What is the Job for a Cowboy? Is it an euphemism for a mercenary mission taken on by rogue gunslingers? Is it an exaggeration of the daily routine for some scruffy farm boy? Or is the name perhaps a raunchy joke leaving out the word “blow” on purpose? Well, whichever it is, in the context of reviewing this album, it’s a job for a fanboy if you’re expecting copious adulation.
While it is almost universally agreed among death metal fans that Job for a Cowboy’s switch to a (mostly) full-on death metal style post-Doom was a great improvement, that still doesn’t mean that they are peddling some incredibly creative or innovative brand of death metal. Guitarists Al Glassman and Tony Sannicandro are no doubt extremely proficient with their instruments. Their riffs and solos have the technical edge of modern technical death metal bands such as Spawn of Possession, and the melodies heard during their solos are furious, masturbatory moments of shredding tinged with dark tonal colors reminiscent of The Black Dahlia Murder. But this is simply not impressive enough in today’s overcrowded modern death metal scene, because guitarists like them are as common as Zubats in Mt. Moon. Being technically proficient with one’s own instrument is not a benchmark for guaranteed success—it is but a mere requirement to start off on the right path. Bands like Revocation have extremely technical guitarists as well, but why does David Davidson stand out so much from the rest of his technical death/thrash metal crowd? It is because he has a knack for coming up with insanely memorable riffs, grooves and solos; and he doesn’t simply bombard the listener with a constant stream of generic motifs (a thing one unfortunately cannot say for Glassman and Sannicandro on Demonacracy).
With that said, there are a few notable tracks that sound pretty creative. Rather than diving straight into the death metal madness right from the first second (a sin truckloads of modern death metal bands are guilty of), “Nourishment Through Bloodshed” and “The Manipulation Stream” both start off with drummer Jon “The Charn” Rice taking some of the spotlight for himself. The former hears Rice crashing the cymbals twice before leading right into a series of groovy guitar riffs and a lick that will make you want to gut a cow and eat its innards raw, while the latter hears Rice dishing out a brief drumroll as an introductory usher into an eventual series of multiple underwear-wetting guitar solos (you’ll probably need to change your underwear thrice).
One thing I am disappointed about, however, is how Jonny Davy doesn’t utilize any of his deathcore vocal techniques on this record. His pigsqueals and hysterical scream heard in the introduction of “Entombment of a Machine” are the most memorable harsh vocals I’ve ever heard in deathcore, as they bring your mood down to dirt-low level one moment and then send a rapid chill up your spine the next; just like going on a drug-induced vigilante rampage in a criminal hotbed before realizing in the aftermath how your hallucinations disguised innocent civilians as the very “criminals” you slaughtered. Davy does an okay but monotonous job of death growling on this record, which gets boring quickly and makes you want to concentrate on the guitars and drums instead.
Kudos on the light-blue color scheme of the band logo this time round, the wordplay on “democracy” in the album title, and the sex change of the traditional Job for a Cowboy humanoid mascot (well, I always assumed it was a male). The bonus nipple slip seen on the ravaged and twisted depiction of Lady Justice on the cover is quite extraordinarily arousing in the context of politically-themed death metal too [Maybe that H should’ve stood for “horny” not “happy.“ — AMG]. The brighter graphics are a welcome move away from the clichéd theme of dullness seen on previous Job for a Cowboy album covers, and it goes pretty well with the music too. Aside from a few hiccups, Job for a Cowboy don’t look like they are falling too deeply into the bustling nest of generic modern death metal bands yet.