Artist: Full Devil Jacket
Album: Valley of Bones
Jackson, TN’s Full Devil Jacket finally unleashed their newest single, “7 Times Down” in October but was it enough to satiate your appetite? If you said no, like pretty much everyone who will read this review, fear not! The band has finally unveiled the title and release date for “Valley of Bones”, the completely fan-funded masterpiece that will put them back on the map! Full of twists and turns, this is some of the best material the band has ever come up with! Not to mention some killer guest musicians in Jason Null (Saving Abel), Zac Myers (Shinedown), Paul McCoy (12 Stones), Jeff Caughron (Every Mother’s Nightmare) Jessta James, and Evan Thomas (Ghost in the Machine)! But what makes this album so worthy of the praise I’m already giving it?
Instrumentals: While the instrumentals seem simple at heart, it’s the way the emotions are conveyed in the music that really makes it stand out. If the track is designed to feel heavy, the instrumentals are heavy, in your face and loud! If the track is designed to have a softer, more melancholy approach, the music will reflect that. They managed to really make the listener feel every desired emotion with every respective track.
Lyrics: Most bands write their music based on life experiences and FDJ is no different, but again, it’s the way in which they do this that will pull you in! Tracks like “Desert Floor” are designed to relate to those who feel like they have truly hit rock bottom, finding the courage to pull yourself up, especially when there are those who would love to see you fail! It also has a very strong religious undertone and the lyrics will hint at that. “In the end when His Kingdom comes/We will begin again/Walking in the light of the Jerusalem”. No matter what you go through, you’re not alone and you can always find the strength to pull past it, whether it be by the power of prayer or sheer will.
“The Moment” is a track I could easily see being in rotation on radio, it feels like something that could really launch them in a new direction. It’s one of those twists on the album you almost won’t expect, but it’s the first of many. Not to mention the amazing guitar work in this one!
A really fun-sounding track is “Picture Box Voodoo” which is a really upbeat track, but it’s all about the fake world which we all live in. Originality has faded from the music scene, it would seem, but there are bands out there who strive to truly remain themselves, but never get the recognition they deserve. But beyond that, this track takes a pretty big stab at the state of our nation, given our governmental representatives. Money, Power, Greed… that’s all this nation is about anymore and this track has no qualms about exposing that.
I think the highlight of this album, though, is the slower, more subtle track “Paper Crown” which will remind many vocally of Alice in Chains. But it’s the lyrical content of this track that will pull on your heartstrings. You may think you’re the best in the world, but in the end, only one matters and that is the God which we all serve. There’s nothing wrong with pride or having an ego, just don’t let it take you so far that you will never be able to recover. “The king with the paper crown” is not someone anyone wants to associate with. Don’t ever forget where you came from or who helped you get there.
When you finally get to the closing track, “August”, which is another more ballad-like song, you’ve already been through the emotional wringer several times. But if this one doesn’t have you crying, you don’t have a heart. It’s a track about love lost, longing for that one last embrace, no matter the cost. Most of us have been there, even if we don’t want to admit that. We’ve all been an emotional wreck, never wanting that person to leave. The depression sets in and you don’t want to go on, but we all find the strength needed to. This particular track, again, is speaking of reaching out to God in our darkest hour. Searching for the comfort that only He can provide at that moment.
Overall: This album had me headbanging, crying, belting out choruses and everything in between. Don’t sleep on “Valley of Bones” because I guarantee that it will go down as one of the best albums of 2014! Pick up your copy now via their webstore (linked below) and be prepared to feel emotion from music like never before! Full Devil Jacket is back! You even get a few extra tracks including “Paper Crown (Acoustic)” for doing so!