Job For A Cowboy‘s Sun Eater is an album saddled with a lot of baggage that manages to be enjoyable if taken on its’ own merits. The deathcore and grind elements of the past are subordinate to a weirder hybrid of technical death and prog, the hype styles of the moment. That said, it would be unfair to call this transition insincere.
The performances from the band and session drummer Danny Walker (Intronaut) are worthy. Bassist Nick Schendzielos instrument is way up in the mix, in a rather startling manner compared to most metal albums. But again, technical death albums (especially by the band Death themselves) tend to emphasize the leads and bass runs more.
Opener “Eating The Visions Of God” is not the band old school fans of JFAC know, but it is good material. The song spirals like an oncoming storm, clouds brimming with menace. It all ends with some very musical bass tapping and atmospheric textures, leading into the dream crawl that is the dark “Sun Of Nihility”. The thing here that is getting me is it feels kind of like JFAC are trying hard to be several other bands in one, even with the Fallujah The Flesh Prevails-esque woman on the cover art holding the band’s traditional skull aloft. Maybe that was a coincidence, but it looks like the Fallujah album art girl just happens to be visiting the world of Job For A Cowboy with ribbons of proggy Born Of Osiris star energy in tow. Anyway, all that aesthetic business aside, the solos on “…Nihility” scorch and Jonny Davy roars as ever. Still, this stuff sounds more studied than unhinged. The execution is flawless, with “The Stone Cross” a particular technical workout sure to blow eardrums and bleed minds.
You can’t fault the band for wanting to grow.But at times these feel more like a showcase for chops than songs. “Embedded” was so strong because it had technique and a sense of pathological fury wed to a palatable arrangement that was still pretty complex. Just sayin’.
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