English metalcore trio Employed to Serve,
the rare metal band fronted by a female singer
(Justine Jones, the rare woman whose screeches sounds like a male growl),
debuted with the
lacerating single The Day You Didn't Die (2013), which would remain
one of their artistic peaks, and the EP Long Time Dead (2013), where
Jones duets with guitarist Sammy Urwin.
Jones matured with the visceral, limping and dissonant songs of
Greyer Than You Remember (2015),
with Urwin unleashing metal riffs worthy of any nu-metal band of the 2000s.
The blistering one-minute Live Without is the overture of a sonic
massacre that peaks with the epileptic madness of
Bury Yourself, via the
seismic violence of Nobody's Perfect This Includes You
and Beg for Rain,
via songs of fractured rhythms and zigzagging guitar lines.
The relatively "melodic" Bones to Break proves that the band can aim for more complex structures.
The "progress" on
The Warmth of a Dying Sun (2017) is a mixed blessing. If
Void Ambition tries too hard to sound like fashionable nu-metal,
and largely falls flat, I Spend My Days successfully incorporates
elements of noise-rock of the 1990s
Big Black), and
Church Of Mirrors ventures to the border of technical grindcore.
The desperate screaming and dizzying guitar noise of Never Falls Far,
the tortured hysteria of Platform 89,
and the spastic punk-rock vomit of The Warmth Of A Dying Sun
still make for a powerful experience.
The album only falters visibly at the end, when the trio attempts longer and more cerebral songs.
Maybe it's just the effect of a better, cleaner production, but
Eternal Forward Motion (2019) seems to aim for melodic appeal,
which is a contradiction in terms for a band that revels in ugly disorder.
Torrential drumming imposes some order in Eternal Forward Motion without
affecting the brutal impact, while drums and guitar match the agonizing
fever of the singer in Suspended in Emptiness (the melodramatic zenith).
The single Harsh Truth packs all that discordant energy in a song that
is more psychological than physical, whose subdued moments stretch the
tension that feeds the bursts of noise.
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