Job for a Cowboy is an American death metal band. Best known as one of the pioneers of the deathcore genre, the band has since turned away from that era and completely changed their sound as a way of distancing themselves from it. Fairly or unfairly, they have become one of the biggest names in modern death metal, having played on numerous high-profile fests and tours in addition to being one of Metal Blade Records' flagship artists.
Formed in Glendale, Arizona in late 2003 by Jonny Davy (vocals), Ravi Bhadriraju and Andrew Arcurio (guitars), Chad Staples (bass), and Andy Rysdam (drums), the band quickly created a MySpace profile and accompanying demo and attracted a fair bit of traffic from around the world; in spite of this, Staples and Rysdam left shortly after the demo was released and were replaced by Brent Riggs and Elliott Sellers, respectively, though their popularity was not affected in the slightest. Said popularity rose immensely in 2005 with the release of the Doom
EP, which was quickly followed by a distribution deal with a nearby indie label. Extensive promotion followed, and 2006 brought with it even more in the form of a deal with Metal Blade Records and the acquisition of professional management, along with a rerelease of Doom
by said label. Rysdam, however, left, resulting in Bobby Thompson taking his place. This lineup then began writing for a full-length, though Sellers announced that he would depart in order to pursue higher education after the recording process was finished. As such, the band posted a bulletin requesting a new drummer on Blabbermouth, which was read by Jon Rice, who subsequently recorded a video of his playing that he uploaded to YouTube and sent to the band. He got the job shortly after.
2007 brought with it the release of Genesis
, their full-length debut, which was a complete change of sound. Instead of sticking with the deathcore sound that had made them famous, they switched to a straightforward death metal sound. This was soon followed by numerous high-profile tours along with an appearance at Download. This continued into 2008 with a spot on Gigantour, not to mention their Wacken debut and second Download appearance. A headlining tour came later in the year, along with Ravi's departure due to his desire to go to med school. Alan Glassman of Goratory and Despised Icon fame quickly took his place, thereby creating the Ruination
lineup. Said album was released in the summer of 2009 and was quickly followed with an appearance on the Mayhem Fest. More touring followed that year, and 2010 brought much of the same. 2011 was kicked off with the groundwork for a new EP; as the band was about to record, Riggs and Thompson departed and were replaced by Nick Schendzielos of Cephalic Carnage fame, along with Tony Sannicandro, a relatively unknown young gun from Massachusetts. The limited-edition Gloom
EP quickly followed, which was distributed solely by mail-order before being made available for digital download, as the physical release was limited to 2,500 copies. Preparations for a new full-length came shortly after.
2012 was kicked off by a co-headlining tour with Dying Fetus
; come April, Demonocracy
was also out. More touring followed, including an appearance on the Summer Slaughter and a winter co-headliner with Cephalic Carnage. 2013 was, once again, more of the same, with a European tour starting things off, along with a support slot on the second half of Hatebreed's album support tour and an announced return to the Mayhem Fest. Needless to say, things certainly aren't looking bad for them, though Rice did decide to leave in November of 2013 for undisclosed reasons, though the split was apparently amicable. A full-time replacement has not been announced, though Danny Walker (of Intronaut fame) has been announced as a session drummer for their upcoming fourth full-length. That album, Sun Eater
, will hit shelves November 11, 2014.
- Demo 04
- Doom (2005) - rereleased by Metal Blade in 2006 with a bonus track
- Genesis (2007)
- Unfurling a Darkened Gospel (2009) - digital single
- Ruination (2009)
- Live Ruination (2010) - digital-only EP, consists of bonus tracks from LP edition of Ruination
- Misery Reformatory (2011) - digital single
- Gloom (2011) - EP, had limited physical release but is now digital-only
- Demonocracy (2012)
- Sun Eater (2014)
The band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Black Sheep Hit: Doom as a whole, but especially "Entombment of a Machine" and "Knee Deep". They're sick of the album as a whole (sick of being maligned for releasing it in the first place, sick of playing material from it, and sick of fans who won't stop demanding that they go back to that style), they've been unsuccessfully trying to get it off the setlists for years, and Jonny regularly introduces those two songs with "here's some old shit just to get it out of the way" and has expressed his dislike of the album to individual fans.
- Child Popstar: None of the members were older than 16 when they formed and started to gain fame. Funnily enough, this was also true of Alan Glassman by way of Goratory, as he was in his mid-teens when that band formed (he wasn't even the youngest, either; Adam Mason was only fourteen when they formed, with the other members generally hovering around that age range except for Jay Blaisdell, who was the only member over the age of twenty at the time that they formed).
- Cloudcuckoolander: Nick has a rather strange sense of humor.
- Concept Album: Genesis and Sun Eater.
- Cover Version: "The Matter of Splatter".
- Deathcore: Started out as this and served as one of the most prominent early examples of the genre along with The Red Chord, Despised Icon, All Shall Perish, and Suicide Silence, but they haven't sounded like this for years and chalked that sound up to their being young and having no idea how to write and play death metal.
- Death Metal: Genesis onwards. Ruination also had some brutal death elements thanks to Glassman.
- Epic Rocking: "Eating the Visions of God" (6:30), "Worming Nightfall" (6:20), "Tarnished Gluttony" (6:16), "The Celestial Antidote" (6:08), and "March to Global Enslavement" (6:05).
- Expy: Vocally, Davy is one to Trevor Strnad. The two singers used sound almost identical for the most part, though Davy deepened his lows and mids and made his highs less of a shriek and more of a howl over the years.
- I Am the Band: According to Nick, Jonny was this around the time of Doom, having written the entire EP. He eventually made a point of not doing this after realizing that songwriting was not his forte and was better left to the instrumentalists; as of now, he apparently takes a very laissez-faire approach and lets them do their thing, opting to just work with what they've done and make his vocals fit with the music rather than the other way around.
- Lead Bassist: Nick is a Type A and C, as he's known for both his YouTube channel and work with Cephalic Carnage.
- Loudness War: A big, big problem with all of their releases, which is par for the course as far as Andy Sneap and Jason Suecof are concerned.
- Metal Band Mascot: The unnamed minotaur-like figure on their album artwork.
- Metal Scream: Jonny's high-pitched howls.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Solid 10 for their entire career, though the title track of Ruination dips into a 9. Sun Eater sticks to a soft 10 for the most part, with occasional dips into a hard 9.
- Motor Mouth: Jonny Davy, and often.
- New Sound Album: Every single one since Doom:
- Genesis was where they abandoned deathcore and moved on to death metal.
- Ruination eschewed leads for a greatly increased emphasis on riffing; in addition to this, Jonny also began using a high-pitched screeching howl in addition to his mid-range growls.
- Gloom reintroduced leads and solos thanks to Tony, whose leadwork was far more complex and technical than Ravi's simpler, more melodic approach; as a whole, the album was far more technical than their previous material, which carried over to Demonocracy.
- Sun Eater is their biggest change in sound since Genesis, opting to eschew most of the heavier, blastier elements in favor of dark, moody progressive death with noticeable doom metal influences and an extremely heavy focus on bass. Aside from Jonny's vocals, they sound like a completely different band.
- Old Shame: The band views their early days as something of this, though they haven't entirely disavowed Doom. They're also not very fond of the band's name in general and haven't changed it only because they're too big to make changing it a good business decision.
- The Pete Best: Staples.
- Progressive Metal: Sun Eater
- Protest Song: More or less their only lyrical theme from Ruination onwards.
- Purple Prose: Davy's lyrics occasionally cross over into this, though he's cut down on it with Demonocracy.
- Revolving Door Band: They've had pretty frequent turnover to the point where only one founding member remains.
- Special Guest: Danny Walker was a session drummer for Sun Eater, though he did apparently play a big role in the writing process.
- Additionally, Jason Suecof contributed leads to "Sun of Nihility", while George Fisher contributed guest vocals to "The Synthetic Sea".
- Technical Death Metal: Significant elements of this from Gloom onwards.