March 22, 2012

Music Review: Job for a Cowboy - Demonocracy

I must admit, Job for a Cowboy is not a band I ever paid a lot of attention too. That has been changing since their last release, 2009's Ruination, but they still fell pretty low on the totem poll. In their ninth year of existence, Job for a Cowboy has almost completely turned over their lineup. With the impending release of their third album they find only original vocalist, Jonny Davy, remaining. The latest additions are Tony Sannicandro on guitar and Nick Schendzielos (formerly of Cephalic Carnage) on bass. Now, I have to admit, these latest changes are certainly helping to push them in the right direction.

Job for a Cowboy rose to prominence as a MySpace -core band. It seems like so long ago that MySpace was relevant to anything, but there was a time when it was a good place to go and check out music. Their style du-jour was deathcore and they gathered quite the fanbase with their incessant touring. My first real exposure to them came back in 2007 when they headlined the Radio Rebellion tour over the likes of Gojira and Behemoth. At the time I was not terribly impressed and did not understand them playing at the top of that bill. Years have changed my opinion, somewhat. Ruination was a solid release that saw them sidestepping deathcore in favor of a more technical death metal feel. With Demonocracy they are continuing to head in that direction. This is a good thing.

Demonocracy is easily the band's best release yet (though, I have not listened to the Gloom EP). This release finds them delivering their most varied sound with plenty of brutality and aggression. This album sounds hungry, like they want you to accept them for the direction they are going in by pummeling you about the neck and shoulders.

They have learned that you do not need to be full speed ahead at every turn. We all know that eventually that gets boring, repetitive and you will not be coming back time and again to listen (I think of Dragonforce that way, in some ways they are jaw dropping awesome, but it gets repetitive, kind of like I am here). Job for a Cowboy have varied things up, experimenting with different speeds, a good example is "Tarnished Gluttony" where they slow things down yet retain the brutality and the result is a really good song.

This album is filled with some solid technical guitar work from Al Glassman (ex-Despised Icon) and the addition of Nick Schendzielos offers some great bass lines. I have to say that the bass is one of the standouts. There are so many metal acts out there where I cannot hear the bass at all. The bass is very Cephalic Carnage-esque (which makes sense), but even more it fits here and helps to fill out the sound. Drums are solid but seem to be a style over substance, they sound a lot like drums I have heard before, they fit the music but do not really add to the personality.

Jonny Davy takes charge and leads with his vocals, which have ever been expanding since their early work. He performs in both high and low registers, varying his delivery throughout, even tossing in some hairball chucking blackened screams, which I kind of like. Granted, I never really know what he is saying, but the sound of his voice ripping it over the tech death backdrop is quite nice.

Bottomline. This is far from a genre defining moment, but it certainly is a career defining moment. Job for a Cowboy have demonstrated a growth from each preceding release and that is very promising. They may not yet be able to have me completely as a fan, but they have me intrigued to keep checking in on them. Demonocracy is a solid metal release that is well worth taking a peek at.


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