Sound — 8
"Demonocracy" is the third full length studio release by death metal group, Job For A Cowboy. This is the first album to include Tony Sannicandro on guitars and Nick Schendzielos on bass guitar. Personally, I would really like to see the personnel of this band stabilize. Every album seems like it is almost an entirely new band with the exception of vocalist, Jonny Davy. Despite the numerous line-up changes Job For A Cowboy still manages to come across as roughly the same band. While I have personally been a fan of extreme metal and death metal, specifically, for a fairly short period of time, Job For A Cowboy has been one of my favorite bands of the genre.
Job For A Cowboy began recording for "Demonocracy" sometime in mid 2011, and released the first single, "Nourishment Through Bloodshed", in February 2012. Since then they have released 2 more singles, and all have shown additional depth from their previous sound. While melody isn't something you hear talked about in connection with death metal very often, it is something that Job For A Cowboy has found a place for in their music to great results. While not dripping with melody, and not accurately described as a "melodic band", their music definitely has a stronger melodic content than other bands of the genre. Their melodic sense has really been what has set them apart from their competition. Their melodic character has made them a great "gateway" band for their genre allowing non-death metal fans to be introduced fairly seamlessly to the genre.
With "Demonocracy" Job For A Cowboy doesn't let you down. There are a total of 9 tracks and the album runs for approximately 40 minutes. The album plays like a constant assault, and while never backing off it still manages to add enough structure for individual songs to become memorable. The soloing is surprisingly catchy and well executed while still managing to sit well in the context of the songs.
Lyrics — 7
Jonny Davy probably has one of the best death metal growls and screams in the genre. His low growls punctuated with high pitch shrieking really comes across sounding demonic which is exactly the point in death metal. Unfortunately, I can't understand the vast majority of his lyrics this is personally a small hangup for me and the reason I'm a reasonably new fan of death metal. I've always liked being able to hear the words the vocalist is singing about, and just relatively recently been able to let myself enjoy a band with the vocals simply being like another instrument and not trying to focus on interpreting the lyrics. It is definitely a positive, however, for a lot of the important impactful lines you can understand Jonny Davy.
I've heard it said that Jonny Davy isn't the best lyricist around, and I guess since he's such an awesome vocalist and you can't understand the majority of what he is singing anyway, that he has effectively neutralized that weakness. Even without being able to understand the majority of the lyrics I would still have to rate this area as a 7 due to Jonny Davy's awesome growls.
Overall Impression — 7
As I said early in the review, the frequent lineup changes of the band make me very nervous, and I hope the band proves to be sustainable in the long run. I've personally thoroughly enjoyed "Demonocracy", even on the first listen. For me, it usually takes a listen or two to a death metal band for it to begin to grow on me, but JOb For A Cowboy has proven to be the most digestible for me without being any less brutal and pummeling. My favorite track on the album is "Tongueless And Bound" by a huge margin, and is definitely the stand out track on the album for me. I especially enjoy the solo on "Tongueless And Bound" which really seems to be super expressive for a death metal solo. I don't really dislike any songs on the album, but if I had to pick, then my least favorite track would unfortunately have to be "Children Of Deceit".
I wouldn't want to try to compare "Demonocracy" to past releases by the band, because really replacing the guitarist and bass player it almost isn't the same band. Considering the fact that it still does sound like Job For A Cowboy, it really just proves the solidity of Jonny Davy's vision of the sound he is after and shows him to be the highest functioning creative force in the band. While I wouldn't rate "Demonocracy" against JFAC's other releases on a matter of principle, I will say it is a very solid album and worth picking up. And if you are trying to give death metal a try, it is a good album to start on.