, according to front woman Justine Jones, “this is the album that defines who we are as band.” If you didn’t think they could get any better, think again.

The record is teeming with anger, and it’s propelled towards you from more than one angle. The vocals are viscous and bitter, emphasising the harrowing and relevant lyrical content that revolves around struggling to find a purpose as part of a jaded generation. But it’s not just that anger you feel – you can feel it in the music too. The guitars are clean cut and punchy, but they aren’t perfect. Those imperfections add a generous pinch of rawness to the record, and that rawness enhances the pain in the vocals. This isn’t a record to listen to if you’re trying to wind down – this a record for firing yourself up.

Pain, frustration, chaos, sadness and serenity all have a part to play on this record, referenced both musically and lyrically throughout. The majority of the record is spent on the negative, with positive moments occasionally breaking through. The opening title track thrusts you straight in, boasting riffs at perfect headbanging tempo as well as mosh-inducing breakdowns. Tracks like ‘Beneath It All’ and ‘Suspended In Emptiness’ also wade through the same waters, the latter being draped in doomy, sludgy tones that leave you feeling unclean.

‘Dull Ache Behind The Eyes’ is a breakneck rager, crammed full of frantic drums and dissonant sounds before coming to a sudden halt in front of a wall of sheer brutality. ‘Reality Filter’ is venomous, creating a desolate and uncomfortable landscape for the vocals to be draped over. Even slightly happier sounding tracks like ‘We Forgot You’ are laced with terror, utilising beautiful and haunting clean passages to elevate the devastation that follows them. Album closer ‘Bare Bones On A Blue Sky’ is the stand out track here – the calmest one on display, but it’s also the most passionate and powerful as a result of that. It acts like the musical interpretation of a storm, with beams of light constantly fighting with the dark clouds surrounding them. A fitting end to an impressive record.

This album is everything you want it to be and more, with energy seeping from every single pore and every song screaming out for a stage to be performed on. The heaviness is undeniable, made even heavier by the jagged raw tones and unpredictability scattered across the album. Employed To Serve are incredibly good at lulling you into a false sense of security – they lead you to believe a song is journeying down one path, only to take a sudden turn and rocket down a completely different one. ‘Eternal Forward Motion’ is a ferocious and unrelenting offering, and the title of the record is apt. Their future is big, and they’re sprinting directly towards it.

DAVE STEWART

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