Employed To Serve’s Justine Jones chats new album, Conquering, and touring with Gojira

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“I really want to go to Canada,” Justine Jones tells me from her home/office in England. “We got accepted for the visa, so the potential is there.” But, as we all know, touring for smaller bands like Employed To Serve is far from easy right now.

Thankfully though, Justine and her bandmates did get a chance to play shows in the UK in 2021, even playing the legendary Download Festival.

“It was a total baptism of fire, like 18 months of not playing shows to playing on the main stage. It was really fun. Like we were like kind of nervous and stuff before, but we just had like a little conversation to be like, we might not play a show for the rest of the year. Like you gotta enjoy it and you know, do your best cause everyone’s in the same boat.”

Two years on from their last full length, Eternal Forward Motion, Employed To Serve recently released their fourth album, Conquering, via Spinefarm Records.

The record is a fully realized metamorphosis into the band they’ve always wanted to be. Drawing influence from the music of their youth and a new perspective on how to nurture the positive aspects of humanity and individual growth. It’s a celebration and acknowledgement of triumph in the face of a world that can be relentlessly adversarial. It also sees their sound shift more towards metal compared to the more hardcore elements of previous releases.

“We’ve kind of felt like we’ve done the hardcore metal crossover quite a lot on the last two records and we’re very conscious that this album be its own thing. It’s been really fun to go in a more metal direction. We’ve always had the awkward, like British band thing where we don’t really fit anywhere. Like it’s always been quite hard for us to sort of do support tours and stuff like that because we don’t really technically fit anywhere. Cause we sort of straddle so many different genres. So with this one, it’s quite nice to sort of be a bit more metal and it’s just something we wanted to do anyway. Hopefully, it’ll have a knock-on effect and it’d be easier for us to fit in somewhere.”

They were recently added to what Justine admits is kind of her dream bill, opening for Gojira with Alien Weaponry. The tour will see Employed To Serve playing some of the biggest venues of their career.

“I feel like they are a perfect sort of band for us, like in terms of where we’d love to be like when we’re years and years into our career or at least sort of similar-sounding bands. So yeah, I’m really excited. And I saw Alien Weaponry at Hellfest and yeah, they’re incredible. So I think it’s gonna be a really good tour. We’d love to tour with bands like Trivium and Machine Head or the early road Warner bands or Lamb of God or Kreator.”

Conquering highlights, Exist, Mark of the Grave and Twist the Blade best encapsulate Employed To Serve’s rebirth, with an emphasis on groove and a penchant for colossal hooks that wouldn’t be out of place on Lamb of God or Machine Head’s respective catalogues. Jones and Sammy Urwin (guitar/vocals) trade vocal duties throughout, confidently flitting between whiplash-inducing screams and swaggering melodicism, as the rhythm section of recent additions Nathan Pryor (bass) and Casey McHale (drums) provide towering sonic weight to proceedings in the vein of Sepultura at their most defiant. The most enduring qualities of Employed To Serve’s established identity remain intact, as Conquering harnesses the band’s signature technical prowess alongside their growing knack for stadium-built battle-cries for a new generation of metal and hardcore fans.

Watch the full interview with Justine below where we also talk about the music she grew up with and the album she’s listened to more than any other in her lifetime.

Conquering is out now via Spinefarm Record

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