Job For A Cowboy
Moon Healer

It’s been ten years since we last heard from Job For A Cowboy, so let me give a cliffnotes back story: the band is one of the first deathcore bands to blow up thanks to a Spongebob Squarepants video mash-up to the song “Knee Deep” (it is how I first heard the band- and it’s still great). The band released Doom EP 2005, and got signed to Metal Blade who re-release the EP, the band blew up even more. There’s a saturation and backlash to deathcore and the band releases three more straight-up death metal-sounding but average albums between 2007-2012 ( Genesis, Ruination, and Demonocracy).

Then in 2014, the band unleashed the brilliant Sun Eater, a pure progressive, tech death album with Death, Cynic and Atheist influences to widespread acclaim and put the band more in line with modern bands like Beyond Creation and Obscura than their early deathcore brethren.

Phew, got it?

So here we are 10 years later and JFAC has released Moon Healer, a thematic follow-up to Sun Eater (didn’t Ghostbath do this already?). And those who enjoyed Sun Eater‘s more proggy, fretless bass twangy, tech death will be relieved that Jonny Davy and co. have continued that sound for Moon Healer.

Now, I’ll admit initially Moon Healer isn’t hitting me as hard or as quick as Sun Eater did. I think that that’s largely in part due to the shock factor of how good and different Sun Eater was when it was released, and the expectation was set for following releases, even 10 years later. So Moon Healer is indeed the same exact style as Sun Eater, but now I was expecting it. It might even be a little more adventurous and free-form than Sun Eater, with even more complex layering and stuttering time changes, removing all semblance of ‘core altogether (Sun Eater had a few wafts left behind).

At the core of JFACs now not-so-new sound is still the twangy bass of Nick Schendzielos (Cephalic Carnage). His creative bass play (oo-er!) drives every element of every song along with Davy’s growls, rasps and hisses and Alan Glassman’s succinct, tight riffing. You won’t be humming or recalling any of the 8 songs anytime soon, but JFAC does a great job of making the 39-minute runtime feel much longer with its slithering, alluring complexity and constantly shifting kaleidoscopic riffs.

From the opener “Beyond the Chemical Doorway” through personal favorites, the more restrained “A Sorrow-Filled Moon” and blistering “The Agony Seeping Storm” to moodier, mindbending closer “The Forever Rot” the album continually unravels something new upon each listen (i.e the sudden little jazz breaks in “Etched in Oblivion”, the Meshuggah-inspired percussive lurches of “The Sun Gave Me Ashes So I Sought Out the Moon”). I’m sure I’ll discover even more.

I fully expect the greatness of Moon Healer to sink in much alter for me as it did with the likes of Human Individual Thought Patterns and Symbolic many years ago. And I am greatly looking forward to the next part of this concept’s run of albums (Earth Fingerer? Mars Pegger?), just not 10 years from now, please.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 26th, 2024


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