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Ruination Detonates and Exterminates - 85%

Final_Judgement, July 7th, 2009

Job For A Cowboy has become something of a household name in metal over the past few years. From their early days of exploiting myspace and the emerging deathcore genre, through to their transformation into a unique and inspired death metal group with their debut album, Genesis, Job For A Cowboy has always been a popular target for long-time fans of the death metal genre. Their unique fusion of death metal and hardcore on the EP, Doom, attracted fans from a wide range of genres, many of which will always be unpopular with the hardcore metal community.

As a result, Job For A Cowboy has had the task of somehow attracting said community thrust upon them, if they ever want to gain respect as a real death metal force to be reckoned with. I can speak for myself and other metal fans when I say that they are getting closer with each release, and Ruination is hitting a lot of marks with even the haters.

Continuing in Genesis’ direction, Ruination is a solid slab of strong drumming, maturing song-writing, and unbelievably versatile vocals (no, they haven’t reintroduced the infamous pig squeals, if anyone was seriously concerned). Jon Rice is a more than adequate replacement for the departed Elliot Sellers, a member I previously viewed as monumental to the band’s sound. Rice can easily roll out the beats necessary in an intense death metal setting, although he sometimes fails to capture Sellers’ wizardry in creating interesting and memorable fills and other accompaniments. The absence of Ravi Bhadriraju, Job For A Cowboy’s former guitar player, is somewhat more noticeable, and his unique tones and solos will be sorely missed as the band moves forward. Overall, while Job For A Cowboy still sounds unique in a fairly monotonous genre, the long-time fans may be put off by the lack of the past flares or Genesis’ epic guitar tones and inventive drumming styles.

It is safe to say that one can mostly attribute Job For A Cowboy’s worldwide success to vocalist Jonny Davy’s extremely original and versatile approach to harsh vocals; his spitfire mix of brutal death metal lows, shrieking black metal highs, and the opinion-dividing introduction of squealed vocals to a larger audience carried Davy and his band to the forefront of the extreme metal scene back in 2005. As with Genesis, Davy has seemingly permanently abandoned the squealed vocals in favour of the former 2 styles, possibly due to the judgemental opinions of the experienced metalheads, with which Job For A Cowboy is still seeking recognition. On Ruination, Davy can’t really be seen experimenting with any new sounds or lyrical concepts. While this may be interpreted as something of a sophomore jinx, it is only because he has already accomplished so much for a young vocalist in this genre, more than any other vocalist of his experience and beyond that comes to mind.

Overall, Ruination picks up exactly where Genesis left off: with a band striving for recognition from a wider and more experienced audience. While Ruination and Genesis are by and large stylistically similar in every way, previous haters may be pleased by the more straight-forward and intense approach to the drumming, as well as by the absence of the trebly guitar tones and solos found on Job For A Cowboy’s debut EP and album. For a band of their status, they bring a level of inspiration, uniqueness, and emotion to a genre often lacking. Ruination is definitely a sign of amazing accomplishments to come, even from this young band who has already catapulted themselves among the greats of death metal.