Ruination was the 2009 follow-up of Job for a Cowboy’s critically acclaimed debut, Genesis. When this album came out and JFAC toured on the Mayhem Festival, their extreme popularity exploded into fame. For the next year, Job for a Cowboy seemed to eventually dominate almost every conversation I had with someone about newer death metal bands. I gave JFAC’s debut a 10/20 for being nothing special at all, but nothing I would avoid. Ruination shows Job for a Cowboy’s ability to mature their music and improve their overall songwriting skills. The thing is, they did do all of that, but not to the degree that I would expect out of a band with as much fame as Job for a Cowboy. Ruination expresses more technicality than Genesis, has more color, and is much less predictable as a whole.
When I first listened to this album, I started with Summon the Hounds because the song name is actually pretty cool. It turns out that Summon the Hounds is currently my favorite song off the record along with Constitutional Masturbation. Ruination’s overall sound goes in the direction of having a really “catchy” sound with generally simple guitar lines with fast and technical vocal patterns (most notable in the chorus of Constitutional Masturbation). Also, a lot of the songs have parts with semi-breakdown drumming styles similar to DevilDriver (one of the catchiest extreme metal bands ever). I am very well aware that Job for a Cowboy really don’t like deathcore at all, which is why they’ve never made a deathcore record since the Doom EP, which was actually their first release. Honestly, I’m a huge fan of the Doom EP, but I’m convinced that I won’t hear anything like that out of JFAC again; which is totally fine because that EP is more than satisfying. I haven’t heard JFAC’s brand new record, Demonocracy, so I’m writing this review from the point of view of someone who hasn’t heard it yet.
I don’t know about the rest of the metalhead community, but it seems like the breakdowns in Ruination are exaggerated a lot more than the ones in Genesis. So it seems that Job for a Cowboy didn’t completely abandon the deathcore idea because they’re still using subtle metalcore-influenced breakdowns, which are actually pretty good for when you’re in the mood for some breakdowns, but nothing TOO pronounced and exaggerated.
As far as the individual musicians go; nothing has changed at all. There has been absolutely no improvement in any of the members. But none of them have gone downhill either, so it’s not like they’re losing skill, they’re just not gaining any. The band’s songwriting skills have gone up dramatically, which has made Ruination much more enjoyable and interesting than Genesis. There’s some experimentation that goes on in some places like the really melodic guitar solo in March to Global Enslavement. There also seems to be a lot more blast beats being done by the drummer that gives the record a technical sound as well as the vocals. Other than that, this band hasn’t improved much since the release of Genesis; which is very disappointing because of the status they’ve achieved. I would give this 11/20.