Album Review: Job for a Cowboy – Moon Healer (Metal Blade Records)

The iconic extreme experimental death metal line-up of Job For A Cowboy had some long-awaited unfinished business. After nearly nine long years of silence, they have awoken from their slumber, forging Moon Healer, the follow-up to their previous landmark album, Sun Eater. The new album will be released on February 23rd, 2024, via Metal Blade Records.

Do you remember the first time you heard Job for A Cowboy’s brand of extreme metal? Do you remember your first thoughts and do you remember if you were wowed by their experimental abilities? I ask because I certainly was. So much so, that I fell head over heels for this band and drank in everything they had to offer, namely 2007’s Genesis and 2009’s Ruination.

Then, at some point, they just dropped off my radar, I didn’t notice 2012’s Demonocracy, and while I have a lot of love for 2014’s Sun Eater, it didn’t leave as big a mark as their first two albums did. So, when they effectively disappeared, I didn’t really notice.

In fact, in the time this website has existed, Job for A Cowboy haven’t put out anything new, until now that is. Spark up the nostalgia machine, at least from my perspective, it’s time to enjoy Job for A Cowboy again, and that is the optimal word, because this is an easy album to enjoy. Provided you like your metal delivered with all the force of a group of rampaging bulls.

Though let’s clear something up, this is not just a Job for A Cowboy nostalgia run, I don’t think the band would have bothered if they didn’t have anything fresh to bring to the table. Especially as nine years is a very long time in music, and the metal world has been constantly moving forward. So, it is delightful to find Job for A Cowboy stepping up in so many areas to tower above many a pretender of the technical and progressive death metal sound. If you’re hoping this album is as challenging as it is savage, you’re in luck, because Moon Healer is undeniably this, and so much more.

Featuring eight tracks, Moon Healer has absolutely no filler and no dull moments. From the start, there’s a corrosive heaviness that sears itself into the brain matter, but there’s also a sharpness that slice pieces of the soul off. With Beyond the Chemical Doorway, Etched in Oblivion, and Grinding Wheels of Ophanim, Job for A Cowboy showcase their 2024 sound in impressive fashion. As fast and as heavy as things are, I implore you to really listen, because the detail is where it matters. Just listen to the bass as one example of how every instrument shines here, and that’s before the ferocious vocals are considered. Trust me, there’s no ignoring the Jonny Davy delivery here, he sounds like a beast.

If there’s one really surprising thing about the album as a whole, it is that there are anthemic aspects. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to be singing along to choruses or enjoying melodic twists, but you might find it’s got more groove in places than expected. It’s just another element of this album that makes it such an enjoyable listen.

So, what else do we have? How about an absolute riff-monger like The Sun Gave Me Ashes So I Sought Out the Moon? Or the expressive nightmarishness of Into the Crystalline Crypts? I know I’ve said it before, but it needs to be said again… the bass playing on this album is out of this world. Nick Schendzielos is an absolute genius and exceptionally talented.

Though he is just one part of a refreshed and re-energised Job for A Cowboy and they continue to impress as the album heads into its latter portion. First, we have the darker complexities of A Sorrow-Filled Moon, then we have the manic, the absolutely manic sound of The Agony Seeping Storm. As compelling as everything that came before, and then some.

Can it get any better? Well, it can certainly get more experimental as The Forever Rot ends the album in hearty and heavy fashion. Except, this might be the most elaborate track of all, from the perspective of different Job for A Cowboy elements.

Job for A Cowboy are back, and they’re kicking all kinds of ass!

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Job for A Cowboy – Moon Healer Track Listing:

1. Beyond the Chemical Doorway
2. Etched in Oblivion
3. Grinding Wheels of Ophanim
4. The Sun Gave Me Ashes So I Sought Out the Moon
5. Into the Crystalline Crypts
6. A Sorrow-Filled Moon
7. The Agony Seeping Storm
8. The Forever Rot




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Author

  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

Job for a Cowboy - Moon Healer (Metal Blade Records)
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