If there’s one word that you can bet the members of Arizona’s resident death metallers Job For A Cowboy hate the most, it’s Myspace. The heavyweight quintet rose to fame at the apex of the social networking site’s success, amassing millions of song plays and not going unseen by independent label, King Of The Monsters, through whom they went on to release their debut EP, Doom. This led to subsequent tours and eventually a record deal with their current label, Metal Blade Records, all in very quick succession. Naysayers will tell you that the group’s success lies not in their musical abilities, but entirely in their Internet hype and consequential appeal to congenital erythropoietic porphyria suffering scenesters. Unfortunately for Job For A Cowboy, the life of Myspace works as a rather apt analogy for their new album, Demonocracy.
In a manner very similar to the emergence of the social networking site, the Arizonans waste no time messing about, but come roaring out of the starting blocks and into life with ‘Children of Deceit’, featuring an uncharacteristically coherent string-skipping riff, a rather blistering scale run and some interesting drumming patterns all within the first five seconds. The guitar tone is much crisper than on previous releases, leaning further towards technical territory with songs such as ‘Fearmonger’ featuring riffs that could only have been created by letting a clutter of spiders loose on the fretboards.
The album demonstrates clear progression, with sole founding member, vocalist Jonny Davy, pushing his voice to new heights with the kind of high-low dynamics reminiscent of The Black Dahlia Murder, and drummer John ‘The Charm’ Rice eschewing teeth rattling blast beats for something a little more creative and interesting. In a recent interview conducted by OneMetal the frontman also extolled the virtues of the latest additions to the band, guitarist Tony Sannicandro and bassist Nick Schendzielos, claiming that they are vast improvements over previous players. Nick’s bass work in particular shines through, sitting alongside the guitars as a third lead instrument, instead of offering support in the manner of an understudy, as so many bassists seem content to do.
Unfortunately the album follows Myspace’s trajectory with its lasting impact. Just like the Internet’s adoptive home for bathroom mirror shots and ’1337 5p34k’, Demonocracy is over before it has barely even begun. It’s not that the album is short – it weighs in at a relatively average 40 minutes – it’s just that it lacks the ability to evolve and diversify. After the first few songs one has the tendency to tune out as the album blurs together in a flurry of writhing riffs and vicious vocals, bringing the listener crashing back to their senses only when it abruptly finishes.
The most frustrating thing about this album is that, musically, it is leaps and bounds ahead of Genesis and even Ruination. The Arizonans display a more refined understanding of song-writing, but it’s at the expense of that sense of youthful energy and their more extreme elements, which made them so fresh and exciting in the first place.
Just like the website that they arguably owe so much of their success to, this is perfectly fine as something to while away your lunch hour with, but it lacks the ability to capture your prolonged attention. Whilst Job For A Cowboy were once so innovative, in 2012 Demonocracy brings nothing new to the table and is almost instantly forgettable.
Job For A Cowboy’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jobforacowboy?ref=ts&__adt=2&__att=iframe
Metal Blade Records’ website: http://www.metalblade.com/english/content.php