In anticipation of Full Devil Jacket’s sophomore album, and first in almost 15 years, I recently went back to the FDJ catalog which is not only a refreshing body of solid heavy rock but also still relevant almost two decades on. Much like Valley Of Bones, the soon-to-be released follow-up.
Like the press release states: “Longtime fans will recognize plenty of signature elements, but this is the Full Devil Jacket of old on steroids.” Meaning, if you’re looking for “Wanna Be Martyr Pt. 2” or “Mr. Wiggly Redux” then Valley Of Bones is not the place you’ll find it. As a whole, Valley Of Bones is Full Devil Jacket older, wiser, and still burning bright after all those years apart.
Easing listeners back into the FDJ world with “Killers”, Josh Brown’s recognizable gritted teeth whisper welcomes fans back until his full-on raspy croon explodes in the chorus. The title track is a different monster altogether. Driven by Keith Foster’s staccato drum beats and Paul Varnick’s nasty shreds, “Valley Of Bones” is almost unrecognizable as FDJ at first with a heaping dose of electronics and effects beginning the track bringing to mind Full Devil Jacket’s “Mainline” and “Monster”. But this is FDJ 2.0, remember? And change is good.
However, if you ARE looking for some of that “old school” magic then “7X Down” is here to remind you why you fell in love with Full Devil Jacket in the first place with a slam-you-over-the-head guitar riff and Brown’s absolutely killer voice. Speaking of Brown (Who also released many a brilliant solo album over the years), the vocalist shines once again on songs like “The Moment” and the synth/string heavy “What If I Say” reminding longtime fans why he stood out from the rest back in the day and why he’ll continue to do so now.
Still not convinced? Then try on “We Got The Love”, probably the poppiest FDJ track ever, complete with a massive sing-a-long or “Blood of the Innocent” propelled by an unimaginable fury and pushing the “FDJ sound” into the future. Make no mistake, Full Devil Jacket is back and Valley Of Bones is their definitive statement of intent.