"This is highly evolved, ferociously intelligent brutality." Job For A Cowboy have returned after a decade away with a modern deathcore masterpiece in Moon Healer

Job For A Cowboy return in spectacular style for their first album in ten years

Job For A Cowboy in 2024
(Image: © Chris Klumpp)

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Absence really can make the heart grow fonder. Job For A Cowboy disappeared from view a decade or so ago, having never quite shrugged off their reputation as the snotty deathcore band that conquered the world via rarely missed social media platform MySpace. Discerning folk knew the truth, of course. Their debut EP Doom aside, the Arizona crew’s catalogue is full of inventive and idiosyncratic death metal records that all deserved more credit than they received at the time. In particular, 2014’s Sun Eater was a towering masterpiece that has since become a revered benchmark for modern, technical and progressive DM. We don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, as they say.

This cowboy was, of course, always destined to ride again. Finally capitulating to the clamour of a newly expanded fanbase after a decade of silence, frontman Jonny Davy and his comrades are clearly aware that their stock has risen considerably since they powered down. Moon Healer is the perfect sequel to Sun Eater: a convincing next step that reasserts JFAC’s uniqueness, while hurling down a rusty gauntlet to the many bands that rode in on their coat-tails in the mid-00s.

Like its predecessor, this is a concept album, and its preoccupations are of a palpably existential and lysergic hue, which matches the relentlessly inventive and disorientating song structures perfectly. More importantly, JFAC have pushed the mutant death trips of Sun Eater even further into an unknowable cosmos. From punishing opener Beyond The Chemical Doorway to the excruciating, Lovecraftian dread-bang ritual of The Forever Rot, this is highly evolved, ferociously intelligent brutality, with an eccentric streak a mile wide and absolutely no fucking filler.

An uncompromising but joyful return, Moon Healer is the sound of a truly great band becoming even greater. We’re lucky to have them back.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.