Sound — 9
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!
Lyrics — 8
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.
Overall Impression — 8
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.