Job For A Cowboy
Sun Eater
(Metal Blade Records)

It’s time to take Job For A Cowboy seriously. Thanks to the hate for deathcore, internet metal nerds have had a favorite outlet for internet rage for years: Job For A Cowboy. No matter how incremental the band’s improvements have been over subsequent albums (significant, if you ask me), the band will always bring out the trolls in groves. It’s rare to find someone with a neutral opinion of the band. Katy Perry might as well have been singing about metalheads’ opinions on this band with “Hot N Cold”.  However, one listen to Sun Eater will result in one obvious conclusion: if you’re looking for quality metal, that’s clearly a job for a cowboy. The band’s fourth release is an extremely confident affair, with improvements across the board. The result? Sun Eater is one of the best metal albums of 2014, period.

Most notably, Sun Eater offers up a master class on guitar work. We had the chance to speak with lead guitarist, Tony Sannicandro here, where he said the leads were the least weak they’ve ever been. Listen to “Sun of Nihility” and tell me those guitars suck. It’s impossible, and that trade-off guitar solo is a thing of beauty. Al Glassman’s rhythm work is no slouch, as there are a number of great riffs throughout, especially on the shortest (and sweetest) of the bunch, “The Stone Cross”. The song feels like it takes the best elements of Ruination and amplifies them tenfold. The worst part of the song is that it’s too damn short. Running through the tracklist, good luck picking a bad apple. Album closer “Worming Nightfall” feels out of place, with its doom metal pace and creepy atmosphere. However, the last three minutes are pretty excellent, with its excellent guitar solo and religious chanting; the first three-plus minutes are pretty great, too.

In case it’s not obvious, Sun Eater marks a significant improvement over the band’s past. Bassist Nick Schendziolos was finally let free to roam, and his fret-less style (with a fretted bass, no less) is a welcome addition to the musical maelstrom. Session drummer Danny Walker of Intronaut sounds like he’s been playing death metal drums his whole life. We knew he was fantastic behind the kit, but few knew how adept he is at breathing life to normally lifeless death metal drum-work. Even vocalist Jonny Davy sounds more revitalized than usual. He’s picked up his range again and improved his clarity, allowing the interesting concept to be heard.

Sun Eater isn’t just the best Job For A Cowboy album yet; it’s the sound of a band taking a giant leap forward while continuing to embrace what has made it special. Where has this band been all along, and how the Hell can I get more? Few could have expected such a significant improvement between albums, but sometimes a critic becomes a fan. Job for a Cowboy as a prog band? Yes, please. Consider this a great example of such a feat. (Nicholas Senior)

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