My experience with Job for a Cowboy has been somewhat limited. Yes, they are one of those hot up and coming acts that all the kids seem to love. At least, I seem to see a good number of their shirts on those that wander aimlessly around the local mall. I do know they gained notoriety as a MySpace act that got really hot without really being recognized as being good. They then had the headlining slot on the Radio Rebellion tour a few years back, over such acts as Behemoth and Gojira.
Seems like too much too fast for the young band. This is especially true as their debut (Genesis) was not particularly special. Granted, I never gave it much of a chance, but after seeing them live, I cannot say I was that impressed. So now I am sure you are wondering why I bothered with Ruination.
Honestly, I do not know. Still, it can be telling to check up on a young band and see if they have made any progress, and it appears that Job for a Cowboy has. Some of that has been in line-up changes and some in their songwriting and performance, which has definitely improved. This is not to say this is a great album by any stretch, but it does show that the band is still developing and is working on the refinement of their craft. Perhaps it will continue and they will develop into something special. You never really know what can happen until it happens. No one wants to get written off to soon. You know?
For the majority of Ruination's forty minutes, the band knows one speed. That speed is full speed ahead. No slowing down, no surrender, never say die, and all that. It is brutal riff after brutal riff, blast beat after blast beat, and bloody throated growl after lung shredding scream. Job for a Cowboy does not know the meaning of restraint.
What they do know is that deathcore is not the style they want to remain identified with. This sophomore release sees them moving away from that and into something more along the lines of technical death metal. Mind you, this is no Necrophagist, but their technical skills are trying to peek their eyes out from behind the amplifier stacks. I guess, if anyone would be comparable, you could put the in a similar vein to The Black Dahlia Murder.
The album begins with a quick drum roll before blasting full steam ahead into "Unfurling a Darkened Gospel." The cut makes you feel as if you are pitched forward down an incline and cannot stop. It just keeps surging forward, never letting you get a good footing. This surge forward continues right into the second song, "Summon the Hounds." It is a strong start if you want to get your audience up on their toes while not wasting your best musical moments. Get the adrenaline flowing from a dead stop and they will not know what hit them.
"Constitutional Masturbation" begins to really show the seeds of change. Yes, the speed and brutality is still there but there is something about it that feels a little different than what has come before.The forward motion occasionally breaks down a little bit and allows for a couple of chunky riff runs and vocal gallops.
Then the change happens and we are treated to the best two tracks on the album "Regurgitated Disinformation" and "March to Global Enslavement." There is something about how they slow things down just a little bit; the songs to shine through the kick to the gut brutality. There are some great riffs and vocal work throughout, along with some very cool drums. These tracks demonstrate the growing skills they have, even including a brief melodic-death solo at the end of "March to Global Enslavement."
It is then back to your regularly scheduled brutality with a few more shining moments through the latter half of the album leading to the one slower track, the title song "Ruination" as it brings the album to a close. I am actually intrigued by what the better songs could mean for their future, it definitely is looking up.
As for individual performances, Jonny Davy leads the charge with his gut-wrenching vocals. At times they sound to be a little far to the processed side, but he still must have a throat of iron to carry on the way he does. Behind him is the guitar duo of Bobby Thompson and newcomer Al Glassman (Despised Icon), they deliver some solid riffs that often compete with the vocals for attention, but that is all right. Drums are another high point with some strong double bass work from new member Jon Rice. As for the bass? Well, let's just say I a pretty sure it is in there somewhere.
Bottomline. Sure, check this out. If you didn't care for Genesis, perhaps you should give them a revisit. They are not likely to blow your socks off, but you should see the growth the band has made and that this is definitely a solid album that has plenty of brutal music to offer as well a hope for the future.