Arizona’s Job For A Cowboy toured relentlessly following the release of their 2006 EP, “Doom,” and in the process, they managed to build up quite a bit of hype over the course of these past several months. Thus, just about every North American metalhead has heard that this band (who are a group of kids that are just old enough to graduate from high school, mind you) managed to land at #54 on the Billboard charts by moving about 13,000 thousand units of their full-length debut, this year’s “Genesis,” in its first week of release. But was it worth the hype?
“Genesis” is not an innovative album with a lot of breadth to speak of, but it isn’t supposed to be. What the album more-than-succeeds at is being a very intense, technical, terrifically brutal, compact, and all-around impressive effort that metalheads will find difficult to dislike. For one, the musicianship the band displays here is nothing short of excellent. The dual guitar work is relentlessly busy, the drumming is deft and slamming, and the interplay between the three instruments is impossibly tight. Plus, the disc blends together elements of technical death metal, metalcore, grindcore, and even a trace of melodeath, so it should satisfy just about anybody who has a hankering for the heavy stuff. (The final sound is something akin to a cross of Dying Fetus, Suffocation, and Morbid Angel.)
The only foreseeable area where Job For A Cowboy could improve in the future is variety. Many of the songs on this album blend together, so a few more slow tempos could help to break up the songs’ same-soundingness. That’s certainly not a fatal flaw, though it would have been nice to have a few more standout tracks. “Genesis” is an explosive, disorienting, white-hot maelstrom that refuses to let up for the duration of the disc’s thirty-minute running time, save for two creepy, atmospheric interludes (“Upheaval” and “Blasphemy”), and the slow, ominous ninth track, “The Divine Falsehood,” which is almost straight-up doom metal. The band members work as a lean, mean, well-oiled, skull-crushing machine, as they chock every other song full of rocketing tempos, pummeling, rapid-fire blast beats, and excellent, swirling, inventive, smoke-inducing guitar licks. Sometimes, as with “Altered From Catechization,” a song will have buzzsaw riffs that are so fast and ferocious that they evoke helicopter blades. Then, frontman Johnny Davy adds his visceral (though not overly so) death metal bellows and occasional Deicide-esque shrieks to the mix. And finally, the sound is completed when a handful of quick yet skillful and memorable guitar solos are sprinkled on throughout, lending the slightest bit of melody and harmony to what would otherwise be complete chaos (for example, see the winding, wailing solos that crop up in “Embedded” and “Martyrdom Unsealed.”)
Ultimately, “Genesis” is nothing the experienced metalhead hasn’t heard before, so whether or not it completely lives up to its own hype is very much up for debate. Regardless, one thing is for certain: This is a very strong and satisfying slab of extreme metal from an unquestionably talented and promising young group that heavy music fans worldwide are advised to always keep an open ear for in the future.