Following a few excessively raw and highly abrasive EPs, the UK’s Employed To Serve turned a few heads in 2015 with the release of their hungry—nay, starving and salivating—debut full-length Greyer Than You Remember. Now, with The Warmth Of A Dying Sun (both Holy Roar), they are poised to turn quite a few more.Continue reading
Call it unpredictable, call it spazzy, call it powerful, and in the case of Employed To Serve, call it where it’s at. Polyrhythmic, aggressive, acerbic and ascending, hailing from Woking, England, a very “nice” and Conservative (both capital and lower case C) part of the country, Employed To Serve are lighting a fire and blazing a path on their debut album Greyer Than You Remember (Holy Roar) and introduced themselves to Ghost Cult.
While progressive / technical hardcore is this years’ Sludge Metal in terms of being bang on trend, there is enough about Employed To Serve to suggest that the critical acclaim isn’t due to them being in the right time at the right place, with Employed To Serve in it for the long haul. “Not being concerned about being a leader or keeping up with the trend is a good way of keeping the longevity of a band” is the bands collective response. “We never really set out to be a technical hardcore/post hardcore/whatevercore band it just happened from growing up loving bands like Meshuggah, Botch, Norma Jean etc.”
“Employed To Serve is the embodiment of that kid who had so many aspirations growing up, but they got lost somewhere along the way to being an adult and they eventually succumb to the norm of working a job where you’re under appreciated and hate every minute”, state the quintet, showing the negatives of a “Nice” middle-England existence. The band name, song/album titles, all indicate a very cynical view of life. “We only write about topics that are close to home so there’s weight behind our lyrics and songs in general.”
“At the end of the day the reason why we play music is so people can listen to it. Hardcore/metal is supposed to be a sanctuary for all the people who didn’t quite fit in or wanted to listen to something more challenging. We would never want ETS to be perceived as an ‘elitist’ band whereby we turn our noses up at someone who couldn’t name the first Cannibal Corpse album (Eaten Back To Life 😉 ) or someone wearing a Black Veil Brides shirt at one of our shows.”
Employed To Serve live:
Jun 25: Ekko, Utrecht, Netherlands w/ Rolo Tomassi
Jun 26: Asteriks, Leeuwarden, Netherlands w/ Rolo Tomassi
Jun 27: Capsloc, Cappelle Aan Den Ijssel, Netherlands w/ Rolo Tomassi
28 Jun JC Kavka, Antwerpen, Belgium w/ Rolo Tomassi
09 Jul Camden Underworld, London, UK w/ Biohazard
Whilst all the talk around ‘Technical’ Hardcore may well be surrounding Palm Reader at the moment, and deservedly so, don’t let that stop you exploring other releases of the same ilk. Delivering that violently erratic smash-mouth style a la The Dillinger Escape Plan, Employed To Serve’s breed of music will hit you square between the eyes right from the word go.
The opening few tracks pretty much set the tone for the rest of the album – the band doing their upmost to not go down a path whereby you can predict what comes next. They’ve shunned the idea of a ‘normal’ song structure and instead launch through complicated arrangements, and mind bending riffs. A lot of the time, this level of description ends up putting people off checking this kind of music out, and like many of the bands playing a similar style will attest to, it can take time to get in to it. If you take the time around an album like this you will feel rewarded and some of these tracks won’t just become fodder to skip through on shuffle. Alongside the Dillinger type vibes on this album, there is an all round sense of bleakness, something made instantly plain by the track names, ‘Watching Films To Forget I Exist’ and ‘Greyer Than You Remember’ serving as clear examples. The absolute star of the show across the album is vocalist Justine Jones who delivers a performance containing so much venom you get a genuine sense that had she not been involved it would have been a lesser album as a result.
Overall then, this is some seriously high quality Hardcore music, whether you want to throw them into the Technical Hardcore bracket or Post Hardcore, it doesn’t matter – Greyer Than You Remember (Holy Roar) genuinely an exciting album which will hopefully hoist Employed To Serve on to more of people’s radars.