THE FUTURE OF DEATH METAL? JOB FOR A COWBOY REVEAL THEIR GENESIS
Few bands arrive on the scene with as much hype as Job for a Cowboy. This Arizona quintet’s eldest member is only twenty years old, and they were signed to Metal Blade by Brian Slagel, the man who helped launch the careers of bands no less impressive than Metallica and Slayer, after a visit to their extremely popular MySpace page. Put more simply: JFAC seem like they could very well represent the future of death metal and the paradigm for how bands will reach the masses in the 21st century. Lucky for them, then, that their debut LP, Genesis, is actually as good as you’ve heard: a blast of old school brutality without a trace of the hardcore or melodic Swedish influences that seem so omnipresent in the music of every young metal band that springs up these days. Put more simply: Genesis is the album we were told Daath’s The Hinderers would be.
Under the guidance of producer Andy Sneap, founder/guitarist Ravi Bhadriraju and his cohorts have wisely toned down the overly technical aspects that made their EP Doom often feel like a just another discordant deathcore act like The Red Chord. Instead, the band here concentrates on deep, booming death metal anthems broken up by surprisingly well-structured guitar solos that never dissolve into mindless shredding.
If JFAC have a real fault, then, it’s a lack of originality. Bhadriraju has said in multiple interviews that he and his bandmates forfeited having any kind of social life in high school in favor of working on the band, and while all that hard work has clearly paid off in terms of muscianship and success at an extremely young age, one has to wonder what it has done for the band in terms of gaining the kind of life experience which can benefit an artist so greatly. Indeed, JFAC often sound a little too similar to the labelmates Cannibal Corpse (singer Jonny Davy even sounds eerily like Cannibal frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher). I’d hypothesize that this is largely the effect of being the ultimate MySpace band- unlike Cannibal Corpse and their peers who came to prominence in the 80s, JFAC’s DIY mentality never had to involve getting out in the scene, trading demos, watching live shows, and consequently digesting what other bands were doing. One has to wonder, at least, if a little less time spent in the practice room and a little more time just being might have allowed the band to develop a sound a little more their own, they way that another excellent young death metal act, All Shall Perish, have.
It’s a small complaint, though; at the end of the day, Genesis rocks, and really, that’s all that matters.
(four out of five horns)
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