Moon Healer

Metal Blade
rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Beyond the Chemical Doorway
02. Etched In Oblivion
03. Grinding Wheels Of Ophanim
04. The Sun Gave Me Ashes So I Sought Out The Moon
05. Into The Crystalline Crypts
06. A Sorrow-Filled Moon
07. The Agony Seeping Storm
08. The Forever Rot

After a decade of dormancy, experimental death metal powerhouse JOB FOR A COWBOY has finally returned, and in a big way. Similar to its predecessor, 2014's "Sun Eater", "Moon Healer", the band's fifth full-length album, is desirably heavy and conceptually interesting, with every member's top-tier musicianship on full display.

"Moon Healer" delves deep into elaborate conceptual madness that's on par with the intensity and depth of JOB FOR A COWBOY's reliably forward-thinking death metal. Vocalist Jonny Davy tells a mesmerizing story about a close friend who embarked on a hallucinogenic enlightenment quest in an effort to understand the secrets of the universe.

This album is more advanced on a creative level than "Sun Eater", perhaps too much for those who enjoy their death metal of the more meat and potatoes variety. The release's eight focus-driven songs are experimental in a way that marches off the well-beaten path. "Etched In Oblivion", for instance, encompasses a brief circus-like section that brings MR. BUNGLE to mind. The free-form approach resembles CATTLE DECAPITATION's "Terrasite". A few aggressive sections on "The Sun Gave Me Ashes So I Sought Out The Moon", guided by Davy's vocals and stuttered, chugging riffs, nod and wink back to the band's 2005 EP "Doom". Elsewhere, "Into the Crystalline Crypts" wields impressive, prog-inclined musicianship leaving the listener wanting more. On the brooding and melancholic "A Sorrow-Filled Moon", Nick Schendzielos's throbbing and punchy bass lines perfectly compliment the sharp precision of guitarists Al Glassman and Tony Sannicandro, while simultaneously providing a solid rhythmic backbone alongside session drummer Navene Koperweis.

Until now, the band's creative apex has been "Sun Eater", and although at times it is too self-referential to the band's last couple of albums, "Moon Healer" reaches its predecessor's high-water marks in every regard.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
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