Release Date: Sep 12, 2006
Label: Tooth & Nail
Genres: Heavy Metal, Post-Hardcore
Number Of Tracks: 11
While Norma Jean do show promise at times, it is still very hard to get all the way through some of the songs.
Gary the Hann, on february 05, 2009 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: As far as first impressions go; Redeemer just outright sticks it's fist through the speakers and punches you straight in the face! SIT DOWN! roars lead vocalist Cory Brandan at the beginning of album opener 'A Grand Scene For A Color Film' prompting fans worldwide to cream themselves in anticipation for what they are about to hear. A few seconds pass and in kicks a guitar riff of pure metal gold resulting in an immediate and excited visit to Ultimate-Guitar.com.
Anyway, the bar is set high into the stratosphere with track 1 and the question on everyone's mind is: can the next 10 tracks be as life-affirming and number 1? And the answer is simply that some of them leap gracefully over that bar and some expectedly fall short of it.
Norma Jean's sound is kind of along the lines of Glassjaw and Every Time I Die putting their thing down in the pit to the Holy Spirit. Devastating guitars riffs and chaotic breakdowns; animalistic drum patterns and throbbing beats; ear splitting screams and apocalyptic growls is what creates that huge raw sound that is Norma Jean. A sound delivered with such honesty and intensity that it demands you pay attention to the Atlanta quintet whether you like it or not! // 9
Lyrics: Now, onto lyrics. The lyrics written by Cory Brandan on Redeemer are at times extremely deep and emotional and often with religious tones as you'd expect from a Christian. Faith is an essential element in crafting the words that will ultimately come to be: quoted in instant messenger titles and inked upon devoted bodies. For example, in the opening track the song mentions The Great Manipulator almost certainly a metaphor for Satan and how we are all subject to sin and how some Christians have allowed worship to become automatic and empty. Later on the song, Brandan sings one of the most memorable lines of the album; Let's break out the shotguns, we're going to town implying believers of God should not lose faith and fight back the Devil from tempting them into doubt and disbelief. Other examples of these religious overtones are in 'A Small Spark vs. A Great Forest' which sports lyrics almost quoted from James of the New Testament in the big book itself. However, many of Norma Jean's lyrics and songs are not based around their beliefs, these songs are the kind of songs and lyrics you'd expect from any Agnostic or Atheist group yet the words still remain strong and poetic. // 8
Overall Impression: Well I think it's about time to wrap this one up. In my concluding words I will confirm that I believe that this is one hell of an impressive and important album; standalone and to the genre - metal/hardcore/metalcore whatever you want to call it. I am aware that I have mainly focused on 1 of the 11 wonderful tracks this record has to offer and the reason for that is this - to truly understand the raw integrity and intensity of these 11 songs on this record is to experience them yourselves in your own way with your own individual thoughts and feelings towards them. Whether this be through a stereo, through headphones or though seeing the band play live. You will interpret these songs in a way that applies to you and I'm not willing to cloud the impact they may have on you. And so with my final words I'll say for what it's worth I hope you enjoy this album from whatever environment, circumstance or walk of life you are from. I'll see you in the pit. // 8
UG Team, on september 23, 2006 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Norma Jean is truly an anomaly of sorts. When you listen to the Atlanta natives' music, which goes heavy on the distortion and growls, you're probably not expecting to learn that Normal Jean is a fervent Christian band. It's exactly that paradox that makes the band a bit more intriguing. The quintet's latest CD Redeemer will probably not appeal to the masses, primarily for the abrasive vocals provided by Cory Brandan, but it is a fascinating addition to the Christian music genre.
The entire record is very raw in its approach, and one of the main reasons is Norma Jean's (vocalist Brandan, guitarists Scottie Henry and Chris Day, bassist Jake Schultz, and drummer Daniel Davison) approach to songwriting. With many songs on Redeemer, there is a tendency to let vocalist Brandan repeat lines over and over again until you might just be ready to skip to the next song. This repetitious approach make work in some cases, but a band like Norma Jean needs some let up from the screaming at times. There is nothing wrong with a good screamer who can convey the emotional content of the lyrics, but it's easy to be worn out by the first song A Grand Scene For A Color Film when Brandan incessantly asks, Just what are you trying to say?
A Temperamental Widower has a bumpy start as well. Once again, you're immediately draw to Brandan's raucous vocals until an underlying guitar line enters in the picture and leads the song in a different, melody-driven direction. The line plays while Brandan is holding out one of his screams, but it manages to work because it offers such a nice contrast between the melodic riff and the hell-sent roars.
Cemetery Like A Stage is one of the better tunes on the album, primarily because attention is averted away from Brandan and geared a bit more toward the bass work of Schultz. With the bass line leading much of the song, the track sounds vaguely like the beginning days of Tool -- the angrier days, of course. The bass is allowed to take control over the melody a few times in the song, and Brandan likewise eases up on his screams for a moment. It's at those times where you actually can hear the construction of the song a bit better, not to mention that it provides a little intermission from the unceasing sound that is usually offered up in other songs. // 7
Lyrics: While Norma Jean is vocal about the band being Christian, the lyrics on Redeemer don't necessarily scream religion. There are vague references here are there, but if you weren't told the band was religious, you probably still wouldn't know. While the songs do project the angry vibe heard in the songs on Redeemer, there are times when lines just get sung too many times.
In The End Of All Things Will Be Televised, the lyrics seem to have some religious metaphorical meaning. The writing is done effectively and never feels in-your-face by any means. Brandan sings, Out comes the exit; Captain, this ship is sinking; Have mercy. The strong contrast between the rough delivery and the message of asking for mercy is an intriguing one.
With the issue of repeating lyrics, the best example is the last track No Passenger: No Parasite, which coincidentally uses most of the words in the song in the title. The only other words added into the mix are when Brandan sings, Wake up. While the band does add different musical layers underneath the singing to build up the song into a crescendo, the lyrics still just become tedious after a while. // 7
Overall Impression: Norma Jean will likely be disliked by many because of the vocals, plain and simple. Some bands can pull of the screaming, but it's usually because they also have songs that consist of several different segments that make it more of an interesting listen. While Norma Jean do show promise at times, it is still very hard to get all the way through some of the songs.
There are plenty of interesting melody lines being played by both the guitarists and the bass player, but unfortunately all too often they are easily shadowed by the overpowering vocals. It should be said that Norma Jean does stand out from the rest of the Christian band pack, and that is fairly refreshing. If the band can strike the right balance between metal and melody, it will soon be known for much more than the religion. // 7
Amalgam, on april 16, 2007 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Any fan of Norma Jean, Underoath's newest album, Alexisonfire, etc, will enjoy this album. Redeemer is my favorite album out of their three studio releases (excluding the ones made as Luti-Kriss), and is a current favorite for my iTunes. The album features the righteous attack of Norma Jean's vicious guitars and drums, and the ever present screaming abilities of their frontman Cory. Much better screams than their old frontman, Josh Scogin, in my opinion. It has a very distorted sound that Norma Jean fans will find oh so familiar, along with odd time signatures and sometimes incomprehensible lyrics. But if you're a fan of this, then you'll find it as a breath of fresh, mathcore-influenced air. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics in this album are really impressive. Stained glass windows into the souls of some amazing young men. My favorite lyrics on the album are probably from "Blueprints for Future Homes", or "Songs Sound Much Sadder". I fear the lyrics might not live up to their old albums, but they still sound extremely well done. Cory's screaming abilities are really well, not deep metal screams, more like an angry announcer screaming into his microphone, not quite indecipherible, but still with the raw intensity of Norma Jean. And, yes, I will admit, Cory screams because he probably can't sing. But who cares, I much prefer this screaming to any singing he could possibly supply me with. // 9
Overall Impression: The overall impression of this album is that Norma Jean isn't going to soften up with their new albums. Comparable to Underoath's "Define The Great Line", but obviously not as melodic. The best songs off the album are "Blueprints for Future Homes" and "The End of All Things Will Be Televised" although every time I listen to it I listen through the whole album, so I'd have to put all the songs down as favorites. What I love about this album is that they stepped back and looked at what they got right from the last two albums, and said "Alright, let's not make the same album twice, let's go this way with this one." They burst out of their hangups with this one and really captured the perfect sound with this one. // 10
Schizopathic, on september 23, 2006 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Norma Jean. The band that everyone once loved, and now everyone loves to thrash. The bands third full length since they became Norma Jean entitled "Redeemer", is quite possibly the bands best effort to date. Many will not appreciate the structured sonic chaos that is Redeemer, while not as chaotic as it's two predecessors, it still packs enough of a punch to leave you breathless. The songs themselves are shorter than NJ is usually know for. The song titles aren't 5 million words long, but this album is in every sense of the word Norma Jean (I know it's two words, shut up). They have proved that changing your sound from album to album is not at all bad, and in some cases, can even be an improvement. // 9
Lyrics: This album is very awesome lyrically, Norma Jean has always had thought-provoking, well written lyrics. Their first CD (Bless the Martyr, Kiss The Child) featured Josh Scoggin on vocals, his unprocessed scream made people fall in love with the band, it was raw and felt like he was right there next to you screaming in your face. After BTMKTC, he left the band and was replaced by Cory Putnam. They then released O'God, The Aftermath, and Cory stepped up and proved that he was just as good if not better than Josh. But there are always those people that just don't like change, every since his joining the band, Cory has been trash-talked by BTMKTC fans (or Scoggin elitist, as I call them), about how he ruined the band. Well I'm here to tell you that Cory Putnam is an amazing vocalist. He really shines through on Redeemer, he retains his guttural, visceral scream, and really shows off his range with his melodic, singing parts. The changes in vocal styles on this record will really surprise and shock people. The lyrics themselves are quite good, with lines like:"You've given us user-friendly grenades, just what are you trying to say?" (from the album opener "A Grand Scene For A Color Film), and "Don't you dare insinuate me!" (from "Like Swimming Circles"). This is some of Cory's best work as a vocalist(Even though I do love the raw power he expressed on O God). // 10
Overall Impression: Redeemer is Norma Jean's best work to date. It just shows that a band can change up their sound, and still be completely amazing. I can't really say that their are any songs that I don't like. The most impressive on the album I would have to say are: A Grand Scene For A Color Film, Blueprints For Future Homes, A Small Spark Vs. A Great Forest, The End Of All Things Will Be Televised, and Like Swimming Cirlces(my personal favorite) Some of the songs kind of start of slow, but build to be equally as great as the others. If this CD was stolen, I would not hesistate to buy another copy, and if I ever found out who stole my first copy. I'd buy a Kelly Clarkson CD, and break it with their face! // 10
The Spoon, on january 04, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Astounding! This is the first Norma Jean CD I've heard. I have to say that I am impressed. The guitars and bass are both amazing. Working together, they create a very dirty sound, which works very well. The drummer is also pretty skilled too. The beats are amazing. The songs on the record are pretty catchy, despite the singer doing no actual singing, but screaming. You'll want to scream (or try) along. Norma Jean defies all songwriting rules, which each song being different in each other. The way Norma Jean writes their songs has it's flaws too, because some of the songs have boring parts which you'll want to skip. The singer repeats himself a lot too. // 8
Lyrics: The songs are amazing. You really want to try and sing along. The lead singer is an amazing screamer, but you can't really understand what he is saying. Sometimes you can understand what the singer screams, but this is only when he is repeating the same line for 2 minutes. You have to look up lyrics on the internet, but once you actually see the lyrics, it opens up a whole new perspective in the songs. You actually realize what they are saying and the point they are trying to convey. There is one song where lyrics are the lacking point, and that is the last track "No Passenger:NoParasite". There are only 3 lines. Wake up, no passenger, no parrasite. Occasionally, in different songs, the singer tones down the screaming a bit, and actually tries to, you know, sing. But the singer is one of the reasons Norma Jean is set apart from other metalcore bands. All he does is scream, but he is one of the best screamers I've heard. // 9
Overall Impression: Norma Jean is a metalcore band, but it's not the same as the other metalcore bands. They are different because the singer just screams, the songs lack solos, and they don't follow melody. This makes them amazing, and sets them apart from everyone else. The most impressive songs have to be "A Grand Scene For A Color Film", "The End Of All Things Will Be Televised", "Amnesty Please", and "Cemetary Like A Stage". I love how different this band is than everyone else (as stated before) and the way they write their songs. I hate how the singer repeats himself alot. I also dislike the last track because it doesnt't make sense to me. If I somehow lost this album, I would definately buy it again, as it has influenced the way I write my songs and guitar playing. As a last word, I would like to say "bravo" to all the people invloved in the porduction of this record. // 9
Kutless, on june 11, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Where can I even begin. Even though I am a long time Norma Jean fan I have to be amazed with the new cd. The first thing I noticed was that it's not near as aggressive as past albums. Normally I would list this as a bad thing, but in this case it isn't. The maturity on this album is astounding. They do an excellent job of doing heavy stuff while still maintaining good musicianship. They do a good job of making each song sound different from the one before. This was a major improvement from previous cds. Musically the standout track would have to be songs sound much sadder. It's much more mellow than the other songs, but it's still norma jean style and is an amazing song. // 9
Lyrics: As always norma jean does an excellent job with lyrics. I've always been impressed with their lyrics and I was not dissapointed with this CD. "Let's break out the shotguns we're going to town." "I will not sleep while you're throwing anchors to a drowning generation." "While we thought that we were learning how to live we have been learning how to die, I should have known we would be legends." // 10
Overall Impression: Amazing CD. That's the bottom line. Hands down it is the best Norma Jean CD to date. I could not imagine it being lost, I may have to kill someone. There's no down side to the CD what so ever, everything about it is good. I think the CD is a defininent must have for any norma jean fan or for any hardcore fan looking for something new. // 10
unregistered, on december 27, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Norma Jean and their music is very abrasive on so many levels that it almost creates it's own genre of music. The music can make you drop kick the nearest person around you. The CD is one of the few that you can listen all the way through to the end; especially with all the bands taking up all the success for their half-ass music and rip-offs. Norma Jean have created an underground following that can be measured in the thousands. We are a true fan base. Their is one slight misconception to the band though; a lot of people seem to think that they're a Christian band when they are not. Some people mistake that because there are religious people in the band but that does not make them a Christian band. Just like people relate Slayer with a Satan worshiping band when they're not, the lead singer is Catholic. I'm just saying that people don't need to mix up the titles. The fact of the matter is that Norma Jean created one of the most progressive records of all time and I applaud them for it. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are very simple yet some aggressive. "Let's break out the shotguns, we're going to town." The way he delivers that lyric makes me think of horror movies and the last man standing against the zombies. Greatest lyrics out their right beside Protest The Hero. // 9
Overall Impression: "Blueprints for Future Homes" and "No Passenger, No Parasite" are very deep in their simplicity. These songs are what creates the atmosphere of the whole record. These songs I hope are playing in hell so it'll be awesome; or they'll play Hanson so it might suck. // 6