Job For A Cowboy
10 April 2012
by Tom Dare
Job For A Cowboy have had something of a rough ride from Thrash Hits for a couple of years. Hugh wasn’t a fan of last album Ruination, and I gave the last EP Gloom a minor kicking. That might make you think they’re a band we’ve got something against. We don’t – far from it. I still fucking love debut album Genesis, and want to see a clearly talented young death metal band succeed. Does new album Demonocracy see the band get back on track?
The immediate signs are very good. ‘Children Of Deceit‘ opens with far more impacting riffage than we’ve heard from JFAC since that debut LP, and it’s a standard that’s maintained. That post-Decapitated death metal riffing style – moderate technicality that grooves nicely while smashing your face in, the focus on generating movement rather than just running up and down fretboards – works very nicely, and you’ll quickly find your head moving up and down. You’ll notice your facial muscles pulling in funny shapes as the blackened evil of the lead guitars is sufficiently “grim-face” inducing to fuel at least three Norwegian band photos – and it’s here where you notice both Demonocracy‘s biggest strengths and the one weakness you can’t really ignore.
Producer Jason Suecof’s knob-twiddling on this outing effects your enjoyment of the album a little too much to overlook. Suecof deserves a large pat on the back for making them sound so vast and clear, and exploiting them to the fullest extent. Those venomous lead guitar lines mentioned earlier are a huge part of that, ripping and tearing around, and are the bits most likely to keep you coming back for repeat listens.
The slight downside is the degree this polish detracts from the fretwork and drumming. If you listen carefully, you’ll realise that those guitar riffs and drum fills aren’t quite as abrasive as they could be – the polish on the tone robs them of that, and rather than hooking you and dragging you along, they slide over you slightly. Obviously it’s better than a death metal record aiming at sounding utterly necro, and ending up simply sounding shit, but given how many producers have been responsible for records that manage to sound both clear and visceral at the same time in this year alone (Chris Fielding, Russ Russell, Erik Rutan, Jacob Hansen, Dan Swanö and so on..), a record this shiny just sounds comparatively tame.
Listen to ‘Nourishment Through Bloodshed’ by Job For A Cowboy:
It may seem a minor point, but you notice it, and it is one thing separating JFAC from the very best death metal that’s around right now. The other – as painful as it is to admit – is how far the bar has been raised, both by new bands and old, in the time since Genesis. When that came out, Job For A Cowboy were one of the most exciting extreme bands around. That’s not the case any more, simply because there’s so much good brutality available.
Sounds like: Decapitated, Decrepit Birth, Trigger The Bloodshed.
Stand-out tracks: Nourishment Through Bloodshed, Imperium Wolves, Black Discharge.