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Ruination Job for a Cowboy have taken a lot of abuse from undergrounder-than-thou types for selling records to the wrong people. But judged purely as music, without worrying about who's listening to it and why, Ruination, like their last album, Genesis, is a very solid example of modern technical deathcore. Vocalist Jonny Davy has expanded his range somewhat on this album, coming across like a cross between the Black Dahlia Murder's Trevor Strnad (in his rapid-fire switching between low growls and high-pitched shrieks) and Lamb of God's Randy Blythe (in his ability to inject a redneck twang into death metal's usual guttural eruptions). Behind him, the band constructs an intricate scaffolding of downtuned guitar riffs, almost subsonic bass, and obviously triggered but cleanly mixed and concussive drums. While Jon Rice isn't the most amazing drummer in death metal at the moment (some kid on Sumerian Records probably holds that title), he does have a style that somehow manages to mix speed, power, and raw listener abuse with a surprising melodic feel, never getting in the way of the song. Because death metal's guitar riffs are so downtuned and blurry, the drums become extremely important, and Rice and Davy make an excellent two-man team, ably supported by their bandmates. The songs on Ruination seem less disjointed than those on 2007'sGenesis, functioning as fully formed compositions rather than mere collections of riffs. Match that to their general concision -- seven of the album's ten tracks come in under the four-minute mark -- and you've got an exhilarating album that'll make you want to speed down the highway with the windows open and the top down. Not something one usually hears about a death metal record, but as their extensive touring in support of the last album proved, Job for a Cowboy are all about pleasing their audience. Maybe that's why the screwfaced diehards on death metal message boards hate them so much. ~ Phil Freeman, Rovi
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