On their third release, Demonocracy, Arizona death metal outfit Job for a Cowboy wastes little time and goes straight for the jugular. Backed by a somewhat reordered line-up and a mound of impressive guitar solos, the latest release is a nourishing hunk of metal.
Genre fiddlers may find that Demonocracy bridges the gap, so to speak, between the realms of deathcore and death metal. Indeed, there are elements of both genres packed in the record. Guitarists Al Glassman and Tony Sannicandro exchange electrifying barbs throughout the record, showing their technical sides with winding, careening solos taken straight from death metal’s finest hours. Vocalist Jonny Davy brings the deathcore roots, with coated and cruel vocals taking cues from hardcore punk and even post-hardcore.
Whatever it’s called, the shoe certainly fits the severed foot offered up by this ruthless act. Demonocracy carries on the politically-charged themes of albums past, like 2009’s Ruination in particular, and bowls into new arenas with a startlingly exacting and established round.
"We approached this record with the mindset of everyone just being as creative as they wanted, and I think the result is something that is quite a bit different to everything we've done before," says Davy. "I still love Ruination, but it just seems immature in comparison to Demonocracy, and we're really proud of that progression."
The evolution is most notable in terms of what 21-year-old Sannicandro brings. His six-string is on fire through the record’s ribbon of metal and obliteration. His riffs are controlled and acutely technical, often generating the melodic epicentres of these otherwise devastating tracks. Piling Sannicandro atop a rhythm section that includes drummer Jon “The Charn” Rice and new bassist Nick Schendzielos turns out to be a damn good idea.
The slightly feverish violence of Job for a Cowboy has been pretty hard to ignore and it is indeed present in the guts of Demonocracy, but things do seem somewhat more fluid and developed.
Things open with “Children of Deceit,” a powerful track packed with stacks of riffs and Davy’s robust vocal punches. While so many other genre records open with some sort of ethereal babble or gothic-style noodling, Job for a Cowboy gets right on the horse and starts flinging elbows.
The aural bludgeoning continues with tracks like the mind-numbingly antagonistic “Imperium Wolves” and the assault and battery found on the ever-shifting “Fearmonger,” but Job for a Cowboy really proves its mettle with the groove-heavy “Tarnished Gluttony.” The closing track lets the band show off some different sonic dynamics without risking their “heavy” street cred.
All in all, Demonocracy is a deeply satisfying record from Job for a Cowboy. It continues the headway of the band without forsaking the Doom-era bellicosity that brought these boys to the deadly dance. It is distinctly belligerent and gruelling, yet it still boasts a substantial melodic core to match its lyrical mass.