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Solid, powerful, but... repetitive? - 75%

Pr0nogo, January 13th, 2012

Job for a Cowboy has always left this strange impression with me. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, but seeing as how that's what reviewers do, here goes.

Their '03 demo was good, but obviously, three tracks is much too short. Their EP Doom was a good listen in my opinion, but any meaning to the lyrics or melodies was lost on me. That one really seemed to focus more on sound than meaning. That's fine and all, but that kind of raw power in sound doesn't always make for the best listen. I didn't think Genesis stood out much amongst the rabble of metal that was available at its time of release. I'll go ahead and say that now. I thought the sound just didn't differ that much from the rest of the music industry and much of the record didn't stand out to me. That's why this strangely mixed impression that has been with me since the release of Genesis made me skeptical about Ruination. Eventually, I said, "whatever, let's see what it's all about."

Enter "Unfurling a Darkened Gospel", the opening track of Ruination, which totally blows away my mixed-up perception of Job. They established a brutal and distinctive sound that I wished they'd kept going into the recording of Gloom. I enjoyed this record's sound more than anything else about it, because it was even better than Doom and much more distinctive than Genesis. The double-bass pedals are well-mastered in this record, always pounding in the background and providing a backdrop for the myriad of mind-shredding technical riffs and excellent solos. Jonny Davy's vocals, while as over-edited as ever, sound great with the new sound rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. This collection of instruments (yes, vocals are instruments) really come together and sound great. Specific moments where they sound exceptional would be the latter portion of "Summon the Hounds", the intro to "Regurgitated Disinformation", and the entirety of "Ruination".

The bass is important in this record. Yes, you read that correctly. There's an audible illusion of atmosphere that comes from all this instrumental action while the baseline and bass pedals do their thing at a steady pace. In "March to Global Enslavement", it almost sounds like there are a bunch of tanks rolling out because of it. It's a really clever tool that Job used and I applaud them for it. As far as actual atmosphere, the title track is about all you're going to get, and even then, much of it is through the music video.

The real issue with the band as a whole is that they refuse to stick to one style. That would be marvelous if their styles were all great, but... just look at Gloom, you'll see what I mean. It seems rather hit-or-miss since that EP's release, and until they get a good handle on their musical talent - of which they have plenty - it's going to stay hit-or-miss.

Recommended Tracks:
1.) "Unfurling a Darkened Gospel"
2.) "Summon the Hounds"
3.) "Constitutional Masturbation"
5.) "March to Global Enslavement"
10.) "Ruination"