Employed To Serve are a brutal heavy band from Woking, England. Having enjoyed previous success from their previous albums Greyer Than You Remember, and The Warmth of a Dying Sun, they have been able to play alongside bands like Code Orange, Counterparts, Underoath, Stick To Your Guns, and others of that magnitude. After all this, they are due to take it to the next level and are looking to do this with their brand-new album Eternal Forward Motion.
Opening with the title track, the album sets a steady tone that it sticks to throughout its run time. Powerful and brutal instruments run alongside some of the more hectic hardcore vocals you will find, to create an incredibly hardened sound. Punchy verses, a soaring chorus, and insanity-inducing breakdowns make you feel like you are standing on the edge of the world about to fall.
This vibe continues throughout the album, as tracks “Beneath It All”, “Suspended In Emptiness”, and “Bare Bones on a Blue Sky”, work especially hard to create an atmosphere through this insanely heavy sound. Each song sticks to the Employed To Serve version of the classic heavy sound, but still adds in its own unique piece of flare. While from a distance, songs appear to be similar, when you really break it down and take a closer look, there is so much going on in the instrumentals and the vocals. All of it is working towards this atmosphere, and this atmosphere varies in its tone.
Nightmarish at times yet consistently empowering, this ferocious musical tone sends adrenaline pumping through you with every track. “Dull Ache Behind My Eyes” features an unrelating 3 minutes blast, spitting vocals, neck snapping verses, and a seemingly never-ending dreamlike breakdown. This flows flawlessly into “Harsh”, which takes a raw and gritty approach as the dirty bass, echoing dreams, and filthy vocals tear through you as you listen.
With this, they aren’t afraid to mix up the song structure, as tracks like “We Forgot You” and “Owed Zero” have their own characteristics that other songs don’t have that make them stand out. “We Forgot You” involves an intense focus on inconsistency, as the unrelenting changing of pace allows the drums to shine on their own using gripping technical fills. “Owed Zero” is kicked into gear with flickers of brutal revving guitar. Technical riffs offer a release from the deep and dark heavy guitars and show that Employed to Serve can do the progressive instrumentals just as well. Mixing it up perfectly, the animalistic vocals are a highlight, as the brutal growling screams add the extra intensity needed to hammer home what they were looking for.
Eternal Forward Motion closes just as strong as it starts, as “Bare Bones on a Blue Sky” offers an incredibly unique take on their heavy sound. An unusual case of clean vocals opens the track and works with the echoing guitars to build an emotionally powerful atmosphere. This transfers to a strange feeling of rock and roll, as the guitars and drums take on a traditional rocking feel. The screams join the fray and add the spice and intensity needed to create the incredibly overall sound of heaviness and power that an album like this needs to finish on. “Bare Bones on a Blue Sky” is an absolute highlight, and is the perfect way to close out.
Eternal Forward Motion offers a unique perspective on a heavy sound. As a new listener of the band, I was taken aback by how effectively they could make it their own. They created an effective and powerful atmosphere throughout and set themselves apart from other bands like them in a big way. The vocals, in particular, were especially good, and are the most integral part to the vibe that Employed To Serve create. This is a very enjoyable album, and I would highly recommend checking it out as it is an increasingly unique and brutal album.
Calvin Clone – Machines [single]
Meshed together with the cyber sounds of machines throughout, it’s a weird but working combination
The year is 2040. The war between human vs machine is at the forefront. Is it too late for humans to take back the world from Artificial Intelligence? Are we already outrun by machines? Have no fear, Calvin Clone is here. “Machines” is the first of three singles released by Melbourne artist Calvin Clone. This first track allows listeners to see into the future through song. Setting it simply, according to Calvin Clone, our world is taken over by machines, and I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound too crazy to me.
Founder and creator of Calvin Clone, Jack Alexandrovics, “combines dance, pop, industrial and rock to create a vision of cyberpunk.” This single shows a great connection music can have between modern and classic interpretation. There is a fantastic guitar riff throughout the song and really stands out when played. Meshed together with the cyber sounds of machines throughout, it’s a weird but working combination.
Alexandrovics’s theatrical voice adds yet another element to the song. He explains that his music is “closer to a theatre production than a conventional gig”. The vocal element in “Machines” exposes an ability to move up and down the scales flawlessly.
It is really exciting to see artists thinking outside of the conventional box. Calvin Clone explores modern and futuristic ideas yet keeps the integrity of a smashing guitar riff and untouched voice. There will be two more singles released by the end of the year which will all be part of his EP Kinetics. Calvin Clone is ambitious with visuals and sonics, and wants the live audience to be fully engaged in all aspects of his live performance. “Machines” has been stuck in my head for days. It’s catchy and engaging and I can’t wait to hear what else may be coming our way. This is only the beginning.
The Ritualists – Painted People
The Ritualists play some determined, strong-willed music
After listening to Painted People by The Ritualists, I was very surprised to learn that this is their debut album. This band shows a maturity in their music that I would not expect from a first album and provides inspirational sounding tracks with ‘reach for the stars’ type of guitar riffs. I hear a modern version of U2 in The Ritualists, along with an influence of Radiohead. Their songs are full, wholehearted post-punk hooks with a lead singer that has a sizeable range.
“Rattles” opens the album, and it’s the type of song that shows their audience that they are here to stay. It has a great build-up of excitement and intensity. The band explains that this song is “A combination of dark, deep-pocketed verses juxtaposed with big, flashy choruses is a key element to tracks”.
“Ice Flower” and “Worthiest One” welcomes an electronic wave to the album and showcases just how impressive lead singer Christian Dryden’s range is. His ability to hit those high notes with such conviction puts my falsetto abilities to shame. “Worthiest One” brings this sort of nostalgic feeling- it’s a rock ballad with a floaty guitar riff.
“She’s The Sun” is a great follow-on from “Worthiest One” as it transfers the mood upwards and directs the music into more of a hypnotic vision, which conveys “the band’s inner Sixties Love Child”. “I’m With The Painted People” has a really relatable background to the song. Dryden felt a larger than life inspiration from people like David Bowie and Simon Le Bon, these artists felt like soulmates, which can be lonely at times. It wasn’t until he ventured out into the clubs of the lower east side of New York which helped him feel comfortable to express his creative vision freely. The song is all about finding like-minded people.
There are hooks galore and catchy choruses in pretty much every song. “With this record, I’ve specifically tried to be anthemic,” admits Dryden. “I’ve always loved going to shows, where immediately after the performance, and even on the ensuing days after, you just can’t help but remember and sing the songs you’ve just heard. It’s almost like a higher form of communication.” The Ritualists play some determined, strong-willed music and Painted People shows hints of variations with different genres explored throughout. They sound motivated and in return have produced motivating music for their listeners.