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Employed to Serve Guitarist Sammy Urwin Shows Off His Metal T-Shirt Collection

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A metalhead’s t-shirt collection contains some of their most prized possessions. Sweaty, stained and torn, our shirts are chronicles of our lives, physical markers of a past time and place that we pridefully put on our bodies every day. They have a clear pecking order: there are those shirts you wear only when all the best ones are in the laundry, there are the absolute favorites you wear once every couple of weeks, and there are all the shirts in between, each with their own clear rank. To a metalhead, T-shirts are EVERYTHING.

Employed to Serve guitarist Sammy Urwin is the latest to share his most prized threads for our series My Metal T-Shirt Collection! The British metallers recently released their sophomore album, Eternal Forward Motion, via Spinefarm Records (order here), promptly impressing the pants off of your MetalSucks editors. One look at Sammy’s t-shirt collection will convince any doubters that the band has all the metal cred needed to impress your pants off, too.

As is usually the case — or at least you would hope — most people in bands are first and foremost fans of music. This is absolutely the case with me, and I must admit that merchandise really is my kryptonite. I have band merch spewing out of my drawers and cupboards, but I won’t let go of a single piece of it. Lack of space does require me to at least try and buy only the pieces of merch I really want nowadays, but that said, there’s a lot I really want.

Here are ten of my favorite items of merch that I own. It was hard to decide but the following are my top picks.

1. Akercocke

Akercocke are one of my all-time favorite bands. So when I found out in 2016 that they were getting back together after a five-year hiatus, I was ecstatic. Employed To Serve played with them at Damnation Festival not long after their reunion and I saw they had this classic David Gray design reprinted. The fairly graphic nature of the shirt does mean I can’t wear it to family events. So it’s really reserved exclusively for devil worship. 

2. 7 Angels 7 Plagues

Jhazmine’s Lullaby is one of my favorite records. It’s one of those albums that I can’t get sick of. I got this hoodie from my friend and bandmate in Renounced, Dan Rayner. The whole band mutually bonded over this album. Even though I wasn’t in Renounced from the beginning, I’m sure the rest of the dudes would agree that 7A7P are one of the primary reasons, if not the reason, the band initially started. This hoodie is an original and Dan said the person he purchased it from flew from the U.K. to New York to see them play back 2001.

3. Confessor

This band. THIS BAND. It’s a total marmite affair with Confessor and boy do I love them. I just adore bands that push the boundaries and these guys certainly do that. It’s very hard to describe this band to someone who doesn’t know them. The best I can say is that it’s a mashup of early Crowbar mixed with Watchtower vocals, but you really need to listen for yourself. This is a reprint of one of their old shirts which was authorized by the band. For the longest time, no new merch was available. So I was very happy when these popped up! 

4. Defeated Sanity

Psalms of the Moribund was one of the albums that introduced me to the brutal death metal scene and it remains one of my favorites of the genre. Defeated Sanity tick all the boxes. They are technical and progressive but they know when it’s appropriate to stick in a savage slam riff, and that’s important! I bought this t-shirt as well the CD from Grindethic Records back in 2007. 

5. Portal

Once again, another band that pushes boundaries — this time on the visual front as well. The music, artwork, and image completely suck you into another world. I picked up this t-shirt from a festival back in 2015. The lineup was insane, too many bands to name. My old band played the fest and it honestly was one of the greatest experiences to perform alongside so many bands that have influenced me.  

6. Botch

Botch were one of the big players in the early days of mathcore and a huge influence on Employed To Serve. They were one of the bands we would always reference when talking about starting ETS. Funnily enough, Justine got me this as a present. Hydra Head Records is fairly quiet nowadays but they do every now and again put out some awesome merch. And records. Cave In’s Final Transmission is in my AOTY list. 

7. Strongarm

I try my best not to spend insane amounts of money on rare merchandise but Strongarm are my one exception. The band split up in 1998 and reunited for one show in 2000 so their merch is very hard to come by. I own a few pieces of Strongarm merch. I got this hoodie from a friend and fellow Strongarm enthusiast. Luckily for me, the hoodie didn’t fit him. 

8. Down

Down are probably one of my top all-time favorites. I’ve seen them a bunch of times including right before Over the Under came out in 2007 and one time after its release. Sadly, I don’t have the hoodie I bought from one of their shows at the London Astoria in 2006. But I did nab this Dickies work shirt off eBay recently and it’s sick. 

9. Spectral Voice

These guys are one of my favorite new death metal bands. They are similar to Portal in the way that they conjure up a dark and foreboding atmosphere, which I am more than willing to be consumed by. I picked this up when I saw them on tour with Demilich last year. Also, it has “Necrotic Doom” and “Stay Death” printed on it. Of course it’s one of the best items I own. 

10. Control Denied

The Fragile Art of Existence was the last official offering from Chuck Schuldiner before he passed away. This album is a departure from his death/thrash metal roots that he was initially known for, but like any great musician should, Schuldiner grew musically and wanted to expand into new territory. His musical development is documented throughout Death’s discography, arriving finally at The Fragile Art of Existence. I was made up when Relapse Records announced that they were doing a deluxe reissue of the album and immediately ordered the record and this t-shirt.

Employed to Serve’s new album Eternal Forward Motion is out now via Spinefarm Records; stream and order it here.

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