"Ruination" (Metal Blade; 2009)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

After listening to American death metal and Norwegian death metal I think the only thing that separates them is their lyrical content. American death metal goes after politics and the media while Norwegian death metal attacks religion. Job For A Cowboy who hails from Glendale, Arizona has released their second disc and although it's not a concept album like "Genesis" was it's still politically charged with sneered lyrics geared towards human rights issues.

Death metal has always been right up in your face, not with just lyrical content but musically, too. These guys start things off with a brutal riff coupled with drums that pound away -- they aren't taking any prisoners. Each vicious cut after that has the same intensity. The vocals are gruff and barely understandable; sometimes there are satanic screams which adds an eerie element.

I will applaud these guys for the booklet that's included. Somebody took the time and talent to produce a nice piece of work. The words are printed on trace paper which lets the background pictures bleed through. Although it's sometimes hard to follow along with the vocals, even with the lyrics printed, at least they included them.

Job For A Cowboy is very technical in their approach to death metal. No guitar solos (a faint one on "March To Global Enslavement") but plenty of down-tuned head banging, scratching on the axe. There is some traditional metal guitar on "Psychological Immorality" though; it blends well with the disc. The last track "Ruination" has some great guitar to start the song; it's slowed down and shows a completely different side of these guys musical talent. The drums are severe and pound with no pardon in sight.

The vocals start with the traditional growl and then each song after seems to add a vocal element such as screams and double voices, which does add some originality to an otherwise predictable genre of music.

Job For A Cowboy: Jonny Davy lead vocals; Bobby Thompson guitars; Al Glassman guitars; Brent Riggs bass guitar, backing vocals; Jon "The Charn" Rice drums, percussion.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2010 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.