Review: Job for a Cowboy - Demonocracy

 Have you any idea as to just how difficult it is to get into Job for a Cowboy? I have listened to their debut EP Doom and albums Genesis and Ruination in full several times now and I still find it difficult to work out just what's going on. Not to say I dislike it, it's just that, well Entombment of a Machine isn't exactly what you'd call a hum-along tune. Maybe this sense of inaccessibility comes from the unpredictable growl/shriek frenzy of frontman Jonny Davy, or the ever-testing manner of their songs which means listeners are left attempting to work out if the songs have come to an end yet. However, there has been a progression throughout these albums from pre-pubescent deathcore into much more hard hitting death metal. And they've been respected enough within the world of death metal to tour with Cannibal Corpse, so they can't be doing too badly.

 Their latest offering Demonocracy shows the band's continuation in death metal territory, but at the same time manages to be their most accessible yet, without any kind of return to their deathcore sound. As of 2011, Davy remains the final original member of JFAC and the new recruits of the band have clearly succeeded in solidifying the groups sound for this album as the technical performance from new guitarist Tony Sannicandro is extremely impressive and easy to appreciate, particularly on tracks like Children of Deceit and Fearmonger. Sannicandro's playing style gives Demonocracy a much richer tone than much of JFAC's previous work. And with the overall mixture of fully charged death metal riffs, blistering solos from Al Glassman on leads, annihilating fist-pumping breakdowns heard on the likes of Imperium Wolves and Black Discharge and the overall greater focus on melody throughout the complex juddering, the guitar work on Demonocracy is that of a pretty stellar standard.
 The main celebration of Demonocracy is the way in which the band have now managed to soup up their traditional sound once more to a greater maturity and brutal grace. What an oxymoron. However, that's all that's really achieved on this album. There's little sign of JFAC stepping out of their comfort zone for this recording and have now settled into a definitive sound which carries a strong sense of routine about it. Davy continues his traditional switching between death growls and piercing shrieks. You can pretty much work out how a song will pan out. And yet, I don't really want to view this a s a problem when considering this album. It would be lame of me to crack open the phrase "You can't have too much of a good thing" but in the case of Demonocracy I may have to. It is the Job for a Cowboy sound but in this case, it's very much sharpened to a tee. They can expand their sound later. Right now they've nailed the sound we've come to love them for.
 And so, I'd like to think of this album as the Definitive Job for a Cowboy album. They're still not on par with their death metal peers in Deicide, Nile and Decapitated, (Maybe they're an improvement on Cannibal Corpse now given their disappointing performance on Torture.) nor are they even on par with their often close melodic death metal buddies in The Black Dahlia Murder, but this album is still undeniably brilliant. It's a sound that is well recognised by fans, yet it is still made to sound completely fresh and re-vamped. It's the Job for a Cowboy sound that has also become brutal, fist-pumping death metal. Maybe next time, there will be greater experimentation but for now all is well.

 Job for a Cowboy's Demonocracy is out now via Metal Blade.