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Employed To Serve - Eternal Forward Motion (Album Review)

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 Written by Huw Baines

It’s a line that’s been repurposed a thousand times from ugly beginnings, but that doesn’t make it any less true: everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. It’s a sentiment that UK post-hardcore standard-bearers Employed To Serve have taken to heart on the brutal, life-affirming ‘Eternal Forward Motion’—you simply aren’t ready for what they have in store for you on album three.

After upping the ante with ‘The Warmth of a Dying Sun’, they have produced another monster record that has the capacity to decimate venues far and wide. But this is no one-note study in barbarity—behind the sledgehammer rhythms and punishing guitars is a lyric sheet that dissects the misery and helplessness felt by so many young people in 2019. Justine Jones’s shrieks and roars are intended to be their shrieks and roars.

It is a powerhouse performance from the vocalist, whose live presence bullishly translates to a slate of songs that continually find new gears.

So much of the appeal found in metal, hardcore and their subgenres is tied to the way the music moves—beyond riffs or words and into the heart of pacing and execution. ‘Eternal Forward Motion’ is a prime example of how exciting it is when that all clicks.

The title track comes out of the gate swinging, and just keeps landing heavy blows. Inside a minute it has shifted tempo and angle of attack five or six times, and that’s before Jones blows the roof off the place with its vital chorus: “There is no time to worship yesterday.” As far as this year goes, if there’s a better opening gambit on a metal record then we’ll be very lucky.

Guitarists Sammy Urwin and Richard Jacobs embrace the madness, utilising the band’s ruthlessly efficient rhythm section as a launchpad for all manner of horrors. Their weaving, unsettling melodies underpin the feral Dull Ache Behind My Eyes, while the crushing, ascending melody of Harsh Truth provides ballast for Jones’s surgical analysis of social media representation and the grim reality it hides. There’s a scream just before the four minute mark that will chill your blood.

‘Eternal Forward Motion’ is an uncompromising, difficult record that eyeballs some uncomfortable facts and refuses to back down. It’s a vital piece of work from a band who are getting better and better by the minute. When Employed To Serve bring these songs to your town, expect something special.

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