Arguably one of the best hardcore bands in the UK, Woking’s Employed To Serve have just released their second full-length album, The Warmth Of A Dying Sun on Holy Roar Records. This new album sees the band develop the abrasively frenetic and chaotic sounds of Greyer Than You Remember into something more focused, refined and, dare I say it, ‘mature’. Now usually, that would be reviewer speak for less heavy, more melodic and more radio-friendly but fear not, in the case of The Warmth Of A Dying Sun Employed To Serve are no less ferocious and certainly no less heavy.
In fact, with the introduction of more catchy hooks, a lower tuning and less crazy song structures the majority of The Warmth Of A Dying Sun is heavier than anything Employed To Serve have previously released. They’ve toned down the chaos and frenzy and have honed in on a more dynamic, slower, sludgy groove – there’s more than a hint of Will Haven, or even Pantera, to much of The Warmth Of A Dying Sun. That’s not to say that this isn’t an at times intense, frantic album; there are still plenty of moments of neck breaking mayhem – tracks such as “Platform 89” and “Never Falls Far” have their own The Chariot style freak-out sections – but much of it is easy to get into.
The album kicks off with the immediacy of “Void Ambition”; a track that seamlessly shifts from the rapid and nifty Botch-esque guitar work from Sammy Urwin and Richard Jacobs to a slow, leaden beatdown that Code Orange would kill for, before finally dying out in a squeal of feedback and neatly transitioning into an album highlight, “Good For Nothing”. One of the singles released so far, “Good For Nothing” is everything a great hardcore song should be: catchy, angry (but strangely positive), and as heavy and as deadly as a stampede of elephants. Another of the singles, “I Spend My Days (Wishing Them Away)” is astounding and as with the majority of the album, Justine Jones has lowered her previously higher pitched vocals to a deeper growl that really suits the tuning and speed of the track’s music.
A final snap of Robbie Black’s snare signals the end of “Never Falls Far” and an immediate segue into a poetic telephone call introduces the title song, an epic track that veers into post-metal territory with its drawn out sections and extended outro. Penultimate track “Half-Life” shows that Employed To Serve understand the use of contrast, pairing fast and angry with slower more drawn out sections, and album closer “Apple Tree” recalls 90s grunge.
I’ve barely had The Warmth Of A Dying Sun off rotation over the past two weeks; it’s a tight 42 minutes of down-tuned and energetic hardcore that contains no filler. For a hardcore album, it really benefits from being listened to in full and in order, the flow of the tracks and the inclusion of short segues between songs means it all melds together very nicely. A fitting album for these dark times, The Warmth Of A Dying Sun is angry and aggressive but Employed To Serve approach their subject matter in an uplifting and positive way.
I’ll be sure to catch Employed To Serve in Glasgow on their upcoming UK tour in July and again at ArcTanGent Festival.
The Warmth Of A Dying Sun is out now