Employed To Serve / A Ghost Orchestra – Split




Holy Roar Records




For Fans Of

Norma Jean, The Chariot, TDEP




75 / 100

Chaos still reigns in 2015.

…At least if the short, imposing two-track affair by Employed To Serve and A Ghost Orchestra is the isolated case study.

The equation is simple. A group of Commonwealth cohorts, from west of Surrey, have come together with our own local noise proponents to create a new quick-fire split. And frankly, the pairing is common sense. There is carry over in both style and substance, which justifies this brief release. Simply, “nasty hardcore” outfit Employed To Serve and locals A Ghost Orchestra complement each other.

The split takes us back to a blissful period, let’s say 10 – 12 years ago, when Norma Jean’s ‘Bless The Martyr & Kiss The Child’ signalled a new era for discordant hardcore, ‘Jane Doe’ was still relatively fresh and bands like Botch, while defunct, were still the guiding rule.

Employed To Serve draw the opening barrier. ‘That’s Interesting, Now Let’s Talk About Me’ ushers in the split with its fifth gear approach to intensity. Math-y rhythms and incessant vocals are par for the course. Having released ‘Greyer Than You Remember’ in May, the new track carries on from what was presented earlier in the year. There’s a healthy diet of The Chariot, which emerges throughout. And, similarly, if you remember that release then the band’s choice of song title is hardly surprising (‘No One’s Perfect, This Includes You’, anyone?).

It’s the transition between tracks that is worth noting too. In singular form, A Ghost Orchestra’s ‘Queenhell’ is solid, but allowing Employed To Serve’s predecessor to lead into it, the track elevates into something more effective. It’s the latter part of the song that contains the best parts. The Adelaide boys are set up for a significant 2016. They have the skillset and now they have excelling peers – She Cries Wolf, Jack The Stripper, A Secret Death et al. – that will help ensure this type of music succeeds.

It’s always awkward when splits are disproportionate and one group has to pick up the slack while the inferior outfit is shown to be just that, inferior. Thankfully, both these bands work together instead of apart and present a balanced albeit succinct release.


Like the length of the split itself, there is nothing too substantial to analyse. However, what is offered is ideal and that’s what’s required to sign off on a release of this quality. Essentially, what we have here is an enjoyable icing on the cake for the two bands in 2015, with one eye also cast firmly on the future.


1. Employed To Serve ‘That’s interesting, now let’s talk about me’

2. A Ghost Orchestra – ‘Queenhell’

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