Add Job For A Cowboy’s name to the long list of death metal bands that have taken on technical death metal. However, where many of these bands have failed, JFAC has succeeded ten fold. As great as their previous three albums were, the band was born to play this more complicated death metal style. What sticks out the most about Sun Eater is Nick Schendzielos’ amazing bass work and the near perfect drumming of session drummer, Danny Walker, giving the album a Rush meets death metal kind of feel. I hope that Walker at least tours with the band so everyone gets to hear this amazing combination live.
Now there are some fans that may be disturbed by this fairly large change in JFAC’s sound and there are others out there that just do not care for technical death metal much at all. Thankfully even though the album is heavier on the progressive elements, there is something that almost everyone can enjoy about Sun Eater. There are more traditional, straightforward tech death tracks like “Eating the Visions of God” and “Sun of Nihility”. For those of you that enjoy faster death metal, you will most likely enjoy “Encircled by Mirrors” and my personal favorite, “A Global Shift”. There is some solid guitar harmonization bringing a slight melodic death metal touch to tracks like “The Synthetic Sea” and “Buried Monuments”. The band also slows things down to a near crawl on “The Celestial Antidote” and the death/doom inspired “Worming Nightfall”. The latter is the one track on the album that just didn’t quite do it for me.
Beyond the great bass, drums and excellent mix of paces and styles, every single guitar solo on this album is incredible. Sun Eater may contain some of my favorite solos of 2014 thus far and would be hard for anyone to equal in the next couple of months. Tony Sannicandro has been great since he joined the band in 2011 but he has never been as on point as he is this time around. Jonny Davy has also laid down his best and most intense vocals to date. After seeing them live in 2013 and then hearing this album, Davy is quickly becoming one of my favorite extreme metal vocalists.
Nearly everything on Sun Eater worked which is surprising for a band embarking on their first trip into the technical death metal realm. Usually it takes at least a couple of albums for a band to get their feet under them with so many new elements and time signatures at play. Because of the utter feeling of amazement that I felt while checking out this album, I do wish it offered a few more tracks. We didn’t even reach double digits as the album only includes nine songs. However, with the exception of the aforementioned “Worming Nightfall”, the album was solid from front to back with the absolute best tracks being “Eating the Visions of God”, “Sun of Nihility”, “The Celestial Antidote” and “A Global Shift”. The band was smart to release the first three of these four songs as singles. Hopefully, “A Global Shift” is next.
With Sun Eater, JFAC has taken a stunning triple lindy dive headlong into the tech death pool. This was a risk that the band needed to take and they were not afraid to do so. Yes, their entire catalog has met with a ton of critical praise so why would they change things up that are working? Because as well as certain wrinkles can work for a band, there comes a point when they start to become stale. JFAC made sure to evolve before that happened. Plus they were never truly living up to their full musical potential until now. That seems crazy to say considering how good their past albums were but when you hear their latest release, you should realize that it’s the God’s honest truth. JFAC already puts on one kick ass live show, so I cannot wait to see an even bigger increase in the live intensity when they roll out this new material.
Sun Eater will be released on November 11, 2014 through Metal Blade Records. We highly recommend that you take a listen. Once you do, swing on by and give us your opinion of the album in our comments section.