Review: Job for a Cowboy – Sun Eater
The evolution of this band has blown me away.
Back when I was in high school there was this one kid (for the sake of this review we will refer to this kid as Jimbo). Jimbo was a nerd in every sense of the word, but he also wanted to hang with the cool kids. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to him that the cool kids were just a bunch of spoiled rotten brats whose parents gave them everything they wanted. Seriously, kids at my school had Porsches after they got their license. They probably crashed them just as soon. Anyway I digress. These so called “cool kids” found it amusing to pick on Jimbo almost every solitary second they could. All the poor kid wanted was to fit in and be a part of something. Sadly, all those idiots wanted was to make Jimbo unhappy. One summer all that changed. I don’t know if Jimbo wanted to do more to fit it or if he just had finally said “fuck it” but the dude came back next semester TOTALLY RIPPED and athletic as heck. Dude was making all the popular girls swoon and all the guys wanted to be his friends. This is my favorite part. Jimbo turned down EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM and instead he made friends with all the other nerds and shy kids that he used to be just like and they all picked on the cool kids. It was a new Jimbo, he had finally found himself.
Similar to Jimbo, Job For a Cowboy have finally found themselves. No longer will they have to walk in the shadow of that one deathcore album. No longer will they be labeled generic death metal. They have shown the other bands that live in the shadow of a deathcore past that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sun Eater shows us the beginning of a new JFAC.
If you had came to me and said “Hey Jack I’m from the future and I am here to tell you that JFAC’s new album will be in your top ten albums at the end of the year,” I would have laughed you off the face of the planet, around the sun, and back into the interrogation room so that I could strap you down and laugh some more. I mean come on, how could JFAC release something that was capable of competing with the likes of Allegaeon, Archspire, Misery Index, Vader, Artificial Brain, Inanimate Existence, Alterbeast, Mastodon, Black Crown Initiate, Ne Obilviscaris, Revocation, and the list goes on as I’m sure you all know. Now, to clarify, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy Job For a Cowboy. I had most of their albums and I had heard most of their songs several times or more. The thing is, until Sun Eater, JFAC was just one of those generic death metal bands that made it’s way on to my playlist. It wasn’t something I would skip if it came on shuffle, but at the same time I wasn’t going to go looking for a JFAC song to listen to when I had other bands to choose from.
Then one day I was browsing Reddit and I saw a post about a leaked snippet of a JFAC song that had some of that oh so sexy bass in it. It disappeared pretty quickly, but not before I was able to show our boy Randall Thor. We both agreed that JFAC must have been listening to Obscura. I thought to myself how ridiculous of a statement that was, comparing JFAC to Obscura. I could just hear the “leave the hall” chants from the Masterlord. Then came that one day that would forever change my view of this band. The day the released their first single “Sun of Nihility,” everything changed. JFAC had written a unique, structured monster of a song and I couldn’t believe my ears. That bass, oh man that bass was something else. Was? No, IS. I really just cannot get enough of that bass.
I could go on about how awesome the bass sounds but I won’t because you can just listen and hear how great it sounds. “Ok so what they added fancy bass, doesn’t do much on its own,” you might say. This is true if it was just the bass, but it isn’t. There is so much more to this album than what initially greets the ear. As I write this I am still discovering all the little intricacies in this album. Unlike their previous output, everything doesn’t sound the same. Each song has it’s own unique identity.
It starts with “Eating the Visions of God” which then fades fucking perfectly into “Sun of Nihility.” These two tracks are somewhat slow but I’ll be damned if they aren’t menacing. Menacing may be the wrong word. Foreboding perhaps? These two songs in all their glory serve as a sort of appetizer, a foreshadowing of what’s to come. Just about the time the two opening tracks have lured you into some sort of aural trance “The Stone Cross” starts. It’s is similar to the first two songs, but at the same time somehow more intense. It’s almost as if JFAC wanted to slowly but surely prepare you for what is to come. “The Synthetic Sea” is up next, it has a similar feel to the previous song but is a bit faster and arguably more melodic. It’s a sort of precursor to the insanity that awaits your ears. Soon enough though, you realize that the entire first half of the album is a precursor. Almost like an oven that has to pre-heat before it is ready to cook. The song “Global Shift” is the signal that things are about to, for lack of a better word, shift. It’s much faster and more technical, and the vocals seem more menacing. Disclaimer: from here on out the album will melt your fucking face off. Songs like the “Celestial Antidote” and “Encircled by Mirrors” will take you on a journey shaking the earth around you with their blast beats while the bass weaves in and out of your consciousness outdone only by the solos that will weave in and out of your ears like demented serpents that can’t make up their mind which direction to go. “Buried by Monuments” is next and it is another one of those somewhat slow and melodic tracks that still creates a sort of tangible intensity. And it has a pretty fuckin’ sweet solo to boot. Perhaps you still have some of your face left? Maybe, just maybe you need a bit more to send your brain into lockdown? Enter the album’s closing track, “Worming Nightfall.” This track combines everything that the previous songs of the album has featured into one titan of a track, and serves as a sort of devastating grand finale of sorts. Believe me when I say, this is an incredibly epic sendoff for an even more epic album.
Sun Eater has top notch production, amazing drums, great vocals, sweet riffs, DAT BASS THO, and solos that will make your head spin. The album art is awful, though. JFAC couldn’t hire Par Olafsson like everyone else did this year? Regardless, the art has no bearing on the sound of the album. I really have nothing to complain about with this album musically. This is the biggest surprise of the year for me and one of the most successful style changes between albums that I have ever witnessed. On second thought, I have one complaint, and only one: I have to wait for more.