Sound — 7
One thing that never ceases to amaze me about Norma Jean is how they manage to progress their sound in every album without selling out or writing the same sound twice. That being said, I still believe this Album was a step down from their previous effort Redeemer. Chris Day and Scottie Henry as always were amazing in the guitar parts, bring their unique style of playing up a level in this album. Bass was one thing that I thought really was a bit more lacking in this album. For one thing The tone of Jake's Bass was not as striking and brutal as "Redeemer" and "O'God the Aftermath", it wasn't bad, but after hearing such an amazing bass performance in their last album I was dissapointed not to hear a step up. And last but not least, drums. This was the area I was most concerned with coming into the antimother as this was NJ's first album without the epic presence of their former drummer Dan Davison. Chris Raines had big shoes to fill, and though I think the production and sound of the drums was really lacking, Raines did an excellent job on The Antimother.
Lyrics — 7
Corey Brandon is by far my favorite vocalist in the Metal, Screamo, Metalcore, Mathcore, (call it what you want)scene, and there was many doubters to whether or not he would be able to pull off the clean vocals in more parts than in previous albums. I believe the track Robots 3 Humans 0 was his best vocal performance to date, but some other clean vocals such as Self Employed Chemist were not quite up to par. Corey's screaming is impressive as always and is his best screaming I've heard from him. He is a singer that always is progressing. The Lyrics in this album are amazing also as NJ Flee's from Cliche and writes something similar to a concept album with the whole theme of the album circulating around "the Antimother" which is a representation of everything evil. Most of the songs are directly related to this theme but others such as "robots 3 humans 0" and "murphy was an optimist" are a little bit harder to find the connection in. Another highlight of the album was the guest vocal performances of The Deftones Chino Moreno, Saosin's Cove Reber, and Helmet's Page Hamilton. Moreno and Reber were an excellent mix with Corey's voice, however I honestly though Page Hamiltons performance was hard to listen to on Opposite of Left and Wrong. The song itself was excellent but Hamiltons vocals just were not all there.
Overall Impression — 8
A very interesting album to say the least, kept me guessing all the way. Me being a long-time fan of NJ, this album took me off guard a little bit at first as it was extremely different from their albums before, but it is a very unique, truly facinating album. It will never be a classic or top any charts, but a strong album none the less. The best tracks were Robots 3 Humans 0, which was incredible and shows that corey really can sing as well as scream. Opening track Vipers, Snakes, and Actors takes us back in time a little bit with just a straight up brutal song and a great way to start the album. Great album.