"I Spend My Days (Wishing Them Away)" and "Good For Nothing," the first singles released from Employed to Serve's sophomore LP The Warmth of a Dying Sun, suggested the band had traded in metallic hardcore chaos for groove. Fortunately, that's not the case; the band are simply adding more colours to their palette, something they even did on the artwork here, throwing in shades of copper to liven it up when compared to 2015's Greyer Than You Remember.
"Void Ambition," "Church of Mirrors" and "Half Life" are chock full of panic-stricken dissonance and frenetic fretboard runs, though the opening of "Never Falls Far" splits the difference by keeping the guitar in a constant state of motion. Meanwhile, the half-time drums add to the sense of perturbation, like you actually ARE falling farther and farther.
The immediacy of the phone ringing at its final snare hit transitions to the expansive title track, giving way to the chilling proclamation, "I became another dead tree in a forest of thousands," before the phone hanging up signals the beginning of the song. Mid-song, drummer Robbie Back's wife Holly provides wistful and haunting clean singing that acts as a tender interlude between the emotional metalcore of the song's first half and a soaring middle section in which the band seemingly reach for the titular sun.
They wrap the album with a song more Basement than Botch, more Citizen than Coalesce — this one sung by guitarist Sammy Urwin — showing a group widening their vision.
As the best bands of their subgenre have done — Converge, the Dillinger Escape Plan and Curl Up and Die, to name a few — Employed to Serve mastered chaos before transcending it. Though disorder often seems to control those who try to tame it, it's clearly serving these Brits, rather than vice-versa. (Holy Roar)