Job For A Cowboy

Gloom EP

 

With a sound that embraces classic death metal and makes no concessions to anything perceived as fashionable in contemporary heavy music, Glendale, Arizona’s Job For A Cowboy have been kicking up an ugly (if not exactly groundbreaking) noise for eight years now. Gloom, the follow-up to 2009’s Ruination, boasts four bursts of typical nastiness. With the band having overhauled their lineup since Ruination, there’s a palpable hunger insinuating its way through the tracks, conveying a sense that JFAC are out to prove their continued relevance and detractors take their lives in their hands getting in their way.

To this end, opener “Misery Reformatory” is perhaps the meanest addition to their catalog to date, exploding to life on a Slayer-esque riff before charging off in a wave of percussive violence that is overwhelming. Vocalist Johnny Davy’s vomit-stained vocals are pushed to the forefront, his banshee shriek and guttural bellow perfectly playing off the music, and some blistering melodic shredding further enliven matters. The next track, “Plastic Idols,” is as insidious as it gets. The leads of Al Glassman and newbie Tony Sannicandro are electrifying, the track charging along at such an unhinged pace it seems almost as if the musicians and producer Jason Suecof (Whitechapel, the Black Dahlia Murder) are struggling to contain its raw energy.

The only downside to starting with back-to-back monsters is that what follows doesn’t reach the same heights. “Execution Parade,” a heads down, fat-free attack with an edge that recalls Morbid Angel in their heyday is just a fine song, while closer “Signature Of Starving Power” boasts some intensely hostile blastbeats though doesn’t quite engage. At this stage in the game, Job For A Cowboy’s biggest problem remains that they don’t quite have the musical personality to set themselves apart from that which has preceded them. There’s no disputing that they have their chops down and they’re ruthless in their delivery. If they can harness the visceral rush of the first two tracks for their next album, they stand a good chance of bounding ahead of those currently fighting it out for a bloody chunk of the death-metal pie.

Metal Blade http://www.metalblade.com

“Misery Reformatory”