Background: It is no secret that we at Spirit Level are huge fans of ‘Employed To Serve’. Their 2015 debut ‘Greyer Than You Remember’ was an adrenaline pumping blast of technical hardcore that packed some serious punch, but nothing could have prepared us for their sensational 2017 follow up ‘Warmth Of A Dying Sun’ which has propelled the band to new horizons including “Album Of The Year” in Kerrang Magazine and the opportunity to open the Avalanche Stage at this years Download Festival. With a third record scheduled for the start of 2019, fans were treated to a five date headline tour where ‘Employed To Serve’ would play ‘The Warmth Of A Dying Sun’ in its entirety.
Kicking off tonights proceedings are Manchester trio ‘Leeched’. With a drummer who’s face is covered in tattoos, ‘Leeched’ look scary and sound even scarier. Backlit with minimal lighting throughout, ‘Leeched’ play a short but savage set of some of the gnarliest hardcore we have heard in a long time. Groove based riffs and a super heavy bass tone, ‘Leeched’ are not a band for the casual listener, but are more than enough to set the tone for tonight.
Representing the slightly lighter side of hardcore are ‘Rough Hands’. We reviewed their latest EP ‘Moral Terror’ earlier in the year in which we stated that “‘Rough Hands’ have set the standard excruciatingly high.” for contemporary hardcore. Tonight is our first experience of ‘Rough Hands’ in a live environment and we are treated to a set comprised entirely of the new EP which sounds just as vibrant and effective live as it did on record. Unfortunately, sound issues plague the first half of the performance, but things seem to improve as the set progresses.
In the end though there is only one band that people are here for tonight. ‘Employed To Serve’ have been on a steady upwards trajectory ever since they released the sophomore album in 2017 and tonight feels like another crowning moment in their ever expanding collection. At this stage, ‘Employed To Serve’ shows have become notoriously wild and chaotic and tonight is no exception. Not a single note is played before a moshpit has already formed and what comes next is an hour of adrenaline fuelled pandemonium. Crowd favourite such as ‘Platform 89’, ‘I Spend My Days (Wishing them Away) and the title track ‘Warmth Of A Dying Sun’ result in bodies flying from every direction as fans continuously crowd surf and stage dive whilst vocalist Justine Jones welcomes people on to the stage and share the microphone. Musically, the band are on top form as they play a flawless set of the entire album from start to finish. Many songs have already become standout moments in their regular set, however there are other tracks that we are hearing live for the first time.
Finishing the night with an encore of ‘Beg For Rain’ from their debut album, Justine invites everyone to join them on stage. An offer that appears so popular that the stage is so crammed that both guitarist Rich Jacobs and bassist Brett Houslop are practically forced off of the stage and have to hold their instruments above their heads in a somewhat futile attempt to continue playing.
Once again ‘Employed To Serve’ have shown that they do not do things by half measures and continue to excel themselves.
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