If you have ever been a heavy listener of the “hardcore” music genre, you know Norma Jean. Named after Marilyn Monroe, this band has unleashed 6 studio albums for the masses. The most recent, Wrongdoers, was released on August 6th, 2013 by Razor & Tie (who are in agreement with Sony, like everything else). Before I get too involved in this, we need to have a talk about Norma Jean.
Being a former scene kid (in actuality, my attempt at being “scene” was just a plethora of band tees, heavily hair-sprayed hair, and lots of eyeliner), I was once a very huge fan of Norma Jean. When anyone talks about Norma, they talk about the first three LP’s: Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child, O God, The Aftermath, and Redeemer. That’s pretty much what they are known for. They have two other albums, The Anti Mother and Meridional, which, while good, nobody really gives a fuck about. That’s really not even me being mean or anything, its Norma fact (it may also partially be that this band has swapped out members like a motherfucker). When I saw Wrongdoers was being released I thought to myself, here is another mediocre album heading my way. But I was very pleasantly surprised to hear what Norma Jean has given us.
The album is absolutely fine tuned and well developed. Being a big fan of Cory Brandan Putman, his voice really hasn’t changed much throughout the years (unlike bands like say, Drop Dead, Gorgeous, not to mention names or anything). That is huge plus number one. They are elementally diverse, plus number two. They explore so many sounds (the merge of their metalcore/hardcore/sludge metal noise) to make this album. Not that they haven’t done that with other albums, but this album has the ability to be memorable.
For all of you who are looking for the Norma Jean chaos in this album, it is ever present in Wrongdoers. Everything is loud, guitar riffs come in loud and wretched, and Putman’s repeated screams are the topping on this hardcore sundae. Metaphorically speaking, this album is like taking your head to a fucking brick wall with superior amounts of force (only the collision of skull-to-brick was enjoyable). Their lyrics speak of desperation, death, and rebellion, as showcased in songs like Neck In The Hemp (“So just give me one reason to fall in line, cause at the end of the day I just forget to care.”) and Hive Minds (“Someday these bones will be dust beneath a sprawling city of human achievement, flowing up for a place under the sun.”) Then there is a gem amidst the sadness, a love song titled Funeral Singer (“I want to look you in the eyes and count my blessings. You are so much more than just my other half. I’m telling you right now, I’d sell my soul for you.”) The album has predictability and unpredictability combined in harmony.
Ultimately, I am here to reassure you, while Wrongdoers will never live up to BTMKTC in the eyes of Norma fans, this album is sound. No disappointment on my end.
OVERALL RATING: Pretty Dope.
SONGS TO LOOK OUT FOR: Hive Minds, Wrongdoers, Sword In Mouth, Fire Eyes, Neck In the Hemp, Funeral Singer.
TOUR DETAILS: http://normajeannoise.com/tour