Job For A Cowboy

Ruination

Written by: AP on 14/08/2009 13:51:27

Call them what you will, an underground sensation or a premier death metal band, but Job For A Cowboy have certainly made a name for themselves. Loved by many, hated by most, their state of the art sound has divided the masses into scene kids looking for a more extreme outlet and sworn metal heads for whom this is but another plastic toy made in Myspace. Much has changed since the bands previous efforts, "Doom" and "Genesis", which both showcased a band more easily classified as deathcore, however, and the band's latest outing "Ruination" is the result of a maturation process most likely brought on by roster changes. Al Glassman (of Despised Icon fame) has been brought in to replace Ravi Bhadriraju on the guitar and percussion is now handled by Jon Rice, known in the scene merely as The Charn. Fresh thinking on their part has undoubtedly been a key factor in the band's decision to journey into death metal territory, and admittedly the soundscape now is far more varied and colorful, allowing the band's technical know-how to shine through with unprecedented force.

The newcomer's drumming in particular is worthy of much praise, as there is considerably more fury in the music now (yes, that is actually possible). Clearly the band has also upped the ante on both musicianship and songwriting, making for some very potent, intense barrages of sound that, like those of their peers in Suicide Silence, have the listener in a stranglehold while Jonny Davy's furious vocals grate your scalp like carpet burn. Jonny is one of the most fearsome vocalists in the genre if you ask this scribe, and so naturally his performance is at the forefront of every song. This is both the album's greatest strength and its most crippling weakness, because while it really is inspiring to witness vocals so powerful as his, his growl together with the dominating rhythm section drowns out most of the instrumental goodies hidden in the background. One really needs to listen for the guitars to truly appreciate the kind of technical skill required to play like that. Unfortunately that deducts from the overall experience because it's either or, you concentrate on the guitars or you concentrate on the barn-burning intensity as delivered by Jonny and The Charn.

Obviously "Ruination" is a darker and more sophisticated piece of music than their prior releases but somehow it also manages to sound less extreme. Call me a hypocrit but in this case the polished production sounds completely out of character for a band of this caliber. Somehow the songs also lack the urgency of the band's previous material and have this big-bucks production feel to them, almost manufactured. And while we're churning out some critique... There is no doubt that the album does not feature any weak songs as such, but it also lacks highlights like "Knee Deep", "Entombment of a Machine" or "Embedded". Album opener "Unfurling a Darkened Gospel" shows similar signs with drumming that is downright unreal, but never quite lives up to its ancestors. As such this album is a solid, well-written piece of modern death metal but lacks the necessary gems to make an impact. But given the maturity of "Ruination" in comparison to the band's earlier work, Job For A Cowboy are certainly on the right track to becoming of legendary status.

7

Download: Unfurling a Darkened Gospel, Regurgitated Disinformation, Ruination

For the fans of: The Black Dahlia Murder, Despised Icon, Suicide Silence

Listen: Myspace

Release date 07.07.2009

Metal Blade

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