Review Summary: Job for a Cowboy's first full length album is a rather good album of modern death metal. Despite it's repetition in parts, the band keeps the listener drawn in with the excellent musicianship and amazing concept.
Deathcore is one of those love it or despise it genres. Many people love their precious Bring Me The Horizon and Here Comes The Kraken with elitist fervor, whist others despise any and all -core genres as if they were the Antichrist himself. Enter Job for a Cowboy. They sprung up back in 2004 with a demo that was *gasp* ORIGINAL. In 2005, they released their first proper release, "DOOM", an EP of the same, good sounding deathcore the demo gave us. In 2007, the band released their debut album. Entitled "Genesis", it's a rather good album of modern death metal. Despite it's repetition in many parts, the band keeps the listener drawn in with the excellent musicianship and entertaining concept.
The moment any fan of Job for a Cowboy turns on this album, they are greeted by a sight bizarre to them: it's not deathcore. No, Genesis eschews the breakdowns and pig squeals for a more technical death metal sound. The moment I heard the first song "Bearing the Serpent's Lamb", I was reminded of a little band from Poland called Decapitated. JFAC take a lot of influence from Decapitated here, particularly from their album Winds of Creation. Songs such as "Altered from Catechization" and "Reduced to Mere Filth" conjure up images of Decapitated in an instance. Well, at least to me. Certain people will still bash this album relentlessly due to JFAC's former genre of choice. The band retains very few elements of deathcore on this album; pig squeals which were so prevalent on the demo and DOOM are nowhere to be heard from vocalist Jonny Davy here. On the entire album there is but one breakdown, and it doesn't even really sound like a breakdown; the last minute or so of "Reduced to Mere Filth". I like to call it a "half breakdown". The song "The Divine Falsehood" is entirely different than every other song on the album; it is not mega fast, it contains no blast beats or tremolo picking, and melody is abundant within. It's a pretty good death/doom sorta song, and a really good mellow out track for those of you who like melody in their death metal.
The level of musicianship on this record is astounding. Vocalist Jonny Davy rips through his vocal cords with low pitched growls and grunts that would make Glen Benton or George Fisher blush. The guitar skills of Bobby Thompson and Ravi Bhadriraju are quite exemplary, utilizing the standard death metal guitar parts of tremolo and down picking well to their advantage. Bassist Brent Riggs is, sadly, essentially inaudible here, showing up in the mix only once and for about a second; Bearing the Serpent's Lamb. But the real spectacle here is drummer Elliot Sellers. Anyone who saw JFAC live back in their deathcore days knows about his amazing energy; smashing his kit to pieces, whiplash headbanging, and other assorted treats. On this record, though, he puts all that energy together to make one of my favorite drumming performances ever. Songs like "Coalescing Prophecy" and "Stings of Hypocrisy" make you scratch your head and wonder if it was really a human that played on this. In sort of a mixed blessing, Sellers left the band immediately after recording his parts, and this resulted in the band picking up Jon "Charn" Rice, who to me is like an American Vitek.
"Genesis" is a concept album. That's something that I've rarely seen in death metal. Do they pull it off" *** yeah they do. The album chronicles the birth of the Antichrist through the extermination of mankind. The lyrics themselves use words that the scene kids in JFAC's fanbase have more than likely never heard, including "theodicy", "catechization", and "conflagration". The aforementioned "The Divine Falsehood" is to me the most powerful song lyrically on the album. The song deals with the culmination of the album's events; the birth of the Antichrist, his ascension to power, the outlawing of religion, the implanting of the VeriChip, the world becoming a one government dictatorship, and it all ends with Satan himself coming up through the Earth to take his new kingdom. The song after it, "Coalescing Prophecy", deals with the end of humanity; Satan, now in his new domain, slaughters the last remnants of mankind, who cry out to God for mercy. To me, it's one of my favorite stories ever for an album.
But alas, not every album is perfect. The only real con of Genesis is that in multiple places, the band uses riffs or fills that were used in previous songs. The most prevalent of these is a roll used by Sellers over multiple songs on the record; 4 on tom 1, 4 on tom 2, 4 on snare, 4 on tom 2. It's a cool sounding fill, but when you hear it in "Coalescing Prophecy", the last track on the record, after having heard it in almost every track beforehand, it gets repetitive. Thankfully, that's the only one that's used to death here.
Job for a Cowboy is, much like their former genre, a band that is either love them or despise them; I fall into the love category. This record is all the proof needed that with some fine tuning, this band could be the one who revolutionizes American heavy metal. I suggest this album to any and all death metal fans. And to those who hate the band solely because of the genre of deathcore, you have no idea what you are missing,