Sunday, November 16, 2014

Review - Job For A Cowboy "Sun Eater" (Metal Blade 2014)

Job For a Cowboy is a band known for their itchy feet. Originally a deathcore outfit, these good ol’ boys from Arizona had dropped the ‘core’ by the release of their debut album, Genesis, in 2007, going for straight out death. And with fourth album, SUN EATER, just out this November 2014 from Metal Blade, the boys are on the move again. 

Opening track, Eating the Visions of God, sets the tone well, a plaintive, mid-paced number with brooding guitar and witchy vocals. It’s a dark sound, almost doomy in places, and dangerously bordering on prog with a lengthy 6 minutes running time. Second track, Sun of Nihility, is more of the same, almost a continuation of the opener, while on third track, The Stone Cross, we get our first taste of blast beats. The pace remains frenetic with The Synthetic Sea, Nick Schendzielos’ bass, pounding through the mix from the outset of this album, reaching something of a crescendo here. The guitar here feels Norwegian; a ferocious wall of sound mirroring Davy’s ravenous vocals. This blackened tone seeps through to sixth track, The Celestial Antidote, while Buried Monuments brings something of a NWOBHM flavour in with some melodic lead playing. Closing track, Worming Nightfall, compliments the doomy, mid-paced vibe of the album’s opener to bring us full circle.

It’s plain to see that JFAC have taken a leaf out of Opeth’s book here. Sure, they may not have gone just as far as Mikael & co, ditching the death metal roots altogether, but SUN EATER is definitely a melting pot. This is a band groping around for a new sound; reluctant to settle on anything in particular but seemingly more than happy to have their audience along for the ride while they experiment. And while still death metal at heart, there is certainly more evidence here of a growing trend within contemporary extreme metal to seek out fresh musical pastures.   

Reviewed by Wayne Simmons

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