ALBUM REVIEW: Employed To Serve – Conquering
Employed To Serve’s fourth studio album steps away from their grindcore influenced roots, into a fully fledged metal banger. Taking clear influence from metal legends such as Lamb of God, Conquering sees ETS embrace melody, with their own style of LOG’s groove metal. The opening lyric puts it better than any critic: “Everything you thought you knew, turns out to be a lie.”
Every single Employed To Serve album has topped it’s predecessor, and Conquering is no exception. Ripping up the formula of Eternal Forward Motion in favour of ripping guitar solos, Conquering is ETS in a whole new light and is their most accomplished work to date. Over the course of the album’s 11 songs the Woking crew deliver everything from dualling vocals from Justine Jones and Sammy Urwin, blastbeats, and even a beatdown.
The unique guitar line on ‘Twist The Blade’ is the first hint of how different this album is from ETS’ previous output, and really adds a catchy note that gets stuck in listeners’ heads. ETS have truly evolved when you look back at the abrasiveness of debut record ‘Greyer Than You Remember,’ and it is remarkable that such an accomplished heavy band can add melody and catchy hooks into some of their most experimental work to date.
The addition of new drummer Casey McHale has really elevated this album, alongside the interplay between Jones and Urwin, there are some incredible fills, and absolutely filthy drum sections that power the engine of this record. After several turbulent years and lineup changes, it feels like we finally have the definitive Employed To Serve roster.
The positive message behind this album is really reinforced by the 18 months preceding it’s release too, after some of the most difficult times in recent human memory during the pandemic, Employed To Serve have managed to make a brutally dark sounding record, with some of the most hopeful lyrics of their entire career, with the anti-suicide lyrics of ‘The Mistake’ in particular feeling like an insight into the band’s personal demons. It feels like Justine Jones stared deeply into the void, and brought all her emotion to the fore to scream back at it.
Conquering is the perfect album to release just before their 2022 tour with Gojira, playing some of the biggest venues in the UK and Europe. These songs were built to be played in arenas, and many of these tracks can go toe-to-toe with the French titans finest songs. ‘Mark Of The Grave’ in particular feels like a song intrinsically designed for Ally Pally’s cavernous hall.
Employed To Serve have consistently been one of the best heavy bands that this country has produced in the last decade. Now on Conquering, they have morphed into a fully fledged metal band who could go up against any of the behemoths of the scene. As usual, Employed To Serve have created a fantastic album.