Nothing But Thieves
Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 23/11
Job For A Cowboy
Written by: AP on 16/10/2011 17:45:05
Consistency is Job For A Cowboy's trademark, and it would be foolish to expect anything short of a solidly written, well produced, and expertly performed piece of music of their latest offering, an extended play by the name of "Gloom". But it also confirms that this is a band constantly striving to reinvent itself within the domain of modern death metal, now with the introduction of elements that resemble the recent work of the Black Dahlia Murder and, at times, the classic works of Hypocrisy.
But melodic death metal this is not; "Gloom" remains true to tradition first, and shows signs of experimentation second. Rather than expanding the envelope of what death metal can and should be, Job For A Cowboy instead focus on pushing the genre to its limits, challenging the norms ever so subtly with a tasteful solo here or a memorable hook there. Inadvertently the band has begun to resemble their European peers more than like minded outfits in the States, so that comparing a song like "Misery Reformation" to the music of By the Patient is a far more accurate approximation than the bands typically listed as likely to appeal to their fans (Carnifex, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, and so forth).
Indeed, the band has broken free of their deathcore beginnings on "Doom" and evolved into a respected, formidable force that even hardened fans of the death metal genre can accept. The songwriting is tight and varied, with the emphasis shifting between fast tremolo riffs and brooding atmospheric parts with a slower tempo, best heard on "Plastic Idols"; and between grueling lows and soaring melodic highs. Much of the success can be ascribed to lead guitarist Al Glassman, drummer Jon Rice and vocalist Jonny Davy, all experts at their respective trades, but it would be a mistake to ignore the important thickness contributed by recently added rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Tony Sannicandro and bassist Nick Schendzielos, whose playing is much more pronounced here than it has been on "Ruination" and "Genesis".
There are no issues of particular note to be pointed out, and I feel the only negative thing to say about "Gloom" is to express sadness that it contains just four songs and wonder what the band has been up to in the past two years if this is all they've managed to churn out. With no new full-length confirmed, announced, or even rumored, "Gloom" gives rise to eager anticipation on an indefinite time scale. While we wait, however, it provides a short but sweet fix of modern death metal as good as they come.
Download: Misery Reformatory, Plastic Idols, Execution Parade, Signature of Starving Power
For the fans of: The Black Dahlia Murder, By the Patient, Misery Index
Release date 07.06.2011