Full Devil Jacket - Valley Of Bones
Full Devil Jacket have returned, in a big way! After tours with rock radio giants like Nickelback and Creed and metal legends Slipknot and Slayer, a high profile spot at Woodstock '99, singles burning up the Hard Rock charts and a song placement in the Scream film franchise, Full Devil Jacket were poised for the big time amongst rock’s elite. Until the night lead singer, Josh Brown, overdosed and nearly died. A decade since the release of their debut EP and album, Full Devil Jacket returns with the new record Valley Of Bones.
My first impressions of the album were pretty good. It feels like an early 2000’s nu-metal record. It’s hard to explain but it feels like the honest Nu-Metal that was coming out around that time, rather than the crap that comes out today masquerading as Nu-Metal but really is soulless garbage that’s just trying to be edgy to lure in idiots that think listening to My Chemical Romance is hardcore. Sorry, lost my trail of thought, what I’m trying to say is that i think Valley Of Bones is rather good. The production of the album is really well executed and it all flows pretty nicely, if you’re like me and listen to albums start to finish.
The riffs are solid and the overall song structure is pretty appealing to the ear. Songs like 7 X Down and Picturebox Voodoo are cool tunes with melodies that just get trapped in your head so easily. The bass work is particularly impressive and fun to listen to and adds depth to the tune's overall appeal. So, the heavy portions of the record are really well done with great moments and some of the most crushing riffs, truly, this is a really well worked album in that sense.
However where the album finds it’s appeal is in the ballads. So much emotion and pain is shared, it really moved me. Considering what the band went through and more importantly what Josh Brown went though, the lyrics have this haunting meaning behind them, everything about the ballads is just so honest, Nu-Metal… it’s more like Tru-Metal. You can really tell with the massive change in Vocal style, I mean you tell it’s the same guy but another personality at the same time.
The lyrics really are what drive the album home for me. Powerful words that fit the music perfectly. So maybe there’s the odd forced rhyme in there from time to time. To me that really doesn’t matter at all, what Josh is saying is awesome at the end of the day. With the heavier songs comes more harsher lyrics, you can feel the honesty in every word. However, even though there are some really serious subject matters being covered here, it doesn’t mean the band is loose enough to have some fun with the sound. There are some funky sounds that go on on this record too, where it sounds like the band was just having fun recording again, and you know what? Good on them, you should always have fun with your art.
So yeah, overall. This was a cracking album with some genuinely fun moment. Sprinkled with some seriousness. The past can’t be avoided, but hell, I think Full Devil Jacket are on their way back. Will they reach those heights of yesteryear? Probably not, I mean the early 2000’s are gone and people have largely lost interest. however if there’s room for Coal Chamber, Soil, American Head Charge, Drowning Pool and Limp Bizkit, the I see no reason why Full Devil Jacket shouldn't be given those same courtesies.
Words: Mick Birchall