Regardless of the situation, ten year anniversaries are a time for celebration in western culture. I still don’t understand why, especially when I consider the fact that a decade ago I was preoccupied with dissecting frogs and learning how to do kickflips. All first-world problems aside, there were a few bands that released their debut albums in 2005. Let’s take some time to revisit these albums and reflect on the evolutionary process these bands underwent.
Job For A Cowboy – Doom
Technically “Doom” is an EP, but considering the impact that it had on the scene it sure feels like a full length. This is one helluva blast from the past! Although not in the way one would expect; it’s unfocused and fairly immature (like a group of high school kids covering Animosity songs in their garage). Ironically, that’s the very thing that makes this album so enjoyable. “Doom” is just a collection of stupid fun tunes! I can’t even recall how many times my friend Sweeney would grab my iPod and play “Entombment of a Machine” while we were on our way to the skatepark. The overabundance of bass drops and pig squeals was more than enough to elicit laughter and excitement out of a couple of stoned 17 year olds, and for that reason alone this album is worthy of remembrance.
Over the course of ten years, Job for a Cowboy has evolved their sound in unimaginable ways. The 2014 release “Sun Eater” was a cohesive, forward thinking and all out bludgeoning experience. JFAC now occupy a unique position within the metal scene in which they are capable of converting a new generation of kids into death metal fanatics. As for the rest of us, we can always revisit “Doom” for that special sense of nostalgia that brings enjoyment into our otherwise humdrum lives.
Protest the Hero – Kezia
As far as debuts are concerned, “Kezia” is one of the most ambitious out there. Whereas most hardcore influenced metal bands in 2005 were content with mimicking the style of Killswitch Engage note for note, the dudes in Protest the Hero were determined to do something different. By concocting a blend of technical guitar shredding, heavy-hitting rhythms and vocals reminiscent of NWOBHM greats, “Kezia” defied what was conventional for mainstream metal at the time. Even the album’s concept was ambitious in a sense that it told a story in which the meaning could be open to interpretation. That’s not to say this album was perfect. Many of the transitions are so abrupt it sounds like the band created these songs out of an amalgamation of unrelated samples. Not to mention the mix of Gothenburg melodies and breakdowns seemed way too cliché for a band already demonstrating an impressive amount of skill and vision.
Protest the Hero have grown to become one the most beloved modern progressive metal bands. The musical imperfections on their debut have been nearly eradicated and Rody Walker’s vocals continue to ascend into God-like status with each subsequent album. Furthermore, they’ve continued to both progress and maintain a substantial fanbase without having to adopt stupid djent gimmicks into their sound. Evolution aside, “Kezia” still occupies a special place in all of our hearts so in order to prevent cardiac arrest I strongly recommend revisiting this album asap!
August Burns Red – Thrill Seeker
August Burns Red came out full throttle with their debut in 2005. “Thrill Seeker” pretty much attacks the senses on all fronts; experimental song-structures, spontaneous riffing and Misery Signals-esque melodies jump to the forefront while deathcore brutality dominates the rhythm end. The technical nature of this album is perhaps the most impressive. It’s as if these guys knew exactly how to make the eccentric sound of Converge more accessible to the next generation of metal lovers. The only negative aspect of this album is that the band occasionally lets their influences shine through the mix too well (the song “Speech Impediment” sounds like it was directly taken from “Of Malice and the Magnum Heart”). Aside from that, “Thrill Seeker” is a nearly flawless debut.
The evolution of August Burns Red’s sound is rather difficult to describe. While the musicianship continues to progress the execution on each subsequent album has been inconsistent. “Messengers” and “Leveler”, while good albums, lack the much needed substance for replay-ability (yeah I said it). Two things can be assured though. Countless bands have attempted to emulate A.B.R.’s sound and all have failed. Furthermore, this humble group of musicians currently stand as the kings of Christian metal, and they consistently release music that is cherished by both secular and Christian fans worldwide. To think it all started just 10 years ago.