Sound — 8
O God, The Aftermath, is somewhat a departure from "Bless The Martyr Kiss the Child" - Norma Jean's previous release. Along with the edition of singer/screamer Cory Brandan, Norma Jean has beefed up their musical structure as well. Although you can still hear the the stereotypical dissonant "hardcore chords" splattered throughout the tracks, it sounds like Norma Jean made a conscious effort to take their sound to a heavier level. As far as gear goes, they recorded the record in Litho Studios in Seattle and used MesaBoogie triple rectifiers with Randell Warhead cabinets. For axes they stuck to Fernandes Vertigos, except on "Disconnecktie" were Scottie used a Fender Jazzmaster for the clean breakdown. The riffs on this record seem to be much denser than before, however to the trained guitar player it seems that either Scottie Henry and Chris Day (the bands guitar players) didn't have the ability to write more challenging riffs or were to lazy to do so. I love Norma Jean, their live act is wonderful, and you won't meet any other guys who are as dedicated and caring; but as far as sound goes on this disc it seemed like for all the aggressive territory they want to explore, they went half way through the adventure and turned around. They started to press into some new territory but they soon got uncomfortable and went back to familiar territory. As I mentioned before I love Norma Jean, so I'm going to be a little biased here and go ahead and give them a 4, however on their next attempt in the studio I hope to hear some playing that will knock my socks off.
Lyrics — 6
"Stay back, turmoil is across-the-board it is making way for..." - that line is out of "Murderotica" the first track of of O God. The lyrics are fairly typical of a emocore/metalcore band, dark and up for interpritaion. On "Dilemmachine: Coalition Hoax" they take a jab at the current administration and they're malevolent endeavors. This is fine but, first of Norma Jean (if you didn't know already) are Christians from the Bible Belt of Georgia (a red state), and they don't really have the teeth to back up their bark (if they are condeming President Bush to hell i.e. "Coffinspire"). This seems to be a common theme throughout O God, they want to be daring and controversial (to a degree) but they dont want to go all the way. As far as lyrics compling to the music, its pretty much a perfect match. Cory's screams/growls are effective in convying whatever emotion he's going for. On the lyrics I'm not going to be so lenient, I'm going to have to give the lyrics and singing a 3.
Overall Impression — 6
If you are a new listener to Norma Jean than I recomened that you go out and buy "Bless the Martyr" first. One thing that Norma Jean has going for them, is that they have a presence about them that no other metalcore band can touch and they convey it through their recordings and music. However Norma Jean is a better band than this recording shows. It seems like they got lost somewhere between Pantera and Dillinger Escape Plan, they were almost there. If I ever lost this album I would probably go out and buy another one just because I'm a big fan, but for the casual listener it will take a couple of listens to get used to, and even then you might have some trouble. I wish they had half stars becuase I would give this one a 3 and a half, but they don't so I'm going to have to go with a 3. Sorry boys, I love you, but better luck next time. I.e. if you want to look into some good harder records, check out: "Calculating Infinity" by Dillinger Escape Plan, and "Me Before You" by Poison The Well.