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As of late (particularly after Mitch Luker's death), I've taken a second look at deathcore. Though not as reviled and repulsed as I once was, I'm still not very impressed. Take, for example, 'not-enough-for-the-archives" Suicide Silence. Their debut and latest offering are rather hit and miss for me and their s/t EP and sophomore efforts just barely squeak by. The only bands in the genre that have any consistency in my eyes are Carnifex, All Shall Perish, The Red Chord, and Despised Icon. And then we have the so-called "pioneers" of the style, Job For a Cowboy. While a fan of their new album, their past work is still rather shaky and inconsistent. Even when I saw them at Summer Slaughter, I was left unimpressed with what I had just witnessed, and it's a shame given their obvious technical prowess.
That's where the fault lies in deathcore. There's plenty of ambition and technical talent, but the majority of the songwriting is utter walls of mush. Take, for example, the main single from the haggard mishmash, "Entombment of a Machine". Contained within are some great technical chops and solid riffs in the same line as Carcass, Cryptopsy, and Aborted, but the sloppy production, showboating drum work, haggard structure, and less-than-stellar vocals really detract from what is some potentially decent music. And the rest of the tracks are just a flurry of chugs on a diminished fifth, nonsensical tremolo lines, overly-processed vocals, incoherent drum lines, and the occasional good Carcass-inspired riff underneath.
For those who are into deathcore, this is an album to own for historical value, but not much for listening-to value. If you want deathcore circa '05-'07 done well, pick up "Dead in My Arms", "Akeldama", or "Allegiance". For those who want deathcore that has some songwriting worth, look elsewhere, preferably to either pre-2005 groups like Despised Icon or to one of the newer, more progressive outfits like Fallujah.
Judging by how long the hardcore and death metal fans here in the States have been crossing over in their concert going experiences, it's taken rather a long time for a plausible hybrid of the genres to arise. The process began in the 80s with 'crossover', fusing metal and punk music, and then moved along to the later strains of 'metalcore', some of which feel more legit than others (i.e., the caustic post-core noise induction of bands like Converge or Coalesce as opposed to the radio friendly Gothencore soul horseshit like All That Remains or Killswitch Engage). Naturally, it occurred to some bands that they'd rather fuse death metal in with their rampant breakdowns and mosh pit attitudes, since people have been moshing to that all along.
Since no emergent trend can survive without some good old sensationalism to run concurrent, people started calling this 'deathcore' (though the term had been coined long before by a band, and it's likely been around even further back). It's a mutant genre that many younger fans praise, and many of the 'true' metal fans absolutely despise. Whether this has to do with the inbred 'get off my lawn' xenophobia that certain metal heads are won to display whenever other people peek into their gloomy little world, or whether it's through an actual distaste for the music, who could know, and who cares. Deathcore has become the newly divisive bastard breed of metal music, and like any budding genre, there are good examples and bad examples. Arizona's Job for a Cowboy thrust out from almost nowhere into one of the foremost bands in the field, and almost overnight their internet buzz and live shows had set them ablaze in the eyes and ears of metalcore fans seeking out something heavier than the Ozzfest nu-metal garbage and screechy American melodeath they had festered on for years.
The question is...did this band deserve the attention? Well, if this debut EP is anything to judge by, then certainly not at first. Doom features 5 new compositions and an intro. The band wisely passing on a re-recording of anything form their 2004 demo, and suddenly, on the strength...or rather, lack of strength on this effort...they were everywhere. The style here is not a stretch from my previous description: all of the live setting benefits of Earth Crisis/Slayer breakdown-derived moshcore with an added injection of subtle tech death metal. That's what we go for in this country, it is sad but it is fact: brutality + technicality + dance-ability. Are we all fucking meatheads? That's an argument for another day.
We begin with a minute long ambient/noise intro "Catharsis for the Buried", complete with horrified samples, and promising enough that one feels he or she is about to step into either some militant terror industrial record or a guttural deathblast. Well, "Entombment of a Machine" gets that blast out of the way right quick before descending into the rolling double bass and fist on the floor, windmill-kicking mosh death that has every cool kid screaming doooooodddd siiiiccck. The band uses its neanderthal, bludgeoning low grooves to propel itself through several tempo shifts, but they always return to the huge stomping maneuver, for if to abandon it entirely would...well only make the song that much cooler. Make no mistake, there is some proper death metal in here, certainly the sort that would appeal to fans of the NYDM sect, but nothing truly sticks.
"Relinquished" is an improvement, with some solid old school death metal rhythms that actually sound far better alongside Jonny Davy's higher pitched gutturals and snagging pit-snarls. The song is still relying on its weaker elements though, namely the desire to mosh forward through cruise mode, with many a lop-sided, bouncing rhythm to break up what we really want to hear. And suddenly, once the track approaches 3:00, we are hit with this stunningly excellent death metal segment that actually evokes an atmosphere...whether it rolls or blasts on its journey. The winding guitar melody at the end is actually half-evil. "Knee Deep" churns along with a decent old school Swedish churn, but too quickly it devolves into more youth-weary fisticuffs. "The Rising Tide" follows suit. Every time I think it's about to get good, the band has to forsake the destruction for some awful breakdown, and "Suspended by the Throat" just alternates juvenile chugging with the occasional At the Gates/In Flames-influenced melodic barrage, probably the worst track on the album overall.
Honestly, if the band had condensed all of the worthwhile material on this EP to a mere two tracks, they'd have been onto something. But all of the good bits are mired in an obvious struggle for acceptance that translates into an almost entirely forgettable 24 minutes of slugger core that I wouldn't even beat my own head in with a bat to. A cliche pastiche of the many thousands of voiceless American metalcore bands that clogged up their local scenes and venues, now just spent youth. Ghosts of what could have been if they had focused on something other than emulating the early Victory Records roster and their favorite breakdowns from "Raining Blood" and "Slaughter of the Soul". Alas, babylon, alas.
Job For A Cowboy are easily the biggest extreme metal band in modern times. Their latest release, "Ruination", has peaked at like...#58 on the billboard 200, which is fucking crazy considering that's a death metal album up against pop and rap albums, especially in a time where most people download (not me though, very rarely at least). While reaction was mixed with thier debut and sophmore albums, with 50% loving them and 50% hating them, it seems to be a unanimous decision that THIS album sucks dick. No one has really tried to defend it, which is weird because it beats out most modern day deathcore bands.
These guys have a far greater death metal influence than a metalcore influence, that's for sure. Unlike most bands, you won't hear an entire song filled with "dun-dun...dun-dun dundun". Instead this is filled with blast beats and semi-technical riffs. The breakdowns are still there, but they aren't the focus of the songs really, but that's where this album fails. There isn't a focus at all. The band can do plenty of impressive things, sure, but nothing that really catches your attention.
If you've ever listened to a band like Dream Theater, most of the time the music is lead along by John Pettruci or Jordan Ruddess with the rest of the musicians taking a back seat to their abilities for a few measures while they solo. It seems to me that JFAC, as talented as they all are, are either too nervous or simply not good enough to make any specific instrument stand out. Even for a few measures. It seems like these guys really aren't trying. The only real exception here is Jonny Davy. The dude get's alot of hate, sure, but he does many different styles of vocals. There are pig squealed vocals, there are some decent death growled vocals, there are high pitched screams, and some more mid range growls (the latter two being the most prominent). Doing so many styles, and as well as he does them all, is pretty hard. I personally think that his vocals are the best played aspect of this album, even his pig squeals aren't all that stupid sounding here.
So, in conclusion, this is a fairly good deathcore EP despite the undeserved hate it gets. If you want bad deathcore, listen to Emmure, that's a band that deserves to be hated.
One of the reasons why it is less painful to simply ignore the radio and all of the rot infesting most promotional compilations is that you spare yourself the agony of trying to make sense of what the hell the mainstream considers to be great. Like some rich later teenaged girl with daddy’s credit cards, all of the trustees of free musical advertising will line the stores looking for the latest gag with the catchiest slogan, which is precisely how this whole deathcore nonsense got started. But like with all choices made in what to spend your money on, you get what you put into it, and simply accepting what is right in your face with no extra research being required is the mother of accepting mediocrity as godliness.
If we were to understand the deathcore subgenre as it manifests itself on this extremely disjointed EP, it would basically be nothing more than 3rd rate grindcore worship with some technically oriented, yet extremely fragmented brutal and melodic death metal riffs. Everything just sounds like it’s been chopped up in random shapes and sizes, and then glued back together with no discernable structure to speak of. Perhaps it takes some skill to memorize these through-composed monstrosities in order to accurately recreate them live, but such virtuosity does little to relieve the listener of the perplexity at just what the hell he’s actually listening to. In order to actually treat any of these misshapen compositions as songs would require an extensive suspension of auditory sensory perception and cognitive organization.
A perfect example of just how disorganized of a style this band exhibits is the extreme metal grab-bag anthem “Suspended by the neck”, which goes through so many damned stylistic and tempo changes that you’ll wonder if the random play button on your player is malfunctioning and shifting songs every 15 or 20 seconds. If you’re listening on an I-pod you’d suspect that the player is randomly shifting between the In Flames debut, something from The Dillinger Escape Plan, and a few occasional Dying Fetus excerpts and maybe a Machine Head or Biohazard bit. The singer just throws everything at the microphone but the kitchen sink, in no particular order, and succeeds only in sounding a tiger anally raping a bob cat at random intervals.
Everything else on here follows the same practice of mindless meandering and unfocused aggression, and perhaps occasionally adds some industrial noises to the intro to vary it somewhat. The one positive thing is that, unlike on the demo, the band has decided not to subject us to anything over 5 minutes in length, let alone doing a 7 minute song which would be twice as torturous with this even more asymmetrical and unstructured approach to songwriting. If you get the version with the bonus track “Entities” you get something that sounds slightly like a technical death metal song at times, though again with little attention paid to intelligibility. The solo sounds like a halfhearted attempt at emulating what was heard on much of “Individual Thought Patterns”, but without a clear melodic or thematic focus.
In short, the only thing this album really provides for any card carrying metal enthusiast is a good reason to avoid anything calling itself deathcore. The band essentially tries to merge both the early 90s technical death style and the mid-90s Gothenburg style to grindcore, poorly in all cases, and the result is a complete mess that is best swept under the rug. Scene kids who want to stay consistent are best advised to stick to straight up metalcore bands like Killswitch Engage and later In Flames, because the only reason for liking this is to brag to your authentic metal fan friends that you like music more technical than what tends to pass for radio, and no fan of old school grindcore or death metal would be impressed with nor fooled by this.
Let me state that I don't hate Job for a Cowboy because they're popular, nor do I hate them because a lot of scenesters like them. I could care less about their audience and if it gets scenesters into death metal, then I'm all for it. I also don't have a problem with them getting famous off of Myspace. Myspace is the new face of the underground and the tape trading scene has turned digital. You can either join the Myspace revolution and try to search for quality bands on that site or you can let people without a sense of taste create the next trends. It's your choice. Hating a band for their audience is just stupid and people should come to their senses and judge a band on the quality of their music. Sadly, Doom is full of two things, subpar musicianship and bree bree. The worst part about Doom is that there's simply much better deathcore out there which makes Doom one of the most overrated releases of all time.
The drums are good, I'll give them that. It's standard triggered double bass, but the drums are used effectively and don't totally suck like the guitars, nor do they show off all the time like the vocals. They show a lot of talent and are the only part of this band that seems to have any developed talent. Unfortunately, drums don't define a band's sound and having an good drummer is just a bonus.
The guitars are typically playing generic death metal riffs or generic metalcore chugging and show very little originality or talent. The lack of technical ability is strongly apparent and proves that this is a band that needed a few more years of refinement before getting signed. This is not a guitar driven band and they should have gone with a Fear Factory type approach in terms of production with the drums drowning out the guitar.
At the same time, there's the vocals which totally suck and simply show off as much as possible. The problem is that Jonny Davy tries all sorts of vocal wankery, but is nowhere near as talented as Mike Patton. He only really has four ranges yet still attempts to show off. This is most apparent in the (over)use of pig squeals which are annoying as fuck, but after a while you find yourself uncontrollably laughing at them. It's totally pointless and it sounds like Jonny is constantly singing, "bree bree hor bree bree" and is most embarrassing in Relinquished where it sounds like he's saying, "catch a glimpse of BREE BREE BREE!!!" which is one of the funniest things that I've heard in music outside of Weird Al. Pig Squeals aren't brutal, nor are they fun to listen to. It wasn't good when Circle of Dead Children did it, and it's not amusing with Job for a Cowboy.
The real problem with Doom is the age of the band members. They were simply too young to have developed properly and I'm hoping that they can eventually turn themselves into something interesting that's actually worth paying attention to.
The final blow against JfaC is that there's better deathcore out there. Doom is horrible and there isn't a single good track on it, making this one of the worst releases that I've ever heard. If you want to hear deathcore that doesn't totally suck, try Lamb of God, Divine Heresy, or The Red Chord. Those bands at least know how to make enjoyable music. Steer clear of Job for a Cowboy. (Pun intended.)
The reason I gave this album an unusually high rating is because first of all, I find the album to be a fun, easy listen. Now hear me out, I'm not some scene kid who listens to every myspace band or whatever, I really do think this album can be a fun listen, which might just make me stupid, but who gives a fuck. Like, if you are sort of pissed off, or feel like driving fast to some ridiculous music at a high volume, I think approaching this album is a good idea. The relatively corny bass drops and pig squeal vocals make for a good, short listen.
On the technical front, this album has very little to offer, everything is very basic, from drumming to guitar. So do not listen to this album if you want to hear guitar mastery or even slippery time signatures and decent solos or lead lines. The riffs mostly use the same chords and are in the famous drop C tuning I believe, to make things even easier for them. The drumming is nice and fast but there is not much creativity happening which is disappointing, but bearable. The guitar parts are harmonized in almost exclusively the same interval, and are basic palm muted rhythms being hammered away, some of them are catchy, but many of them dissolve into a mess of other, similar ones.
The two standout songs to me on this album are, like everyone else, "Entombment of a Machine" and "Knee Deep". These songs do have catchy riffs and listenable song structure, even if it is very basic. The breakdowns once again, aren't the most interesting, but they might be able to get you to nod your head or something.
Now the vocals on this album are something to be addressed completely separately. I know just how many people (on this site especially) are against the whole "bree bree" thing, and that totally makes sense, but it is a lot better to not even try then to get some half-assed death growl that is even less attention grabbing. I think that is the whole point of pig squealing anyway, to snag your attention, like, "what the fuck?" which is reminiscent of the entire album. But anyway, I think the vocals work fine, simple songs, simple vocals, you wouldn't really even want a great vocalist anyway, it would make the instrumentals completely unfitting.
One thing you must be aware of going into this album is that if you take it like they are trying to change music or do something revolutionary, than you are going to be disappointed and frustrated. Job for a Cowboy seems to be a band that likes to have fun and write fast, brutal music that kids can beat the shit out of each other to, and is there anything really wrong with that?
I don't mind deathcore as a genre. I like a lot of it. The problem with 'Doom' isn't that it's influenced by metalcore; the main issue is that it's pretty mediocre all around. I picked the EP up on a whim one day having heard most of the tracks before in various locations, so I figured that this would be eight bucks of fun breakdowns and brees. It seems that, unfortunately, the music here is much better when heard one track at a time in various locations than when collected into an EP.
There is one place that 'Doom' really shines: it's great driving music. When I'm on my way to college in the morning, this is a pretty regular play for me. It's very straightforward, sufficiently brutal, and heavy-production-having, which are all pretty important characteristics for morning drives. At least for me. When I'm sitting at home listening to it though... not so good. None of the songs stick out to me, probably because there's a hundred bands who play pretty much exactly the same thing (which is another element that makes the hate surrounding this band all the more perplexing). I own better metal albums, and more importantly, I own better deathcore albums, so it's hard to find a reason to give this particular one a listen.
The problem with this EP isn't that it has metalcore influences, as I said before. The main problem is that it doesn't have ENOUGH metalcore influences. I'm serious, this isn't nearly as ridiculous and mercilessly -core as it should to qualify as the fun experience it really should be. Because honestly, if you take out the bass drops, the breakdowns, and arguably the pig squeal vocals, you're left with a pretty generic technical death metal album. That's why 'Entombment Of A Machine' easily the most iconic track of this release, is the best: it's pretty much all breakdowns, bass drops, toughguy riffs, and similarly inclined vocals. Comparatively, the rest of the release just doesn't have that much of any of those elements; in short, it's pretty conventional death metal apart from the odd breakdown.
Job For A Cowboy is pretty good at making silly metalcore, and they're pretty good at making straightforward death metal (I have 'Genesis' and it's actually pretty good modern DM), but when they combine the two extensively, the result is pretty listless. It just goes through the motions throughout its seven tracks. There's a weirdly large amount of blasting and tremolo riffing, which in this case is rather uninspired. There's also a lot of midpaced sections that are neither death metal nor metalcore, which feature sort of scattered drumming and winding, repetitive guitar lines, which I suppose may have been Job For A Cowboy's attempt at a signature style. They're very uninteresting and I stop paying attention when they happen.
'Doom' is the sort of release that's okay if you're absentmindedly listening to it, but it really doesn't hold up in quality under any real scrutiny. There's a lot of problems with it: the parts of songs feel very disconnected with each other, with the vocals being the only really common thread that holds the songs together, a lot of those sections are overly jerky and arrhythmic, and for an album so centered on groove and breakdowns, there's not a whole lot of places you can really headbang to. That being said, it's still an okay listen, and not nearly as odious as many people make it out to be. It's just sort of boring.
First off, this is not a terrible EP by any stretch of the imagination. I believe that the problem most of us metalheads have with this album is not particularily the style done, but rather the fashion, attitude, and relative success of the band. The fact that this band has a semi-emo look is more of a reason that this band is classified as metalcore than any other. However, I must concede that this release does have a few metalcore elements. First off, this is neither a pseudo melodic death metal band (i.e. God Forbid or one of that crowd), neither is it a breakdowns galore tough guy fest. Credit must be given for avoiding those two trends in metalcore. However, to say that it lacks breakdowns, or the occasionally faux death vocals of the other mentioned trend(such as the oddly accented, would be false. It does fall victim to those parts of the metalcore genre. There are enough metalcore elements to classify this as deathcore. And on a side note, points are deducted for a completely worthless intro lacking atmosphere in any form.
Another contributing factor to Job For A Cowboy sounding metalcore is the production. It is fairly clean in my opinion. It sounds similar to production used by other metalcore bands such as As I Lay Dying. Upon the production and other trademark elements of metalcore refered to in the previous paragraph, there is a somewhat simplistic sense of songwriting. The songwriting is narrative, to its credit. However, the flow between certain riffs are not as well done as real death metal. It is rough, unarchitected. Mediocre production and songwriting.
The guitarwork is technical on occasion, however certain riffs come out sounding very overdone. These tend to be the more metalcore sounding breakdown riffs. When done at any semblance of speed on this album, the guitar work can be fairly technical, brutal, overall very death metal sounding. However the slower riffs tend to come out far more simple and more importantly, far more forgettable than the faster ones. Fairly good guitarwork in parts, others need improvement. Enough good riffage to have this qualify as deathcore.
As in at least %75 of the metal scene in general, the bass is not there. Nothing to say for the bass.
The drums are good. Nothing much better than your average death metal drummer. Double bass, blast beats, not alot of bass/snare alternating patterns though. When the double bass sections do occur, the drumwork is not very fast. One problem with the drums not relating to technical ability is that the production makes them come out very trebly sounding. The drumming is decent overall.
Finally the vocals. The deep growls are terrible, very faux death sounding. Also, as mentioned in other reviews, these awful pig shrieks come out. They are the worst vocal component on this recording. The only good vocals on the EP are done in the more midranged style. Poor vocals.
I do not reccomend this to the majority of those who listen to death metal. It has a few moments of catchiness occasionally, and some technicallity. However, the songwriting that is so key is lacking, and too many metalcore elements intrude. This EP I reccomend to those who enjoy the more death-ish sounding metalcore.
I remember downloading the album after watching the somewhat famous spongebob video on the internet with the song Knee Deep by Job For A Cowboy. I really liked the song so I got the rest of the album.
I got to say, though I dislike Hardcore and I don't like Metalcore as much as other Metal Genres, I found this album pretty good. The style is heavy and I guess it is pretty technical. I found the drumming and guitar work to sometimes make interesting combinations of sound the created a more powerful tone and the rhythm is sporadic making the songs rather chaotic. The vocals is interesting in the fact that the vocalist is daring to try both deep growls and harsh screams but he can only pull it to an extent and they sound mediocre. Though I like the screaming, I would rather the singer to do only growls and try to develop upon them more. The lyrics are alright but I never really cared for lyrics anyways. The drumming is well done and I think that the drummer is pretty talent (I am easily impressed on drumming). Bassist is there and makes a good heavy sound to reinforce the guitars, something I have heard from many bands so I didn't expect much more from the bass. And the Guitar-ing is above average and they have some skill but they are too infected with the Hardcore to really show it.
While listening, I felt that they are definitely influenced by Death Metal though the Hardcore side pulled the album down. If they tried to be more Death (not sure how) then the could actually do something.
The first song is Catharsis for the Buried and is an Intro. I guess it is suppose to be the sounds of someone being buried alive though I can't confirm. Its a bit sinister and is a good way to start the album.
Entombment of a Machine is the second song in the album and it must be a good song since they made a video out of it. It starts with a loud scream and intense drumming and guitaring and goes into a mess of riffs and screaming. Its pretty catchy and is listenable.
The Next song is Relinquished and is a lame song. It is too Core and has emolicious breakdowns. I didn't enjoy this song so much.
Knee Deep is the fourth song and is my favorite song by them. It is fast and intense and is the most well crafted song on the album in my opinion. This should have been the song with the video. The lyrics are actually good and has a good death theme.
Next Up is Suspended By The Throat. It in terms of guitaring it sound more metal than core so it is a song I don't skip. It isn't anything special but it isn't bad.
The last song is The Rising Tide and is like Relinquished as it has breakdown-ings. It is better than Relinquished but not by much.
Over-all you should only download Entombment Of A Machine, Knee Deep, and Catharsis For The Buried (If you like creepy sounding intros). This band has potential and I hope they go into a good direction.
I forgot what happens when bands find the next trend on the mallcore scene. You see, in 2002-2005 the trend was metalcore. Actually, it was less metalcore than it was Gothenburg riffs with a poorly placed mosh part here and there that wasn't even theoretically sound. Metalcore bands have stunk up the archives in that time period, and now mall-level death metal will. Mall Kids move kind of fast for retards. They've gone from open D stomp parts to tremolo leads all the way to technical death metal now. Job for A Cowboy are leading this trend, and are doing a rather shitty job of emulating the heroes they heard about 6 months ago. You see, Job For a Cowboy fits the profile of poser perfectly. They were a Christian metalcore band who then decided to give the finger to Jesus and start emulating whatever shit Earache is putting out. 46000 myspace friends later, Job For A Cowboy is (relatively) huuuuuuuuge. Take it from me, "technical death metal" is the new metalcore.
100 Demons, Terror, and Heaven Shall Burn have garnered a lot of success in metalcore not by riding the trend, but making their own unique sound. Everything is solid, played to perfection, not necessarily technical, and memorable. Job For a Cowboy has nothing memorable, let alone technical or well done to brag about. Every song goes tremolo blastbeat with pig squeal vocals, drum fill to silent guitars, rimshot to slam riff, false harmonic at the end of each lick, ends with big breakdown/mosh part that really isn't necessary. Job For a Cowboy, at their best, sound like the worst songs from Cryptopsy's "And then You'll Beg." Piss-poor horrible.
I put "technical death metal" in quotes because frankly, it's not very technical. The drummer is fucking up on the record. Fucking up live is one thing because a drummer will be very winded unless they're fit (survey says FUCK NO), fucking up on tape is inexcusable since it's like playing a videogame with unlimited lives: no matter how many times you fuck up you can still try again. The guitar work is glorified tremolo to palm mute stuff, and the entire song will sound just like that one riff at the beginning. As stated before, every song sounds the same. The bass just takes up space as it is barely audible to my refined hearing. The worst part of all? The vocals. Despite what the kids say, squealing like a pig isn't very brutal. Neither is having high pitched vocals akin to The Black Dahlia Murder or abortions. I seriously cannot stand these vocals. I though Chris Barnes post-Cannibal Corpse was horrible, but this guy takes the cake. EEP EEP EEPEEPEEP. The lyrics are unintelligible, and upon consulting the insert are really stupid and say nothing of profound impact. From describing a machine that he requires to live on, some broad with a locust-infested vagina, to anything that is forgettable, cliche, and you guessed it, very much like metalcore lyrics. Job For a Cowboy will undoubtedly sell a lot of records to a lot of stupid people, so prepare yourself for an even bigger onslaught of skunk-haired trend felchers namedropping some band that started 6 months ago.