Job for a Cowboy: Sun Eater

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Job for a Cowboy: Sun Eater
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Job for a Cowboy: Sun Eater
Progressive Death Metal, Technical Death Metal
Metal Blade Records
November 11th, 2014
Release length: 46:45
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Whether you love them or hate them, there is no denying that Glendale, Arizona’s Job for a Cowboy have come a long way since their start back in 2003. The band initially joined the early boom of the Deathcore genre, being so influential that many bands had begun changing their sound to emulate them, or form with the desire to do so from the very start. But, by the time 2007’s Genesis rolled around, the members had begun to mature towards a more traditional Death Metal formula that was a welcome change, but not the most astounding. 2011 saw a sudden line-up change that brought bassist Nick Schendzielos (Cephalic Carnage, Reign of Vengeance) and guitarist Tony Sannicandro (Cadaveryne) into the mix prior to the release of 2012’s Demonocracy. But, Job for a Cowboy have once again altered their approach, making the way for a more Progressive and Technical Death Metal foundation in the form of their fourth studio full-length title, Sun Eater. But does this new direction make for a gripping new entry, or is it still as standard as their last three previous efforts have been?

One thing that always seemed to plague the band was the amount of bite the music had. For the most part, each of the three sounded as safe as could possibly be, only growing a little edgier by the aforementioned Demonocracy. However, this whole accessible Death Metal tactic has been shed with the shift towards their new sound, which suits the four-piece as a whole, really. Each member gets a chance to shine a lot brighter this time around. Of course, where the band excels the most on this outing is where those aforementioned line-up changes occurred. Given the bands these two new acquisitions are involved in, it’s a safe assumption that their abilities were taken into consideration as far as the advancement of the group goes, which can be felt pretty much immediately.

“Eating the Visions of God” starts off as your standard deeper tuned Death Metal performance with a hint of Middle Eastern atmospheres in the hooks, but once you reach that sweet little bass line thirty five seconds in, it’s obvious this won’t be your standard Job for a Cowboy recording. The slow build that immediately follows feels incredibly fluid and natural, taking its time without the band overexerting themselves to maintain what environments exist through the relaxing performance that only really carries any abrasiveness thanks to the vocals. Even the guitar solo’s technicality and upbeat chorus maintain a laid back quality that is incredibly soothing. However, by the five minute mark, things do become grander in comparison thanks to the music becoming richer before crashing into an emptier landscape that sounds like a partially unplugged Cynic recording, especially thanks to how well it shifts into “Sun of Nihility” and the moody riffs it starts with.

“Buried Monuments” is a lot more energetic, though it does have its share of slower, sombre moments the deeper in you get. While not a bad thing, it does take away from some of the really catchy material the performance kicks off with until the heavier conclusion that still doesn’t have the same impact due to the slower pace utilized to try to capture that earlier enthusiasm. “The Celestial Antidote” has a much darker aura to it pretty much right out of the box. There’s a great deal more technicality here than most of the other performances carry, and not just in timing and execution like the short section of blast beat fury about a minute and twenty seconds in. While not as diverse as an Opeth recording, there’s a lot going on musically that blurs the lines between zen and madness, though the latter is only really teased in this cut than truly acted upon outside the closing.

“The Synthetic Sea”, however, doesn’t hold that aspect back, becoming one of the few more aggressive tracks of this album. The faster drums work with the sharpened distortion on the guitar to sometimes give a blackened feel to the music, even in the atmosphere that sometimes feels incredibly melancholic against the loud bass notes that help sustain the infectious rhythm behind the faster playing in those segments, as well as the Neoclassical guitar work such as in the guitar solo around three minutes in that shakes things back to the soothing realm once again, unlike “Worming Nightfall”. This closing track moves along slower than “Eating the Visions of God”, almost taking on a Doom Metal structure in order to back the incredibly burdening music that all just feels right as a closing.

Job for a Cowboy have gone through plenty of changes over the years, but none of them as impressive as what is found on Sun Eater. Their latest effort pulls out the true skills of founders Johnny Davy and Alan Glassman to work alongside the established abilities of Nick Schendzielos and Tony Sannicandro, and it makes for quite the memorable, addictive experience. Mood and atmosphere seem to always play a role in this naturally flowing album that is as heavy as it is relaxing most of the time. Sun Eater‘s Prog-heavy technicality and exploration make it an album you won’t soon walk away from.


01. Eating the Visions of God – 6:30
02. Sun of Nihility – 5:34
03. The Stone Cross – 3:40
04. The Synthetic Sea – 4:50
05. A Global Shift – 3:59
06. The Celestial Antidote – 6:09
07. Encircled by Mirrors – 4:47
08. Buried Monuments – 4:56
09. Worming Nightfall – 6:20
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Job for a Cowboy
Job for a Cowboy

Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records.