Meridional review by Norma Jean

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  • Released: Jul 12, 2010
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (39 votes)
Norma Jean: Meridional
1

Sound — 9
After Norma Jean stated it had intentions to expand upon its sound with something totally new, the Georgia-based band has returned with Meridional. The CD, Norma Jean's first release on its new label Razor & Tie, features more layered/complex arrangements and maintains the aggressive quality heard on releases like Redeemer. The guitar tones from Chris Day and Scottie Henry do seem to be more varied, while vocalist Cory Brandan Putman rarely relents from bloodcurling screams/yells throughout the course of the 13-track disk.

The moments that truly stand out on Meridional are the ones when a whirlwind of guitars seem to come from every direction. A prime example arrives in the opening intro of The Anthem of the Angry Brides, where there is mechanical/cyclical approach to the lead riff. Another intriguing aspect to Day and Henry's collective styles is the intermittent Tool-like vibe that pops up at times, with Deathbed Atheist having a similar quality to Forty Six & 2 only a bit more intense rhythmically.

Elsewhere A Media Friendly Turn Toward The Worse delivers satisfying, straightforward rock riffage, while Fallen From The Sky: Day Seven presents a much more subdued, scream-free side to Norma Jean. In terms of experimentation, the band does give us two interludes of sorts Septentrional and Occidental that features a bevy of odd noises like birds chirping and what seems like a pool ball clanging. Meridional closes with what you might call the epic number, complete with a piano outro (and hidden track at the end).

Lyrics — 8
Lyrically speaking, Norma Jean's tracks usually come down to the closing moments of each song. The band often tends to emphasize one or two lines that will be repeated several times at the end of the song for effect. Thanks to vocalist Cory Brandan Putman's uncanny knack to sound pretty pissed off, it works quite well for the Norma Jean. Whether Putman yells, You're not getting under my skin or Lie to me, the gist of each song comes across loud and clear.

Overall Impression — 8
While the album isn't a monstrously huge leap in another musical direction, Meridional is still a well-crafted one that emphasizes the strengths of the band. From the unique guitar tones to the compositions' cohesive quality, Norma Jean doesn't disappoint. It's up for debate whether the two experimental interludes added anything at all to Meridional, but every artist is allowed to be a bit indulgent.

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    dottedeighth
    One of the only heavy bands that continue keeping it real in a scene swamped with garbage. I haven't been into heavy music for years, but with the exception of Redeemer I have been stoked on every NJ release to date. Meridional is no exception. The latest is quite possibly their best album thus far.
    BlueShox
    metallifreak77 wrote: Oh thank the gods, Just what we need! Another Metalcore album! Did i hear somebody say.... BREAKDOWN!!!!! Well I hope so because there is sure to be a lot 'round these parts. Blegh
    You obviously don't listen to Norma Jean or much "modern metalcore", or else you'd notice the huge huge difference.
    Clutch32192
    Norma Jean...you make Georgia proud. ...so does Mastodon They are one of the few heavier bands that actually spark my interest these days Keep it up guys!
    Bayon3twork
    Clutch32192 wrote: Norma Jean...you make Georgia proud. ...so does Mastodon They are one of the few heavier bands that actually spark my interest these days Keep it up guys!
    Truer words were never spoken. Don't forget Becoming the Archetype!
    BwareDWare94
    Bayon3twork wrote: Clutch32192 wrote: Norma Jean...you make Georgia proud. ...so does Mastodon They are one of the few heavier bands that actually spark my interest these days Keep it up guys! Truer words were never spoken. Don't forget Becoming the Archetype !
    Probably one of the best metalcore bands in existence. Hell, I'd put them up there with Unearth and As I Lay Dying (Yes, I do put AILD up there, they're just better than most of the genre)
    metallifreak77
    Oh thank the gods, Just what we need! Another Metalcore album! Did i hear somebody say.... BREAKDOWN!!!!! Well I hope so because there is sure to be a lot 'round these parts. Blegh
    KilleyeWill
    never understood all of the excitement about this band. not to talk shit about them cause i'm definitely not a famous musician, just way to random for my taste.
    Haymaker17
    You mean the album that was a direct rip-off of Botch's We Are the Romans? The one where they even got the same producer, Matt Bayles, so it would sound even more the same? I don't know if unique is how you would describe them. That said, ripping off Botch is better than ripping off The Devil Wears Prada like the hundreds of bands that have. Their first two albums weren't bad despite that, and Redeemer wasn't horrible either, but Anti Mother kind of blew. If this album follows that trend it probably won't be worth listening to.
    surprised it took this long for this to happen.
    PDMChubby
    Mitochondria9 wrote: They had such a unique sound with O God
    You mean the album that was a direct rip-off of Botch's We Are the Romans? The one where they even got the same producer, Matt Bayles, so it would sound even more the same? I don't know if unique is how you would describe them. That said, ripping off Botch is better than ripping off The Devil Wears Prada like the hundreds of bands that have. Their first two albums weren't bad despite that, and Redeemer wasn't horrible either, but Anti Mother kind of blew. If this album follows that trend it probably won't be worth listening to.
    Mitochondria9
    I dont like it, it sounds like Antimother, and it sounds like Redeemer, both of which I did not like either. They had such a unique sound with O God, and Bless the Matyr... but they abandoned it with Redeemer and apparently are quite content with the direction theyre going.
    Killa B7
    Finally Norma Jean is getting back in touch with their roots. Though there will never be another Bless the Martyr, and I'm glad, cause that cd needs to remain a classic. Bands must evolve, or they get played out (Unearth, though they are metalcore, they are the perfect example of a band that sounds the same with each album they create). Norma Jean manages to make an album which combines both new and older styles, and sounds amazing. After they put Redeemer out, I considered them done with "hardcore".. Now with this album, they are back on the charts as being one of the most talented, influential, and original bands in this whole mess of bands that sound the same.
    Mitochondria9
    PDMChubby wrote: Mitochondria9 wrote: They had such a unique sound with O God You mean the album that was a direct rip-off of Botch's We Are the Romans? The one where they even got the same producer, Matt Bayles, so it would sound even more the same? I don't know if unique is how you would describe them. That said, ripping off Botch is better than ripping off The Devil Wears Prada like the hundreds of bands that have. Their first two albums weren't bad despite that, and Redeemer wasn't horrible either, but Anti Mother kind of blew. If this album follows that trend it probably won't be worth listening to.
    Ive never heard Botch, but you make a good point, still.. they trend they took with their last few albums hasnt been a good one.
    dottedeighth
    "ripping off Botch is better than ripping off The Devil Wears Prada like the hundreds of bands that have"
    power_gamer_6
    crazysam23_Atax wrote: UGH, NORMA JEAN IS NOT METALCORE. Stop calling bands Metalcore. Norma Jean has always been Hardcore. They aren't Metal. I still like them, but they aren't Metal! Damn!
    Metalcore isn't metal either. Chill out.
    gizmodious
    KilleyeWill wrote: never understood all of the excitement about this band. not to talk shit about them cause i'm definitely not a famous musician, just way to random for my taste.
    They are totally NOT for everyone. I'm a part time fan for these guys, there are 2 songs that absolutely blow my mind: -A Small Spark Vs. A Great Forest -....Discipline your Daughters O God and The Anti-Mother were both awesome now that I think about it...
    irotinmyskin
    i just got it havent heard it carefully but i know i wont be dissapointed...although my favorite is still redeemer...
    Jon777
    Another album by these guys, eh? I've never actually bothered listening to any of their stuff; maybe I'll check this out.
    crazysam23_Atax
    UGH, NORMA JEAN IS NOT METALCORE. Stop calling bands Metalcore. Norma Jean has always been Hardcore. They aren't Metal. I still like them, but they aren't Metal! Damn!