Woking outfit Employed To Serve‘s prior release and debut album, ‘Greyer Than You Remember’, is nothing short of a masterpiece, one that received a much deserved 10/10 rating (here). Two years later, follow-up ‘The Warmth Of A Dying Sun’ arrives and manages the near impossible by surpassing its debut on every level.
But, why does this album warrant such high acclaim and praise, and why is it better than the last? I’m going to use The Dillinger Escape Plan as a metaphor to explain this.
Back in 1999, Dillinger released ‘Calculating Infinity’. This debut album featured animalistic killer tracks such as ‘43% Burnt’ and was lapped up by critics and fans alike, leading it to be regarded as pinnacle of the avant garde metal genre, even at the time. However, as amazing as the album is, it was (and is) somewhat impenetrable for the average metal fan.
Fast forward to 2007, and ‘Ire Works’ was unleashed – a record that not only retained the unbridled fury of their earlier discography, but it was so accessible that Dillinger even performed on the Conan O’Brien Show. ‘Ire Works’ was (again) relentlessly praised by the fans and critics, and no one accused them of being sell-outs of watering down their sound.
History lesson over. Here’s my point: ‘Greyer Than You Remember’ is akin to ‘Calculating Infinity’ in regards to furiousity, but also in its admittedly limited accessibility. ‘The Warmth Of A Dying Sun’ is this band’s equivalent to ‘Ire Works’.
Think grungier, think punkier, think more head bangs and broken limbs in the pit, and you’ll only start to get an idea of the album. It’s still heavy as fuck, with some truly inspired technical metal encompassed into their ferocious sound, only now you can actually head-bang to a 4/4 timing. It’d be unsurprising to hear if there was a lot of Pantera playing during the writing process.
From ‘Void Ambition’ to ‘Apple Tree’, this album is like a freight train, pummelling the palm-muted riffs and tearing the vocal chords. Pulling influences from Between The Buried And Me as well as their label pals Rolo Tomassi, ‘The Warmth Of A Dying Sun’ also features some gorgeous, ambient moments that will make you feel like you’re floating towards the sun, the sun of nothing.
With this broader scope of sound also comes the aforementioned accessibility, but by no means have Employed To Serve even remotely sold out with this LP. That ball of sharpened razors is still there for you to swallow, only now it’s prepped with some oil to make it easier to swallow.
It’s only natural and expected that bands get better over time; the vocals become stronger and display a wider range, and musical prowess is expanded. However, the leap in quality between this album and the last is almost incomprehensible. Employed To Serve shouldn’t sound this good until, like, album number four. It took Dillinger eight fucking years to achieve their infamous status, yet Employed to Serve have done it two. What the actual fuck?! Are they wizards?
Seriously, you just have to get this album and get on it now, not a further 7 months down the line when it’ll inevitably be stacked high on end of the year lists aplenty.
Written by Andy Roberts (@Sassensquatch)