Job For A Cowboy - Ruination (Metal Blade/Riot)

Finally deciding to hollow out the "-core" from their particular brand of death metal and hardcore hybrid, this cowboy rides harder and louder than ever, before albeit on the top of a familiar horse...
Release Date: 
6 Jul 2009 - 11:30pm

Recently in an interview with Metal As Fuck, guitarist Bobby Thompson told us that Ruination would be almost devoid of traces from their hardcore beginnings, cementing the sound with all of their feet firmly standing in death metal territory. Surprisingly, the talk matched the walk this time around, and Ruination certainly sounds like modern death metal should - unadulterated with "hardcore" influence, relentless, crushing and players going berserk on their instruments.

Sort of like grabbing one's face and slamming against a concrete floor, the opener Unfurling a Darkened Gospel grooves and grinds at break-neck speed, opening up their showcase of death metal chops. Instrumental lines sizzle as vocalist Johnny Davy spits sonic fire and animalistic growls from his throat. Their music continues just as swiftly, only shifting backward in tempo for Regurgitated Disinformation; a cavalcade of groovy riffs, impressive yet consise fret runs, and elegant yet explosive drumming from prodigious skinsman Jon Rice, lead all by blood curdling shrieks of inflamed hatred.

March to Global Enslavement sees them try their hand at brooding and sweeping riffs, teetering on the edge of overt technical indulgence and oblique expressionism a la Swedish psycho-grinders Laethora. Psychological Immorality riddles the listener with rapid-fire double kick blasts and and churning, arching guitars. The title track ends the album somberly, closing the disc with a drawn-out and almost belabored march into perdition.

Ruination, in isolation, can be regarded as a blistering and highly enjoyable death metal record - there's a lot that a death metal afficionado craves here. Held against its contemporaries, however, its lustre seems to dull; it approaches absolute brilliance at times, but it plateaus and hardly breaks through the ceiling that other US death metal bands such as The Black Dahlia Murder or Arisis have surpassed so very recently.

Even so, the band's weaning themselves off the hardcore teat has merely drawn them toward a spicier death metal formula; albeit one more potent than what they were used to.

Job for a Cowboy's Ruination is out now on Metal Blade/Riot.