In another comeback story, of which there have been many this year, we have a new album from the once promising hard rockers Full Devil Jacket. They first jumped on the scene out of Jackson, TN with an EP, "A Wax Box to Keep Your Frankenstein Head In", followed a year later by a self-titled full length album that was received very well. With Josh Brown on vocals, Brian Kirk and Paul Varnick laying down some killer licks on the guitars, Moose Douglass with bass duties, and Keith Foster on drums they are poised to make 2015 a hell of a year.
The title track 'Valley of Bones' and '7x Down' focuses on Brown's addiction and the issues arising that affected his relationships. They carry an uplifting message through the negative situation, saying to stay strong but don't be afraid to accept that you need help. Another change that Brown brought to the new material stems from his spiritual awakening after an overdose that nearly killed him in 2000. He left the band and became Christian, and putting effort toward staying sober. Some of the lyrics do lean spiritual at times, but not in a manner where it becomes too preachy.
Having said all that, the same punch and crunch they were becoming known for 15 years ago is still there. There are songs like 'What if I Say' that show more melody and string arrangements with thoughtful lyrics but also supply an excellent solo towards the end of the song. Then 'Blood of the Innocent' gut checks you. Chunky and thudding with vocals bringing to mind Dave Williams (R.I.P.) of Drowning Pool. 'Paper Crown' tells of the futility of fighting and warring for material possessions in another ballad-like entry, Brown's voice is again on display, and the guitars are amazing.
Overall, this is a solid album with plenty of hard rocking, thoughts to live by, and a few other surprises that many may not have expected to hear. Just makes you wonder what might have been accomplished and how much further the progression might have been if they had been able to work with each other through their troubles. What else might we have heard? What will we hear next? Giving this an 8.5/10 \m/'s.
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