Death Metal

Job For A Cowboy – Moon Healer (Review)

Bands: Job For A Cowboy
Release: Moon Healer
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Country: USA
Release Date:23rd of February, 2024
Released viaMetal Blade Records

10 years is a really long time in the music business. When Job For A Cowboy released the critically acclaimed but never extensively promoted (at least considering live shows) Sun Eater in 2014, a lot of their earlier fans were shocked by the very technical and complex songwriting and turned away in disgust. At least those expecting another throwback to the band’s Deathcore sound the band helped to make popular during the beginning of the 2000s (Remember that Spongebob video?). Contrary to that though, open-minded death metal purists also took note and were collectively blown away by the intricate songwriting, immaculate playing techniques and gripping hooks the band portrayed on the mentioned mammoth record.

On Sun Eater it seemed the band finally realized their full potential as a creative unit through shifting towards a more technical side of death metal (not that their past records were chugga chug cave man material). But after that, nothing. The band’s members focused more on the private side of things than on music, offering their old and new fans a long time to worry if the band would even come back some day. Thankfully the cowboys have gotten back in the gear and finally released their newest record Moon Healer.

Thematically, the Arizona bunch directly follow up on Sun Eater, displaying the effects of chemical abuse, picking up right where Sun Eater left us off with. Musically, Moon Healer also serves as a direct continuation of the sound Job For A Cowboy established on the sound of its predecessor. The newly established rhythm section of Nick Schendzielos (Bass) and Navene Koperweis (Drums) make a terrific job in keeping the songs dynamic and interesting, offering several indicidual standout moments while always keeping the songs’ intention in mind (for instance in the hammering “The Sun Gave Me Ashes So I Sought Out The Moon”). The guitar work by Al Glassmann and Tony Sannicandro is also top notch, offering a wide array of rhythmic tricks and subtle but catchy enough melodies as well as extraordinary solos (such as in the fantastisc album closer “The Forever Rot”). And lust but not least, we have the man himself Johnny Davy, who still gives us his trade mark shrieks and guttural bellows that are so unique and distinctive that very few death metal singers can compare to him. Also his lyricism is far from the general guts and gore topics and quite interesting to follow along to.

While it may take some time to digest the small details every song carries througout its runtime, Moon Healer is a rather compact record with very few to no filler material. While the material may seem to blend together at first, a lot of the underlying structures and melodies will slowly be finding their way into your memory. May it be the monstrous grooves of opener “Beyond The Chemical Doorway” or the subtle deathcore throwback sections throughout “The Sun Gave Me Ashes So I Sought Out The Moon” or the black metal infused “Into The Crystalline Crypts”, every song offers something for longtime enjoyment.

Additionally the songs are structured in a clever way as the more straight forward tracks make up for the first half of the record. The albums later tracks then offer a more expansive songwriting and increase the atmospheric side of things (i.e. “A Sorrow Filled Moon”) before Moon Healer closes out with pre released single “The Forever Rot”. Besides the great flow and song placement, the record’s replay value is also aided by the concise runtime of just under 40 minutes, offering a concise and crisp listening experience.

Job For A Cowboy are back with a vengeance and offer a seamless continuation of the technical death metal established on its predecessor, that should rank up high on a lot of years ends top releases lists. Hopefully the band gets the chance to also celebrate their comeback with a proper tour, celebrating their further refined identity on stages worldwide as well. The material presented here surely calls for it.

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