AlbumsFebruary 15, 20245,982 views

Job For A Cowboy Moon Healer


Moon Healer
1. Beyond the Chemical Doorway 2. Etched in Oblivion 3. Grinding Wheels of Ophanim 4. The Sun Gave Me Ashes So I Sought Out the Moon 5. Into the Crystalline Crypts 6. A Sorrow-Filled Moon 7. The Agony Seeping Storm 8. The Forever Rot
2024 Metal Blade Records
Our score 7

2/16/2024

It’s been 84 years… approximately. Job for a Cowboy have been gone for a long time now, probably doing cowboy shit, but they’re back after 10 years, and what for? They left on a ridiculously high note with Sun Eater, a top of class progressive death metal album that was a critical and fan darling of 2014. What do they have to offer now, more of the same, or another reinvention?

 

 

To be real with y’all, Sun Eater was the first time Job for a Cowboy even entered my listening proximity. I had, perhaps immaturely, wrote them off as deathcore stalwarts in their earlier years as a teen and thus anything they did was dead on arrival to me. But Sun Eater’s hype was different, as was the album itself compared to their early output like their Doom EP. So what does Moon Healer mean for the greater JFAC story and metal’s landscape today?

 

Bad news upfront: a lot of Moon Healer’s power is frontloaded in the pre-release singles, but damn are they good. “The Agony Seeping Storm” is a cacophonic, truly explosive missive to prog death. It was the first song we heard from them in nine years (it debuted last August) and what a return. Wailing guitars, realm-transcending drums which fit the themes of the track, and a broad mix of vocals ranging from screeching highs to bellowed lows. “The Forever Rot” takes its time a lot more, as a closing track is wont to do. I love the off-kilter atmosphere near the end and the bass is really resonate as well which is saying something as it’s a star across the whole album. It’s a true conclusory statement for Moon Healer with a lot of the statements made throughout the album feeling neatly grouped up and kicked into our noses one last time, deliberately and surgically.

 

 

The deeper cuts are where things get a little less outright impressive, but there’s a lot to like. “The Sun Gave Me Ashes So I Sought Out the Moon” feels a bit like a kickback to JFAC’s earlier years, but tastefully so. There’s still brain stem-massaging prog passages that will trip you up, but the sheer riff and drumming power feels gleaned from deathcore’s more visceral and entertaining moments. “Grinding Wheels of Ophanim” grips your attention with force with its mach 9 instrumentation that still feels heady and otherworldly which makes sense if you know what the title refers to. I must also shout out “Into the Crystalline Crypts” for having some nice locomotive sections that drive the song along with a mean grace - a great mid-album shot of adrenaline.

 

Of the eight songs on Moon Healer, I can unequivocally say at least half of them rip and inspire in ways that only good progressive death metal can. The others aren’t bad at all, but trend a bit too close to those on Sun Eater or Demonocracy. Maybe that’s a good thing for long-time fans, but since my relationship with JFAC’s back catalog is nearly all hindsight, it ends up feeling dated and familiar to a fault. It’s a similar situation to what I found Engulf to be in with their latest album: solid, good, even great at certain times, but other bands have made honest trailblazing efforts to execute on high enough levels to be heralded as the next greats.

 

 

Bottom Line: it’s preeeeety good! While Moon Healer didn’t napalm my skin off like Sun Eater did, it’s mostly due to ten years of musical taste growth and other bands coming out with similarly, sometimes exceedingly tactile and alluring prog death metal in the last decade. This is every bit as interesting and cool as their last album on paper, but unless the JFAC boys were training while exiled in a cave the last ten years to reach new unforeseen skill and talent heights like an anime protagonist, there was no other outcome but this. Still, it’s not a bad outcome to have. Welcome back.


24 comments

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anonymous 61 days ago

That artwork looks like something from a prog metal band from 2007

anonymous 60 days ago

This album was boring af

anonymous 60 days ago

ZULU >JFAC

toxicnacho 60 days ago

I've never willingly listened to this band based on their name alone. And I probably never will.

anonymous 60 days ago

Zulu x Meth.

anonymous 60 days ago

Doom is still their best stuff. They went from deathcore pioneers to a generic "real metal" band.

anonymous 60 days ago

Zulu smokes these queers. 9 bitches! And I don't mean my dick!

anonymous 60 days ago

Blowjob For A Gayboy

anonymous 59 days ago

Carbon Credit for a Cow fart

anonymous 59 days ago

SpongeBob is better

anonymous 59 days ago

<impending doom & Emmure

anonymous 58 days ago

Job for a gay guy

anonymous 58 days ago

I love the album art at least. Great stuff.

anonymous 58 days ago

^Band member acting like he hasn't heard his own album yet.

Bortslob 54 days ago

Jab for a Biden voter

anonymous 54 days ago

that fanny pack is another automatic point off. who told this 40 year old that was a wise decision. album included. revisionist history. band was always hot topic my space poser trash.

anonymous 54 days ago

Is the mastering f*cked up on this record? It's so quiet on Apple Music and Spotify. Would like to hear it much louder.

anonymous 51 days ago

Difficult to say, but this album isnt very good. Every song literally sounds the same.

anonymous 51 days ago

Too bad they focused more on the album cover than the actual music. They released the best songs already as singles, even the band new the rest were crap.

lake_flaccid 51 days ago

toxicnacho 9 days ago I've never willingly listened to this band based on their name alone. And I probably never will You listen to carnifex

anonymous 50 days ago

I saw this on cd at a record store over the weekend and laughed. not at them just that they released it on cd

anonymous 50 days ago

What's wrong with Carnifex?

lake_flaccid 48 days ago

anonymous 1 day ago What's wrong with Carnifex? They fell off when they started playing "black metal" but instead it just looked like a really corny emo deathcore band incorporating synths, which was already made terrible by winds of plague. They sold it so hard and started wearing make up and the whole thing is very Hot Topic.

anonymous 44 days ago

They struggle to write memorable riffs, but its a fun album.