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Album Reviews : Job for a Cowboy – Ruination

By on August 10, 2009

joblargeJob for a Cowboy are one of those bands that I’ve just been pretending doesn’t exist. Their previous two releases were utter shit and unfortunately fuelled the deathcore wave further. Sure, they might have been a bit ahead of their time as far as building their success on the foundations of Myspace and certainly did an excellent job of getting their (fucking terrible) name out there. But a pneumatic drill was still more a more interesting listening experience than Genesis.

Now imagine my surprise when I put on the band’s new album and was greeted by something that was actually half decent! Ruination is a colossal improvement, to the point where the deathcore influences that dominated Genesis are almost non-existent. Instead, technical death metal is the flavour of choice. The band have definitely matured with the songs being more varied (well, as far as the genre goes anyway), more interesting, more technically impressive and surprisingly coherent. There’s still nothing too original here, and there are no boundaries being pushed, but not every album needs to.

Davy has obviously been working on his vocal range and while he’s not exactly a brilliant vocalist, he does a sufficient job, and focuses less on pig squeals than before which is always a positive. Although there are times I wish he would pull back a bit and let the music speak for itself, his lower growls do drown out a few interesting instrumental passages. New drummer Jon Rice is a welcome addition to the band and other than a few moments where he is perhaps a tad too flashy and doesn’t fit with the rest of the music, it’s hard to fault him. The riffs are nothing special, and I’m sure people will be able to pick the ‘influences’, but they are well organised and given more room to develop than most modern tech-death albums. Oh, and the booklet says there is a bassist too.

As expected, it’s a fairly straightforward affair with no real intro sections or interludes. It might turn some people off as it means it can get a bit samey by the end. There are slivers of melodeath and other similar genres here and there, preventing it from becoming mindlessly repetitive, and the title track slows everything down and drags in the doom. Considering how different the track is from the rest of the album, I would have placed it a bit earlier on to break up the album, but it’s easily a highlight nonetheless.

Mind you, they still aren’t a band that will stand out to metal veterans as anything special in the modern scene. Throw aside the hatred that their older output and ridiculous hype may have churned up inside you and give Ruination a shot. You may be surprised. But now the question is, do they have the drive to produce something even better again, or will they stick with what they have done well here and simply churn out Ruination Mk II. 6/10

For fans of: Suffocation, Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Decapitated.

Band: Job for a Cowboy
Album: Ruination
Year: 2009
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Label: Metal Blade/Riot! Entertainment
Origin: USA

Track listing:
1. Unfurling a Darkened Gospel
2. Summon the Hounds
3. Constitutional Masturbation
4. Regurgitated Disinformation
5. March to Global Enslavement
6. Butchering the Enlightened
7. Lords of Chaos
8. Psychological Immorality
9. To Detonate and Exterminate
10. Ruination <- Reviewers choice


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.