Employed to Serve – Change Nothing, Regret Everything

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Employed to Serve
Change Nothing, Regret Everything
Holy Roar

Employed to Serve first emerged onto the scene in 2012 with the release of ‘Long Time Dead’, but it wasn’t until their second EP ‘Counting Crows’ and a subsequent announcement for ‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 that they arrived to my attention. The release of ‘Change Nothing, Regret Everything’ continues upon the very trail they’ve blazed for themselves. If there is such a thing as a title for best up and coming band right now, Employed to Serve are striving for it and then some. 

In contrast to their earliest release, ‘Change Nothing’ focuses less on the melodic aspect of their sound and more on all out brittled rage. Overall these six tracks are shorter and showcase a monstrous, strident beast lurking deep within this lot, now a full blown quartet after starting life with just founder members Justine Jones – who is furious as a vocalist, her chaotic roar sounding just as intense as I imagine Employed to Serve are a crazy act to watch live – and Sammy Unwin (he of Regurgitate Life/Oblivionized), who here delivers more bludgeoning riffs with some occasional technical flair. It’s hard not to want to go apeshit listening to this band, and this record in particular. A band like this should make you want to flip out and destroy things. Listening to tracks such as ‘No One’s Child’ and ‘Heavy Limbs’, this ticks every box in that department and thus pleases me greatly.

Influence wise, this release marks Employed to Serve close enough to the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Agoraphobic Nosebleed, but this is a band who are carving an opening for themselves, showing their varied sound over the course of three releases. Just that this is easily their most formidable and frenzied yet. A full length is in the offing and it surely it won’t be long before they’re dominating bigger stages. Get yourselves onto this band now, and regret nothing in the process.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Change Nothing, Regret Everythinghere (multi-format download) or here (vinyl options)
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‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 Preview: Sunday

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Like all good things, ‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 will come to an end as the clocks chime midnight on Monday 5th May. Until then though, there’s still one full day of action to come, and it seems they saves the goriest bits for last! But for those who like their heavy music a different way, there’s a mix of classic heavy metal, thrash, old school death metal and technical business. Let’s go out with a band as we introduce Sunday’s day of devilry in the last part of our preview.

Shoot The Bastard – 12:45-13:10

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Hardcore/powerviolence lads seen with Weekend Nachos, Agathocles, Pighead and more. Nice fast shouty stuff.

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Employed to Serve – 13:25-13:50

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Crushing heavy blend of technical hardcore/metal/grind featuring Sammy Unwin (Oblivionized/Regurgitate Life). They’ve been busy since forming and their latest release ‘Change Nothing, Regret Everything’ is devastating in its aggressive delivery. One of the best new bands to emerge of late, do not miss them!

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Regurgitate Life – 14:05-14:30

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Sammy Unwin’s one-man tech-metal mission returns for the second consecutive year as the riff master puts in a second shift at the festival (following his earlier appearance with Employed to Serve)

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Palm Reader – 14:45-15:10

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Surrey metallic hardcore lads who’ve performed on bigger stages such as Download, Hevy, etc., and currently tearing up venues with their affirmative passionate sound.

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Basement Torture Killings – 15:25-15:50

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Nasty as London extreme metallers, inspired by all manner of serial killers and snuff videos.

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Unfathomable Ruination – 16:05-16:35

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Heavy as rocking horse shit death metal. Seriously though, this London lot are monstrous, huge sound terrific technical riffs and blasting sections. You will headbang.

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Conquest of Steel – 16:50-17:20

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Bradford’s true heavy metal warriors make their debut at the festival, ten years after they originally formed. Sadly, this is also going to be one of their final shows, having announced recently they were going their separate ways. So come on, wear your denim and leather proudly and raise a beer in the air to true heavy metal!

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Untimely Demise – 17:35-18:05

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Canadian thrashers hailing from Saskatoon, plying their trade for several years now and recently signed a worldwide deal, heralded by the release of their cracking second album ‘Systematic Eradication‘. Great quality modern thrash.

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Holocausto Canibal – 18:20-18:50

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Portuguese gore-maniacs who are one of the European continent’s most revered bands for sheer brutality.

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Crepitation – 19:05-19:35
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After nine years playing the brutal slam game, Crepitation finally got themselves a record deal. With their debut full length now in the offing, prepare for all manner of pig squeals and flying bodies.

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Malignancy – 19:50-20:20

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Death metal straight outta Yonkers, New York. Been around since 1992 and a cracking signing for KHF. They play technical riffs of the highest order and their will be a dizzying, devastating assault.

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Desecration – 20:35-21:05

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Arguably the most savage band to have come out of Wales, death metallers Desecration have been putting out nasty after nasty for donkeys, and their debut appearance at KHF. Still going after 21 years, they’re not quite as controversial now but they’re just as consistent and are going to destroy the stage here.
 
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Wodensthrone – 21:20-21:55

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Critically acclaimed UK black metallers who’ve been creating epic primordial sounds since 2005. Always purveyors of such a fine stage presence, expect this to be a stunning tour-de-force.

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Massacre – 22:10-22:50

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A brilliant coup for the festival, US death metal legends Massacre make their debut appearance at the festival having just released their latest album ‘Back from Beyond‘ following their recent reformation. Featuring Rick Rozz and Terry Butler (ex-Death) once again, this is unmissable.

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Onslaught – 23:10-00:00

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Closing out this year’s festival will be legendary UK thrash metallers Onslaught. Seven albums over 27 years and still bringing it to the stage every time they play. A fitting way to close out this year’s fest with one of the defining bands of the UK scene.

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Peter Clegg

Ash Is A Robot – Ash Is A Robot

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Ash Is A Robot
Ash Is A Robot
Hummus

Ash Is A Robot are a five-piece post-hardcore band hailing from Setúbal, Portugal, formed in 2012 comprising of members from various Portuguese underground bands. Their debut album is the result of a hard-worked past 18 months, touring their home country and neighbouring Spain and releasing a couple of singles, which has led up to this, their debut album on Swiss label Hummus Records, which has previously put out stellar work from the likes of associated bands Coilguns, NVRVD, Kunz and more. While post-hardcore has become something of a tired old horse in recent years – not for the lack of trying, but for the swathes of bands who sound too similar for doing so – ARIA at least have a decent stab at trying to stand out, which makes for a reasonably good debut album. It doesn’t often stray too far from the blueprint, yet it does contain some fantastic angular bass grooves, particularly on the earlier tracks, and some fantastic melodies, such as the closing section of ‘Close Encounters of Thirds Not Kind’. There’s also the occasional use of electronic elements, an additional dash of adventurism, if not exactly experimentalism. Overall, this debut is more than competent, showing that ARIA have a knack for creating not just melodies but also grooves and a slightly heavier side too that occasionally shows itself. Potentially one to watch for the future.

Pre-order information is presently unavailable but the album will be released on Friday February 14th.

Peter Clegg

Stream two tracks from the record below:

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Meatpacker/Sky:Lark! – split

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Meatpacker/Sky:Lark!
Meatpacker/Sky:Lark!

Bringing out what was potentially the very last release of 2013, Leicester’s Meatpacker return once again with their fifth release in three years, and their third split release in a row, after teaming previously with Mangle and with Death Tripper. Here they return to the ‘A’ side after devastating on the ‘B’ side on the Death Tripper split, and they return here with a few slightly longer songs and a few covers, most notably, the cover of The Offspring’s ‘Have You Ever’, which bears hardly any resemblance in the beginning due to the rapid fire blasting that takes place over much of the first half of the song, but by the end it becomes apparent as the band return to the pace of the original. It’s a hair-raiser, I guarantee, but it doesn’t overshadow the rest of the band’s contribution here, which is the best they’ve produced so far – between The Offspring covers and that of grind legends Macabre’s ‘McMassacre’, their original material is as strong as ever, still blazingly fast but with a few more tempo changes early doors (thanks to the slightly longer ‘Death Warmed Up’ and ‘Baby Guts’). They’re emerging now as one of the best grind bands in this country and its to be hoped that more people begin to take notice.

By contrast Sky:Lark! are an odd fit to go alongside the blurring speed of Meatpacker but that’s what makes some splits so great – the juxtaposition between the two bands make for an enriching experience and indeed that is the case here. Not to be confused with the Canadian pop rockers from the seventies, or the Italian power metal band, neither of whom possess a dividing colon in their name, this London trio provide some tasty post-hardcore/noise rock-ish riffs to bite into. Production wise its not the greatest; whether that’s intentional or not I couldn’t say, but the jangly, off-kilter nature of the guitar is somewhat grating at louder volumes which is a shame, because there’s nothing actually wrong with what they’re doing. ‘7 Bodies’ and ‘Born Head First’ are prime examples of tight angular riffing with killer grooves and various yells and screams being thrown in for good measure and each and every track is bloody riveting, and make for a great offset to Meatpacker’s drilling attack.

I can’t see that this is available via Sky:Lark at the moment, or even which label is putting this record out, but you can obtain this via Meatpacker on a name-your-price scheme through Bandcamp and it will be coming via tape and vinyl format too. Stick a couple of quid on it and get yourself some quality underground noise to ring in the New Year.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Meatpacker/Sky:Lark!’ here (name-your-price)
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New Alaska – Finer Lines of Tomorrow

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New Alaska
Finer Lines of Tomorrow

Though I’m a man of many tastes, it takes a band like New Alaska to bring me back into touch with a particular style of music when I’ve gone so long as to potentially lose touch with it. Punk has become so divergent that so many bands of late have really sought to reclaim the tag. New Alaska aren’t punk per sé, but there’s a natural ethos that flows through ‘Finer Lines of Tomorrow‘ like any band from its golden era, thanks to its much more intelligent approach.

Comprising of ex-members of History of the Hawk and Even Atlas among others, this record gets straight into its stride with the punchy ‘Prom Shoes’, a reference to World War II and the promenade by the Danube in Budapest, where Jews were shot and fell into the river, leaving their shoes behind. The impressive ‘Distance is Futile’ follows up next, lifting from the film ‘Capricorn One‘ with some fine old school punk riffing and a couple of choice soundbites that might set you off into a bit of a skank or slam dance in one of these guys pits if you’re not careful. The remaining tracks are ported renditions of their ‘Live Demo‘ tracks, all with that little extra attitude and dynamic – ‘Black Bones’ in particular is an excellent groover.

No song makes it past the three-minute barrier but each is thankfully long enough to be able to breathe and doesn’t sacrifice quality song-writing for aggression or rage, mixing between pounding punk/hardcore sections with more slightly catchy, melodic parts along the way. I’m certainly looking forward to hearing more from this band in future, and it’d be well worth your time to send a quid or two these guys way.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Finer Lines of Tomorrow‘ here (name-your-price)
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