Full Devil Jacket
Valley of Bones
If you complain about your favorite band taking more than the standard two year gap between albums, imagine waiting 15 years between records. That’s what happened for Tennessee’s Full Devil Jacket whose major label debut in 2000 resulted in the southern-fueled hard rock group opening for the top bands of yesteryear. After a quick ascension, lead singer Josh Brown overdosed on heroin and barely survived. After giving into a life of Christianity, he had some success with the band Day of Fire. Having seen that band live nine years ago, I can attest that Josh does everything with conviction, so it makes sense that, after the end of Day of Fire, he opted to go back to his roots.
Fast forward to 2015, and Full Devil Jacket has finally released its sophomore record, but how does the band’s sound translate when this style of music has mostly gone the way of the dodo bird? Interestingly enough, the band’s music feels even more inspired now than it did 15 years ago. These are veteran musicians who have had the time to carefully craft a fitting comeback album, and most of Valley of Bones feels that way. This is a passion project, something the band felt strongly about resurrecting. The album is surprisingly varied, with songs ranging from slow ballads to the standard mid-paced rockers, all the way to hard rockin’ jams. For example, many of these songs, at least on paper, shouldn’t work nearly as well as they do. “We Got the Love” is silly but also as catchy as a vaccine-preventable disease, and “What If I Stay” is the type of ballad that is saved by its conviction. “Picturebox Voodoo” has some expectedly silly lyrics, but it’s executed very well, with a great hook.
So sure, Full Devil Jacket isn’t going to revitalize hard rock, but it’s records like this that remind those of us who grew up in the 90s why music like this was so successful. Full Devil Jacket has released a record chocked full of entertaining, sing-a-long rock that is filled with conviction and passion. This album helps prove that well-crafted hard rock is rather timeless. If you look back at bands like Shinedown or Buckcherry with fondness, you need to check out Valley of Bones. (Nicholas Senior)