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Job for a Cowboy – Moon Healer

Job for a Cowboy – Moon Healer

Job for a Cowboy - Moon Healer

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Release Date: 23 February, 2024
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Musicians:
    Jonny „The Navy“ Davy - vocals
    Alan Glassman - rhythm guitars
    Tony Sannicandro - lead guitars
    Nick Schendzielos - bass
    Navene Koperweis - session drums
  • Favorite songs:
    Grinding Wheels of Ophanim, The Agony Seeping Storm
  • For Fans of:
    Between the Buried and Me, Rivers of Nihil, The Faceless (later albums)

Job for a Cowboy’s twisted hallucinogenic tale from 2014’s “Sun Eater” finally continues 10 years later, with the release of the successor “Moon Healer”.

In today’s day and age, social media plays an enormous role for bands and musicians, being a primary outlet for their art as well as an interface to their listeners and fans. However, not too long ago, this was not the case. For this reason, Arizona’s Job for a Cowboy have a unique history, being one of the first bands to rise to acclaim via Myspace, as opposed to going the conventional route. At a time when the members were just leaving adolescence, their debut EP “Doom” (2005) reached international audiences, catapulting the band directly onto large scale stages.

Over the next decade, Job for a Cowboy released 4 full length albums. They underwent a stylistic metamorphosis, starting with deathcore, into death metal, and ending with a major progressive facet in 2014’s “Sun Eater”. The conventional cycle was interrupted: They only played a few one-off shows on the back of this album, as personal topics and family building started to conflict with their schedule. Composition continued immediately, as some of the material on “Moon Healer” dates back to 2014. However, the album did not get tracked until 2020. Given the interruption from the Covid pandemic, followed by an extensive release cycle, “Moon Healer” was released just now.

In terms of subject matter, “Moon Healer” picks up directly where “Sun Eater” left off. The lyrics are based on experiences and beliefs of a close friend of the band, fueled by unorthodox life experiences, a steady supply of heavy hallucinogens, filled with conspiracy theories and a heavy dose of esoterics. The band conveys these ideas in visual representation via the accompanying music videos, co-directed by Jonny Davy (vocals) himself.

Sound-wise, the first thing that strikes is the emphasis on bass in the mix, alongside the particular tone, extensive slapping, much more featured than in “Sun Eater”. Bassist Nick Schendzielos (also Cephalic Carnage, Havok) favored a clean and midrange-focused approach, as opposed to the conventional scooped and distorted approach common in the genre. He’s heavily inspired by Mudvayne and their virtuoso bassist Ryan Martinie, claiming a leading role in the mix. It serves to create a very unique and transparent soundscape, highly ornate with the additional melodic element, while at the same time less dense and thick.

In true faith to the predecessor, there are very few repeating parts in the songs. The album demands multiple run-throughs to properly grasp its scope and full ideas, just as the subject matter requires reading along with the lyrics. Job for a Cowboy still manage to instil an appropriate level of catchiness into the choruses to outline cohesive songwriting. The first time this clearly strikes home is on the repeat of the chorus in ‘Grinding Wheels of Ophanim’, inducing an involuntary head bop.

Davy’s vocal approaches are highly varied, covering shrieks, barking screams, low growls among others. Guitarists Tony Sannicandro and Al Glassman display intricate guitar playing, a flurry of techniques and melodic features that demand detailed listening to not be overheard. Session drummer Navene Koperweis (ex-Animals as Leaders, Fleshwrought, Entheos) is a special highlight, playing energetically, ornate & filled with smart little details. Overall, the remarkable instrumental performances are intricately interwoven. This is no easy listening matter though. In a single listening session, tangible and recognizable hooks are difficult to identify, given everything that is happening simultaneously. The picture becomes much clearer on multiple listens, when the full scope of the album unfolds. It moves past you in an almost cinematic manner, lending itself to proper front-to-back listening as opposed to picking out a single song for your latest playlist.

For connoisseurs of the highly intensive, heavy-yet-intricate modern progressive death metal style, “Moon Healer” serves as a prime specimen based on its unique sound and approach. Investing a bit of time to fully grasp its macro- and micro-features is a highly rewarding experience. For bassists, it’s a wet dream come true, allowing the instrument to shine to its full potential. 10 years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but in Job for a Cowboy’s latest release, it was well worth it!

Track List:

  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

About the Author


Semiconductor engineer and bass player Bas is coming at you from Munich, Germany. He surely is a connaisseur of Prog and Fusion Jazz, but is also firmly rooted in all flavors of Metal, old and new.

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