Employed to Serve – Conquering (Spinefarm)

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021
Rating: 8/10

When you listen to metalcore, do you wish that it would slide further into heaviness instead of working the same ole pop metal catchy chorus cliché?  Employed to Serve are quite willing to cater to your needs with their latest album Conquering.  Themselves moving into heavier and more metallic territory while maintaining a touch of hardcore ethos, Conquering anchors itself with some metalcore roots, but twists and injects them with a greater sense of fury and rage.

While metalcore emits a certain image, Conquering champions a dingier and gritty feel due to a more sinister guitar tone and overall bleak vibes.  Vicious and throttling grooves are the mainstay of tracks like “Sun Up to Sun Down” or “World Ender,” where eerie stomps and just the right amount of melody keep the track tethered.  “Set in Stone” is more driving, but effectively pulls in some melodies, and the vocal interplay between Justine Jones and guitarist Sammy Urwin gives the track some added energy even when they move into more modern territory.  Even when some more clean-ish vocals are utilized, there’s a more atmospheric vibe, like on “Stand Alone” or “Mark of the Grave,” and it’s complimented by such heavy grooves that it feels a natural fit and avoids any of the aforementioned clichéd territory.  The band’s embrace of the more scathing elements of hardcore and piling on the bulldozing grooves really is key to the foundation, giving the band the power to do some impressively menacing stuff yet retain the listener’s full attention, such as on the standout “Exist.”

Conquering is loaded with grooves that aren’t afraid to come out swinging, and all of the aggression that one could look for.  The fact that they can pack in some melodic punch in on top of everything makes for a sleek and enjoyable listen that is worthy of cranking loud and releasing some steam, but stands memorable enough for you to come back to it even in those less pissed off times.

Employed to Serve