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Job For A Cowboy - "Ruination" (CD)

Job For A Cowboy - "Ruination" CD cover image

"Ruination" track listing:

1. Unfurling A Darkened Gospel (3:43)
2. Summon The Hounds (3:51)
3. Constitutional Masturbation (3:35)
4. Regurgitated Disinformation (4:46)
5. March To Global Enslavement (6:05)
6. Butchering The Enlightened (3:30)
7. Lords Of Chaos (3:36)
8. Psychological Immorality (3:08)
9. To Detonate And Exterminate (3:22)
10. Ruination (4:55)

Reviewed by on July 11, 2009

"While it’s too early to tell if the band has any legs to become the next Cannibal Corpse or Deicide, the leap between this album and 'Doom' is huge in legitimizing Job For A Cowboy as a threat in the genre."

There are very few bands who can cause as much discussion and controversy as Job For A Cowboy. Originally tagged as a sub-par deathcore band with their 2005 EP “Doom,” their 2007 debut “Genesis” was maligned by the general metal community. While the quintet made a giant step forward between their EP and first LP, evolving into a full-on death metal band, blind eyes looked through that and saw what they thought was a bunch of posers. These so-called “MySpace hipsters” used the popular social networking system to brainwash a bunch of disillusioned teenagers into thinking they were actually a worthwhile entity…or at least that’s what the skeptics will say about the band.

This loyal fan base helped “Genesis” to place on the Billboard charts at #54 its first week of release. For the past two years, the Arizona band has been honing in their sound, playing alongside the likes of Hate Eternal, Amon Amarth, and Behemoth. Now, with their sophomore album “Ruination,” Job For A Cowboy has a chance to make a statement, one that will define their career for years to come. Breaking free of that dreaded “deathcore” label, “Ruination” is 100%, grade-A death metal, with no trace of their past sound.

If “Genesis” was the sound of a band coming to grips with themselves as songwriters and musicians, “Ruination” is the sound of a road-tested group that has finally found their way. The songs are longer, more diverse, and have an air of progression to them that can only come with experience. Job For A Cowboy dropped the interludes that were a large part of “Genesis,” which ultimately came across as more filler than atmospheric, and focused on delivering ten cuts of intense metal that is akin to getting a staple gun to the forehead.

From the moment that “Unfurling A Darkened Gospel” starts, all hell breaks loose. The buzz-saw guitars clash with the monstrous drums, as Jonny Davy growls and shrieks his way through the aural rage. The band isn’t breaking any uncharted grounds, but there’s a confidence, a refined approach that demands attention. Producer Jason Suecof brings a sharp edge to the proceeding that adds a hefty punch to the anti-government and misanthropy lyrical content.

“Ruination” mainly sticks to a blinding fast speed, one that helps the album to maintain a quick pace, with little room to breathe. Songs like “Psychological Immorality” and “Lords Of Chaos” come and go, pummeling the listener with suffocating riffs and torturous screams of agony. The album begins to blend into one mutating hell-spawn by the end, maintaining a high level of intensity, but losing any distinguishable traits between tracks.

Job For A Cowboy tries to remedy this problem with a few longer tracks in the middle, and melodic passages sprinkled throughout. The band is fine when it sticks to three-to-four minute songs, but when they try to pull off an epic number, as they attempt to do on “March To Global Enslavement,” the flaws become more apparent. The lyrics start to repeat themselves, the guitar work begins to dull the senses, and no clear progression is made. The closing title track ends “Ruination” on a high note, a slow-paced affair with a sense of restraint from the band, the only song where the increased length doesn’t succumb to repetition.

The sophomore curse is one that has gotten the best of bands, but Job For A Cowboy avoids it decisively on “Ruination.” While it’s too early to tell if the band has any legs to become the next Cannibal Corpse or Deicide, the leap between this album and “Doom” is huge in legitimizing Job For A Cowboy as a threat in the genre. There will be the critics that will see “Ruination” as another tarnished album in a hoax of a career, but as long as the band continues to push themselves and release quality material like “Ruination,” that group will soon be the minority.

Highs: No-frills death metal, songs are tight and impactful, any hints of deathcore are vanguished.

Lows: Longer songs drag, slightly repetitive lyrics, lead guitar work doesn't impress.

Bottom line: A giant leap forward from their debut, "Ruination" is a satisfying collection of death metal tunes that shows confidence and willingness to push themselves as musicians.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)