Job For A Cowboy
Moon Healer


4.5
superb

Review

by Vasilis S. CONTRIBUTOR (37 Reviews)
February 23rd, 2024 | 692 replies


Release Date: 02/23/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As the universe, so the soul.

Throughout its 40 years of existence, death metal has grown towards numerous intricate directions, often significantly departing from the straightforward, “meat and potatoes” approach of its early days. At the change of the millenium emerged a wave of younger bands who had more to say than simply how to gut your neighbor, and it has been polarizing fans ever since. I happen to have my feet on both camps, as I appreciate the old school and the modern alike when the music speaks for itself. At the same time, I can’t help but recognize how a name like Job for a Cowboy has been right at the eye of the storm when it comes to the scene’s dualistic thinking.

The band acquired most of its fame at the rise of the deathcore scene with a few pivotal releases in the mid 00’s, but the early days of chugging are long gone. In almost completely new skin, their sound underwent a complete overhaul when Demonocracy came out in 2012, a course that was maintained and seriously reinforced with 2014’s Sun Eater, which by now is a point of reference for modern death metal. Job for A Cowboy’s technical prowess and bold mindset allowed for an evolution that introduced unconventional play style, expressed through fresh progressive elements, perplexed rhythm sections and overall blistering aggression, which made them stand out in prominence. Even if a decade separates them, the new album Moon Healer goes hand in hand with its forebear, if not surpassing it in terms of substance and delivery.

Crispy clear production sets the stage for the dynamic compositional groundwork of the album, which bursts out and constantly torpedoes complex guitar lines in multiple time signatures, keeping the listener on their toes for as long as it lasts. Although clearly unpredictable, because trust that you won’t be able to foretell what comes next at any given moment, Moon Healer somehow still feels the opposite of chaotic. Different sections have been splendidly structured to provide seamless transitions and such a logically continuous experience that will not let you clearly realize at first, how often the tracks take different turns and change their pace. Every involved musician is at the absolute top of their game, and the album’s sound provides ample space for all the instruments, including the (often squashed in other records) marvelous bass work by Nick Schendzielos (Cephalic Carnage, Havok).

Stellar is also the performance of the new session drummer Navene Koperweis (Entheos), whose playing is elegant as it is astounding, e.g in the musical masterwork “The Sun Gave Me Ashes So I Sought Out the Moon”. Jonny Davy’s vocal palette is unique, wide and varied, distinctly characterizing Job for A Cowboy’s sound with his excellent execution, you’ll be happy to follow along the lyrics quite easily compared to your average extreme metal vocalist. In terms of sound treatment and cover art, Moon Healer is successfully close to Sun Eater, which sets solid foundation for the fans to receive this new work. On top of that, the band’s merit and consistency, the musicianship and the never ending stream of intriguing, multilayered textures of tech / prog death metal, always from their own perspective, is captivating and awe-inspiring to say the least.

I didn’t hear a single solo that wasn’t extraordinary in the record, and there isn’t one dull guitar riff in general either. The band is as menacing and as ambitious as ever, showcasing flexibility and compositional comprehension that few others can conceive in their lifetime. Personal highlights include the labyrinthine sections of "Grinding Wheels of Orphanim" and "A Sorrow Filled Moon", the stunning opener "Beyond the Chemical Doorway", and "The Agony Seeping Storm", which nicely nods towards The Black Dahlia Murder. However, there is so much to unpack in Moon Healer that every time you listen to it, different moments stand out. Labels are futile when such levels of innovation shine through an album, and this may well be the year of Job for a Cowboy, who have apparently been preparing their next chapter for a long time and with painstaking attention. This record is a magnum opus for the band, and modern death metal as a whole.



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user ratings (352)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
ExcuseMeDarling (5)
Redefining the sound of what metal can be....



Comments:Add a Comment 
KrillBoi
February 23rd 2024


459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This fucking rules

dachstheangry
February 23rd 2024


231 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The next hyped Sputnik album. Wonder how AMG will rate this

Pikazilla
February 23rd 2024


29714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

angry disney guy has shit taste tbh

Viraemias
February 23rd 2024


368 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Upvoted your review because it's ace. Just like the album



Favorite song: Into the Crystalline Crypts

LaKeSRiVeRn
February 23rd 2024


22 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It’s definitely a crowning achievement. The care and dedication put into every arrangement is staggering.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2024


10698 Comments


Great review, pos, and this is bookmarked.

You should apply for contributor.


Album stream:
http://jobforacowboy.bandcamp.com/album/moon-healer

DType
February 23rd 2024


2602 Comments


So it's friggin amazing, gonna check anytime soon

Scoot
February 23rd 2024


22178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this band makes no sense lol

WretchedCacophony
February 23rd 2024


2875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cover art looks like it's straight out of Magic the Gathering some kind of 10 mana cost blue enchantment.

anyway, album is probably sweet. Guess I have to spin it now

Pikazilla
February 23rd 2024


29714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

if someone had told me jfac would release amazing music during their genesis days, I would've laughed at them

artificialbox
February 23rd 2024


1490 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album is so fucking good omg

MO
February 23rd 2024


24014 Comments


stoked to hear this

frozencarl
February 23rd 2024


1603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

insanely well written review. some of the best death metal i've ever heard which is still so weird to think of coming from JFAC. the myspace deathxcore to solid asf death metal pipeline is real

MonumentsOfParalysis
February 23rd 2024


844 Comments


Majora's Mask moon vibes

MonumentsOfParalysis
February 23rd 2024


844 Comments


Oh, and album fuggin rules! Nice rev

canczar
February 23rd 2024


216 Comments


Reeeeeeeap reap reap reap reap reeeeeeeeeeeeeeap

WretchedCacophony
February 23rd 2024


2875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Grinding Wheels hits so hard. Spectacular musical arrangement that one is. Reminds me of peak Obscura. It almost makes me wish there was a breakdown to be a foil to the technical nature of the track but at least the solo is tasteful.

PortalofPerfection
February 23rd 2024


3133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Never paid attention to these guys before. Just listened to the first track from this.



They have my attention.

Rowhaus
February 23rd 2024


6064 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album fucks ahrd

Love the bass tone and some really tasteful soloing throughout. Also glad to hear Johnny still sounds great as ever m/

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2024


4491 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

B A S S, that is all.



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