Job For A Cowboy
07 June 2011
by Tom Dare
You don’t want to draw too many conclusions from a 15-minute EP, but there are a few causes for concern over Job For A Cowboy’s latest offering Gloom. Whenever music this heavy is this placidly undramatic – regardless of whether it’s a full length or not – it’s generally not a good sign.
Somehow, the band that seemed to explode out of underground obscurity riding a roar of approval on Genesis has ended up making a damp squib of a death metal fart. While Ruination may have been a decidedly less emphatic than the debut, it still did have some personality and a handful of memorable songs such as the crushing ‘Constitutional Masturbation‘. It also crucially managed to execute its scathe with a generous dollop of groove. None of these strengths are evident on Gloom.
What we have instead is a tedious, featureless little jaunt that simply doesn’t possess anything remotely resembling impact. Sure, there’s plenty of technical swirling up and down the fretboard, but it’s so inarticulate and characterless that its emotional impact is negligible. The riffs are formless and forgettable, the leads simply atonal fret-wanking without direction or hook and that thunderous swaggering groove that carried Ruination through its duller moments has been replaced by a gaping void of bland.
Closing track ‘Signature Of Starving Power‘ comes closest to recapturing a little of what made JFAC such a buzz band when they first exploded out of the underground, but feels very much like the track that wasn’t quite good enough for the last album. Which, as the last album wasn’t all that great, is less clutching at straws and more trying to catch hamster hairs in a hurricane. With tweezers. While wearing oven mitts.
The only real blessing here is the brief length, but even then you’re already tired of it by the end of it. Job For A Cowboy have shown themselves capable of far better than this even after the line-up changes that followed Genesis.If death metal produces no response more emphatic than a little burp you politely cover with your hand, something is badly amiss. You hope that this is a hump they need to get over rather than a sign of a downward slide, otherwise their slide may become inexorable.
Sounds like: grey metal, John Tardy’s snores put through Pro-Tools
Top tracks: Signature Of Starving Power, if we stretch the meaning of “top”
Job For A Cowboy – Gloom EP tracklisting:
Signature Of Starving Power