Many Nu-Metal band had some sort of gimmick to attract crowds. Generally, it's a good thing since it gives them personality. Korn were creepy, Limp Bizkit had fun and Linkin Park got angry over Hip-Hop beats. Some gimmicks failed to sell, like Five Pointe O which decided to get a little more progressive. Along comes Full Devil Jacket. Full Devil Jacket don't got much of a gimmick, yet they are able to stand out among other generic Nu-Metal bands like From Zero or Lifer.
Enter Full Devil Jacket
, their self-titled debut and sadly only album. With an album title like that, you might expect the band to go on an angst rampage. Suprisingly, they don't. One of the things that make Full Devil Jacket more notable is the lack of angst. Yes, there are heavy mid-tempo tracks ("Fastblack") and fast-paced loudfests such as "Stain". However, they feel more like musical ideas rather than a post from a teenager's blog. This is achieved mainly thanks to Josh Brown's vocals. His clean vocals tend to be soft and gentle, somewhat similar to God Lives Underwater's "From Your Mouth". It also leads to Full Devil Jacket's bigges strength: Ballads.
Ballads in Modern Rock albums mostly serve as "Here, a different song, let's rock again now". In Full Devil Jacket's case, it allows Josh Brown to fully shine. They also have a much more emotional punch than the harder songs, especially "Monster" which transmists the outcast feeling successfully. "Where Did You Go?" has a more acoustic feel to it, while the album closer "Cardboard Believer" aims for a more epic direction. Both ballads work because the songwriting is good, but mainly because Brown's vocals simply suit his ballads more than his hard songs.
Another notable thing about Full Devil Jacket is the lack of catchy hooks. In this kind of music, hooks are mostly a necessity. The only song here that has a catchy hook is "Blue Green Day". You can sing along to some of the tracks, like "Love Song", and "Now You Know", but these songs don't have that kind of hook that's good for the radio. The result is that there is more focus on texture and atmosphere. A good example is the afromentioned "Now You Know" and "Fastblack" with its menacing feel. The texture gives the song an extra punch, improving the emotions in the ballads and making the hard songs sound more interesting.
Full Devil Jacket's only weakness is that the record feels a little unfocused in places, and Brown's screaming is a little underwhelming. These problems are really minor, because through the 12 tracks, there is no really bad song. All songs are worth listening more than once, and some are brilliant. Also, for a band that relies on vocals, there are still attempts at the instrumental section. They're not very technical, but the opening riff to "Stain" is great and the musical backdrop for the ballads gives the needed effect. Full Devil Jacket
is an album for anyone interested in good modern rock, and a pretty important album for a Nu-Metal collection. Recommended.