Band: Whom I Serve
EP: 2020 Singles Collection
Genre: Progressive Hard Rock
Record Label: Independent
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Length: 12 Minutes
Burn Me Alive
See Us Through
Online collaborative project, Whom I Serve, has re-released their original three tracks into an EP. The move seems slightly redundant until you get into them and realize how much they improved the quality and smaller details of these tracks. A little quick history about this group, first, though. Faith-based progressive hard rock band Whom I Serve comprises producer and primary songwriter, Jared Esposito and drummer, Aaron Ashcroft. The duo collaborated on a song with harsh vocalist Jonathan Barnes and soon realized they had the makings of a band to call their own. After releasing three singles, Barnes departed happily following Christ's Will for him. Unscathed, Jared and Aaron pushed forward, re-releasing the first three songs to better express their vision and write a new full-length currently in production. '2020 Singles Collection', released Friday, March 26th is a more accurate representation of Jared and Aaron's vision for the first three singles and act as a prelude to the band's forthcoming full-length with all new and original tracks, out later this Spring.
While these tracks aren’t necessarily new, the attention to detail and improvements they made to them have elevated them to another level. “Burn Me Alive” opens up the EP with a much cleaner and crisp production value. The verse guitar has a clearer tonality than the original and Jared’s voice takes on a whole new dimension. Overall, the balance in the mix feels tighter and more even with nothing overpowering anything. Hearing the details in the verses really helps this song jump up a notch. Even the drumming has a punchier delivery without feeling overtly canned.
When “See Us Through” jumps in, the difference between the original release and the rerecorded version is immediately noticeable. At the risk of sounding repetitive, it is absolutely amazing how cleaner the production is between this and the original – the guitar work is much more defined, the synth comes through much more distinctly, and the drums sound more natural. The vocal delivery in the chorus is improved and there’s more body in it and feels more chorus-like than before with the layers added in. This rerecorded version makes this song what it should have been all along, and I’m here for it.
I think one of the most obvious differences in “The Sacrifice” is that Chris Giannola’s guitar solo is distinct as opposed to being almost a background element with little importance. That was one criticism I leveled against this track upon its original release. To hear it as it was meant to be is so satisfying because it is really well done! As with the other two tracks, the overall production is cleaned up very well and it helps to balance the track – everything is clearly defined and holds a cohesion that felt slightly lacking previously. The blend of the mix between drums and guitar here is phenomenal. I need to praise Jared, too, for his vocal improvements. Good grief, this was my favorite of the three before, and this rendition just solidifies that for me.
Along with this EP are instrumental versions of the three tracks, which is a nice addition for those who like instrumentals. These guys are very talented musicians and to just hear the music on its own is a nice way of hearing some layers and details in their music.
Overall, this EP is a massive step in the right direction for these guys. The minor details are sometimes the most important, and the fact that they took these tracks back into the studio to tweak and improve upon them should tell you they’re a group that will learn from what does and doesn’t work. Their commitment to what they do is commendable. It will be interesting to see what comes next with the departure of Barnes’ harsh vocals. I don’t think we’ve heard the last from Whom I Serve.
High Point: The Sacrifice
Low Point: I don’t know that I could pick one
Favorite: The Sacrifice
Reason: Simply because everything landed properly and they improved on every area of criticism I have ever personally leveled against them.