"A Wax Box" (Island/Def Jam; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

The proper title for this EP is "A Wax Box To Put Your Frankenstein Heads In." Looks like we're in for a crazy trip.

There are many obvious improvements of "A Wax Box" over Full Devil Jacket's self-titled demo. The first improvement is the production - the sounds and subtleties jump out of the speakers with authority. The second improvement is the consistency in the songs; the songs are more hard-hitting, edgier, more original, and have more melodic sensibility. The third improvement is the immediacy of the emotions - you can feel what Josh Brown is trying to convey.

Dealing with such subject matter as good and evil, sin and salvation, temptation and virtue, the impact of choices, searching for answers is not going to be an easy task. Josh Brown doesn't preach, but he does leave a lot of open ended issues to ponder.

Musically, Full Devil Jacket are continuing their path of improvement. "Stain," which is immediately superior to anything on their demo, has a vocal reminiscent of Bush's Gavin Rossdale, but doesn't duplicate Bush; the constant push of "Stain" makes this a song to remember."Mr. Wiggly" is a forceful reminder of how ascending riffs and musical motifs can really affect a song's character. Taking a page from recent Machine Head efforts, "Screaming Jesus" is a scathing attack on modern life. "D.M.F." is a live track that showcases the band's ability to translate their strengths from CD to the live setting. The final track, "Full Devil Jacket," is an acoustic dirge that questions organized religion's role in spirituality; it also allows the band's Southern roots to shine.

While I had originally tagged Full Devil Jacket's demo as "everyman" rock in the vein of Creed, Oleander, and Collective Soul (see review below), this EP detours to a harder edge in the style of Sevendust. Having already made an impression on crowds at festivals (including Woodstock '99 and Warped Tour '99) Full Devil Jacket are on the right track to popular success.

"A Wax Box" was produced by Malcolm Springer with recording and mixing assistance from Paul David Hager. Additional production and programming was provided by Anthony Resta.

Full Devil Jacket is Josh Brown on vocals, Keith Bedout on bass, Keith Foster (aka Floppy) on drums, as well as Mike Reeves and Jonathan Montoya on guitar.

For more information check out http://www.fulldeviljacket.com and see what the band is up to these days.

"Full Devil Jacket" (Demo Sampler)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Chalk up another band up for the burgeoning crowd of "everyman rock." This five-man outfit from Tennessee, on the surface of things, seems to have very little to offer. However, it doesn't take long before a few listens provide some insight to how this band may make its mark on the resurgent rock radio playlists.

"Now You Know" shares too much in common with the post-Korn modern rock sounds of Ultraspank and Staind, but the smooth vocal delivery separates Full Devil Jacket from other pretenders. "Monster" hardly seems like it's done by the same band as the other three tracks; the electronica influenced tone of the song's beats sets the stage for this tune that straddles the hard rock line between metal and pop. "Wanna Be Martyr" is without a doubt the best song on the demo; it's a heavy number that doesn't forget that originality still means something in a world where being a copycat is far often the choice of most bands. "Love Song" adds a touch of industrial heaviness; this song also has some more of the inventive lead guitar licks and fills I've heard in a long time, but the screaming reminds me too much of the less than stellar work of Ultraspank.

Assuming the segment of radio-oriented hard rock (Creed, Oleander, Collective Soul) continues to grow, it's a safe bet that Full Devil Jacket will see national exposure before too long. The songs are radio friendly and could easily find their way into most AOR formats.

This demo was produced by Malcolm Springer (Matchbox 20, Screemin' Cheetah Wheelies) and engineered by Mike Butler.

Full Devil Jacket is Josh Brown on vocals, Keith Bedout on bass, Keith Foster (aka Floppy) on drums, as well as Mike Reeves and Jonathan Montoya on guitar. 

For more information http://www.fulldeviljacket.com to hear what the fuss is all about.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 13 May 2024 14:45:20 -0400.