Job For A Cowboy Doom

[King of the Monsters; 2006]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: death metal
Others: Man Is The Bastard, The Red Chord, Behemoth

The same argument erupted last night at the bar. My friend was trying to say that instrumental proficiency can substitute a general lack of feeling and songwriting ability in music. He said one should respect Phish and toss off bands like The Fall simply because Trey Anastasio can play a mean guitar and The Fall rely on repetition and lyrical content. I used the same tiebreaker I usually pull out of my pocket: Yanni is a great keyboard player. Does that mean we should respect Yanni over a band like The Ramones?

Like Yanni, Job For A Cowboy are incredibly talented musicians. Their songs typically go through many tempo changes, ranging from the standard cruising metal yelp to the double-bass-drum, full-on Speedy Gonzales thrash. The problem lies in their reliance on well-worn metal clichés. Their lead-singer Jonny (no last name given) has quite a range and typically showcases his maniacal, Today is the Day-derivative screech and generic glottal grunt in each song. The riffs are comprised of the same lightning-fast wizard thrash that bands like Cannibal Corpse pioneered in the early '90s.

Doom, the band's debut EP, walks through five songs and a short intro in a painfully long thirty-six minutes. Songs are stretched out past the breaking point of the listener's attention span. Lyrics are probably only discernable for the most seasoned death metal fan. Though the band slows things down and speeds them up like a heroin-addled counterpart to the whip-fast hardcore of bands like Man Is The Bastard, the songs remain uninteresting due, in part, to their facelessness.

In metal these days, brilliant bands are either incredibly fast or gratingly slow. Centrism is for the generic, college-radio-worshipped fake Satan worshippers. Hopefully, Job For A Cowboy find their voice and settle on a style. Lord knows they have the talent to do so.

1. Catharsis for the Buried
2. Entombment of a Machine
3. Relinquished
4. Knee Deep
5. The Rising Tide
6. Suspended by the Throat

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