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, 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 was not announced, though Danny Walker (of Intronaut fame) was announced as a session drummer for their then-upcoming fourth full-length. That album, Sun Eater, hit shelves on November 11, 2014. Nothing really happened after that; aside from Schendzielos joining Havok and the band's van (which was owned by Glassman and was being used as a work van in lieu of touring) catching on fire and being absolutely gutted at a work site, all was quiet on the JfaC front. A glimmer of hope finally appeared in 2016, when the band announced a slot on the Modified Ghost Fest in Vancouver and also welcomed Rice back in, but that ultimately became their sole performance in support of the album, as Jonny was busy with a kid, school, and a full-time job, while Glassman reformed Goratory and Schendzielos was busy with Havok; Tony largely stuck to working at his day job. 2017 brought little other than a brief video on Facebook of Jonny and Glassman hanging out in the latter's backyard while Glassman noodled on a banjo. In addition, Nick privately told fans that yes, they were still a thing, yes, they were working on a new album, yes, it would eventually come out, and no, they didn't know when, and live appearances were still up in the air. Whoever runs the band's Facebook page publicly reiterated most of these points in November of 2017 when responding to a fan's complaints about their recent silence. The band once again reiterated in April of 2019 that they weren't dead when they announced Serpent of Gnosis (a side project involving Jonny, Al, and Tony), and repeatedly hinted that a new album was coming.
In April 2020, Jonny announced in a livestream on Instagram that the fifth full-length was completely written and they were going to hit the studio as soon as they were able to, and while their current drummer was not Jon Rice, the rest of the Sun Eater lineup is intact.
- 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:
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Ravi Bhadriraju somehow managed to get his hands on over five liters of beer in Germany while on their first European tour, then went onstage piss drunk and was such a mess that Bobby Thompson eventually unplugged his amp; he finished the night by vomiting and urinating all over himself, then woke up the next day wondering just what the hell had happened the night before before his bandmates gave him the story.
- Ascended Extra: Sannicandro and Schendzielos started as emergency fill-ins after Bobby Thompson and Brent Riggs left shortly before a tour before being asked to join full-time.
- 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", and they also briefly covered "Total Satan" (The Crown) live.
- 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.
- Drugs Are Bad: Brent Riggs was either fired or told he could leave of his own volition so he could say that he wasn't fired (depending on who you ask) because of his steadily-worsening drug issues.
- 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).
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Glassman was using their van for work when it spontaneously caught on fire at a job site one day. The vehicle was completely destroyed and the fire department was not able to determine the cause, but photos of the van during the fire show that the fire clearly did not start in the engine or under the vehicle, suggesting electrical issues as the most likely cause (though Glassman personally thinks that he may have left an oily rag balled up that oxidized enough to spontaneously combust).
- 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.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Even with a lyrics sheet handy, their lyrics are often difficult to make out due to Jonny's lack of enunciation and tendency to mash syllables together.
- Irony: Cephalic Carnage apparently did not like Job for a Cowboy at all when they were a thing on MySpace and apparently actually wrote a diss song about them. Guess whose bassist later wound up becoming a full-time member and pivotal part of Job for a Cowboy's revamped sound?
- Its Popular, so It Sucks: A large part of the initial backlash against them, but not one that the band necessarily disagreed with completely. Even in their early career, Jonny admitted that he didn't think they deserved to be as big as they were with only one album, didn't like that they had ridden in on the popularity wave of a genre that they didn't care for but had somehow managed to become a part of, and hated being billed alongside Behemoth and above Hate Eternal, as he loved both acts and felt that he should have had to pay his dues underneath them.
- Lead Bassist: Nick is a Type A and C, as he's known for both his YouTube channel and work with Cephalic Carnage. He also became a Type D on Sun Eater, as his basslines are a very, very major part of the album's sound.
- 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.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The protagonist of Sun Eater is either receiving visions of the planet's ruination from a clifftop seance that she's conducting or is just tripping balls on psychedelics (most likely ayahuasca based on the visions that she's witnessing if you believe that it's the latter). "Worming Nightfall" is either where the seance takes a turn for the worst and leaves her trapped in a dream world or where the trip goes south and renders her unable to snap out of it. It's worded ambiguously enough that both explanations are totally plausible.
- Metal Band Mascot: The unnamed minotaur-like figure on their album artwork.
- Metal Scream: Jonny is known for his equally-distinctive phlegmy, bellowing Type 2 lows and howling, raptor-like Type 3 highs, which used to be much more shrill and screechy circa Doom.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Solid 10 for their entire career, though "Ruination" and "Tarnished Gluttony" dip 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 was a less melodic, more riff-based album with more prominent brutal death influences; in addition, Jonny also began using his highs again after mostly avoiding them on Genesis.
- 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.
- Non-Indicative Name: They are not a country band, as the name would suggest. In fact, they're probably the opposite. This was the reason why they chose the name to begin with; as a bunch of teenagers, coming up with a ridiculous and decidedly non-death metal name for a band sounded like a great idea to them.
- Once per Episode: Both of their full-lengths since Bobby Thompson left have had one guest songwriting contribution from him ("Tarnished Gluttony" and "The Celestial Antidote"). Nick indicated in an interview that this was going to remain a thing on future releases.
- Progressive Metal: Sun Eater.
- Protest Song: More or less their only lyrical theme from Ruination up until Sun Eater.
- Purple Prose: Davy's lyrics occasionally cross over into this, though he's cut down on it with Demonocracy.
- Putting the Band Back Together: Al Glassman used Job for a Cowboy's mid-'10s dormancy to bring back Goratory with the Rice on Suede lineup. They are still not an active touring act, however, as multiple members either cannot tour (mainly Zac due to a pretty major conviction on his record) or really don't want to tour.
- Revolving Door Band: They've had pretty frequent turnover to the point where only one founding member remains, though Al Glassman has been in the band for the vast majority of their career.
- The Sixth Ranger: Jason Suecof, their longtime producer. By the band's own admission, he was effectively their George Martin, and he was the first producer who actively took a role in teaching them how to write songs rather than collections of riffs. As far as they're concerned, without his help, they probably would have never matured as a band on their own.
- 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".
- Start My Own: Jonny, Al, and Tony started Serpent of Gnosis with Max Lavelle and Darren Cesca (Goratory) as a side project at some point in 2018 or 2019, while Rice started Garbage People with Dan Gargiulo and Brett Bamberger plus Mike Paparo and TJ Childers of Inter Arma at some point in 2019. Rice would later add another side project to his resume around either the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020, as he also helped start Umbra Vitae with Jacob Bannon, Mike "Gunface" McKenzie, Greg Weeks, and Sean Martin (Twitching Tongues).
- Technical Death Metal: Significant elements of this from Gloom onwards.
- Vocal Evolution: Jonny's highs used to be far more shrill and screechy than the distinctive howl that they eventually became.