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Job For A Cowboy - "Gloom" (CD/EP)

Job For A Cowboy - "Gloom" CD/EP cover image

"Gloom" track listing:

1. Misery Reformatory (3:55)
2. Plastic Idols (4:44)
3. Execution Parade (3:05)
4. Signature of Starving Power (3:46)

Reviewed by on June 1, 2011

"While I usually have difficulty recommending EPs, 'Gloom' is the best thing that Job for a Cowboy has put out yet."

Nobody can state that Job for a Cowboy has not improved over time. From an absolutely unlistenable debut EP to two successively better albums, they're a band in constant evolution and have been improving with time. So when I heard the title of the new EP, I began to worry that this would be a regression in style.

Thankfully it isn't, but “Gloom” seems to show yet another change in style. This time, it's being heavily influenced by both Hypocrisy and The Black Dahlia Murder. While it's not purely melodeath, it comes close with some of the riffs. Not that this no longer sounds like Job for a Cowboy anymore, since it's more an evolution from “Ruination,” albeit one that's slightly more accessible.

My biggest complaint with Job for a Cowboy has always been that they write great songs, but not great albums, primarily due to a lack of hooks. Thankfully, this time around, the riffs are much more memorable and the songs are more than just vehicles for solos. Not that that solos aren't good; they're actually the best that Job for A Cowboy have played in their entire career.

The songwriting is also tighter and more varied that previous albums, which was my main issue with the band's previous two releases. While short, “Gloom” brings forth a lot of new ideas to a band that was sorely needing them. More importantly, “Gloom” proves to the haters that Job for a Cowboy can indeed innovate.

With regard to standout tracks, “Plastic Idols” is the best of the four. Job for a Cowboy has always excelled at writing slower songs and seem to be more creative when they turn down the tempo. This song is no exception to that rule and stands alongside the band's best tunes. Not that “Plastic Idols” is slow; it alternates in tempo between fast and slow sections, which makes it by far the most fun and interesting song to listen to by the band to date.

The sad part about “Gloom” is that while it offers a lot of promise, it's still an EP made two years after the band's last full-length. With no new LP announced, it just leaves me wanting more. Not only does Al Glassman play some awesome solos, but the songwriting is by far better than anything that Job for a Cowboy has managed to do in the past. In fact, “Gloom” has made this band almost as good to listen to in the studio as they are to watch live. I'm now eagerly anticipating new material from what I used to see as an underdeveloped B-list death metal act. While I usually have difficulty recommending EPs, “Gloom “is the best thing that Job for a Cowboy has put out yet.

Highs: Great solos, improved riffs, more varied songwriting, only $5 to purchase a phyiscal copy and $4 on iTunes

Lows: it's still an EP, Job for a Cowboy are becoming a great band, but aren't there yet

Bottom line: While it's only an EP, it's worth the price.

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)