One of my favourite release from 2017 was Employed To Serve’s stunning second album, ‘The Warmth Of A Dying Sun‘. So much more that just a bad-ass album title, ‘The Warmth Of A Dying Sun‘ is easily one of the better hardcore/metalcore records of recent memory too. Informed by the progression of current and long-standing heavy music staples like Norma Jean and Converge, and also by the paths that the scene had once travelled with the likes of Botch and Coalesce, it felt fresh, exiting, and vital.
It’s a damn fine example of not just great songwriting for those respective heavy styles, but also on how a band can utilise restraint and reprieves to draw the listener. Songs like the dynamic and haunting ‘Apple Tree‘ – written about someone guitarist Sammy Urwin knew in high school whose parent tragically took their own life – embody this, as does the eerie, voice-message intro of the LP’s title track: “I became another dead tree in a forest of thousands.” It was all fucking great stuff, truth be told. A record you should definitely check out if you’ve somehow slept on it a like twit.
Pushing forward into the rest of 2019, and now apart of the Spinefarm Records family, Employed To Serve have released a stomping new tune, ‘Force Fed‘. It’s a brazen war-cry to cut out the world’s drowning BS, to stop allowing tolerant stances on intolerant opinions and actions, to stay true and to find a fulfilling purpose in your own life. As the band puts it, their forthcoming album ‘Eternal Forward Motion‘ (out May 10th via Spinefarm Records) is primarily about our current generation’s loss of purpose, falling victim to endless self-doubt, harsh moments of FOMO, and external influences that perpetuate competition instead of community. Vocalist Justine Jones put it best in a recent press statement, saying:
“When contemplating what the future holds for one’s self, it can be quite daunting thinking about whether you will ever be truly content with your life and the person that you are. In the fast paced society we live in, it can cause many people to burn out and chase unobtainable expectations of themselves. We are also now faced with the social media boom leading many people to be plagued by self-comparison and fear of missing out. All these distractions can cause one to dwell on what they don’t have and take for granted some the aspects of life that we should be thankful for each day.”
In that sense, I think Employed To Serve have really nailed that over-arching theme with ‘Force Fed‘; neatly capturing that “fed-up” vibe. The album’s first single is another thematically bleak yet musically wicked telling about the greyscale that is modern life. One in which we’re bombarded with the shitty views by those higher-up; one in which we’re force fed a range of consumable products and disposable media; all white noise bollocks that this song cuts straight through.
As for the song itself, ‘Force Fed‘ is honed and lethal, a track that should grab everyone’s attention if they know what’s good for ’em. With lurching, stop-start rhythms, heated riffs and killer guitar tones, energetic drumming, a great sense of groove, and an awesome mixture of Justine’s powerful screams and Sammy’s liberal use of clean vocals, this is an unstoppable sonic assault from one of the U.K.’s best heavy acts. It’s definitely a more straight-forward hardcore sound for the band, more remiss of acts like Cruel Hand or Backtrack at times, but that’s not a bad thing. For instance, 2:33-2:45 is one of the sickest sections the group have written to date! Basically, the band still sound as on-point as ever with ‘Force Fed‘. A song that’s helped to jump this next ETS record right to the top of my most-anticipated album list for 2019, alongside the upcoming releases from Health and Whitechapel.