Live Review: Employed To Serve w/Loathe & The Devil Sold His Soul @ The Garage, London

Tonight marks the start of the next chapter for Woking Surrey’s Nasty Hardcore crew Employed To Serve. The album release show for their third full length “Eternal Forward Motion”, their first for Spinefarm Records, an imprint label of the Universal Music Group. It’s an opportunity they’ve earned though sheer hard work and their critically acclaimed Kerrang Magazine album of the year for in 2017 in “The Warmth of a Dying Sun”. If tonight isn’t a sell out then it’s about as damned close as you can get.

Liverpool’s finest export Loathe [9/10] are without a doubt on the crest of a wave. Surprisingly opening tonight’s show, they waste no time and get straight to the point with a set of their best offerings. From “Dance on My Skin” to “White Hot” and band are a phenomenal live act that leave it all on the stage with a high energy performance. Frontman Kadeem France climbs from the stage over the barrier to the pit to set things off mid-set and the band surprise everyone with a new song that is a stone cold banger. Guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe is now a producer in his own right, but is an unassuming character, looking like he just stepped off the night shift at the local petrol station. That’s in complete contrast to the musclebound France and Guitarist Connor Sweeney, also a producer who wears a purple crushed velvet jacket, Beatles sunglasses and a beanie hat. It’s an eclectic mix but the music they make together is phenomenal.

 

Post pretty much everything, Devil Sold His Soul [6/10] are a 14 legged beast who feature The Arusha Accord frontman Paul Green in their ranks. They’ve been quiet on the show front of late and have been working on a new album, the follow up to 2016’s fourth studio effort “The Journey”. Indeed their last new material was a standalone single entitled “Awakening the Flood” in 2017. The problem is that sandwiched between a pair of high energy bands, their longer drawn out instrumental sections that are reminiscent of Neurosis fall flat. If they’d opened the night then it may have garnered them more attention but instead they are sadly after the Lord Mayor’s show.

Tonight is all about Employed To Serve.[10/10] and rightly so. They take the stage to the introduction of “Eternal Forward Motion” and smash out the tine, giving it their usual 10% more than the album version. It’s a high energy set that sees a plethora of new material on show as well as some older cuts so as not to alienate anyone who hasn’t had the chance to hear the new released today album more than once. “Owed Zero” and “Harsh Truth” are set highlights with Sammy Urwin’s lead guitar work, vocals and frontman bit being a huge part. He takes the pressure off frontwoman Justine Jones by baiting the crowd for energy while she takes a breather and takes on board water between songs. There is a moment when Urwin plays a stunningly good lead part while singing that lesser mortals wouldn’t even dream of. The band are a unit, all with the exception of drummer Robbie Back wearing their band branded windbreaker. “Half Life” and “I Spend My Days (Wishing Them Away)” are a reminder of the sheer quality of this band. The new album should open even more doors to a band that thoroughly deserve it.

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