In the two years since the release of Woking metalcore outfit Employed to Serve’s debut, ‘Greyer Than You Remember’, the band haven’t really gone away, touring relentlessly up and down the country. As a mark of their workmanship, it’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into their sophomore album, ‘The Warmth of a Dying Sun’.
The album successfully executes a more focused, refined songwriting approach than on ‘Greyer…’, maturing their existing sound, but sacrificing none of the crushing, immediate heaviness of the band’s debut.
The first half of ‘Warmth…’ has an abundance of riffs and fantastic guitar work, with ‘Void Ambition’ in particular showing off just how many great riffs ETS are capable of writing. The two singles, ‘Good For Nothing’ and the especially enjoyable ‘I Spend My Days (Wishing Them Away)’ both feature exceedingly bouncy riffs and honest-to-god mighty hooks, which is unprecedented in ETS’s repertoire thus far.
‘Warmth…’ isn’t all big riffs and bigger choruses, though – the frenetic, chaotic nature of ETS’s sound is still here on songs like ‘Platform 89’ or ‘Never Falls Far’. Both these tracks implement this chaotic nature by jumping through a lot of ideas, while still incorporating riff-based songwriting without it ever sounding clumsy.
The back-half of the album introduces some post-metal elements and in the case of the title track, prog-rock-inspired song structure. It allows them to explore and experiment, making good use of longer run-time (over six minutes), meaning it sounds less chaotic and more open than some of the band’s other work.
Closing track ‘Apple Orchard’ is like nothing else ETS have ever recorded, beautifully implementing some of the latent softer parts present throughout ‘Warmth…’. It builds up to some harsher, bigger riffs, but never fully erupts, meaning the album ends on a somewhat reserved note.
‘Warmth…’ is a significant improvement on ETS’s debut, implementing some more interesting musical elements, while still staying true to the band’s trademark chaotic heaviness.
‘The Warmth of a Dying Sun’ by Employed to Serve is released on 19th May on Holy Roar Records.
Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)