Employed to Serve – Long Time Dead (18 September 2012, Grindcore Karaoke)
Hello readers, and happy Tuesday. For the majority of you, this is just like any other Tuesday in any other week, but for many of my domestic readers, we’re fumbling our way through our first day back to work from a long weekend — due to Presidents Day, which is a made-up American holiday based on the fact that a couple of the country’s better-known presidents had been born sometime in February, and is used as a convenient excuse to take an extra Monday off work. It’s a nice idea in theory, but then heading back to reality is just that much more unpleasant. Everyone hates Mondays, but I’ve mentioned in the past how Tuesdays can be even worse sometimes, and especially when it’s a Tuesday that behaves like a Monday. Ugh.
Fortunately — whether we’re returning to work today or yesterday or any day, since it’s all equally miserable — I’ve got the perfect soundtrack to help make it through.
It may only be about twelve minutes long, but every time I hear this EP filled with six songs spewing anger and discontent, it just relaxes me somehow and makes me feel better about everything. In fact, as soon as I had heard it for the first time, when vocalist Justine Jones had emailed me to let me know about its release via Grindcore Karaoke (the digital label owned by Jay Randall, one of the vocalists of Agoraphobic Nosebleed) a little over three years ago, my immediate reaction was to write back and thank her because this music made a lousy day somewhat more bearable. “We all know what it’s like to have a bad day at work,” she replied; “After all it is where our name came from!”
So anyway, ever since then I’ve been listening to Long Time Dead and loving it, and meaning to share it with you all, and today seems like a perfect time to finally do that. Employed to Serve is self-described as a blend of post-hardcore and powerviolence, a combination which might not seem like it should work, until you hear it in action. Much of the material present here does have the hallmarks of grind/powerviolence, especially throughout the first half of the EP: frantic rhythms and tempos, with Justine‘s about-to-rip-somebody’s-face-off screaming (occasionally echoed as a lower bark/growl provided by co-conspirator Sammy Urwin).
Shaking things up a bit, though, is the way many of the guitar tones, harmonies, and arrangements (and Sammy‘s clean vocals, which pop up several times during the EP’s second half) all seem to be run through a early-to-mid-90s post-grunge/alternative filter. Although some do lean more in one direction or the other — “Do Nothing,” the shortest track here (41 seconds), is entirely in aggressive hyper-speed mode and features the doubled vocals throughout, whereas closing track “Fragments,” the longest (nearly four minutes), might not have sounded out of place on the Singles soundtrack, if not for the ear-splittingly shrieked vocals in the verses — for the most part each song nicely displays both facets of the band, and the brilliant way the contrasting influences are juxtaposed together.
Long Time Dead can be downloaded for free — or for whatever price you choose — through Bandcamp, for whenever you feel angry at everyone and everything around and you could use a little boost to your mood:
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