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

Cancerous Womb – Born of a Cancerous Womb

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Cancerous Womb
Born of a Cancerous Womb
Grindscene/Rising Nemesis

For nine years Scottish quartet Cancerous Womb have been plundering their venomous death metal/grind assault to audiences across the UK, building a following thanks to their modern day approach that takes in old-school tendencies, macabre lyrics plus the nuances of progressive and technical slants. A three-track EP, entitled ‘Austrian Basement‘, followed up by their appearance on a five-way ‘Split Roast’ release further enhanced their reputation, and now they finally bring us their debut album, ‘Born of a Cancerous Womb‘, which should hopefully open the gateway to further notoriety.

In much the same way as death/thrash whippersnappers Flayed Disciple do, CW don’t shy away from the gory themes popularised by Cannibal Corpse, early Death, Carcass, and later acts such as The Rotted and the wider goregrind scene. You get the gist. And while they nod to a cheeky dark humour in titles such as ‘Up To My Nuts in Guts’, the deliverance here is in suitably fierce riffery and some no-nonsense brutality. It doesn’t matter that there’s not a great deal of variation in the tracks, as it largely impresses on all fronts. The title track is tidy as is the savagery of ‘Grind, Tear & Slice’ and CW fan favourite ‘Torn From Gunt to C**t’. It’s been a good while in the making, but wholly worth it, and the band are tight with precision drumming at all tempos, great rhythmic teamwork and crunchy and effective riffage, if not too flashy (not necessarily a bad thing). Excellent production work from is the icing on the cake, and overall this will solidify and strengthen their position in the UK scene.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Born of a Cancerous Womb‘ here
Stream two tracks from the album below:

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‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 – Napalm Death announced as headliners!

+ Pentagram (Chile), Lock-Up and more announced; day splits confirmed!

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In what is undoubtedly one of the biggest coups for the festival since its inception in 2011, ‘KHF have confirmed a triple signing of epic proportions! The biggest news is that Birmingham’s legendary and defining grindcore act, Napalm Death, will be headlining the first night of the festival on Friday May 2nd in what will surely be a performance not to be missed! And in a further scoop, the festival has also confirmed the presence of one of the pioneers of extreme metal, Pentagram Chile! Resurging following the release of ‘The Malefice’, their debut album which was twenty-eight years in the making, they will also be taking the stage on the Friday night in what is likely to be a rare, if not a one-off, opportunity to see one of the trailblazers for extreme metal as it was to become.

As if that wasn’t enough, it was confirmed late this past Friday night that the festival had also signed deathgrind supergroup Lock Up to perform alongside those two bands on the Friday night. Furthermore, all three of those bands have been confirmed as UK festival exclusives. What an explosive night of extreme metal that promises to be.

Another three bands have also been announced, including the return of one man tech-death machine Regurgitate Life, blackened crust/d-beat Mancunians Esoteric Youth and rising brutal death metallers Unfathomable Ruination. They join a line up that also includes headliners Anaal Nathrakh, Swedish grind freaks Birdflesh (UK exclusive), US death metallers Malignancy, Wodensthrone, Desecration, Hawk Eyes, Khuda, Deviated Instinct and many, many more.

It’s not all good news – two of the fest’s heavy hitters, Liverpudlian doomers Conan and German pounders Pighead have both had to pull out for various reasons. The festival however, is looking as splendid as ever, with its biggest hitting line-up in history. One more headliner is still to be announced with a further four bands to be announced very soon.

With the festival approaching in 3 1/2 months, the organisers have now confirmed the day splits for this year’s festivities. These are as follows:

Friday (1400-0100 hrs): NAPALM DEATH, Lock Up, Pentagram Chile, band tba, band tba, Ingested, Evisorax, Haar, Iniquitous Savagery, Necro Deathmort, band TBA, Ephemeral Foetus, Death Tripper

Saturday (1230-0100 hrs): ANAAL NATHRAKH, Birdflesh, Hawk Eyes, Khuda, Deviated Instinct, Jesus Crost, band TBA, Acrania, Monolithian, Amulet, Noise Complaint, Gets Worse, Wizard’s Beard, Famine, Esoteric Youth, The Day Man Lost

Sunday (1230-2300 hrs): Headliner TBA; Desecration, Wodensthrone, Malignancy, Crepitation, Holocausto Canibal, Conquest of Steel, Unfathomable Ruination, Basement Torture Killings, Palm Reader, Regurgitate Life, Rot In Hell, Shields

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In further news, the line-up for the ‘KHF pre-show is now complete, with an equally awesome line-up comprising of KHF faves of old and further fresh meat serving up the party. Past festival acts The Afternoon Gentlemen, Palehorse and Foetal Juice currently sub-headline an incredible prelude to the main festival, now renamed the ‘Yorkshire Riffer‘, which also includes Bongcauldron, Scordatura, Gods of Hellfire, Ninkharsag, Black Skies Burn, Bludger, Rectal Implosion, No Fucks Given, Sathanel, and Cattle. They’ve just to confirm the headliner for this event, which will surely be a stonker if these latest announcements are anything to go by.

Tickets are still available for both the main festival, taking place on the weekend of Friday May 2nd-Sunday May 4th, and the pre-show, happening the week before on Saturday April 26th. They can be obtained via the official ‘Kin Hell Fest site. And for all the latest announcements, news, updates, and other jollies, head over to the official ‘Kin Hell Fest Facebook page, and also here, via their Twitter feed.

Peter Clegg

Plague Rider – Plague Rider

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Plague Rider
Plague Rider

It’s always good to see young shoots grow into mighty oaks, as the saying goes, and its pleasing to report this of Durham/Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based death metal oiks Plague Rider. They released their original demo ‘Genetic Devolution‘ in 2011 which while showing great potential was spoiled a bit by its production values, which even for demo standards was a bit on the loud side and perhaps hid what the band were trying to offer. Now back and with much better production and a slicker overall product, their self-titled, self-released debut album is a tour-de-force and miasmic mix of old school death metal values given a modern, and at times technical flourish. There are some superb moments to behold, be in hammerhead title-track, the complex riffage of tracks such as ‘Subconscious Entrapment’, and the monstrous slow groove they drop into during ‘Universal Suffocation’, as satisfying as when Morbid Angel unloaded ‘Where the Slime Live’ on us. Fans of bands such as Death, Pestilence, and indeed newer tech-death bands like Obscura will find a lot of joy here, and hopefully 2014 will be the year of significant progress for this band, where there’s every chance of them stamping down a marker for their growing reputation within the thriving UK extreme scene.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Plague Rider’ here
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Oblivionized/Plague Widow -This Black Earth

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Oblivionized/Plague Widow
This Black Earth (split)
Buriedinhell

Oblivionized are still in rude health despite the loss of one of their members, proving they still work fluently as a three-piece. Their contribution doesn’t show the experimentation that they displayed at the close of ‘Nullify the Cycle‘, sticking very much to what they know, which is the slamming tech-deathgrind for which they’re becoming known. ‘Hope is the First Sign of Defeat’ is a stormer, starting with the famous ‘I’m not going to take it anymore!‘ speech from ‘Network‘ before unleashing the hell, even allowing for a warcry of the song’s title in the middle. Its just a tiny pinch of additional melody to their sound in that moment, but not one that dilutes their sound and their two tracks are a worthy addition to their arsenal. San Francisco’s Plague Widow don’t necessarily set themselves apart but why bother when you can be just as furious. Their sound is fast and guttural, a bit on the technical side but not too weedly-weedly, and they make a hell of a racket for a duo. ‘Malignant’ in particular is a beast.

This has been out a little while now, and all European CD release copies have now sold out. I can’t find a download option anywhere but you can stream it and you can still buy the vinyl from Buriedinhell Records in the US. Do stream it below though, and get smashed.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘This Black Earth’ here (Vinyl, US)
Stream it below:

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‘Kin Hell Fest 2013 Preview – Sunday

All good things come to an end and the same is no different with the 2013 edition of ‘Kin Hell Fest. But will it go quietly? Of course not. There’s still another thirteen bands to see, and there’s an afterparty too for those who don’t have to jet for the last train home. So let’s round off this preview…

Envoys – 12:30-12:55

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Envoys are a lush instrumental post-rock/metal trio who certainly qualify as one of the more expansive bands on the line-up. Their 2012 demo (self titled as ‘E N V O Y S’) showcases a band full of potential.

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DSDNT – 13:10-13:35

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Local Leeds hardcore crew who formed in mid-2011 and have been tearing off limbs ever since. Their debut self-titled EP is up for free on their Bandcamp page and if Envoys don’t blast the cobwebs from Saturday away, DSDNT should certainly do the trick.

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Horsebastard – 13:50-14:15

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Assuredly free of any fraudulent horsemeat, this equine-loving crew are proprietors to head-shrinking grind and for one of 2012’s most disturbing and compelling videos, for the track ‘Short Controlled Bursts’. And that’s exactly what you’ll get here, as this Liverpudlian lot batter you time and time again with said accurate bursts.

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The Day Man Lost – 14:30-14:55

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Mourned by the Northern scene and by grind fans in the know when they originally split, Preston’s The Day Man Lost have returned with new blood and all new intensity. The mood is likely to be celebratory but at the same time it’s going to be downright nuts when they make mincemeat of the crowd with their furious assault.

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Corrupt Moral Altar – 15:10-15:40

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Making their first appearance in Leeds and indeed at this festival, Corrupt Moral Altar are a supergroup of sorts, containing members of Horsebastard, Magpyes, Malevolent Creation, and play ridiculously heavy, scuzzy sludge grind. ‘Luciferian Deathcult’ was more than just a warning shot, bringing to the fore classic vibes of Iron Monkey, Mistress and smoky bourbon. New release ‘Whiskey Sierra’ is set to prove that was no fluke. Do not miss.

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Wode – 15:55-16:25

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Fantastic up and coming black metal band from Manchester. Their drummer is also the lead vocalist, and he’s an absolute machine, especially on the kit. The rest of the band are up to his ability too. Certainly got the ability to be one of the highlights of the festival.

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Sufferinfuck – 16:40-17:05

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One of the many bands flying the flag for Scottish grind/powerviolence bring the pain to Leeds. They’ve been owning the scene over the border for a little while and now its England’s turn to be decimated by this West Lothian mob.

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Iron Witch – 17:20-17:50

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Highly talked about and full of boozy rage, Scouse sludge crew Iron Witch are going from strength to strength, off the back of two solid releases in the last year, ‘Post-Vegas Blues’, and their best work to date, ‘Hangover Suicide’. Unquestionably one of the bands you absolutely must not miss this weekend, though watch your drinks don’t go flying when the pit undoubtedly explodes in a fit of nihilistic rage.

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Bong – 18:10-18:50

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Even if you arrived ten minutes late into this band’s set, you probably won’t have missed much beyond the opening bars! In all seriousness though, Newcastle’s space-psych-doomers Bong will certainly be the trippiest band of the weekend, sending us all onto another plane whatever your poison is. A rare live outing not to be shunned.

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A Forest of Stars – 19:10-19:50

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Unquestionably one of the most intriguing acts the festival has to offer, A Forest of Stars are more than just your average black metal band, winning new fans and dividing current ones further with 2012’s masterful ‘A Shadowplay for Yesterdays’, rich in Victorian theme and avant-garde propensities. This Leeds crew are another stellar draw for the festival and their set ought to be warmly received by all.

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Gout – 20:05-20:35

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Smashing London lads who are quite good at this grind jiggery-pokery, embracing the fun and silly side of goregrind while at the same time embellishing its wicked tendencies. If you enjoy Rompeprop you’ll enjoy these too.

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Foetal Juice – 20:50-21:20

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Grimy, scuzzy Mancunian death metal merchants FJ bring forth the muckment once again after a slamming performance at the original ‘Kin Hell Fest. Back with new material in tow, they’ve been ploughing away at this game for several years and are aiming to join the bigger leagues of death metal. Bring forth the slime!

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Man Must Die – 21:40-22:30

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The final band of the weekend are indeed a biggie – Man Must Die. Hailing from Glasgow, they were the first British band ever to be signed to Relapse in that time put out two crushing albums, including 2009’s brilliant ‘No Tolerance for Imperfection’, and toured with the likes of Machine Head, Decapitated, Hatebreed, Suffocation, Exodus and many more. They released a new single, ‘Antisocial Network’ towards the end of 2012 and their new album is coming very soon. Get ready to open up that circle pit Leeds, because MMD will bring it!

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That rounds off our massive preview, but stay tuned to We Must Obey for coverage of the whole festival. Til then, see you in the pit!

Peter Clegg