Employed To Serve – ‘The Warmth Of A Dying Sun’

By Dave Bull

The first morsels of this release, ‘I Spend My Day (Wishing Them Away)’ and ‘Good For Nothing’ indicate the album would be intense, but the real feel is further off the chart than anyone could have expected. Employed To Serve have dished up an album that at its peak, rivals ‘Gutter Phenomenon’ and ‘The Big Dirty’ for skin-peeling heaviness and Will Haven’s ‘Carpe Diem’ for the dropped bass feel, whilst also sitting across several sub genres, offering a taste of something quite unique to listeners.

The soundscapes used within their latest offering are new and uncharted territory, having developed and matured since their more eccentric ‘Greyer Than You Remember’. The first addition is that the vocal work of Justine Jones is the main course with this album; it is everything a heavily technical band requires and gracefully decapitates all in its wake. And it pays off. The change in pace exhibited throughout the album to the more sludgy end of the spectrum has required Jones to adapt her vocal style – a challenge which she has greatly accepted.

Take ‘Lethargy’, a scaled back, doom layered introduction, before a rift of increased pace and a barrage of Jones’ most aggressive outpourings. Or ‘I Spend My Day (Wishing Them Away)’ which opens with a densely laden and hypnotic beat, highly synonymous with other Holy Roar compadres, the vocal elements of Jones’ even more knife like throughout. The final section of this song has a blistering guitar riff which is the perfect juxtaposition to the seemingly endless bass line that evokes madness and beauty all at the same time.

The third single from the album, ‘Never Falls Far’ impossibly turns the screw some more. The energy this album exudes is impressive, the math-like guitar giving way to a series of breakdowns that make The Chariot look like a bunch of indie rockers. The unnerving guitar which carries this track to its end do nothing but elevate this band as crushers of all that is easy listening.

The album is however, not without the slower moments and it is not all about the extreme. Take the moody ending to ‘Half Life’ which would make one hell of a set ender as the pace spirals up. The guitar twisting and turning before ‘Apple Tree’ shows a side to the band not seen throughout this album, and it is easy to see the influence of Lewis Johns and the link to Rolo Tomassi, the pace much slower and the dual vocal work evidence of their development.

It is really exciting to hear an album that is so ground breaking in so many ways and is coming from our fair shores, adding to a hugely varied and forward thinking group of British artists such as Black Teeth, Press To Meco, Milk Teeth, Creeper and Palm Reader – and the list could be expanded even more. Employed To Serve deserve their place at the table: ‘The Warmth of a Dying Sun’ will still be playing in December and surely will be one of the better releases of this year. It is certainly the most ambitious to date, and it is certainly the most raucous.

With a huge touring schedule over the coming months, including an interesting tour with Milk Teeth and a date at the Old Blue Last which promises to be one of the gigs of the year, the horizon is surely one soaked in warmth. Employed To Serve peel back the skin of what is deemed heavy and inject a new and unseen layer of addictively insane sonic heaviness. This album is going to shake the walls of many a venue and home for quite some time. Lock up the frail and the young – this album is coming to get you.

DAVE BULL

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